At the heart of The Brown Baggers is Appolonia Appleton, beloved middle school lunch lady, who is secretly living a double-life of loneliness and shame. She has a crush on the science teacher, her long-lost daughter has returned home, and her new assistant has found out she uses magic in the kitchen to help students navigate the hardships of life. After a hurricane rocks their small island, she finds that her magic has limitations. She enlists the help of some down-on-their-luck students to plant a school garden and together they pull off the impossible to save their community while leading the lunch lady to forgiveness and true love.
The Brown Baggers is both a timely story about the practice of sustainable living and a timeless story about hardships and heartache and the cosmic forces that can change one’s fate.
It’s a feel good story that will have readers of all ages cheering for the underdogs at the end.
Ms. Appleton has been the lunch lady for thirty years and has seen her share of middle school students going through painful struggles. This year it’s kids like ANTHONY PERONI, the overweight science geek; FALLON BREWSTER, the loner artist; CHARLES WARD III, an Army brat with an autistic brother; and DORA FLEMING, a figure skater whose Olympic dreams have been crushed.
Ms. Appleton has always been able to fix things with her special brand of “culinary magic.” But this year, in the aftermath of a hurricane, the problems are mounting. Families are finding it hard to afford food–and even school lunch. The fact is, her magic has limitations and she simply can’t fix everyone’s problems.
What’s worse, she’s in love for the first time and her new kitchen assistant, FLOYD, has found out her secrets. Her troubles mount when she encounters someone from her past and she decides it’s finally time to follow her heart and to leave everything else up to fate.
To her surprise, Anthony, Fallon, Charles and Dora form an unlikely bond and Floyd proves himself to be a fitting replacement in the kitchen with some special tricks up his own sleeve. Together, Floyd and the students step in to save the community from crisis.
While transforming their school garden under the direction of a mysterious science teacher, the students uncover Ms. Appleton’s misfortunes and lead her to her long lost love. They also demonstrate that families can be lifted out of poverty and that whole communities can be strengthened by using the resources right in one’s own backyard.
Complete at 100,000 words, THE BROWN BAGGERS is middle grade contemporary fiction with a twist. The story employs a touch of magical realism to connect unlikely events and bring hard luck characters together with heartwarming results.
For fans of Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Mighty Ducks, Three Times Lucky, A Wrinkle in Time, When You Reach Me, The Language of Flowers!