Thursday, January 12, 2012

Give Away & Author Book Signing-McKenna-American Girl Doll Visits Chicago Comets Competition Team (photos)

McKenna visits The Chicago Comets Competitive Team Gymnasts
Park Districts offer affordable, excellent gymnastics classes for toddlers to teens.

"This is THE best book I've ever read by myself!" Sage happily exclaimed, and I believed her.   From the day she got 2012's American Girl Doll of the year, McKenna, and her story, Sage couldn't put the book down.   She read in bed, in the car on the way to gymnastics, and begged for me to retrieve the book when she left it in the back seat.   I've never seen her that excited to read before.

I'm a writer and we're a reading family with thousands of books in our home, and book shelves in every room.   I've read to the kids at bed time their whole lives.   Much to my chagrin, I still somehow managed to give birth to a kid who hates reading.   This is a kid who struggled along and got a D in reading in first grade, had huge flurking snits on the floor when I tried to help her, and ultimately spent 2 years in a fantastic cross age mentoring program at school, being tutored by an awesome 8th grader, Ashley.  

Now that Sage is in 3rd grade, reading's finally clicked, and she's getting an A and in the highest reading group.   But she still dislikes it and I've always had to bribe her to get a book in her hands...until now.   Mary Casanova's fabulous McKenna book really resonated with Sage and was a huge hit.

My older child read early and well--scoring the reading level and vocabulary of a 16 year old when he was in first grade.   Like me, my son always has his nose in a book and loves to read for fun.   This was not the case with my daughter.   Despite all the nurture, kids have a way of coming into the world with their own natures.   And like McKenna, Sage struggles to keep up with school and lives for gymnastics.   That's the genius of this character and this book series.   Girls who love reading will devour it and those who aren't crazy about reading, but live for gymnastics will relate and read, too!

I asked Sage what she liked so much about this book:
Sage:   I like how it's from McKenna's point of view.   She's a lot like me.

ChiIL Mama:   How so?

Sage:   Well, when her mom said school had to come first and she might have to quit gymnastics, she said she lives for gymnastics.  I like that she has troubles and isn't a perfect kid.   And I wanted to find out what happens to her and her friends.   It's a good story.   


ChiIL Mama:   So you could relate to her?

Sage:   The author does a good job of thinking like a kid my age.   Then there's a bunch of similarities, like we are both level 4 gymnasts and both going to start 4th grade after summer this year.   And I broke my leg in gymnastics on a landing and was in a cast with crutches.   She really likes beam.  And we both have big dogs.


ChiIL Mama:   I'll bet a lot of girls your age have at least something in common with McKenna. 

Sage:   Then there are these weirder coincidences, like she has a Grandma Peg and mine is Grandma Peggy, and one of her twin sisters is Mara, my last name.   And I have twin cousins Michal and Kenna!

ChiIL Mama:   Did you have a favorite part?

Sage:   Yes.   But I'm not going to tell you what.   You have to read it for yourself.   (Shortly after this her 10 year old brother snagged the book and read it cover to cover.   He couldn't put it down either!)


ChiIL Mama:   OK, I will read it myself.   Fair enough.   Would you like to meet the author and have her sign your book?
Sage:  Absolutely.

ChiIL Mama:   Is there anything you want to ask her?

Sage:   Yes, where did McKenna get her M charm?   The book tells about where she got the star, but not the M.

ChiIL Mama:   You may have a chance to ask her yourself.    She'll be signing books in Chicago from 1:00PM-3:00pm this Saturday at The American Girl Store in Water Tower Place!

Meet the Author: Mary Casanova
    •    January 14: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Meet Mary Casanova, the award-winning author of our 2012 Girl of the Year books! This informal session is your opportunity to meet Ms. Casanova in person and have your favorite books signed.

General Information
    •    Free and open to the public.
    •    For girls ages 8 and up.

We'll have a photo filled feature, all about Mary Casanova, after Saturday.   Be sure to check out her McKenna book and McKenna, Ready to Fly!

Click this link to check out American Girl Place Chicago's main site for more fabulous McKenna related special events, store details and more.

Give Away:
ChiIL Mama's excited to be able to offer American Girl Books to 2 winners (open nation wide).   

Our first place winner will win a McKenna book ($6.95) AND a Take the Challenge Book($9.95).

Our second place winner will win a McKenna book.   Enter from now through February 12th.  

*Wait for Rafflecopter to load up right here (if you've gone through RSS feed or are scrolling down the blog and don't see it, click on the actual page title and it should pop right up).   Entries are easy.   Winning and reading rocks!    Treat your favorite American girl to American Girl books.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Our family loves to rock out to fishbone!

  2. My family likes to rock to pop.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. We love to rock out to country music!

  5. We like to rock out to Pop music.
    blondie_31971 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  6. My daughter loves Hard Rock...we compromise with Classic Rock!