Thanks to Disney-Hyperion, we are taking part in the Charlie & Frog Blog Tour. We recently received a complimentary copy of this new children’s book and are excited to connect with the author.
Charlie & Frog
Discover the surprising ways people listen in CHARLIE & FROG: A MYSTERY(Disney-Hyperion; On Sale: April 10, 2018), a page-turning contemporary middle grade mystery filled with humor, intrigue, and heartwarming friendships, by debut author Karen Kane. Frog (aka Francine Castle), is Deaf and shines as a tenacious, crime-solving protagonist who introduces Charlie to the world of sign language and teaches it throughout.
All Charlie Tickler wants is for his parents to listen. Charlie’s parents have left him (again). This time they are off to South Africa to help giant golden moles. And Charlie? He’s been dumped with his TV-obsessed grandparents. Lonely and curious, Charlie heads into the village of Castle-on-the-Hudson, where a frightened old woman gives him a desperate message—in sign language. When she suddenly disappears, Charlie is determined to find answers.
All Francine (aka Frog) Castle wants is to be the world’s greatest detective. Frog, who is Deaf, would rather be solving crimes than working at the Flying Hands Café. When Charlie Tickler walks into the café looking for help, Frog jumps at the chance to tackle a real-life case.
Together, Charlie and Frog set out to decipher a series of clues and uncover the truth behind the missing woman’s mysterious message. Charlie needs to learn American Sign Language (fast) to keep up with quick-witted Frog. And Frog needs to gather her detective know-how (now) to break the case before it’s too late.
We have six bookshelves in our home. My girls and I love to read and my son is learning to enjoy it more by finding books that interest him. We love finding new stories we can read as a family and share our thoughts on.
Author Karen Kane
How does it feel to publish your first book with Disney-Hyperion?
It feels WONDERFUL! I loved working with my Disney editor, Tracey Keevan. And I loved that Disney hired a Deaf illustrator for the interior art. In each chapter of Charlie & Frog, Charlie learns a new sign. Carlisle Robinson drew Charlie and Frog demonstrating the signs for the reader.
Is Charlie’s story inspired by a personal connection?
Charlie is a little bit of me, because I have always searched for community and connection. And, like Charlie, I had to learn to look inside myself to find my own power. Frog, on the other hand, is straight up a compilation of the many strong and assertive Deaf girls I have known.
Is there a message you hope children take away from Frog’s story of being deaf and teaching Charlie sign language?
Yes! The message is ASL is an awesome language. I hope everyone reading Charlie & Frog will be interested in learning ASL from a Deaf teacher!
What is one challenge you faced with writing Charlie & Frog: A Mystery?
After I sold my book to Disney, I had to rewrite the mystery that Charlie and Frog solve. I had never written a mystery before, so it was a real learning experience to understand how mysteries work. And how to keep up the suspense. I did a lot of thinking and rewriting. And I read a lot of mysteries!
What advice do you have for young girls that want to become a writer one day?
The most important thing is believing you can do it. You have to decide that you will learn the craft of writing. If you struggle with it, you tell yourself that you can figure it out. And you don’t stop until you do. Then, be open to the magical part of writing. It’s often when I’m doing other things—when I am walking or making dinner or shopping—that I’ll get an inspiration or an idea for my story. I quickly write it down. So writing is both learning the craft and being open to the magic.
Do you have other stories you hope to publish?
I have SO many stories percolating! Right now I’m writing the next Charlie & Frog book, tentatively called The Boney Hand. And I am working on a picture book. I love writing picture books! It’s both fun and challenging to try to write a great story with a limited number of words.
Order your copy of Charlie & Frog today.