Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.
Make Lemonade From Life's Lemons
Melissa Savage debuts her first novel, Lemons, with a lovely adventure story that young readers will find to be a page turner. Young readers will share in the character's loss of her mother and her path to a new life after this loss. The lessons of friendship, family connections, and healing after a loss are all life lessons to be learned.
Lemonade Liberty Witt moves to California to live with her grandfather after the death of her mother. The small town of Willow Creek is known as the home of the elusive Bigfoot. Her new friend Tobin Sky is the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc. and Lemonade is hired to work with him to investigate all of the sightings that are reported almost daily. The summer moves along and Lemonade Witt learns that creating a new life is actually possible if one takes advantage of new friendships, new challenges, and the opportunity to help others along the way. Savage couples her interest in cryptozoology and the ongoing search for the creature Bigfoot with Lemonade's search for a new life after loss.
The unexpected twist that Savage includes with the story of Tobin's dad will be of interest to older readers who lost parents in the Vietnam War or who had parents who were classified as MIA during the Vietnam War. The details of Tobin's life experience makes Lemons a book that grandparents of young readers can share with them.
Lemons was published by Crown Books for Young Readers, a section of Random House Children's Books. It is recommended for ages 8–12. It has an ISBN of 978-1-5247-0012-6.
Get Acquainted With Melissa Savage
Melissa Savage is a writer and family therapist. Her interest lies in writing books that serve a purpose in presenting life's issues to young readers. Her debut novel, Lemons, presents the life issue of losing someone you love and how to navigate into a new life after experiencing grief.
She answered several questions in a Q&A session about her new book Lemons. One of the questions centered around her character Tobin Sky. Tobin was named after Savage's son who passed away at the age of nine months. Tobin Sky is Savage's creation of how she would have wanted her son to be as a combination of his scientific dad and his mom as a huge fan of the elusive Bigfoot creature. Another question of why she wanted Bigfoot to play a role in her book was also answered. Savage loves the mystery surrounding this creature and she sees a relationship between Tobin and this creature. Bigfoot hides in the forest and shies away from people. Tobin hides behind his love of photography and identifies with Bigfoot's fear of being judged by other people. She was asked about her favorite character and Tobin is her favorite character. She states that Lemonade Witt is more like her, but Tobin is definitely her favorite.
Savage was asked about her hopes for what readers can take away after reading Lemons. Her answer: "Hope, first and foremost. There is hope and healing in the world, even after dealing with tough lemons, if you choose it and surround yourself with gratitude and people who love you. Also, I hope readers take away a renewed acceptance of those who are different from them. And, or course, a newfound interest in cryptozoology!"
Open a Conversation About Life After Loss
I often found books like Lemons to be a great tool for opening a conversation about life lessons that are seen as "sour lemons". I used books like this in my classroom to have these types of conversations. I highly recommend this wonderful book as a teaching tool for teachers who teach children in grades 3–5. Young readers will have the opportunity to contribute their own ideas to how they would cope with losses that they have experienced. Teachers can also use this as a writing experience for their students for them to write their own stories of loss.