Marvelous Middle Grade Monday/ Taconi and Claude (Double Trouble) and Free Give Aways

HI Readers! Boy have I got a surprise for you! (Yes, you already noticed it isn’t my regular blogging day of Tuesday) I’m joining MMGM today and not only that I have two give aways.  But first the POST.

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and “Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays” was born.

Taconi and Claude book coverTitle: Taconi and Claude (Double Trouble) by Margot Finke

From the back jacket:

Taconi, a young aboriginal boy living on Coorparoo Cattle Station, in outback Australia fears the unknown. His upcoming Man Ceremony, Dreamtime Spirits, and his Dad’s change of job are just three of the unknowns he must tackle. Claude, his chatty cockatoo, offers wise one-liners. Yet Taconi must discover courage and insight for himself.

Why I love it:

Taconi is eager to have his Dad succeed in being cook on the ranch even if it means he won’t have time to teach him how to throw a spear and get him ready for the Man Ceremony which he needs to be accepted by his people.

Claude, even though a bird, is a real character in more than just the usual sense. Lol. He is also a character in the peculiar and eccentric sense making this book rich and funny at the same time. I found myself hoping Taconi would succeed in helping his Dad while Claude’s antics make for more conflict.

Partway through the first chapter I wished there was a glossary. I looked— and lo and behold there was one. Just the thing I needed. I had garnered meanings from what some the words were but it helped give more thorough meanings adding to the enjoyment of the book.

Taconi’s voice is definitely aboriginal. His English grammar is not native and his thoughts are littered with concerns only aborigines have. That is what makes this such a special book. Boys in particular will identify with the wild thoughts he has and the cultural things he does. Without spoiling the story for example, he takes off all his clothes one time so he can hunt better. Tween boys will love this book because Taconi is  trying hard to please others in both worlds without compromising his beliefs.

The Give Aways

For all those who want a chance to win the accompanying book, Taconi and Claude in 2011, make sure you follow my blog and leave a comment on this post by no later than 11pm, Friday, March 23,2011. All who comment will get a copy of Taconi and Claude’s Big 21st Century Adventure, if you email me and leave your email address to send it to and one lucky winner will get the original Taconi and Claude (Double Trouble) who I will pick with Google random.doc.

Yep two books for one lucky winner and one book for each and every one of you who leave a comment and let me know you want one. My email address is Clarikebowmanjahn at yahoo dot com for all who want Taconi and Claude’s Big 21st Century Adventure,  And I’ll pick the winner of Taconi and Claude and announce it the following Tuesday.

Taconi and Claude's 21st century adventure

My wish book is “Abe in Arms” about a young man who relives his life as a boy soldier, and comes to grips with his past. It sounds sad but heroic, too. Especially since the plight from boy soldiers was brought to the forefront in the Koni video and in the news I think this subject is important for our teens to get a knowledge of and this middle grade adventure is one way they will be hearing about it.

Which book do you want to read? And why?

Others who can usually be counted on to contribute to MMGM.

 Happy Monday!

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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28 Responses to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday/ Taconi and Claude (Double Trouble) and Free Give Aways

  1. Tons of fun! Thanks, Clar 🙂

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  2. Joanna says:

    Oh, I would love this book, Clar. It sounds like it has genuinely captured the aboriginal voice. I love stories about rites de passages, too!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, it may not be exactly true to the aboriginal accent though. That part may be fictionalized but we could ask Margot about it.

      The conflict Taconi had of pleasing both worlds was real. and explained beautifully.

      Like

      • Margot Finke says:

        Clar and Joanna, true aboriginal dialect, or pigen English, would not read well in a book for kids. This was one of the hardest things I had to do with this story – find a balance between showing Taconi as an intelligent but uneducated boy, in a way that would still make sense, yet be readily understood and read by young teens.

        BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
        http://www.margotfinke.com

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  3. Loved your selection of this book, Clar. On of my favorite movies is “Austrailia” where you get a glimpse of the life of an aboriginal child in the outback and his rite of passage in his “walk around.” This sounds like an intriguing book I would enjoy owning. You may want to consider the Paper Tiger Reading the World Challenge. This year’s focus is multicultural books and is a great entry.

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  4. Interesting. I wonder what the author’s connection is to Aboriginal culture.

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    • Margot Finke says:

      I am not of aboriginal heritage. However, I did research, and I spent the first half of my life around them in Queensland, Australia, on the eastern side of the Great Australian Divide mountains. The outback is to the west of this mountain range. Aboriginals, like the American Indians, were very badly treated by the whites when they arrived, and for decades afterwards. As usual, their dark skin, non-western beliefs and culture, made then expendable to the white settlers. Sound familiar?

      Thousands of aboriginal children were literally stolen and placed with white families. The Government there has recently apologized for this, and the tribes are now far more pro-actives about protecting and maintaining their rights.

      BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
      http://www.margotfinke.com

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      • Thanks for replying Margot. I lived in Australia for 12 years as a young adult and learned a fair bit about Aboriginal culture too, although I didn’t know that many Aborigines. (I lived in Sydney). I ask because I ran into difficulties with a book that had Aboriginal content, since I’m white. You can read about here:
        http://angelhorn.com/2011/09/21/manufacturing-marginalization-gaystraight-blackwhite-and-other-awkward-dichotomies-in-middle-grade-and-young-adult-literature/

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        • Margot Finke says:

          Gsprendergast, how long ago did all this blow up for you? Was this published and happen in Australia? Tribes there, like their American Indian counterparts, do take a dim view of whites writing about secret ceremonies – unless you get them to vet your MS before publication.

          From reading the article, I think you got a raw deal, and some bad advice from those who said publishers would not accept black characters written by white authors – especially as your character was on the right side of the law. Now if you had him rolling drunk ( as they often are in towns), or a meth addict, I could have understood the kufuffle a little better.

          I have a disclaimer at the back of the book that states all the characters and plot elements are fictional. Only the setting is authentic. My book is young teen and published in the USA this year. I will keep my fingers crossed, mate. And I am sorry you had to “bleach” your characters. No writer should be forced to change something like this to get a book published. THAT is a real shame!!

          BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
          http://www.margotfinke.com

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          • Yes, it happened in Australia. The book has yet to be published, although it got to several acquisitions meetings in it’s “bleached” form. And it got me an agent.

            This was in 2008 I think, but publishers are still reeling from from the Wanda Kootamandrie affair I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanda_Koolmatrie

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            • clarbojahn says:

              Wanda Kootamandrie is a fraud for sure. It would make a lot more sense to meet with the author than to change your editorial standards I would think.

              So glad you got your agent gspredergast and who knows when your book will sell? Are there plans to unbleach it?

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          • Margot Finke says:

            I read the article link you sent. WOW! That was a bit sneaky of her. If she had made it fiction, BASED on real events, she could have got away with it in her white skin. Hard to do book signings as a black lady when you are really white. No fun being an author at all under these circumstances. Pretty dumb I guess.

            My thought is for you to rework it as you originally had it, and try again. Make sure the disclaimer is up front. White lady, writing fictional story, about all sorts of people of color – good, bad, and indifferent. Give it a try in the US. Sounds like a really super story to me. Lorks, mate, you could self publish it these days – any blinking way you wanted!! That would show them!!

            BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
            http://www.margotfinke.com

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  5. Margot Finke says:

    CLAR, a note for you:
    “Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays” – this link on the e-mail I received does not work for me???
    “Shannon Whitney Messenger” site as on your post does not have MMGM listed today???
    You never know with Blogs – do you???

    PLUS a HUGE thanks for the great review you posted!!!

    BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Shannon Whitney Messenger did link to my and others blogs although she herself didn’t have a book to feature *she meant*. Shannon did talk about MMGM on her blog further down on her post.

      Thanks for the great discussion you had with gsprendergast. I’ll go read all those links now myself. 🙂

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  6. Great post! It sounds very interesting! I’d like to learn more about Aboriginal people. I have learned some about them but I like how this book tells the story of one boy. Maybe this book will help me learn more! I will email you 🙂

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Erik. 🙂
      Yes, email me and you may win a copy. Never the less you will win a copy of “Taconi and Claude in 2011” which is a fun book, too. You will like it. 🙂

      Like

    • Margot Finke says:

      The Australian aboriginals hold tight to their secret ceremonies. Women especially are never IN the know about them. I tried to avoid impinging on secrets that were not mine to share.
      I showed the push-pull between life on Coorparoo Cattle Station, the lure of the Dreamtime stories, and tribal life in the red hills. Will he become a jackaroo for the Boss, or a revered storyteller for the tribe? Will the Dreamtime Spirits be able to guide him? Does the blue kingfisher feather have the answer for all his problems?

      I hope reading my book will answer some of your questions.

      BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
      http://www.margotfinke.com

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  7. SuseADoodle says:

    Margot’s story of Taconi in 2011 is great! Made me want to know more about Ruthie and Horatio, too. 🙂
    I’ve yet to get a copy of Taconi & Claude – Double Trouble. It sounds like a very fun and interesting read (eh, I’m an adult who loves books for kids **huge grin**)

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Welcome Suse,
      You’ll be in the drawing as will every one who comments. Never can tell. lol
      Just be sure to email me with your address so I can mail it to you if you win. 🙂

      Like

    • Margot Finke says:

      Suse, so pleased you enjoyed my short Time Travel PDF story. Feel free to send copies to any kid you feel will enjoy it. And that goes for everyone else you gets a copy for commenting here.

      Thanks so much for your comment, mate. Much appreciated.

      BOOKS for KIDS – Manuscript Critiques
      http://www.margotfinke.com

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  8. Judy says:

    It sounds like a wonderful book and such an endearing child. With a bird as a side-kick I know this book will be a winner! Your review whetted my appetite too!
    As a former Kdg teacher I still love to read and collect books for children! Thanks for a great post!

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