PF tag

Birthday girl Heidi Mordhorst is this week’s host! Help her celebrate at My Juicy Little Universe.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I spent the past week doing a local book tour with three other debut authors. We had a blast.

The other middle grade novelist in the group was Janet Sumner Johnson, author of THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.



janet 3

Getting ready for a Skype visit with Forcey Christian School. It was team spirit day! I talked Janet into putting on my Ravens jersey.

Janet is from Oregon, and she stayed with me and my family. Boy, did we hit it off! Not only do our book titles sound similar, Janet’s book and mine have some overlapping themes. This made the school Skype visits we did together very interesting.

The novel is about best friends Annie and Jason. Although Annie’s act first-think later personality makes this book laugh out loud funny, there are serious issues just under the surface. Jason learns that his family might lose their home to foreclosure. He is coping with his own stress and confusion, but also with a father who is handling the situation poorly. Annie is determine to save Jason’s house, so he won’t have to move away from her (and their ritual burial of smooshed PB&J sandwiches).

This book is perfect for MG readers. It’s funny, silly, and has a treasure map, but it also deals gently with the problems that real children face. While I was book-talking with Janet last week, I loved what she had to say about her book: Children are often left out of serious adult conversations — especially about money. But they are aware of and can feel the stress their parents are going through. In Jason’s character, Janet creates a boy who is sad, confused, but still hopeful, and still devoted to his zany, joyously immature best friend, Annie.

THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY launches on April 1. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason’s home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It’s worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She’s one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

janet 2

Janet’s first sighting of her book in the wild.

THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY is appropriate for third grade and through younger middle schoolers.

Who will like it?

  • Kids who like humor based in reality.
  • Fans of friendship stories.
  •  Children who, like Annie, are not in a rush to grow up.

What will readers learn about?

  • How a family’s financial problem can affect children.
  • How to cope with change, especially a close friend moving away.
  • Sometimes “think before you act” is good advice.

The poem I’m pairing with THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY is an ode. To what? What else! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The poem comes from a great website where teens can share their creative writing, Teen Ink.

Ode to a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
by a Teen Ink Contributor from Pennsylvania

Oh, my double breaded friend,
We meet again.
I crafted you last night, right around 7,
put you in a plastic bag,
and set you in the refrigerator,
where you spent the night
conversing with the cream cheese,
ignoring the mustard.
This morning I placed you
In my lunchbox along with
The Jell-O cup, the spoon, and two napkins,
Where you will spend majority of your day.
Into my locker
I slam the door shut.
Every time you hear my combination slide and click
You anticipate my taking you,
But not yet.
You wait patiently;
Listening to laughter and gossip in the halls
The stories you could tell.

Read the rest of the poem at Teen Ink.

My good friend (and food poetry aficionado) Jama Kim Rattigan has done not one, but two, posts on the joys of PB&J. You will find more delectable PB&J poetry at this post and this post.

18 responses to “Laura’s Bookshelf: THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY”

  1. Here is Erin’s PB&J tree poem. We loved our visit with the two of you. Thanks!

    On the Ground
    Let’s bury it
    To the backyard
    Clear Sky
    Few days
    Let’s Run
    I tripped
    Over A Tree
    That Grows
    And Nutella?!?!
    Pick One Off

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks for sharing the poem, Margaret. I’d love to see more PB&J tree poems. I’ll have to put a post up about the challenge.

  2. Tabatha says:

    Awesome cover! I can see why your books made good companions for Skype visits. Enjoyed the Teen Ink poem, too.

  3. jama says:

    Great pairing. Janet’s book sounds hilarious — love the idea of selling an appendix, and I do like friendship stories. 🙂 Enjoyed the ode to PBJ too — good to know about that teen site. 🙂 You two are perfectly matched partners in crime.

  4. Julieanne says:

    I’m so excited about this book. I know my kiddos will love it!

  5. Linda Baie says:

    I had a student write about his peanut butter & pickle relish sandwich, which he adored & all the rest of us could barely look at it. Love the Ode, and hearing all about Janet’s book. You & your buddies are making my reading list grow & grow, Laura.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      We had a long conversation about all the things Janet would NOT pair with peanut butter. I’m surprised relish didn’t come up. Wow!

  6. What a week you’ve had! I hope you prepared plenty of PB&J’s to get you through. I really enjoyed Janet’s pitch workshop last Saturday and I can imagine what fun you had on your extended sleepover. : ) The ode is pretty awesome too!

    Lovely to be seeing you so often, Laura!

  7. Sounds like a super fun book that appeals to my inner middle schooler. I can’t help thinking that PB is not complete without chocolate, though. Jelly just doesn’t cut the mustard.

  8. Irene Latham says:

    Oh, you’re having fun, aren’t you. 🙂 yay for your Skype visit and author-friends and getting kids writing and reading. I rather like a PB, hold the J. 🙂

  9. Doraine says:

    What a fun title! And always joyful to connect with another author this way. And oh, the joy of a good PB&J. Nothing like it.

  10. Thanks for highlighting Janet’s book! I know this will be a favorite with our fifth graders. I love the idea of the sandwich listening to all the chatter in the school hallway. Sadly, peanut butter has been banned at our school because of allergies, but we could still write about it.

  11. What a fun post, Laura. I am just getting around to reading some more PF offerings today. Skyping together must have been wonderful. I enjoyed reading the PB &J poem with it thoughts on a culinary ritual. Here’s what resonated with me: With haste you are pulled from your packaging,
    My skills unmatched by any other
    peanut butter and jelly crafter…Ah, the fine art of making a PBJ sandwich and writing a post…

  12. What lively good new buddies you are?
    Not going to ask if you avoided eating P,B & J during the visit.
    Janet’s story of Jason & Annie’s friendship sounds like one to know – appreciations.

    Also, the Teen Ink poet could have that P,B & J poem published elsewhere, too. I love the poet’s invention – “doublebreaded” & so much else about it.

  13. replace ? end of my first sentence
    with ! (please)
    tnx…& xx

  14. […] THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY, by Janet Sumner Johnson (3/25/16) […]

  15. […] THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY, by Janet Sumner Johnson (3/25/16) […]

  16. […] Hello from Klamath Falls, Oregon! In real life, I’m on the West Coast to do some school and library visits with my good friend Janet Sumner Johnson, author of THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY. […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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