Letter to Readers from Ingrid Law
Your invitation to join the family…
“There were unusual families like ours from California to Maine…” observes Ledger Kale in my new book Scumble. A companion to the 2009 Newbery Honor book Savvy, Scumble explores some of the many challenges that come along with growing up in one of these unusual families—families in which out of the ordinary, tall-tale talents manifest at the age of thirteen. Growing up is hard to do, no matter who you are. But when you have to worry about what might explode, catch fire, or flood when you blow out the candles on your cake, life gets a bit more complicated.
When I first began writing about the kids from this fantastical savvy-family tree, I wanted to create stories about magical children without ever using the word ‘magic.’ After all, you don’t have to be magic or have superpowers to feel as though you are so upset you could make storm clouds appear, or feel like you can hear everyone else’s voices in your head louder than your own… or even to feel as though just getting up in the morning makes your life fall apart. That’s Ledger Kale’s problem in Scumble. The day Ledge turns thirteen, his savvy—his unique, larger-than-life talent—starts making everything fall apart, literally.
Watches and windshield wipers everywhere, look out! I could blow stuff apart without a touch, dismantling small things in bursts of parts and pieces: a light switch here, a doorknob there, garage door opener, can opener, Dad’s stop watch, his electric nose-hair trimmer too.
As the things he breaks become larger and larger, Ledge has to learn how to ‘scumble’ his savvy—how to control his new abilities so that he can get his life back to normal.
I love writing stories that mix heart and humor, and combine fantasy-action and real-world problems and worries. Scumble is a story that lets us see that, while sometimes things do fall apart, it doesn’t always mean that everything is broken. We all come from unique and sometimes unusual families. And we all have our own talents, if we take the time to look, to practice, and to scumble.
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