Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like to pack up a camper and drive across the country on a family road trip for the summer? Well that is exactly what my co-author Courtney Sheinmel’s father imagined for her and her sister. Driving from California to Maine with stops at all of the big attractions in between: the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Niagra Falls. Wel,l the sisters were much less enthused than their dad—Courtney is not a big fan of road trips or camping—and Courtney declared that the only way she would do the trip was in a magic camper.
Cut to a few decades later, Courtney and I were out to dinner trying to think of a project to write together and she told me this childhood story. We knew immediately—this was the one! How cool would it be to get to explore every state from California to Texas to New York and get there faster than you can say Buckle Up? Voila, Magic On The Map was hitting the road.
Co-writing this book with Courtney has also felt magical. Imagine getting stuck on a chapter or a sentence and then waking up the next morning to find that in the night a magician (aka Courtney, who is much more of a night owl than me!) had fixed the problem. Brainstorming always results in ideas I never would have come up with on my own, and also results in many evenings of shared plates of pickles and mozzarella sticks. (Bonus!) As both reading and writing can often be such solitary experiences, it’s been wonderful to feel like I’m part of this Magic On The Map team.
My previous books, The Time-Traveling Fashionista series, were about time-traveling with the help of a magical vintage dress. In those books I got to explore famous historical moments through fashion. In these Magic On The Map books, I get to explore geography through PET, a Planet Earth Transporter who travels to far off locales using the information superhighway. Both of these series are an exercise in wish fulfillment for me; I get the superpower of transporting and teleporting, without ever having to leave my laptop. And as a young reader, that was the magic of children’s books for me. If you can’t make it to Colorado in person, you can still open up a book and get to imagine you’re there, on a cattle drive, riding horseback through the mountains like our 7-year old protagonists, twins Molly and Finn Parker. (In reality, I’m a bit scared of horseback riding after a bad summer camp experience. But that’s for another time.) As a kid I loved getting lost in other worlds, traveling through reading, and hopefully these books will do the same for your young adventurer. Where would you go?
Bianca Turetsky is a contributor to the B&N Kids’ Blog. Magic on the Map #1: Let’s Mooove! is on B&N bookshelves today.