Books


Quinny & Hopper

Quinny has a lot to say.
Hopper gets to the point.

Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast.
Hopper proceeds with caution.

Quinny has big ideas.
Hopper has smart solutions.

 

Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They’re an unstoppable team. But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and those brand new Third Grade Rules – especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

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quincy-hobbsQuinny & Hopper are unstoppable. Together they tamed a killer chicken, broke the Third Grade Rules, and proved to everyone that they could be best friends.

But Hopper has doubts that anyone –even Quinny—can save him from his impending doom: surgery removing tonsils that he is really, really not ready to part ways with.

To help Hopper overcome his tonsillectomy fears, Quinny decides to reveal his birthday surprise early: a trip to a musuem where they’ll get to see a real brain up close and personal. Hopper needs something to live for. But Quinny is torn when her sometimes-friend, sometimes-enemy Victoria Porridge invites her to the most amazing party ever on the exact same day.

Quinny and Hopper are back with an adventure full of laughter, loneliness, lice (yuck!), secrets, choices, courage, giant tonsils and one very, very, extra-very giant friendship.

Plus, of course, more chickens!

Ann M. Martin, in a foreword to the beloved 1940s classic Betsy-Tacy and Tib, wrote, “These were small stories…but when Maud Hart Lovelace told small stories, she made them seem big.” I just love that. I love books that do that. Schoolyard politics, sibling squabbles, neighborhood adventures…I find all the “small stuff” of childhood to be the biggest stuff of all.

WaterFightOf course, what kid doesn’t also crave a suspenseful, action-filled plot? But, along with juicy storylines, I believe young readers deserve dimensional, developed characters that hold a mirror to their own rich interior lives. Not just at ages 10, 11 and 12…but also at 7, 8 and 9.

Combining emotional realism and adventure-driven plotting, Quinny & Hopper alternates between the first-person perspectives of two kids whose intense summer friendship runs smack-dab into the uncertainties of a new school year. I wrote this young MG story in two voices because that felt like the most visceral way of exploring the characters’ blooming but fragile, ripped-to-shreds-and-stitched-back-together friendship. To me this friendship is really the book’s main character. I watched it grow and falter due to misunderstandings, fear, outside pressures. I watched it survive and strengthen.

When it comes to friendship, and life in general, I feel like we’re always telling kids: follow your gut, not the crowd. But it’s hard at times. Showing the struggle and eventual pay-off of social courage is important. Someone radically different from you can often teach you a lot about yourself. By the end of their story, I hope Quinny and Hopper would agree.

squiggle Click here for a Quinny & Hopper discussion guide and educator resources. squiggle

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