Twelve-year-old Cricket Kane has never met her mom. So when she receives one of her deceased mother’s old journals, detailing encounters with things like fairies and boogie men, Cricket clings to the hope that following the steps in the journal will lead to something real. Even if it means trading a tooth to the tooth fairy.
When a tooth fairy swaps her baby brother instead of her tooth, Cricket plunges into the enchanting world of Aeryland to get him back. There she learns more about the colored dust she’s seen her whole life—a dust invisible to most, a dust her mom could see too. Thanks to the tooth fairies and the Santa who rules this land, a new color creeps in, cursing everything it touches. With the help of a mischievous wingless cat and a wannabe Santa’s Helper, Cricket must learn to use her unique perception the way her mom described in the journal before the dust takes over Aeryland and she loses her brother and family back home forever.
THE SLUG QUEEN is a middle grade fantasy complete at 74,000 words. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed Jacqueline West’s The Books of Elsewhere and Django Wexler’s The Forbidden Library.
I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Being a Caribbean-American writer with an autism spectrum disorder has fueled my need to showcase #ownvoices left-of-center female characters who exemplify how individual differences can contribute to one’s success.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
THE SLUG QUEEN/Thomas
Every year, Dad handed me two presents on my birthday. One from him—always something practical like new books or an identical pair of my favorite jeans. The other also from Dad, but with ‘Mom’ written in the from section. Those presents were different. They were always pieces of me I didn’t know had been missing until I ripped open the paper. So on my twelfth birthday, I couldn’t wait to see what part of Mom he’d share next.
I traced the grooves on the silver locket around my neck. I’d received this—with a photo of Mom inside—on my eighth birthday, and a jewelry box on my ninth. My first journal on my tenth, and a membership to the Museum of Natural History on my eleventh. Dad’s memory of Mom seemed to know me better than he did. Because of this tradition, it was like I had memories of her too, even though she died on the day I was born. Dad had somehow turned that painful reminder into something to look forward to.
I glanced in his direction. He and my stepmother, Janice, stood in front of the sink. Janice hummed while they finished drying the dishes. Dad usually joined in, throwing in the occasional shimmy because he knew it made me laugh, but this time, he stood there stiff and hunched over. Faint green scent trails from Janice’s body lotion clung to his clothes where she’d recently rubbed his shoulders.
Dad had told me back when I was nine that the colored dust was my way of coping with my sensory sensitivities since it usually showed up (one color for each of my senses) for things that overwhelmed me. Shades of green for extreme smells, blue for things that hurt my eyes, yellow for foods that made me gag, orange for light or unexpected touch, and red for loud, repetitive, soothing or sudden noises.
Penny, my best friend, leaned closer. “I bought you a present with my allowance, but I dropped it in a muddy puddle on the way here.” She pointed to a soggy pile near her shoes by the back door. “It’s a pocket planner with a cute frog on the cover, but it’s probably ruined. Sorry.”
“That’s okay. Maybe we can explain what happened and get it exchanged.” I turned to Dad. “Right?”
Dad stood near the counter, his hand frozen in midair like he’d been caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to. He nodded slowly, lowered his arm, and walked to the other side of the kitchen.
Janice joined us at the table, taking the empty seat next to Penny. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”
“Thanks, Janice,” I mumbled, still watching Dad.
He pulled a wrinkled gift off the shelf over the microwave and placed it in front of me.
To Cricket, From Dad… and Janice.