The Brown Baggers
In a nutshell:
The story is Matilda meets The Mighty Ducks with characters that readers of all ages will cheer for. At the heart is Appolonia Appleton, a character like Mrs. Doubtfire, full of can-do spirit and resourcefulness; but secretly living a double-life of loneliness and shame.
Ms. Appleton has been the lunch lady for thirty years and has seen her share of middle school misfits with hard luck stories. This year, it’s students like Anthony, the overweight science geek; Fallon, the loner artist; Charles, an Army brat with an autistic brother; and, Dora, a figure skater whose Olympic hopes have been crushed.
Ms. Appleton has always been able to fix things with her special brand of culinary magic and brown bag surprises. This year, however, the problems in the small island community are mounting in the aftermath of a hurricane. Businesses are shuttered and families are finding it hard to afford food–and school lunch. Ms. Appleton has never seen such a group of hardluck students and finds that there are limitations to her magic. 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. Bewildering everyone, Ms. Appleton decides to follow her heart and to leave everything else up to fate. To her surprise, Anthony, Fallon, Dora and Charles 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 each other and the the community from crisis.
With the seed of a grand idea, the students help transform their school garden under the direction of a mysterious science teacher. In the process, the students uncover Ms. Appleton’s misfortunes and unwittingly lead her to her true 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. It 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.