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Shine!

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Paperback
$8.99 US
On sale Sep 14, 2021 | 240 Pages | 978-1-5247-1767-4
Age 8-12 years | Grades 3-7
Reading Level: Lexile 650L | Fountas & Pinnell U
Everyone deserves to shine in this sparkling book about a girl who's trying to find her place in the universe--and middle school--from the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library!

Shine on! might be the catchphrase of twelve-year-old Piper's hero--astronaut, astronomer, and television host Nellie Dumont Frisse--but Piper knows the truth: some people are born to shine, and she's just not one of them. That fact has never been clearer than now, when her dad's new job has landed them both at Chumley Prep, a posh private school where everyone seems to be the best at something and where Piper definitely doesn't fit in.

Bursting with humor, heart, science, possibilities, and big questions, Shine! is a story about finding your place in the universe--a story about figuring out who you are and who you want to be. BONUS! Science experiment included!
Some people are meant to shine.
 
Others are better off blending in.
 
Me?
 
I’m a blender. But tonight is one of the biggest nights ever for my dad, so I’m here to help.
 
Dad’s singers are onstage at the Municipal Auditorium, waiting for the curtain to rise. I’m off in the wings, dressed in black, trying to disappear.
 
My dad, Marcus Milly, is a music teacher at Fairview Middle School. His a cappella group has finally, for the first time in recorded history, by some sort of miracle, made it all the way to the biggest show in town: the finals of the Winter Sing-Off.
 
The place is packed. The local news crews are here, too, taping reports for their eleven o’clock broadcasts.
 
“The finals!” I hear the reporter from Channel 8 say into a camera. “You can’t get much closer to the big finish than that!”
 
Dad’s group sailed through the first two rounds with their mash-up of “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland,” which, by the way, sounded even better on a stage sparkling with glittery spray-can snow. Now they just have to do one more song for the judges. And they’ll do it without instruments or even a piano because that’s what “a cappella” means. It’s all vocals and schoop-schoops and mouth noises.
 
I don’t go to Fairview. (I’m a seventh grader at Westside.)
 
That’s a good thing.
 
Music is Dad’s life. And even though I’m related to the director, I don’t sing well enough to make the Fairview choir. Or any choir.
 
Because I can’t carry a tune in a lunch box.
 
At home, I don’t even sing in the shower.
 
And we definitely don’t do carpool karaoke.
 
Anyway, like I said, Dad has never come this close to winning the big countywide holiday a cappella contest, and I’ve never been more excited for him.
 
That’s why I volunteered to be his assistant and help out backstage. Dad and his singers are the main attraction. I’m just a moon orbiting their planet.
 
“This is it, Piper,” says Dad, his eyes twinkling with excitement.
 
“You’ve got this!” I tell him.
 
We fist-bump on it.
 
The curtain will go up for everybody’s final songs in seven minutes. I can see other choirs waiting in the wings. Some are in red-and-green outfits. Others in sparkling blue and silver. The backdrop is a row of Christmas trees flanked by a cardboard menorah and a Kwanzaa candle set.
 
Dad’s group is totally focused, doing their vocal warm-ups.
 
“Ah-oh-oo-oh-ah . . .”
 
They limber up their lips with a tongue twister.
 
“Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather . . .”
 
Suddenly I hear a cough!
 
Dad twirls around. Now there’s panic in his eyes.
 
One dry throat in the soprano section could ruin everything! That’s exactly what happened at the Nationals last year. Dad and I watched it on YouTube. A coughing fit took down the top team in the country. (A girl up front was hacking so much during “Let It Go” that she sounded like a high-pitched Chihuahua.)
 
“Water, Piper,” Dad says. From the tremor in his voice, I can tell: he remembers that disaster, too.
 
“Room-temperature water!” I add, because my scientific brain knows that room-temperature water is much better for vocal cords than cold or hot.
 
Cold water could actually hurt a singer’s voice--tighten the cords when they need to be loosened. You don’t want hot water, either, because it can cause your pharynx to swell slightly. You should also avoid dairy.
 
I take off, looking for a water dispenser with one of those hot taps for making tea, so I can quickly pour the perfect mix of hot and cold to achieve room temperature. On the far side of the stage, I think I see one.
 
It’s right behind a competing a cappella group.
 
But they’re not doing any last-minute vocal warm-ups.
 
They’re too busy pointing, laughing, and making fun of Dad and his singers!
 
 
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Georgia Children's Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
  • AWARD | 2021
    Mark Twain Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Kansas William Allen White Children's Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Mark Twain Award
  • SELECTION | 2020
    Horned Toad Tale List
"Shine! will put a smile on your heart. Read this book!" –Jennifer L. HolmNew York Times bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish

"A crowd-pleasing reminder that kindness pays.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This encouraging story of self-discovery celebrates friendship, kindness, and self-actualization.”Publishers Weekly

“This gentle book offers a wonderful reminder that kindness, generosity, and love far outweigh the importance of money, awards, and prestige. —Booklist

“A lighthearted and fast-paced book. The strong message about the power of kindness will be encouraging to readers, and fans of Grabenstein’s “Mr. Lemoncello” series will enjoy a different kind of puzzle.” School Library Journal,

© Elena Seibert

When I talk to kids about my new book THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, I torture them with a tale of electronics deprivation.
     "My main character, Billy Gillfoyle," I say, "is spending the summer in a cabin on a lake.  There is no cable, no TV, no DVR, no X-Box, no PlayStation 3.  There isn't even an old-fashioned VCR."
     By this point, the kids' gasps become audible.
     "On his first day at the cabin," I continue, "Billy drops his iPhone and it shatters.  The nearest Apple store is several hundred miles away."
     Jaws drop.  The kids are practically weeping – just like my hero, Billy Gillfoyle.  He mopes around the cabin after the demise of his iPhone and ends up in this scene with his mother:
    
  "Billy, what do you think kids did back before video games or TV or even electricity?"
  "I don't know.  Cried a lot?"  He plopped down dramatically on the couch.
  "No, Billy. They read books.  They made up stories and games.  They took nothing and turned it into something."
 
     And that's what happens to Billy in this book:  He learns to start using and trusting his own imagination.
     Characters from books that he reads in Dr. Libris' study start coming to life out on the island in the middle of the lake.   In no time, Hercules, the monster Antaeus, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan, Pollyanna, and Tom Sawyer are all bumping into each other's stories.  It's up to Billy, with the help of his new friend Walter, and a bookcase filled with classic literature, to "imagine" a scenario that will bring all the conflicts to a tidy resolution. 
     Yep.  In THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, Billy Gillfoyle is learning how to become a writer.  He puts his characters into situations and conflicts that will, ultimately, take him to the happy ending he, and everybody else, is looking for.
     When all seems lost, he is on the island with his new friends Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Hercules, despairing that he's not heroic enough to rescue his asthmatic friend Walter from the clutches of the evil Space Lizard (yes, hideous creatures from video games and fairy tales eventually come to life on the island, too.) 
 
  "Ho, lads and lassie!" said Robin Hood.  "All is not lost!  Look you, Sir William – I remember a time when Sir Guy of Gisbourne held me captive in his tower.  Did my band of merry followers let a moat or castle walls stand in their way?"
  "Nay!" said Marian.  "Little John and I didst lead the charge.  Oh, how the arrows did fly that day!"
  "I'm not Little John," Billy said quietly.  "Or you, Maid Marian.  I'm not a hero."  He looked down at Walter's inhaler.  "I'm just a kid who can't even save his own family."
  "Nonsense," said Maid Marian. "Each of us can choose who or what we shall be.  We write our own stories, Sir William.  We write them each and every day."
  "And," added Hercules, "if you write it boldly enough, others will write about you, too."
 
     In my book ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY, I wanted to make young readers excited about reading and doing research.  I tried to turn a trip to the library into an incredibly fun scavenger hunt, filled with puzzles and surprises.  (In my perpetually twelve-years-old mind, that's what doing research actually is.)
     With THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, I am hoping to excite young readers about the power and awesomeness of their own imaginations. I want them to take nothing and turn it into something.  To take two old ideas, toss them together, and create something new.
     And, when they write their own stories, maybe some of them will decide they want to become authors, writing stories for the rest of us, too!
     
     
 

View titles by Chris Grabenstein
Educator Guide for Shine!

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

About

Everyone deserves to shine in this sparkling book about a girl who's trying to find her place in the universe--and middle school--from the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library!

Shine on! might be the catchphrase of twelve-year-old Piper's hero--astronaut, astronomer, and television host Nellie Dumont Frisse--but Piper knows the truth: some people are born to shine, and she's just not one of them. That fact has never been clearer than now, when her dad's new job has landed them both at Chumley Prep, a posh private school where everyone seems to be the best at something and where Piper definitely doesn't fit in.

Bursting with humor, heart, science, possibilities, and big questions, Shine! is a story about finding your place in the universe--a story about figuring out who you are and who you want to be. BONUS! Science experiment included!

Excerpt

Some people are meant to shine.
 
Others are better off blending in.
 
Me?
 
I’m a blender. But tonight is one of the biggest nights ever for my dad, so I’m here to help.
 
Dad’s singers are onstage at the Municipal Auditorium, waiting for the curtain to rise. I’m off in the wings, dressed in black, trying to disappear.
 
My dad, Marcus Milly, is a music teacher at Fairview Middle School. His a cappella group has finally, for the first time in recorded history, by some sort of miracle, made it all the way to the biggest show in town: the finals of the Winter Sing-Off.
 
The place is packed. The local news crews are here, too, taping reports for their eleven o’clock broadcasts.
 
“The finals!” I hear the reporter from Channel 8 say into a camera. “You can’t get much closer to the big finish than that!”
 
Dad’s group sailed through the first two rounds with their mash-up of “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland,” which, by the way, sounded even better on a stage sparkling with glittery spray-can snow. Now they just have to do one more song for the judges. And they’ll do it without instruments or even a piano because that’s what “a cappella” means. It’s all vocals and schoop-schoops and mouth noises.
 
I don’t go to Fairview. (I’m a seventh grader at Westside.)
 
That’s a good thing.
 
Music is Dad’s life. And even though I’m related to the director, I don’t sing well enough to make the Fairview choir. Or any choir.
 
Because I can’t carry a tune in a lunch box.
 
At home, I don’t even sing in the shower.
 
And we definitely don’t do carpool karaoke.
 
Anyway, like I said, Dad has never come this close to winning the big countywide holiday a cappella contest, and I’ve never been more excited for him.
 
That’s why I volunteered to be his assistant and help out backstage. Dad and his singers are the main attraction. I’m just a moon orbiting their planet.
 
“This is it, Piper,” says Dad, his eyes twinkling with excitement.
 
“You’ve got this!” I tell him.
 
We fist-bump on it.
 
The curtain will go up for everybody’s final songs in seven minutes. I can see other choirs waiting in the wings. Some are in red-and-green outfits. Others in sparkling blue and silver. The backdrop is a row of Christmas trees flanked by a cardboard menorah and a Kwanzaa candle set.
 
Dad’s group is totally focused, doing their vocal warm-ups.
 
“Ah-oh-oo-oh-ah . . .”
 
They limber up their lips with a tongue twister.
 
“Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather . . .”
 
Suddenly I hear a cough!
 
Dad twirls around. Now there’s panic in his eyes.
 
One dry throat in the soprano section could ruin everything! That’s exactly what happened at the Nationals last year. Dad and I watched it on YouTube. A coughing fit took down the top team in the country. (A girl up front was hacking so much during “Let It Go” that she sounded like a high-pitched Chihuahua.)
 
“Water, Piper,” Dad says. From the tremor in his voice, I can tell: he remembers that disaster, too.
 
“Room-temperature water!” I add, because my scientific brain knows that room-temperature water is much better for vocal cords than cold or hot.
 
Cold water could actually hurt a singer’s voice--tighten the cords when they need to be loosened. You don’t want hot water, either, because it can cause your pharynx to swell slightly. You should also avoid dairy.
 
I take off, looking for a water dispenser with one of those hot taps for making tea, so I can quickly pour the perfect mix of hot and cold to achieve room temperature. On the far side of the stage, I think I see one.
 
It’s right behind a competing a cappella group.
 
But they’re not doing any last-minute vocal warm-ups.
 
They’re too busy pointing, laughing, and making fun of Dad and his singers!
 
 

Awards

  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Georgia Children's Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
  • AWARD | 2021
    Mark Twain Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Kansas William Allen White Children's Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Mark Twain Award
  • SELECTION | 2020
    Horned Toad Tale List

Praise

"Shine! will put a smile on your heart. Read this book!" –Jennifer L. HolmNew York Times bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish

"A crowd-pleasing reminder that kindness pays.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This encouraging story of self-discovery celebrates friendship, kindness, and self-actualization.”Publishers Weekly

“This gentle book offers a wonderful reminder that kindness, generosity, and love far outweigh the importance of money, awards, and prestige. —Booklist

“A lighthearted and fast-paced book. The strong message about the power of kindness will be encouraging to readers, and fans of Grabenstein’s “Mr. Lemoncello” series will enjoy a different kind of puzzle.” School Library Journal,

Author

© Elena Seibert

When I talk to kids about my new book THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, I torture them with a tale of electronics deprivation.
     "My main character, Billy Gillfoyle," I say, "is spending the summer in a cabin on a lake.  There is no cable, no TV, no DVR, no X-Box, no PlayStation 3.  There isn't even an old-fashioned VCR."
     By this point, the kids' gasps become audible.
     "On his first day at the cabin," I continue, "Billy drops his iPhone and it shatters.  The nearest Apple store is several hundred miles away."
     Jaws drop.  The kids are practically weeping – just like my hero, Billy Gillfoyle.  He mopes around the cabin after the demise of his iPhone and ends up in this scene with his mother:
    
  "Billy, what do you think kids did back before video games or TV or even electricity?"
  "I don't know.  Cried a lot?"  He plopped down dramatically on the couch.
  "No, Billy. They read books.  They made up stories and games.  They took nothing and turned it into something."
 
     And that's what happens to Billy in this book:  He learns to start using and trusting his own imagination.
     Characters from books that he reads in Dr. Libris' study start coming to life out on the island in the middle of the lake.   In no time, Hercules, the monster Antaeus, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan, Pollyanna, and Tom Sawyer are all bumping into each other's stories.  It's up to Billy, with the help of his new friend Walter, and a bookcase filled with classic literature, to "imagine" a scenario that will bring all the conflicts to a tidy resolution. 
     Yep.  In THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, Billy Gillfoyle is learning how to become a writer.  He puts his characters into situations and conflicts that will, ultimately, take him to the happy ending he, and everybody else, is looking for.
     When all seems lost, he is on the island with his new friends Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Hercules, despairing that he's not heroic enough to rescue his asthmatic friend Walter from the clutches of the evil Space Lizard (yes, hideous creatures from video games and fairy tales eventually come to life on the island, too.) 
 
  "Ho, lads and lassie!" said Robin Hood.  "All is not lost!  Look you, Sir William – I remember a time when Sir Guy of Gisbourne held me captive in his tower.  Did my band of merry followers let a moat or castle walls stand in their way?"
  "Nay!" said Marian.  "Little John and I didst lead the charge.  Oh, how the arrows did fly that day!"
  "I'm not Little John," Billy said quietly.  "Or you, Maid Marian.  I'm not a hero."  He looked down at Walter's inhaler.  "I'm just a kid who can't even save his own family."
  "Nonsense," said Maid Marian. "Each of us can choose who or what we shall be.  We write our own stories, Sir William.  We write them each and every day."
  "And," added Hercules, "if you write it boldly enough, others will write about you, too."
 
     In my book ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY, I wanted to make young readers excited about reading and doing research.  I tried to turn a trip to the library into an incredibly fun scavenger hunt, filled with puzzles and surprises.  (In my perpetually twelve-years-old mind, that's what doing research actually is.)
     With THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, I am hoping to excite young readers about the power and awesomeness of their own imaginations. I want them to take nothing and turn it into something.  To take two old ideas, toss them together, and create something new.
     And, when they write their own stories, maybe some of them will decide they want to become authors, writing stories for the rest of us, too!
     
     
 

View titles by Chris Grabenstein

Guides

Educator Guide for Shine!

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)