We are so excited to announce that the third book in our fictional children’s series – Jazzy’s Quest: Camp To Belong – officially launches on Monday, June 3rd and is available for purchase now!
Jazzy is a creative, ten-year-old Star Wars fan who also happens to be a transracial adoptee in an open adoption. The first book in the series was a chapter book designed to introduce Jazzy, her loving family, and her friends to our readers. The second book was twice the length of the first and explored Jazzy’s social relationships at school and the struggle to fit in with peers.
This new third book is a full middle-grade book and it delves into the complex relationship among separated siblings in reunion, as well as the unique challenges that adoptees face as they navigate the world. Jazzy explores her feelings about being a person of color in a white family, and she learns more about foster care.
In JAZZY’S QUEST: CAMP TO BELONG, Jazzy and her birth brother Carlos attend a special weeklong camp specifically created for birth siblings separated by foster care and adoption. Based on a real camp called Camp To Belong, Jazzy, Carlos and their fellow campers find that spending a week with their siblings can be unexpectedly challenging. Jazzy learns new restorative ways to manage painful peer conflict and deepens her bond with Carlos.
Excerpt from Jazzy’s Quest #3, copyright 2019 Juliet Bond and Carrie Goldman (Marcinson Press) :
Jazzy squeezed through the narrow opening of the door and stepped into the room. “Can I talk to you both about something?” she asked. Sophie put down her pencil and looked up. Jazzy glanced at Sophie’s perfectly straight, copper ponytail, the exact same shade as May’s and Mom’s.
“You know how we always go on our trip to Colorado in August?”Jazzy said.
“Yes,” Sophie squealed. “Estes Park! The best part of the summer!”
Jazzy pushed aside a heap of crumpled jeans to sit on the edge of May’s bed, and then spent a few minutes explaining to her sisters about Camp To Belong and how it only ran for a specific week each summer.
“And so,” Jazzy said, “Would you mind if we move our family trip back a week this year? So I can go to this camp with Carlos?”
May agreed right away. ”Sure. It sounds really cool!” She reached over to ruffle Jazzy’s wild, black curls. Jazzy turned to Sophie, whose energy had collapsed.
“What?” Jazzy asked.
Sophie pursed her lips. “If we move the date of our trip, we wouldn’t be at Estes Park the same time as the Steinbergs. That’s my only chance to see Josephine each year!” Sophie set the calculator aside and fiddled with her ear buds.
Jazzy had forgotten. Every year, Sophie looked forward to reuniting with one of her best friends, Josephine Steinberg, during the Colorado trip. The Steinbergs lived in Cincinnati, and the Armstrongs had first met them six years ago. Sophie and Josephine were inseparable during the annual trips.
“Please, Sophie?” Jazzy begged. “Just this once?”
“No,” Sophie replied. She wrung the wires of her earbuds around her hands. “I really need to see Josephine. I’ve been waiting all year. Being with my friends here isn’t the same.”
Sophie’s sixth grade year had been hard. The group of girls that Sophie usually hung out with had drifted apart in the fall. She struggled to find a group in middle school. Jazzy had overheard Mom and Dad worrying about Sophie being lonely and sad.
But Jazzy knew what it was like to feel alone, too. She even felt alone in her own family sometimes. She was so different from her parents and sisters. People seemed to stare at her whenever they went to restaurants or grocery stores. She could see them examining her brown skin and black hair, then looking back at her redheaded sisters and white-skinned parents. Most of the time, Jazzy pretended not to notice, but it made her uncomfortable; she had moments when she felt isolated, being the only adopted person in the family.
Like Jazzy, Carlos had black curls and dark skin. Every time she thought about this camp, she felt the need to spend time with Carlos even more acutely. Jazzy wanted a week at Camp To Belong just as much as Sophie wanted to be with Josephine. What was fair?
“You don’t care about how I feel!” Jazzy burst out.
Sophie’s eyebrows shot up.
“Stop shouting at me,” Sophie ordered.
“I’m not shouting!” Jazzy shouted.
May stood up. “Hey, you two,” she soothed.
“It’s not fair!” Jazzy turned to May, her bouncy curls flying. “You and Sophie get to live with each other all year. You live with Mom and Dad and me every single day of your lives. You don’t know what it’s like to never live with your biological family. Don’t you see?” Jazzy gulped, swallowing hard against a lump in her throat.
Sophie’s eyes grew as soft as the worn, patchwork quilt she was resting on. “Jazzy, I’m sorry. It’s true, we don’t know how hard it must be for you not to live with your birth family.” She smushed the spongy ends of the earbuds between her fingers. “I want you to be with Carlos. But I also really really really want to see Josephine.”
Jazzy sniffed and swiped a hand across her eyes. “And I have to go to this camp,” she insisted.
We hope you enjoyed a glimpse into Jazzy! Due to an anonymous grant, hundreds of copies of JAZZY’S QUEST: CAMP TO BELONG have been shipped to eleven different sites as take-home gifts for this summer’s campers.
Purchase Jazzy HERE on Amazon! Please do share JAZZY’S QUEST: CAMP TO BELONG with anyone you know who has been touched by adoption.
May The Force Be With You,