by Tonya Duncan Ellis
GENRE: Children's (Middle Grade)
Forty days without video games? Oh no!
Sixth-grader Sophie Washington and her friends are back with an interesting book about having fun with video games while keeping balance. It’s almost Easter, and Sophie and her family get ready to start fasts for Lent with their church, where they give up doing something for 40 days that may not be good for them. Her parents urge Sophie to stop tattling so much, and encourage her second-grade brother Cole to give up something he loves most, playing video games. The kids agree to the challenge, but how long can they keep it up? Soon after Lent begins, Cole starts sneaking to play his video games. Things start to get out of control when he loses a school electronic tablet he checked out without his parents’ permission, and comes to his sister for help. Should Sophie break her promise and tattle on him?
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you
And be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you
And give you peace.
I lift my head up from prayer and my eight-yearold brother, Cole, grumbles, “I’m starving,” as we hustle out of the crowded church.
New Faith Church is one of the largest Baptist churches in Houston. I love coming with my dad, mom and little brother each week, and it looks like the entire congregation showed up today. During the service we were squished in our seats like sardines, and Mom had to put her purse on the floor to make room. I spot my best friend Chloe in the row across from us. She and her family have been attending New Faith since she was little, just like we have.
“Hey Sophie,” she waves. “I love your dress!”
I smooth the skirt of my floral print, blue and white dress. Mom bought it for me last week and I love to twirl around in it. Chloe looks beautiful herself, as usual, wearing a light yellow sweater dress and grown-up looking shoes with a small heel. Tall, with curly black hair and a bright smile, Chloe is one of the prettiest girls my class.
Tonya Duncan Ellis was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She loves reading so much that as a child she took books with her everywhere. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was a teen. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer. She's an award-winning author of the Sophie Washington children's book series, geared towards readers ages 8 to 12. The books recount adventures of Houston, TX preteen Sophie Washington and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, and The Gamer. When she's not writing, Tonya enjoys reading, biking, swimming, travel and spending time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.
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