“Life in the Seven Kingdoms is never dull . . .” 

–Jen McConnel, School Library Journal


Please Welcome These Giants Into Your Library

Giant Trouble: The Mystery of the Magic Beans is a hilarious romp for ages 9 to 12. It’s also a story about not feeling welcome. So many people are experiencing loss of their homes and their peace. It hurts.

But loss and sorrow don’t win the Battle of the Beanstalk! Eleven-year-old William of Marigold’s ingenious brain creates a welcome for the giants . . . who stand up for him in their turn.

(I can’t tell you how–SPOILER–but they’re creative with their solution too!)

Hope you enjoy this fractured fairy tale about giants, the Official Cupid Ambassador, and Prince William of Marigold, a.k.a. the comic strip artist known as “Jack”!

Writing Giant Trouble: The Case of the Magic Beans . . . was a Giant Romp

One day while I was wrapping up the final battle, the seven visiting giants whipped up a boot-stomping jingle, and I had to firmly cross out their verses, before they hijacked my revision process again.

See what I mean?! Town doesn’t rhyme with ’round! But who’s going to tell seven giants–stomping their lumberjack boots in rhythm–that it’s a forced rhyme?

Not me.

Giants from Out-Of-Town

Giant Trouble is 344 pages of entertainment, so if you have a reader who is short of books, this one will keep them happy for awhile.

What’s to blame for all the surprising twists in the plot? As fast as I wrote them, the story grew more!

Magic beans do sprout overnight, and they grow quickly up to the sky.

That Idea With the Comic Strips

And then there was the little idea of adding comic strips.

The wonderful Peacham Library librarians put the brilliant Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward into my hands. I loved the story and the explanation of how to make graphic novels was the first spark for the comics in Giant Trouble. Thanks Svetlana Chmakova!

Note that Awkward has a big subplot about art club versus science club kids. *cough* Never been an art club kid, but she made me want to try it.

Also I blame coffee and Scott McCloud’s Making Comics. He makes making art look so inviting that my fingers itched to try it. Thanks Scott McCloud!

The Battle of the Beanstalk

The Battle of the Beanstalk gave me a lot of trouble. How can William win a battle when his only “weapons” are flatbread and comic strips? And he’s sworn off comic strips for the rest of his life?

Kids are the most creative people I know. I hope readers will enjoy William’s solutions as much as I did.

“Now that the kids had fixed everything, the adults were taking over again.” —William of Marigold, Giant Trouble: The Mystery of the Magic Beans.

Which beans do you want to plant?

Writing a story is like planting a bean. You don’t always know what you are planting.

Because it’s the readers who make the story grow into a massive beanstalk that connects people with each other.

In Giant Trouble, William has to face up to the fear that his comics might have caused harm. And figure out how to plant a seed for peace.

magic beans to plant a welcome for everyone

Welcome boomerangs . . . right back to the welcomer.

Facing fears is big–dare I say giant?–in this story. If I want to describe my heroes facing their fears, I have to face mine so I remember what it feels like. When I write, I find out what I don’t know, discover holes in my own personal armor, and in my thinking, motivations, and confidence.

One gift I was given while staring down my fears, was the thought that welcome boomerangs . . . right back to the welcomer.

The Marigold royal family moved to the Seven Kingdoms much more recently than the other six royal families, so William and his siblings known exactly what it feels like to be “outsiders”.

After William makes a huge effort to welcome the giants, he belongs to the Seven Kingdoms much more than he did before.

Because welcoming other people isn’t just “the right thing to do”, it’s also a gift to ourselves. New people bring their own magic with them and it’s fun to share it.

The best way to belong is to welcome someone new