Please welcome my guest author, Erin Yun! She’s back with book two in the bestselling Pippa Park middle grade series about identity, family, friendships, and peer pressure: Pippa Park Crush at First Sight.
Pippa Park picks up right where she left off . . . trying to balance basketball, school, friends, working at the struggling family laundromat, and fitting in. Eliot, her math tutor—and the cutest boy at school—is finally paying attention to her. And Marvel—her childhood friend—is making her required volunteering much more interesting. But things with the Royals, her new friends, and teammates who rule the school, still feel a bit rocky. Especially because Caroline, a head Royal, would like nothing more than to see Pippa fail.
So when Pippa is faced with hosting the annual Christmas Eve party that could make or break her social life, how can she say no? Will Pippa make enough money to cover the costs while juggling crushes and everything else? With courage and determination, Pippa sets out to host the party, find the perfect dress, pick the right boy, and stay true to her real self.
Perfect for the holidays, Pippa Park: Crush at First Sight, features chapter headings that serve as a countdown to Christmas—“25 Days Until Christmas,” “(Still) 25 Days Until Christmas,” “Only 10 Days Until Christmas Eve (And Trying Hard Not to Think About It),” capturing the excitement and anticipation of the season—and follows Pippa and her friends as they plan parties, buy gifts (or stress about not having bought gifts yet!), and get in the holiday spirit. Though the book centers around Christmas, Pippa also attends a Hanukkah party and learns about the traditions celebrated by her Jewish friends. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
We are giving away this amazing Scavenger Hunt Box! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom. And now, without further ado … Erin Yun!
Sharing Christmas Cultural Traditions with Your Characters
By Erin Yun
What’s mine, and what’s hers? Pippa and I have many similarities—we’re both optimistic, we tend to babble, and we played basketball in middle school—but at the same time, we have many differences. For example: Pippa is a much better athlete than me; I enjoy cooking; and while Pippa’s whole family is Korean, I’m half Korean and half white. When I write from Pippa’s perspective, I think about our differences and similarities and try to strike a balance between allowing Pippa to exist as her own unique person and drawing from personal experiences to help make scenes believable. That said, below are five Christmas traditions—can you guess which tradition is mine, and which is Pippa’s?
1.I always attend mass on Christmas Eve . . . this is Pippa’s tradition (even if Mina is the one forcing her to go).
Pippa’s family always go to mass on special occasions—such as Christmas—at a Korean Baptist Church. As a kid, I split my Sundays between going with my dad to Catholic mass and going with my mom to a local Korean church. I remember preferring the Korean churches, mostly for food-related reasons: the Catholic church offered glazed donuts after mass, but the Korean church had fresh miyeok guk, bulgogi, and sour kimchi—plus, if you snuck into the supply closet, you could find a huge barrel of giant, individually wrapped Lemonheads.
2. I put on a Christmas pageant at home . . . this is my tradition.
Growing up, my siblings and I would select an array of songs, dress up in homemade costumes, and perform to a riveted audience of two. We would forget lines and skip lyrics, and the Baby Jesus was played by our rat terrier, Belle, who did not appreciate being wrapped up in a blanket and carried around like a baby . . . but even so, there was something magical about those home performances. In Pippa Park Crush at First Sight, Pippa meets her new crush, Marvel, while volunteering in a Christmas pageant at church—not at home—but there’s still a fair amount of fun and chaos in her pageant, as well!
3. Christmas dinner always includes canned apple sauce . . . this is Pippa’s tradition. Sometimes the mains include steaming-hot bulgogi and freshly made japchae, but no matter what, Pippa’s Christmas dinner always includes mashed potatoes and canned apple sauce because Jung-Hwa loves A Christmas Carol. In my own house, our Christmas dinners vary year to year and center around the question: what sounds the most delicious, right now?
4. I make a gingerbread house each December . . . this is my tradition.
As a kid, I liked to put together gingerbread houses from the kits, but in recent years, I’ve started baking the gingerbread from scratch. The houses aren’t as structurally sound, but I’m getting there! While Pippa hasn’t made a gingerbread house, she would have no problem helping you eat it . . .
5. I set up a manger scene with my family each year . . . this is both of our traditions.
In Pippa Park Crush at First Sight, Pippa reveals that her favorite Christmas decorations are the figurines of the family that Jung-Hwa painted for the manger scene, including a mini-Pippa, an innkeeper Mina, and a drummer boy Jung-Hwa. My family also puts up a manger scene but uses figurines that we bought at the store.
Pippa Park Scavenger Hunt Box GIVEAWAY!
Enter for a chance to win an Exclusive Pippa Park Scavenger Hunt Box! Uncover the hidden meaning behind the clues in the box which include: A Tarot Card, Holiday Snow Globe, Kimchi-jjigae Family Recipe from the Author with a jar of Gochugaru, Mini Basketball Stress Ball, Golden Scrunchie, Signed Editions of Pippa Park Raises Her Game in paperback and Pippa Park Crush at First Sight in hardcover and a Pippa Park Bookmark. US only.
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.
Erin Yun grew up in Frisco, Texas, and used to play basketball as a middle grader. She received her BA in English from New York University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Creative Writing at Cambridge. She developed the Pippa Park Author Program, an interactive writing workshop, which she has conducted in person and virtually at schools, libraries, and bookstores. To learn more, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter @ErinMYun.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.