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Calvin and the Sugar Apples

Illustrated by Vanessa Balleza
Published by The Collective Book Studio
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
LIST PRICE $14.95

About The Book

A relatable early reader that taps into important life lessons about friendship, grief, and talking through feelings.

"Debut author Oliveira’s lush prose brings the Portugal setting to life and portrays Amelia’s grief with realism. Her struggle to manage her emotions, as well as the deeper understanding she reaches of herself and the people around her, is endearing and rewarding. Balezza’s b&w pencil illustrations appear throughout, adding nuance to Amelia’s heightened feelings." —Publishers Weekly

Ten-year-old Amelia has always had Calvin, her chinchilla friend, to talk to about her problems. But Calvin is no longer in his cage, and her parents just say he’s in a “better place.” When Amelia and her best friend, Camila, have an argument, and Amelia later misses the school talent show, she doesn’t know what to do. Without Calvin, who does she talk to about her disappointments at school? And who does she talk to about missing Calvin?

Just when Amelia thinks she’s completely alone, a new student arrives, and they begin to sort things out together. Amelia learns that it’s always possible to make new friends, that expressing yourself can happen in different ways, and that it all starts with talking it out.

MORE PRAISE FOR CALVIN AND THE SUGAR APPLES

“A sensitive and rich children’s novel—a thoughtful, warm reflection on overcoming loss and embracing change.” —Foreword Reviews

“Ten-year-old Amelia is sometimes awkward, often tongue-tied, and ALWAYS a bright shining star, even when she doesn’t know it. Readers will adore her!” —Lauren Myracle, author of best-selling books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r

About The Author

Inês F. Oliveira is a debut author from Portugal, where she lives by the sea with her husband and two children. She holds a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and committed many years to the technological field. That was before turning to words and writing. She believes words have the power to scatter light into children’s eyes and insists on reading aloud with her children every night.

About The Illustrator

Vanessa Balleza is a Venezuelan author and illustrator of children's books, with a knack for capturing warm moments with vivid detail and imagination. She seeks to involve adults and children in fostering a lifelong love of reading and art, using the power of imagination and creativity as her tools. Vanessa lives in Saint Cloud, Florida, with her husband and two children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: The Collective Book Studio (August 29, 2023)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781685552190
  • Grades: 3 - 6
  • Ages: 7 - 10
  • Lexile ® 610L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"Original, deftly crafted, and inherently interesting from start to finish."

Midwest Book Review

"A sensitive and rich children’s novel—a thoughtful, warm reflection on overcoming loss and embracing change."

Foreword Magazine

"Debut author Oliveira’s lush prose brings the Portugal setting to life and portrays Amelia’s grief with realism. Her struggle to manage her emotions, as well as the deeper understanding she reaches of herself and the people around her, is endearing and rewarding. Balezza’s b&w pencil illustrations appear throughout, adding nuance to Amelia’s heightened feelings."

Publishers Weekly

"This book is beautifully written with a poetic feel that’s perfect for middle grade kids. Middle grade kids are often dealing with their big feelings about friendships, confidence, worthiness, loneliness, and sadness, and this story will capture not only theirs but anyone’s heart."

– Gloria Amescua, author of Child of the Flower-Song People, a 2022 Américas Award Winner, a 2021 Junior Library Guild selection, an ALSC 2022 Notable Children Books, and a Pura Belpré Honor Book

"With language more poetic than prosaic, Oliveira tells Amelia's story for all the kids out there who have trouble expressing themselves. It will break and heal your heart all at once."

– Cookie Hiponia, author of We Belong

"Calvin and the Super Apples is a heartfelt, touching story about what it means to be a friend, coming to terms with loss and the emotional stages of grief."

– Samantha "Sam" Mina, Librarian/Influencer

"Plotted as crisply as a ballet, with all the down-to-earth details of family life, brimming with color and humorous asides, this is a book unafraid of dealing with the weight of grief that exists even within the young."

– Katherine Vaz, author of Saudade, Mariana (in six languages), Our Lady of the Artichokes, Fado & Other Stories, and Above the Salt (Flatiron Books/Macmillan, November 2023)

"This delicately told story deals with the weight of missing a treasured companion in a nuanced and balanced way through the eyes of a child who finds strength and comfort in new and unexpected ways. It will warm your heart!"

– Tina Athaide, author of Orange for the Sunsets and Meena's Mindful Moment

"Ten-year-old Amelia is sometimes awkward, often tongue-tied, and ALWAYS a bright shining star, even when she doesn’t know it. Readers will adore her!"

– Lauren Myracle, author of best-selling books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r

"Calvin and the Sugar Apples is a big warm hug of a debut, as wise as it is charming, and a wholehearted ode to friendship as it helps us to heal and reconnect."

– Adele Griffin, author of The Becket List: A Blackberry Farm Story

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