Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Recommendation: WHEELZ by Steven C. Fotheringham

When I tell people I write books, a lot of them tell me that they have a book idea or that they'd like to do that someday. No one ever tells me that they're writing one--except for Steve Fotheringham. And when Steve told me that his book was about his crazy-on-a-wheelchair son, I knew I had to read it.

As the father of WCMX (or wheelchair motocross, for the uninitiated), Aaron Fotheringham has done some amazing things. He's successfully landed multiple backflips in competition, served as a wheelchair stuntman in movies and TV shows, and toured the world with Nitro Circus and a host of charitable organizations. But it's his attitude that's truly remarkable. When a well-meaning preacher once assured him that he'd be able to walk after he was resurrected, Aaron's immediate response was, "What makes you think I'll want to?" Other kids had to leave their bikes outside as soon as they got to school, but he got to ride his bike everywhere he went.

Few people have lived a life as interesting as Aaron's, but what makes WHEELZ even more special is that his amazing story is told by his dad. Steve's also uniquely qualified to give us the inside scoop on all of the colorful characters who contributed to Aaron's success. I especially loved learning about Joe Wichert, the visionary recreation leader who brought skate parks to Las Vegas, and John and Mike Box, the wheelchair designers who made Aaron's first custom wheelchair and continue to outfit him with new ones.

WHEELZ affords its readers a behind-the-scenes look at Aaron's life and the rise of this bone-crushing sport. It's a one-of-a-kind book about a one-of-a-kind kid who never thought much of the fact that his legs didn't really work, and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

And the Winner Is...

Ella Zegarra!

Congratulations, Ella! Please e-mail me at kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com to let me know where I can send your copy of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING. And thanks, everyone, for celebrating DON'T VOTE FOR ME's release day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Book Birthday, DON'T VOTE FOR ME!

The summer started with a bang with THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING's release, and now it's ending with another bang as DON'T VOTE FOR ME comes out. This book is a lot more lighthearted (though THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING does have its lighter moments, too), but it occurred to me not long ago that, deep down, they're both about finding friends in unexpected places. I guess I feel strongly about that:)


"It's class president election time, and no one is surprised when Veronica Pritchard-Pratt is the only name on the list. She's the most popular girl in school, a social giant who rules the campaign every single year. David, for one, is sick of the tyranny--which he says. Out loud. When Veronica hears about this, she issues a public challenge to David. With his pride on the line, David accepts his fate and enters the race.

"But as the campaign wages on, and David and Veronica are also paired up for a spring musical recital, David learns this Goliath is more than just a social giant--and maybe deserves to win more than he does..."

For a reader's-eye view of DON'T VOTE FOR ME, check out the reviews over at Rebecca J. Allen (includes a hardcover giveaway!), Sahar's Reviews, and the Deseret News. (I used to deliver papers for the Deseret News, so it's like my life has come full circle.) And here are a few one-liners from around the industry:

"A comic romp that's also an enlightening quest for increased awareness and self-understanding"

"Van Dolzer keeps the tone light between David's wry observations, amusing friends, 
and the goofy predicaments he falls into"
--Publishers Weekly

"Readers looking for realistic middle-grade fiction will find David a likable guide
in a balanced lesson about ceding the spotlight"
--School Library Journal

You can order DON'T VOTE FOR ME from all the usual suspects:

And since I promised you a giveaway when THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING came out but still haven't followed through, I'll sweeten the deal. Leave a comment below, and you'll be entered to win a hardcover of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING--and if you mention that you've already ordered DON'T VOTE FOR ME, I'll give you an extra entry! THIS CONTEST IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and closes in two weeks, on Monday, August 17, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (or 8:59 p.m. PDT). I'll announce the winner the next day!