Monday, July 20, 2015

Sue Margolis spreads the joy...plus a book giveaway

When I first started CLC in 2010, I wrote a tribute to Sue Margolis because she had no online presence and wasn't available for interviews at the time. However, I loved her books so much that I wanted her to get the publicity she deserved! I got my wish to connect with Sue when she finally created an online presence about a year later. Since then, we e-mail or Facebook message each other from time to time, especially when Orange is the New Black is on! We also talk about Judaism, children, and other fun topics. I'm hoping we'll finally get to meet in person when she's next in the US to visit her family. In the meantime, I'm honored and thrilled to feature her at CLC on my birthday! Such a nice treat, and not only for me.

Sue worked as a reporter for the BBC, before leaving broadcasting to write her first novel. She lives in London with her journalist husband Jonathan. They have three grown-up children (and now grandchildren, as well). Sue’s hobbies include napping, constantly interfering in her children’s lives, not going out, eating - especially the remains of the previous night’s take-out curry straight from the fridge, and watching made-for-TV true-life movies in her PJs.

Her latest novel, Losing Me, about a woman whose life is changed by a troubled little boy, sounds like it will be a heartwarming story, making it a perfect fit for "Chick Lit Soup for the Soul" month. She's here today to share her own heartwarming story, which is about a story itself. Penguin Random House has one copy of Losing Me for a lucky US reader, but Sue is also generously sharing THREE more copies for readers in the US! (She'll also send signed bookplates to all the winners.)

Visit Sue at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sue's Chicken Soup (with matzo balls) for the Soul

Back in the early 90s, there was a book that my four year-old daughter insisted I read to her over again. It was called Ned and the Joybaloo. It’s out of print now, but I still have our battered hardcover copy. I keep it on the bottom shelf of my bookcase, along with a handful of other favourite children’s books that I’m unable to part with.

The other day a small child came to visit. She pulled all the children’s books onto the floor and spent a quiet hour enjoying them. After she’d gone, I began tidying the books away. But I couldn’t put Ned and the Joybaloo back in the bookcase without taking a few minutes to read it. I’ve kept it, not just because it was Ellie’s favourite and the illustrations are magical, but because like so many children’s books it carries a profound message for grownups.

Ned is a little boy who wakes up every morning with a frown on his face. But on Fridays he wakes up with a smile as bright as an upside down rainbow. This is because: ‘Friday was the day of the night he met the Joybaloo.’ The Joybaloo is a giant spotty puppy-come-blimp “with a funny leathery nose and its breath full of paper roses.” He lives in the airing cupboard.


On Fridays, Ned and the Joybaloo bounce higher and higher until ‘the ceiling opened and let in the stars’.

They make each other laugh so hard that their laughter takes them up an up ‘on past everyday night and every night dreams to the playgrounds of the Joybaloo.’ They slide in ‘slow dark mud’ and swim in ‘warm fast streams’. They lose themselves for hours in the ‘long wayward grass.’

Having squeezed the ‘last drop of mischief out of the night’ they agree to meet every Friday night, forever.

The problem for Ned is that he loves the Joybaloo and the fun they have together so much, that the wait between one Friday and the next seems interminable. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He can’t eat, he doesn’t practice his recorder and he draws on every wall. He even puts tacks in peoples’ shoes.

Finally he gets angry with the Joybaloo. “I don’t believe you’re a real Joybaloo … If you were and you cared about me you’d come out and play every night.”

The Joybaloo says he can’t play every night because he’d get used up. But Ned doesn’t listen. He forces the Joybaloo to play every night. Slowly the Joybaloo ‘gets smaller, its colours fewer and fewer, its breath emptier and emptier.’

Then one night, Ned opens the airing cupboard door and the Joybaloo is gone.

After that Ned has no choice but to make his own joy. He struggles, but in the end he discovers it’s not so hard.

The Joybaloo has taught Ned something that so many of us adults fail to learn - that we can’t rely on other people – husbands, wives, partners, children, friends - to make us happy. That is something we must do for ourselves. If we don’t, if we are too needy of other people, we risk destroying our most important relationships.

Ned and the Joybaloo by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura. Used copies and some new ones are available at Amazon.com

Thanks to Sue for visiting us and for sharing her book (along with Penguin Random House) with our readers.

~Introduction by Melissa Amster

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


US only. Giveaway ends July 26th at midnight EST.

24 comments:

Janine said...

One book that warms my heart (and ties into your theme this month) is Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. It's filled with wonderful stories of special cats. I just might need to read it again. It's been a while since I picked it up.

Linda Kish said...

Me Before You is that book for me. I loved that book.

traveler said...

A novel that warmed my heart and soothed my soul and was memorable and unforgettable was A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Laurice McClung said...

I loved Where The River Ends by Charles Martin.

Anonymous said...

For children's books: 'The Giving Tree' although that is more for me and I sob every time, and "Ferdinand the Bull" which my boys had to hear every night!
Adult: 'Saving CeeCee Honeycut', agree with 'Me Before You" and so many more!

Kathleen Bylsma h5apby@yahoo.com

Bonnie K. said...

One book that always makes an appearance in my memory is R. F. Delderfield's To Serve Them All My Days. I think that was the year I became a bookworm--I think I was about 13 or 14 when I read the book.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Vera Wilson said,

Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer.

I have found the Amish books, a pleasure to read.

snoopysnop1 at yahoo dot com

rubynreba said...

Where Treetops Glisten was a great book.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Snowpuff said...

The Bible.

Anne Rightler said...

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivets has a wonderful message about who Christ is. The Pilgrim by Davis Bunn. BunnM writes of hope and healing and the mending of lives.

bn100 said...

pride and prejudice

Terri. said...

Really any Jane Austen...but I've read Pride and Prejudice about 20 times in my life!!

Jen said...

The book which touches my heart and I always think of when asked this questions is Love You, Mean It. It's written by Patricia Carrington, Julia Collins, Claudia Gerbasi, and Ann Haynes. This group of women all lost their husband/other half when the towers fell on 9/11. This book has it's own spot on my bookshelf and whenever I'm having a hard time, I find myself glancing at this book and realize I don't have half the strength or courage as these women and to get over myself.

Jennifer C said...

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes really touched me. It was a very moving story!

Bonnie Franks said...

I don't know why, I guess because kids, The Fault In Our Stars is a book that will make me sob out loud and smile at the same time no matter how many times I read it. It got to me in a big way.

Holly said...

You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh

Hailey Fish said...

The Giving Tree :)

Melissa Seng said...

"The Violets of March," by Sarah Jio. It's one story I will not soon forget.

Susan Roberts said...

A book that means a lot to me and one that I re read every few years is Gone with the Wind. It's the first adult book that I read as a kid and it made a strong impression on me.

cpr040304 said...

Wonder warmed my heart and Defending Jacob brought back memories.

rhonda said...

Little women from the first time I read it,

Cheryl Oli said...

I Love all books, well almost all books But Gone with the Wind is my go to book.

Susan said...

Any book by Rosamunde Pilcher. I don't know why I find them incredibly soothing, but I do. (and although it didn't immediately come to mind, I saw someone else posted Me Before You and I agree wholeheartedly).

Rhonda Gothier said...

Little Women my favorite book!