Last spring, Pansy chickened out on going to spring break camp, even though she’d promised her best friend, Anna, she’d go. It was just like when they went to get their hair cut for Locks of Love; only one of them walked out with a new hairstyle, and it wasn’t Pansy. But Pansy never got the chance to make it up to Anna. While at camp, Anna contracted meningitis and a dangerously high fever, and she hasn’t been the same since. Now all Pansy wants is her best friend back—not the silent girl in the wheelchair who has to go to a special school and who can’t do all the things Pansy used to chicken out of doing. So when Pansy discovers that Anna is getting a surgery that might cure her, Pansy realizes this is her chance—she’ll become the friend she always should have been. She’ll become the best friend Anna’s ever had—even if it means taking risks, trying new things (like those scary roller skates), and running herself ragged in the process.
Pansy’s chasing extraordinary, hoping she reaches it in time for her friend’s triumphant return. But what lies at the end of Pansy’s journey might not be exactly what she had expected—or wanted.
Extraordinary is a heartfelt, occasionally funny, coming-of-age middle grade novel by debut author Miriam Spitzer Franklin. It’s sure to appeal to fans of Cynthia Lord’s Rules and will inspire young friends to cherish the times they spend together. Every day should be lived like it’s extraordinary.
Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Franklin debuts with a gentle story about two 10-year-old best friends divided by illness. Brave and adventurous Anna was always trying to persuade Pansy to take up ice-skating and donate her hair to Locks for Love. Then they had a falling-out when Pansy backed out of joining Anna at a sleep-away camp; while she was there, Anna contracted meningitis and suffered severe brain damage. With Anna scheduled for surgery that she believes will "cure" her, Pansy attempts to use the months before the surgery to turn herself into the "extraordinary" best friend she knows Anna deserves. Pansy chops off her hair, takes up rollerblading, reads voraciously to win a reading contest, and joins the Girl Scouts; these accomplishments bring her personal satisfaction and give her the strength to stand up to a school bully, but her single-mindedness also hurts her. Most readers will understand long before Pansy does that she is setting herself up for disappointment, but they will also recognize that Pansy's dedication to her friend is plenty extraordinary in itself. Ages 8 12.
A moving story for young readers
A heartfelt story about an lovable, ordinary 10 year-old girl’s quest to become extraordinary so she can impress a seriously ill friend. Pansy isn’t casting spells or fighting dragons, but she goes on a hero’s journey of the spirit nonetheless. A must-read for any child who feels overshadowed by the academic accomplishments of their peers, and needs a reminder that stength of character matters more than grades or awards.