Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 25, 2021

Book Giveaway: AVEN GREEN SLEUTHING MACHINE by Dusti Bowling

Dusti Bowling has written a new chapter book picture book, AVEN GREEN SLEUTHING MACHINE, illustrated by Gina Perry and published by Sterling Children’s Books. It is available in bookstores April 13th and available for pre-order on Amazon now. Sterling has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Dusti and Gina.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Third-grader Aven Green has been solving mysteries for a whole month—cracking such cases as The Mystery of the Cranky Mom. But can this perceptive detective solve two cases at the same time? First her teacher’s lunch bag disappears. Then Aven’s great-grandma’s dog goes missing. Fortunately, since Aven was born without arms, all the “arm” cells went to her super-powered brain instead. (That’s her theory.) This hilarious chapter book showcases a new side to Dusti Bowling’s unforgettable protagonist.

Dusti and Letisha


The character of Aven Green first came to life for me in my middle grade books, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (2017) and Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus (2019). But the idea to write a story featuring a character with a limb difference was planted in my mind over a decade ago when I received a phone call about my cousin, Kyle, who was serving in Iraq. His vehicle had been hit by an RPG. He was severely injured. He was in a coma and had lost his eye. He was going to lose his arm.

Over the next couple of weeks, I thought a lot about what life would be like for Kyle with only one arm. I tried to read as much as I could about life with limb differences, and I discovered there were very few children’s books featuring characters with limb differences. Actually, at the time, I couldn’t find any. This bothered me because I’ve always felt that all children should be represented in books.

But Kyle passed away two weeks after he was injured, and I didn’t think about the lack of children’s literature featuring characters with limb differences again until several years later when I saw a video online of a woman taking care of her baby and working out at the gym. She didn’t have arms and did everything with her feet. It was incredibly eye-opening to me. This woman showed me that not having arms didn’t hold her back from doing what she wanted in life. She showed me how determined, adaptive, and resilient people can be, and I thought about her a lot until the character of Aven started to form in my mind.

Dusti with Barbie Thomas

Being armless is such a unique disability, I couldn’t find much to read on the experience. There are certainly books about limb differences, but I really wanted to gain as much information as I could about living specifically as an armless person. I read about as many armless people online as I could find, and I relied heavily on YouTube videos, particularly videos created by a woman who goes by Tisha Unarmed. Tisha demonstrates in her videos how she does everything without arms, from going through a drive-thru to putting on her bra to carving a pumpkin. Her videos were incredibly informative to me. The more I watched Tisha’s videos, the more I realized just how capable Aven would be.

After writing my story, I reached out to Tisha and asked her if she would be willing to read my manuscript for authenticity. I was so relieved she loved the story. Then a little while later I found out, through some pretty wild coincidence, that the woman in the original video I saw was Barbie Thomas, a bodybuilder who lives right in my own city. I reached out to her and she also agreed to read my story. I’m thrilled to say that she loved it as well. I think the only way I could have possibly ensured the authenticity of this story was through these important sensitivity readings. Having Tisha’s and Barbie’s support gave me the confidence to share Aven’s middle grade story with the world.

And now I’m incredibly excited to introduce younger readers to Aven in this new chapter book series. Each book will feature Aven tackling a new skill or hobby, from sleuthing (book 1) to baking (book 2) to playing an instrument (book 3) and playing soccer (book 4). I had always thought about what Aven may have been like as a younger child—smart, silly, incredibly capable, confident, and maybe a little bit bossy and stubborn at times. The more I thought about her at a younger age, the more ideas started occurring to me until I couldn’t hold back any longer and had to send my ideas to my publisher. I’m so happy they supported this new series and I’m thrilled to have the very talented Gina Perry for my illustrator. She’s done such an incredible job bringing Aven and her friends and family to life.

Jessica Cox on left – Dusti in middle – Letisha Wexstton on right.

I’m so grateful for this character who has enriched my world in so many ways, including bringing some amazing new people into my life and opening my eyes to several important issues. I hope everyone enjoys reading about eight-year-old Aven’s adventures just as much as I enjoy creating them!


DUSTI BOWLING is the award-winning, bestselling author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus, 24 Hours in Nowhere, The Canyon’s Edge, and the forthcoming Across the Desert and Aven Green chapter book series.

Dusti’s books have won the Reading the West Award, the Sakura Medal, a Golden Kite Honor, the Silver Nautilus Award, and have been nominated for a Cybil and over twenty-five state awards. Her books are Junior Library Guild Selections and have been named best books of the year by the Chicago Public Library, Kirkus, Bank Street College of Education, A Mighty Girl, Shelf Awareness, and many more.

Dusti currently lives in New River, Arizona with her husband, three daughters, a dozen tarantulas, a gopher snake named Burrito, a king snake name Death Noodle, and a cockatiel named Gandalf the Grey.

Follow her on Twitter at @Dusti_Bowling.


Gina grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts and was the first in my family to graduate college. My BFA from Syracuse University got me started in animation. I moved on to become an art director for a stationery manufacturer. I discovered my true passion, writing and illustrating books for children and have been working in that field since 2005.

Gina lives and works on the small but lovely seacoast of New Hampshire with my family. Her debut picture book as author and illustrator, SMALL (little bee, 2017) was on the Bank Street Best Book list in 2018.

TOO MUCH! NOT ENOUGH! (Tundra, 2018) was selected for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Represented for books by Sean McCarthy

She loves to illustrate for all types of media (magazines, games, puzzles, corporate). Contact: ginacarey @ comcast . net

Dusti, thank you for sharing this important book. We all are aware of the importance of opening children’s minds and to providing books that represent diverse children. I went to high school with a girl whose arms stopped at her elbows, due a birth defect and she was very popular and was able to do almost everything. I am glad you are showing a positive role model for other children with disabilities.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This looks like so much fun! Love Gina’s illustrations.


  2. Oh yay! I love the older Aven books, so I’m sure this will be just as much fun. Congratulations, Dusti! Best wishes!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂


  3. What a journey and what a remarkable book. Tweeted, FB and Pinterested.


  4. What a remarkable story! I am excited to read this book. Congrats, Dusti and Gina!


  5. Thanks for the wonderfully inspirational stories and the fun book. I’d love to have a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link:, and shared an image with a link on Pinterest:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again and best wishes.


  6. I have been waiting for this book and would love a copy! I shared on FB, twitter, and am reblogging.


  7. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    Comment for a chance to win this amazing book!


  8. Dusti,
    Thank you for writing this chapter book series and for taking the time to find sensitivity readers to get it right. I’m ordering your books for my daughter who builds prosthetics and orthotics for children. I’m sure she’ll be glad to share with the kids she works with.


  9. This looks like a really important book. Thanks for telling me about it. I receive you posts by email each day.


  10. Thanks for the opportunity. I follow and receive your newsletter daily. I also shared on Facebook and Twitter, and emailed to several book loving friends.


  11. This sounds like a great book!


  12. Congrats, Dusti and Gina! Looking forward to reading this. (I’m signed up for the emails.)


  13. Congratulations! This is a book that needed to be written.


  14. I’m a huge fan of Dusti and Gina! The representation in the book will open minds and hearts for readers. I’m an email subscriber and also shared on pinterest, tumblr, twitter, and facebook:


  15. How wonderful that you took your cousin’s horrific injury in Iraq and made it reachable and relatable. Way to go! Looking forward to reading!


  16. What a great idea for a book! Such an underdeveloped topic and so good for other children to be aware of.
    BTW, I’ve been getting — and thoroughly enjoy — your blog for years.


    • Betty, Thanks for letting me know you have been visiting my blog for years and enjoying it. Kathy


      • Kathy your latest blogs are stimulating. I love the look of Ocean Soup and the ideas the author has but I am also thrilled at Dusti’s story of a person who is having to adjust and live life so well. To write about a girl like that is so important. Thank you. Jane


  17. Dusti, I love your middle grade books and look forward to reading your chapter book series. I am so happy to follow this blog and learn about great books!


  18. Wow! This book looks fabulous. I can’t wait to read it–the whole series. Kathy, I receive your blog each day by email, and will repost on FB. Thanks so much!


  19. What a wonderful choice to write about a child whose brain is phenomenal and her ability with her feet good. We have “War Amps in Canada” who help give children prostheses; they’d love to hear about Aven Green’s detective work, I’m sure. I will share your books on Twitter@butteryjaneand on Facebook. I’ll copy a picture now. Jane who also writes for children.


  20. Can’t wait to meet Aven!!!


  21. Kudos for writing this story. So needed!


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