Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 5, 2022

Book Giveaway: THE PEACH PIT PARADE by Shana Keller

Shana Keller has a new picture book, THE PEACH PIT PARADE, illustrated by Margeaux Lucas and published by Sleeping Bear Kids. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did 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 Shana and Margeaux.

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. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 

When Polly’s father goes overseas to fight in World War I, her whole world changes. Though the war is in Europe, its effects are felt on American soil. There are food, fuel, and other supply shortages everywhere. Even something as simple and enjoyable as a family Sunday car ride isn’t possible anymore. Everyone must do their part to help the war effort. Victory gardens are planted and scrap metal is collected. “It’s the biggest event in our history. And it involves every single adult, every single boy, and every single girl,” says Polly’s teacher. As Polly struggles to make sense of the war, she wonders how she can contribute. When the government puts out a notice requesting peach pits to be used in gas mask filters, Polly knows how she can help.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Hi Kathy, thank you for inviting me back to share the journey of my newest picture book, THE PEACH PIT PARADE!

The idea for this story came about (as most of mine usually do), while I was researching for an entirely different project. Scrolling through Google and the Library of Congress, I happened to come across an image of three young Girl Scouts standing next to several baskets filled with peach pits. There was a small poster in the middle of one of the baskets that read: You Save Peach Seeds – They Will Save Soldiers Lives.

I thought, wow… how did peach pits save lives?

After some more digging, I found out that the fruit pits were needed to make carbon filters for gas masks used in World War I. Why? During World War I, chemical warfare was introduced by the enemy and Allied soldiers scrambled to find ways to protect not just the soldiers but the animals that went to war as well.

Peach pits were the perfect answer. They were used as an absorbent charcoal in the filters of gas masks and they were reusable, which was a bonus because supplies were scarce.

All this research was fascinating; however, the story still hadn’t quite formed in my mind. As I continued to research, I switched my focus to the Girl Scouts and found an article printed in 1919, that was titled Girl Scouts Favors no Color. Boom! That’s when the subject of peach pits morphed into a story about a young Girl Scout named Polly.

When I learned that over 350,000 African Americans served in World War I, I easily imagined young African American children going through the same sad and confusing experience—as any other child would—sending a loved one overseas to fight in a war.

I reached out to several Girl Scout museums. They shared information and their thoughts about discrimination and whether or not troops were segregated or inclusive back then. One of the volunteers at the Girl Scout Museum at Cedar Hill, Massachusetts, was incredibly helpful. She sent me a photo (which I’ve included on my website), that depicts two young black ladies and one young white lady standing together in uniform, while playing their drums.

Without concrete documentation or testimonies, it’s hard to answer the question whether or not the Girl Scouts truly were integrated (as some of these rare photos and articles might indicate), or if they simply accepted African American members but in segregated troops. This answer also varied depending on the region the troops were located.

Inspired by this new wave of research, I took out my notes and started writing. A good year later at the end of 2019, I had a solid draft and reached out to my editor, Barb McNally, who has worked with me on all my books with Sleeping Bear Press! She liked the idea that the story focused on the families left at home and how they were affected by the war. She shared it with the editorial board. It went through the rounds and several months later, I got the email! Sleeping Bear Press wanted to publish it.

Not long after that, I was excited to learn Margeaux Lucas would be the illustrator. I am a big fan of her work and love the sweetness she brought to Polly. The concepts they came up with, even including original photographs in the author’s note and end pages was perfect. The characters are fictional but the events surrounding it were real and the photos bring this point home.

Thank you again for allowing me to share this story. I hope that the people who read THE PEACH PIT PARADE not only learn a little bit about the science behind carbon filters and how peach pits were used to save lives, but that it was the children who made the biggest impact collecting the majority of these pits.

SHANA’S BIO:

Shana Keller is enthralled by history and passionate about sharing any and every amazing story she uncovers. She is the author of Bread for Words; A Frederick Douglass Story (2021 Irma S. Black Honor Award), Fly, Firefly! and Ticktock Banneker’s Clock (Best STEM Book, Children’s Book Council), all published by Sleeping Bear Press.

She lives in North Carolina with her familyand two odd cats. Speaking of two, while working on current projects and learning how to grow a garden, Shana eagerly awaits the publication of her next two picture books. One is scheduled for release in 2024 and the other, in 2025. Updates on these projects will be shared on her Instagram account and website.

Shana is represented by Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

To learn more about Shana and her upcoming books and events, visit her online at www.shanakeller.com.

MARGEAUX’ BIO:

Margeaux Lucas was born on Halloween, so she loves spooky things like black cats, full moons, and very starry nights. She began drawing constantly from age four, amazing her friends with pictures of people and animals, especially horses, which were her favorite. Her love of picture books came from the many hours she spent before bedtime reading from the collection at her grandmother’s house. As a teenager she loved fashion, but found that she was better at drawing than sewing.

She studied Graphic Design in school, but is largely self-taught as an illustrator. Margeaux loves to travel, and three of her favorite cities are Paris, London and New York, her current home. Margeaux’s work reflects her love of fashion, nature, and the many shapes, sizes and colors that people come in, plus the constant exuberance of children.

Shana, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how you found an interesting story that most people don’t know and wrote about it. Some of my favorite books are stories like this, where children are agents of change in both big and small causes. The illustrations Margeaux created are gorgeous. After finishing the book, I went back to enjoy the art on every page. Best of luck with the book. I am sure it will be a big hit with kids and adults a like.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. A perfect addition to remarkable stories I’ve never heard of before, Shana. Margeaux’s art complements it beautifully, too. Kudos to you both! (I’m a blog follower and have shared on FB)

    Like

  2. What a fascinating part of history! I love how you stumbled on this while researching something else. Beautiful illustrations too!

    Like

  3. As a former Girl Scout and mom of Girl Scouts, this part of history is incredible. Thank you for sharing how you developed your idea for this book. I’m an email subscriber and shared: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570620215297781123

    Like

  4. What a neat story to write about. Congrats!

    Like

  5. Very interesting, I did not know about peach pits being used in gas masks. The illustrations here are beautiful as well. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve shared: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772163622237/, and tweeted: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1544755089935478784
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a super day!!

    Like

  6. No need to enter my name, Kathy. I look forward to reviewing this book also.

    Like

  7. This is fascinating! I’ve never heard of the peach pits! I look forward to reading and learning more! Congratulations!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂

    Like


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