Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 13, 2018

Book Giveaway: BEAUTY AND BERNICE by Nancy Viau

Author Nancy Viau has a  book titled BEAUTY AND BERNICE coming out on September 28th. She has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Nancy!


Twelve-year-old Bernice Baransky likes the grunge look she’s come by honestly as the only girl at Porchtown Skate Park who can pop an ollie, ride the rails, and grind the slabs. She’d love to impress Wyatt Anderson, a skater who calls her Dude, but Bernice can’t seem to do more than mumble when he’s around. Should she accept help from a new neighbor, the proper and princessy Odelia, who is desperate to befriend her? Odelia keeps a fancy notebook called Odelia’s Guide to the Social Graces and spouts off hilarious lessons on poise, posture, manners, and what to do about embarrassing “oopsies” like unexpected burps and spilled soda. This exciting story takes readers on a thrill ride from the skate park’s half-pipe to Smile Academy, a summer camp for Down syndrome children. A novel full of adventure and heart, it asks the question: can two very different people ever be friends?


BEAUTY AND BERNICE did not have a “journey.” Instead, it had an epic, tear-filled trek to publication.

I first got the idea for a story about a skater around 2008/2009. My tween daughter was fascinated by the X Games on TV, and I got sucked in. I couldn’t believe how fearless these young people were! In pursuit of a plot, I visited skate parks in my tri-state region. I found that they were few and far between, and were populated by more boys than girls. As I thought about what to write, I knew I had to find a way to feature the skateboarding culture in a positive light and promote girls in extreme sports. In addition, I needed a storyline that was empowering, funny, and maybe even a little outrageous. Here’s what I came up with:

My protagonist, twelve-year-old Bernice, wishes to be known as someone other than just another skater—one who hangs out perfecting tricks on the obstacles at Porchtown Skate Park. Enter Princess Odelia, who moves in across the street and who is everything this skater is not—girly, polished, obsessed with manners and appearances, and completely annoying. Odelia, who wears gowns and tiaras, is out to be Bernice’s friend (can’t reveal why!), and she follows Bernice around offering tips from her pink and gold notebook: ODELIA’S GUIDE TO THE SOCIAL GRACES. Since Bernice believes that embracing these tips may help her get the attention of Wyatt, the cutie skater boy who calls her Dude, she accepts help from Odelia. As the two spend time together, their lives mesh, and both are in for a big surprise. (I love surprises, don’t you?)


Sooo, I wrote 48,000 words, and proceeded to have many ups and downs with agents. (I also got a sidetracked with my first love, picture books, but that’s a different story.) Then, to my surprise, in 2011, BEAUTY AND BERNICE received attention from a major house. A lovely editor took the time to pen a three-page editorial letter, complete with terrific ideas on developing the characters and making the twisty plot clearer. After months of revision, the editor took it to acquisitions where it did a “faceplant” smack into the rejection pile (insert tears). Now, unagented, I subbed it to more houses with zero luck, and at last, tossed the manuscript into the forget-about-it file.

Early in 2015, Schiffer Publishing bought JUST ONE THING!, another middle grade of mine. I enjoyed working with them, so I decided to see if they might like BEAUTY AND BERNICE. They loved it!

Ten years from idea to publication! What a trek, right? And now, it’s over… Welp, not quite. A fire at the printers caused a delay, and my release date shifted from September to October. But my book will be out in the world soon and eventually, readers will read it. When they do, maybe they’ll be fierce like Bernice, yet open to new ideas. Maybe they’ll think about friending the quirky kid, the one like Odelia who doesn’t fit the mold. In that respect, there is a significant part of the story that shows the abilities, determination, and sweet nature of Down syndrome children. To quote Bernice, these friends are “made of awesome.”

I’m glad you’ll get to read about Bernice’s journey because hers is way more uplifting than the book’s. I think she’s pretty awesome.


A fearless skateboarder

A quirky princess

Two very different girls…

And the summer that was almost a fairy tale


NANCY VIAU is the author of five picture books: Pruett and Soo (TBA), First Snow (which Kirkus calls “A sweet suburban/rural contrast to The Snowy Day.”), City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song. Her middle-grade novels include Beauty and BerniceJust One Thing! (2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Gold Award Winner), Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head (to be reissued in the Spring of 2019), and Something is Bugging Samantha Hansen (Fall, 2019).  As a member of the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature, Nancy volunteers with other council members to produce the Rutgers One-on-One Plus Conference every year. She works as an assistant librarian, and when not reading or writing, she hikes, bikes, and travels wherever her frequent flyer miles take her. Website:

Nancy is having a book signing:

Saturday, September 15 at 1 PM – 4 PM
Towne Book Center and Cafe:
220 Plaza Dr, Ste B-3 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426.

Here is the link to there website.

Thank you Nancy for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like another fun book from you. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a great idea for a book. The ten year journey gives me inspiration to keep pushing toward my goal of publishing.


  2. This looks like a fabulously funny book that can teach kids without preaching to them. Can’t wait to read it.(Of course I still read kids books – who doesn’t??) I will share it with the grandkids too.


  3. I wonder what the surprise is.


  4. Congratulations, Nancy! I’m looking forward to reading your latest book. Can’t wait for it to arrive. (Kathy, since I ordered a copy, no need to put my name in the hat.)


  5. Never give up, never give up, never give up . . . :)) Congratulations!


  6. Congrats! I’m looking forward to reading this, Nancy. Funny, tender friendship stories are my favorites!


  7. Nancy, this sounds wonderful. And yay for you finding the right publishing home for Bernice! 🙂 An inspirational lesson for all of us!


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