08 Sep Award + Sneak Peek of the Next Book
We’re celebrating! Mystery of the Troubled Toucan just won a CIPA EVVY award in the children’s story books division. We’re grateful for the recognition.
With the Olympics just finished and the Paralympics just kicking off in Brazil–and the award from CIPA, we thought a second Brazil book would be a great addition to the Pack-n-Go Girls Adventures.
Mystery of the Lazy Loggerhead is coming soon. Here’s a sneak peak and a first look at the cover. Don’t be surprised if things change a little when it comes out. We are always fine-tuning up until the last minute.
We are hoping to release the book October 1st, but pre-orders are available on Amazon now.
“What’s that?” Sofia Diaz asked.
“Onde?” Her Brazilian friend, Júlia Santos, scanned the edge of the beach. She squinted from the early morning rays of the sun. A few seagulls floated by on their morning beach patrol. They squawked at the girls. “Where? I do not see anything?”
“It’s moving.” Sofia kicked her new Havaianas off her tan feet. She made sure to pick them up. They were only the most famous flip flops in the world. She did NOT want to lose them. Sandals safely in hand, she dashed down the beach. The familiar smell of the salt air filled her lungs. The sand kicked up behind her speedy feet.
“Wait—” Júlia sprinted to keep up with her.
“Yuck!” Gobs of dark green seaweed squished between Sofia’s toes. She looked ahead to find the spots with the least seaweed. Then she hopscotched her way through. “I hate seaweed,” she scowled.
“I did not know gym girls could . . . run so fast,” Júlia panted. She bent over to catch her breath. Long strands of dark brown hair fell out of the clip holding it back. “I thought you just did flips and cartwheels.”
“Yeah, but I’m a bear too, remember?” Sofia put her arms up and growled softly. “Bears can run fast!” Her mom had told her she’d cried so loud when she was born she’d scared all the nurses. They started calling her “the bear.” Sofie-Bear. She still liked that nickname. It gave her speed when she wanted it. And courage when she needed it.
Sofia stopped a few yards away and pointed. “It’s a sea turtle. See her giant head and big jaws? And the reddish-brown and yellow color of her shell? I think she’s a loggerhead.”
Júlia’s dark brown eyes opened wide. “Uma tartaruga marinha?” A sea turtle? She lived on the edge of the Amazon rainforest in Manaus. So she’d seen lots of animals. Sloths, pink dolphins, monkeys, snakes, poison dart frogs. You name it. She’d seen it. She’d sworn she’d even seen a jaguar run through the bushes beside her once. But she’d never come face-to-face with a sea turtle. She wondered how similar they were to the river turtles she’d seen.
The sea turtle pulled herself slowly along the edge of the water with her flippers. It looked like she dragged a heavy checkered stone on her back. How hard must that be with only flippers?
“Yeah, a sea turtle. And definitely a loggerhead.” Sofia shadowed the turtle.
“How do you know she is, how do you say, logger—head?” Júlia asked.
“I know a little about sea turtles. My grandparents in Florida live near a sea turtle rescue place. I go there every time we visit. I’ve seen loads of loggerheads there. And she looks the same. I didn’t know they had loggerheads in Brazil though.” She kept trailing the turtle. “She seems slow,” Sofia observed.
“Turtles are all slow, no?” Júlia giggled. Her brown eyes sparkled. Her light brown skin glowed in the sun.
Sofia spun around and smiled. “Yesssss. But she seems really, really slow. They are usually all gone by morning. I hope she’s not sick.” She shook her head. “Strange,” she murmured.
Júlia shrugged her shoulders. “Preguiçoso? Maybe she is lazy?”
“We should follow her and see what she does,” Sofia said.
“Sim. Yes. But we should stay far away from her. So we don’t scare her. That is the right thing to do.” Júlia had her sights set on being an Amazon ranger when she grew up. She knew leaving animals alone was always best.
The girls followed the lazy loggerhead. They walked farther away from the white lighthouse that overlooked the beach. Palm trees lined the shore as far as their eyes could see. The palm fronds swayed in the light wind. A lone fishing boat bobbed in the surf. They could hear a seagull’s cry above the sound of the waves hitting the sand. Each wave that rolled in covered their feet with cool water. A hint of orange lingered from the morning sunrise.
“I love the sunrise,” Júlia said. “Lindo maravilhoso! So beautiful. It is the prettiest time of day.”
“Really? I’m more of a sunset girl myself,” Sofia replied. “I like all the colors in the sunset. The reds, oranges, purples, blues . . . it’s like a different painting every evening.”
“But the sunrise is a new day. A new beginning. And each new day can be a great day.” Júlia sighed dreamily.
Sofia nodded. She stared at the sea turtle ahead. “I like that thought – about new days being great.” She looked over at Júlia and smiled.
“Yes, like today. A new day. And a great one because you are here!” Júlia gave Sofia a quick hug. “Que saudade! I missed you so much! I jumped up and down when I heard our dads had a meeting near Salvador. I hoped we would have another Amazon adventure. But I am happy to see you anywhere.”
“Yeah. I hoped we’d see our bird buddy, the troubled toucan, again. NOT.” Sofia snorted and gave her friend a wry smile.
“Não se preocupe. Don’t worry. He is not troubled anymore!” Júlia smiled brightly. “And now we both get to see more of Brazil.”
Sofia agreed. They’d have a different kind of adventure in Praia do Forte. And any adventure with a beach would be a good one.
“How are things with your parents?” Júlia asked.
“It’s been hard with them apart.” Sofia looked away. Her brown eyes started to tear up. “But we’re still trying to be a family. My brothers and I split our time with them. One week with my mom. And one week with my dad.” She breathed in, stood a little taller, and tightened the pony tail in her dark brown hair.
“I’m sorry,” Júlia replied. She put her hand on Sofia’s shoulder.
“Well, there is a bright side. I’ve gotten really good at packing my bags to go places. Maybe someday I’ll be a world traveler.”
“You already are,” Júlia said.
Sofia froze and pointed at the sand next to them. “Look at this!”
Júlia stared at the strange markings in the sand. “They look like small tire tracks.”
Sofia kneeled down to inspect the tracks. “They are tracks. But not from tires. From a loggerhead turtle.”
“Do you think the lazy loggerhead made them?” Júlia scratched her head.
“Maybe.” Sofia looked up and scanned the beach. The lazy loggerhead still crawled slowly along the water’s edge. More tracks made zig-zag patterns on the beach ahead.
Júlia knelt down and brushed her hand over the tracks. “Or do you think she led us here?”
“Well, normally, I would say no. But after the troubled toucan . . .” Sofia tilted her head to one side. “Never say never.”