Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 16, 2021

Two Book Giveaway: SUMMER IN THE CITY by Fracaswell Hyman

Fracaswell Hyman has written a new middle grade book, SUMMER IN THE CITY, published by Sterling Childrens Books. It is the sequel to MANGO DELIGHT. Sterling has also agreed to send the lucky winner of SUMMER IN THE CITY a copy of MANGO DELIGHT, too. 

All you have to do 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, 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 Fracaswell.

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!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Get ready, world—Mango’s about to become a STAR! In this sequel to Mango Delight, the delightful heroine’s adventures—and misadventures—continue as she prepares to make her off-Broadway debut.

Where Mango goes, drama is sure to follow! It’s summer break, and Mango is content to spend her time babysitting her brother, hanging with her friend Izzy, and binge-watching movies late into the night. Then she runs into her drama teacher, who has some big news: their middle school play Yo, Romeo! is headed to the stage in New York City . . . and he wants Mango for the lead role! After overcoming her mom’s initial reluctance—and with some firm rules established—Mango goes off to Brooklyn to stay with her Aunt Zendaya in a teeny apartment and prepare for her theatrical debut. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but soon Mango must confront homesickness, insecurity, and the all-important question of what it means to be a good friend—especially when you’re far away from the people you love.

BOOK JOURNEY:

SUMMER IN THE CITY is the second of three books to be released in the MANGO DELIGHT series. The journey to write these books actually began when my family moved to Wilmington, NC in 2013. My daughter was enrolled in an elementary school which actually had a Media Center (what was once referred to as a Library.) In Los Angeles, where we were from, her school had a “library aid” who’s main job was to check books in and out and restock the shelves. The PTA had to raise money to pay for this position or it would be eliminated and access to the room with all the books locked and left to collect dust.

I was quite pleased to find that her new school, Eaton Elementary, not only had a “library” but a full time Librarian, Mrs. Parker. Librarians do a lot more than shelving books. Mrs. Parker taught classes in library sciences to children from kindergarten to fifth grade, helping the to use the facility better, become more excited about books and become better readers. (Big props to librarians 👏🏾🙌🏾👍🏾) Looking for ways to volunteer at the school, I was only too happy to join the parents who spent a few hours each week doing the job of the library aid in Los Angeles. Checking out and shelving books was a great way to meet teachers, a few parents and especially my daughter’s peers.

As my daughter developed her reading skills, I found we both enjoyed books about Junie B. Jones, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Baby Sitters Club, the Harry Potter series, etc. But as I restocked the shelves weekly, I began to notice that there were very few books that had characters that looked like my daughter on the cover.There were a few books historical fiction stories about African-American girls who escaped slavery or some other painful situation from the past, but where were the fun books about modern girls like my daughter? Where were the books about African-American girls just being themselves, having friends, getting into trouble and learning life lessons? Most important, where were these types of books that were actually written by authors of color?

The lack of these titles specifically written for middle grade readers planted a seed in my psyche. Then the magic happened. One morning, in the fertile moments between sleep and waking, a name came to me. Mango Delight. The name appealed to me because it was odd like my own name. I know what it’s like to grow up with an unusual name that kids can make fun of. As I lie in bed stretching, I asked myself, “What could a girl named Mango Delight want?” The first answer to pop into my head was something my daughter was pining for at the time, ‘a cell phone’. Mango and her best friend would both want cell phones. Her best friend would get one, which would lead to a crisis in their relationship and ultimately to Mango losing her best friend and finding her destiny – the theatre.

As a Cub Scout of about eight years of age in New York, my troop went on a field trip to see PURLIE, a smash hit Broadway musical. It was my first experience in the theatre and I was struck by the thunderbolt of love. To see all of those people, African-Americans, who looked like me and could dance and sing and make audiences of all ethnicities laugh and applaud, what could be more magical than that? I knew immediately that I wanted to be on the stage, but it took me until high school to gather the courage to audition for a show. I decided to speed up Mango’s trajectory, by having a dirty trick played on her in middle school, which forced her to audition and reveal to others and herself her extraordinary singing ability.

Being cast in the lead role of the school musical was the beginning of Mango Delight’s journey. To paraphrase Oprah Winfrey, “The biggest adventure you can ever have is living the life of your dreams.” Mango meets a group of “theaternerd” friends and through a series of socio-emotional obstacles that we all face no matter what we set out to do when something is new to us; fear of failure, shyness, inexperience, making a friends and learning who to trust and how to be trustworthy, Mango ultimately rises to the occasion and succeeds.

It was also important to me to model a healthy, working class home life for Mango. Not a “perfect” home life, but a healthy one, where parents are not always right. Where there are tensions and personality differences that can lead to conflict, conversations and understanding. I wanted to show parents who could admit when they were wrong, apologize and sit down to discuss what led to their mistake and how they are learning to be better. Mango’s parents don’t always agree with her or each other and they are not always right, but they are ‘woke’ enough to acknowledge mistakes, compromise and seek understanding and forgiveness.

After completing the first draft of Mango Delight on spec, I asked the school librarian, Mrs. Parker, to give it a read. She did and gave me enthusiastic encouragement. So, I sent it to a television producer friend, Liz Nealon, whom I had worked with for many years, to get her thoughts. Again, she was very encouraging and introduced me to Kevin O’Connor a young literary agent, whom I had met decades prior when he was a Production Assistant on Ghostwriter, the television show where I earned my first writing credits.

Kevin signed me as a client, shopped the book around and soon received interest from Brett Duquette, a lead editor at Sterling Books at the time. Brett really like the book and gave me notes that made the story even stronger. When he asked where I’d like to see the character go from here, I said I imagined following Mango as she became a professional actress/singer. For years I had worked in theatre as a performer and spent most of my career in children’s television as a writer, producer, director and series creator. I had lots of experience with juvenile performers in both mediums and wanted to pull the curtain back on the lives of kids who perform professionally. What are the sacrifices, triumphs and hard work the actors kids watch on Disney, Nickelodeon go through?

 

With the success of MANGO DELIGHT, I was offered a three book deal. In the second book, SUMMER IN THE CITY, (A Mango Delight Story) Mango travels to New York to appear in an off-off-off Broadway production of the show she starred in at school. Being in a the big apple, working with professional actors, meeting some of her favorite stars whose personalities don’t always match the images she adored, dealing with the rigors of what is expected of a professional performer, the highs, lows and heartbreak of show business is quite the adventure for our Mango.

In the third book in the series, MANGO ALL THE TIME, our hero goes to Hollywood where…well we’ll see what new adventures await when the book is published during the first quarter of 2022.

Transitioning from actor, to television writer to author has been quite a journey. I’ve enjoyed every stage and have been delighted to actually circle back to my first love, acting in the theatre, for the last few years. I hope the lessons Mango learns by going after her dreams and finding her way through the complications of friendships and blossoming romance will translate as meaningful to kids following many different paths to their own dreams–not just show business. I hope that African-American kids will feel validated by seeing a character like themselves and children of all ethnicities will see and celebrate the universalities in our experiences and appreciate our differences.

Creating and writing Mango Delight has been one of the joys of my life. Feedback from my young fans makes it all worthwhile. When they reach out to me, I make it a point to reach back. Perhaps someday, one or more of them will be inspired to become an author, too.FRACASWELL’S BIO:

FRACASWELL “Cas” HYMAN, author of MANGO DELIGHT, was born in Wilson, NC. His family moved north to Brooklyn, New York when he was still in diapers. He grew up being teased for being a “daydreamer,” because of how often he would be found sitting in his room or on the stoop of the tenement building where he lived, staring off into space. Between daydreaming, reading, going to movies, watching television, and using the money he earned working in a supermarket on weekends to buy tickets to Broadway shows, Cas exercised the muscle called imagination. He earned a BFA in theatre From CCNY, worked for many years as a professional actor in regional theatre, before being hired as a writer’s assistant for a new PBS series, GHOSTWRITER. By season three, Cas was the head writer on the show. He moved on to become head writer of GULLAH GULLAH ISLAND for Nickelodeon.

 

After relocating to Los Angeles, Cas created THE FAMOUS JETT JACKSON for Disney Channel, adapted and was the head writer for LITTLE BILL on Nick Jr, Executive Produced TAINA for Nickelodeon and co-created ROMEO for Teen Nick. Taking a time out to start a family, Cas studied screenwriting at UCLA Extension where he won first prize in their screenplay competition for FOCUS which resides in his “orphanage file” of projects yet to be produced or completed. While in the midst of writing his debut literary fiction novel, A MAZE OF STUNTED TREES, and relocating to Wilmington, NC, he woke up one morning and lie in bed staring off into space as a name popped into his head, Mango Delight… A girl with this odd name began to take shape in his imagination and wouldn’t go away. She had a story to tell and so Cas sat down to write it. MANGO DELIGHT is the first in a series of stories about this young girl learning about friendship and family, while honing her talents and following her dreams. So, to all of you out there who have ever been teased for daydreaming, I applaud you and say, “Dream on!”

Website: http://www.fracaswellhyman.com

twitter: @fracaswellhyman

Instagram: @fracaswellrhodenhyman

Fracaswell, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I have not read either book, but I have them on my “To Read” list. I love the idea of spending time with young girl who goes from school play to Off-Broadway and then in the final book going to Hollywood. I am sure with your background, all three will be fun, rich reads. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. We definitely need more books about every day joy and ordinary lives of BIPOC characters. Hooray for Mango Delight books filling that space!

    Like

  2. Love Cas’s full circle route, from NC to NC. Must feel like coming home. I wonder if Mango will end up “coming home,” too.

    Like

  3. Great looking books with excellent illustrations. I’m looking forward to both of them. Thanks!
    I’ve tweeted: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1393981704684011520, and shared an image with a link: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772159296845/.
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Like

  4. These both look like a lot of fun. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  5. I do follow your blog by email.

    Like

  6. Terrific cover art! I’m excited to see book 2 is out. I love Mango’s voice and the way she pursues her dream.
    (Shared – https://twitter.com/ManjuBeth/status/1394017074167652352)

    Like

  7. What a fantastic story! I look forward to reading it! Congratulations!

    Like

  8. These books look absolutely delightful! I look forward to reading them!

    Like

  9. I can’t wait to read these books. I’m an email subscriber and shared on social:

    Like

  10. Wonderful! I love the name Mango and I can’t wait to meet her through your books. Congratulations!

    I follow by email and will tweet this, Kathy. 🙂

    Like


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