Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Mayhem in Madrid" by Dina C. Tate

Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures:
Mayhem in Madrid
by Dina C. Tate

Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina C. Tate is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Imagine if all the little girls of the world looked alike.
If the Same Glam Goddess gets her way, it can surely happen.
McKenzie Rivers, the pint-sized daredevil, and Lizzie Sanders, who loves all things frilly, aren’t afraid of being different. And that’s exactly why Princess Lovina of Exquisite City calls upon them to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. With the aid of their magical lovely lockets and fierce diva weaponry, Lizzie and McKenzie will travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Their first stop is the magical city of Madrid.
Lizzie and McKenzie will need help to obtain the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess gets her hands on them. If the crystals are not found, little girls all over the world will remain under the spell of the Same Glam Goddess and will lose their identities forever! Will Lizzie and McKenzie be able to find the crystals, break the spell, and stop the Same Glam Goddess?

“‘Spain, China, South Africa, Brazil…’” McKenzie Rivers recites the instructions for Ms. Curtis’s third-grade world cultures project. “‘Select any country from the seven continents and express what you have learned. You can draw pictures, write a poem, or create a poster with interesting facts. All the projects will be on display in class. Parents are invited to attend. Help PS 56 celebrate Global Awareness Day.’”
A curious McKenzie asks, “Ms. Curtis, why is Global Awareness Day so important?”
“Learning about where other people come from and respecting their differences is important. While you live in New York, your parents and grandparents may come from different parts of the United States, or maybe even from another country. Each of you may celebrate diverse traditions and beliefs, and that’s what makes you all special,” Ms. Curtis explains.
Angela Wiggins stands up and says, “My momma said to never buy a man shoes or he will walk away from you.”
“Well, Angela,” Ms. Curtis takes a deep breath and closes her lips tightly together with a slight smile. “That’s more of what they call an old wives’ tale. We can discuss that during one of our Fun Fridays.”
Lizzie Sanders, McKenzie’s best friend, immediately shoots her hand in the air and asks, “Can we wear a costume or something from that country for the project?”
“Yes, Lizzie, that’s fine,” Ms. Curtis answers. “The project can be as unique or as different as you want it to be. Global Awareness Day is a great opportunity to learn about cultures other than your own. Each grade level will be contributing something different, so you’ll get to see how hard everyone has worked to make this event possible.”
A bell cries out, to the students’ relief. Papers fly like happy birds, books slam, and excited little voices fill the air, signaling the end of the day. As McKenzie jams her books into her backpack she turns to Lizzie and says, “Text your mom and ask if you can come to my house. We can start on the project together.”
“Okay!” Lizzie agrees. As she texts her mother, someone who is small in size but can appear as big and as mean as a monster approaches Lizzie.
It’s Angela again, followed by her two friends, Lissette and Tammy. “You always have to do something different. A costume?” She huffs. “I hope it comes with a mask to cover your face and that mole on your eyebrow.” Angela laughs.
“Quit it, Angela, or I’m telling!” McKenzie jumps in front of Lizzie to protect her friend. “Don’t be jealous because you’re gonna do the same cardboard cutout project that you always do.” McKenzie locks arms with Lizzie. “Excuse us,” McKenzie says politely as they walk past Angela and her shadows. They head out of the classroom to go home.
Lizzie and McKenzie walk down the sun-drenched concrete streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York, past brownstones strong in stature and historic in nature, each with their own unique story.
“Italy, France—do you really think we need to know about those countries?” McKenzie asks.
“Well, if I become famous and travel the world, I will thank Ms. Curtis in my acceptance speech for teaching me about all these fabulous places.”
[Or click below to take a look inside the book.]

Praise for the Book
"Very adventurous. Keeps your imagination going." ~ Amazon Customer
"A very imaginative, entertaining story featuring two protagonists kids can easily relate to. The book has gorgeous artwork that accompanies the text and really makes the scene come alive. On the one hand, you get the feeling you’re reading a book, on the other hand it’s almost like watching a cartoon TV series about Lizzie, McKenzie, and the new friend they meet in Madrid, Lucia. With their fancy gadgets, it’s like watching an episode of Totally Spies or Sailor Moon, and the artwork only makes the book more engaging than it already is. I would recommend this book to all kids from age lower grade and up. I look forward to the next book in the series." ~ Majanka
"A great story about teamwork and learning from your mistakes. Lizzie and McKenzie head to Madrid on a quest, which exposes young readers to a world beyond just what's outside their door. And it's nice to see little girls of color as heroes that embracing themselves for who they are. Can't wait to see where they head next." ~ Emery S. Hunter
"Part story, part sermon, part travelogue with a quick Spanish lesson thrown in, this is a book with a laudable intention ..." ~ Gordon A. Long
"I thought that the characters were likable and believable. The plot would be exciting and magical to the designated age group, and there was plenty of learning to be had. This is a book that celebrates cultural differences, both in the way that people look and the way that the live their day to day lives and celebrate holidays." ~ Hannah

Guest Post by the Author
Why Being Different is A Good Thing
Being considered different can take on many connotations today. One could classify themselves as being different simply based upon the style of clothing they wear, hairstyle or taste in music. It can even go a bit deeper where people will only associate with those who share the same values and interests as their own. Thinking about it more constructively at the end of the day we are all different from one another but it’s what makes a "special".
We begin branding ourselves at a young age. We begin to forge our identities of what we like and don’t like very early on. Because I grew up in a family with many boys, I was a tomboy. I relished and celebrated it. I didn’t mind climbing fences, watching wrestling or karate movies. I felt that made me different. I’m sure it made some of the girls I played with from time to time uncomfortable but I was blessed to have friends that accepted me for who I was. Of course, there were girls that tried to pick on me about it, but I held my own. I noticed that those girls were always in large groups and really didn’t have a sense of identity, they were happy to fit in.
As I got older I always wanted to learn new things. I grew out of the tomboy phase of course but channeled that energy in unique forms of physical activity and I still love my wrestling. I made a point to surround myself with a unique set of friends who are all different from myself and special. When I wrote Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures, my intent was to celebrate friendship and most importantly let readers know that it’s okay to be different from one another. In the story, The Same Glam Goddess wants to make all the little girls of the world look the same. Just imagine for one day if that actually happened? What a dull and frightening world that would be.
It’s not surprising to see children and teens still trying to fit in because of the pressure of society. It even happens in the workplace! The key is really finding friends that accept you, and the ones that don’t, it’s okay to let them go. It’s okay to have your own unique interests. For many years I didn’t know of other African-American girls that were into Japanese animation like myself, but that’s not the case anymore. It does appear easier to follow along and fitting in seems painless. But imagine not having a sense of yourself, imagine if someone asked you what are your interests and you couldn’t really answer. You never know whether your interests can turn into a lifelong career that you love or a wonderful hobby that you enjoy. Being different and celebrating who you are is such a great thing it what makes your personal brand and makes you stand out from the crowd.

About the Author
Dina Tate is the President and Founder of Global Girls Squad LLC, a publishing and technology company. Her first book, which combines her love of travel and Japanese animation, is titled Lizzie and McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid.