Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 17, 2019


Deborah Abela has a new middle grade book series. The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky is the first in this series. Look for the second book in July.

Deborah 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 Deborah!

Book’s Description

India Wimple can spell. Brilliantly. Every Friday night, she and her family watch the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee. When the Wimples suggest she enter the next Bee, India says she’s not good enough – but her family won’t hear it and encourage her to sign up.

There are plenty of obstacles to reaching the finals: something in India’s past has made her terribly shy, and moving on to each round involves finding the money to make it happen.

And finally, there’s Summer Millicent Ernestine Beauregard-Champion, a spoilt rich girl who is determined to win – and isn’t afraid to step on anyone who gets in her way.


“Both droll and heartwarming, the tale is rather more reminiscent of Little Miss Sunshine than Spellbound in its evocation of the quirky, lovingly supportive Wimples. This story about facing and overcoming one’s fears is a winner.”


Humorous and poignant, this title will inspire readers with its kind, courageous heroine and may teach some new words along the way.

Kate Nafz, Fair Lawn Public Library, NJ, School Library Journal

Book’s Journey

The Stupendously Spectacular spelling bee is about a young, shy speller, a family who adore each other and was inspired by a love of words and books.

When I was in grade 4, my teacher, Miss Gray, made everything fun, including spelling. Every Monday she’d hand out a list of words and every Friday afternoon, we’d have a spelling competition, where the boys were pitted against the girls in a running race to the blackboard to spell our hearts out. Very cleverly, Miss Gray knew that both the boys and girls would be desperate to win, but to do that, we had to learn our words. I can’t remember who won the most, but I can remember having lots of fun….and we all became really good spellers.


It was Miss Gray who first made me realise I wanted to be an author. Her love of books, reading to our class every afternoon, the spelling competitions…everything she did created a love of reading in me that has never left.

India Wimple also loves her books and is a brilliant speller. Her family adore each other, but like many families, they face lots of hardships. The youngest Wimple, Boo has terrible asthma, so bad in fact that Mum left her teaching job to look after him and hasn’t been back to work since. India is shy and nervous and constantly worries about her little brother. Dad lost his job when the local paper shut down and Nanna Flo moved in after she fell and broke her wrist during a particularly enthusiastic yoga move. Despite all these hurdles, the Wimples always have each other’s backs and are each other’s biggest fans, which is why when Dad suggests that India enters the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, neither they nor the country town they are from, will take no for an answer.


The country town the Wimples live in is based on my partner’s hometown in Australia, called Hopetoun. Both towns have been hit by drought, which has driven families away, forced businesses to close and seen depression sneak into people’s lives. But I have seen Hopetoun come together in ways that are truly moving and courageous. The community gathers around when others are doing it tough, delivering casseroles, helping during harvesting, fixing a broken fence or catching an escaped goat, and they do it without raising an eyebrow. I wanted this sense of community in this book, of people standing together and helping each other when life gets really hard. I wanted the idea that whether you’re big or small, whatever it is you fear, it can be overcome if you have people to help you.   

After I finished this book, I wondered if I could find Miss Gray. After searching online I found her….or someone who looked a lot like her. I contacted her explaining I was in her first ever class. That because of her, I became an author and dedicated my latest book to her and would she like a copy. Only ten minutes later, Miss Gray write back. Not only did she remember me but she’d been teaching my novels to her kids for years. What she didn’t know, was that she was the reason all those novels had been written. I sent her the book and she loved it.

This book is for all the shy kids who worry they’re not good enough and all the teachers, librarians and families who remind them they are.


After completing a teaching degree, Deb went to Africa, where she was caught in a sandstorm, harassed by monkeys and thrown in jail twice! She produced and wrote a national kids’ TV show before leaving to write 26 children’s books, including the Max Remy Superspy (Spyforce in the US) and Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series. Her crankiness about climate change led to the novels, Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm. Teresa A New Australian was inspired by her dad, who, with a million other refugees, sailed to Australia after surviving WW2. Her latest books are The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, The Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee and a picture book called, Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero, chosen by Dolly Parton to be part of her Imagination Library.

Deborah, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like it’s a fun read. I am sure kids will love to go on this adventure with India.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I absolutely loved reading this post! I’m sure the book will satisfy the kids inside every grownup person, as it will be a source of hope joy and bravery for the kids😊
    As an artist I was also interested in the sketching and drawing style of this book! And I definitely loved the illustrations!
    Thank you for this wonderful reading!


  2. Thank you, Kathy! It was so lovely to chat with you and get the chance to talk about the story behind the story!


  3. Thank you to Aleksie Bitskoff for his incredible illustrations. They are so adorable!


  4. Deborah, I’m thrilled to see a book out that shows that with others help and support troubles can be overcome. We need one another.
    I’d love to win a copy for our 4th grade book club to read next year. -Vicki


  5. This sounds like a winner.


  6. This sounds like a terrific book. I will be looking for this one. Thanks for telling me about it and it’s genesis.


  7. Deborah what an incredible original idea! I am guessing India won the Local Spelling Bee. I will be looking for these books. Also posted on FB.


  8. I love the backstory here! Congrats


  9. I love the shout-out to your former teacher and the fact she’s been using your books in her classroom! Wow. Congratulations!


  10. So neat that you found your old teacher, who played an instrumental role in the topic of the book. This looks like an awesome read.


  11. How wonderful for your former teacher to know she inspired your books! Shared on twitter @jkspburg


  12. I would love to win this book for my granddaughter. Pinterest, FB, And twittered!!


  13. Congrats on this book! I was in a spelling bee in elementary, brings back memories. I LOVE how you found the teacher who inspired you.


  14. Ahhh, spelling bees! I wish our schools still did them. None that I know of in my area. Such a fun challenge! Congrats!


  15. I LOVE spelling bees, Deborah, and think your idea to make it a series is stupendously spectacular! Happy Book Birthday.


  16. After I read this book a few months ago, it stayed with me. It’s a delightful tale of triumph. I’m looking forward to the second in the series


  17. I always loved spelling bees in school 🙂 This book looks WONderful!


  18. I’ll be buying this one, for sure!


  19. This sounds delightful. Followed you on twitter.


  20. Stupendous! Love the ideas and illustrations!


  21. Looks like an interesting read :0)


  22. I didn’t realise there was a new book coming out in this series – thanks for sharing. Will post on my blog!


  23. Reblogged this on Educate.Empower. and commented:
    A concise review about Deborah Abela’s new book ‘ The stupendously spectacular spelling bee’ and an interview with the author herself!


  24. Love the privilege I always feel when I get to read a new story to students. So exciting to have the opportunity to win a new book – thank you Debra.


  25. Love the idea of intrigue and skullduggery at a spelling bee. Congrats on the new book!


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