Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bee Book Buzz: ZAPATO POWER #4: FREDDIE RAMOS MAKES A SPLASH by Jacqueline Jules

If you haven't met Freddie Ramos, you're in for a treat in today's Bee Book Buzz. You'll want to run right after this character in ZAPATO POWER, a fun chapter book series by KidLit Author Jacqueline Jules, to see how he uses his amazing shoes.

In ZAPATO POWER #4: FREDDIE RAMOS MAKES A SPLASH, the boy with super-powered purple shoes attends a summer camp with swimming lessons. Over the week of July 4th, Freddie must deal with a bully who has just moved into Starwood Park, a fear of putting his head into the water, and the disappearance of his special shoes from the boys’ locker room. To make matters worse, someone is messing up Starwood Park with wads of sticky purple bubblegum. Can Freddie save the day and his summer?

Here's the bee book buzz with Jaqueline Jules...
If you were a bee, would you be a queen, drone, or worker?
This is a tough question. What am I? Or what would I like to be? The life of a queen bee sounds much more appealing than a drone or worker bee. But lying around doing nothing but laying eggs is not the life for me. I am a worker bee— a workaholic who doesn’t know what to do with herself when she’s not writing, teaching, or promoting her books. Most of the time, I find work invigorating and a busy life of keeping a community buzzing sounds the most fulfilling. In the human world, activity is a much better lifestyle than couch potato.

Same question for your main character? Queen, drone, or worker?
Freddie Ramos from the Zapato Power series is definitely a worker bee, someone who likes to move at super speed helping others.

Bees pollinate most of the vegetables and fruits that we love to eat. Did you eat your vegetables when you were a kid? What's your favorite fruit or vegetable?
My father had a huge vegetable garden in our backyard when I was growing up. Our whole family spent a lot of time weeding the garden and picking vegetables. I can remember eating homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and even corn during the summer. These days I like to munch on apple slices and celery while I am working at the computer. In the evening, I enjoy oranges for dessert. And it’s not that unusual for me to have berries with a sliced banana for breakfast. I am not a strict vegetarian, but vegetables and fruits are the main component of my diet. At restaurants, I am usually happiest with a grilled vegetable platter.

What's Freddie's favorite fruit or vegetable?
Freddie Ramos likes carrots best, just like his pet guinea pig, Claude the Second. Crunchy foods like carrots help Freddie think when he’s trying to solve one of the Zapato Power mysteries.

Bees pollinate plants and flowers, too. What's your favorite flower? Are flowers mentioned in your latest book? While I’m not much at picking favorites of anything, I will choose the Daylily as a flower I admire. It is easily transplanted and tends to thrive, even under harsh conditions. I once wrote a poem about Daylilies. Here is an excerpt:

Daylilies, wait in my new yard—
dense and in need of division.
Daylilies, willing to move without fuss
to a less crowded spot
where they will brighten the view
from a different window.
Daylilies—can be ripped from the earth,
carried miles away, and still bloom
with bright orange smiles in a new location.
They are tolerant of drought,
equally in love with sun or rain,
able to extend their long green arms with ease.

Wax on, wax off. Beeswax is useful for so many products, including skincare items and candles. On your most recent birthday, were you able to blow out all of your candles on the first try? I’m at the age where I only do one candle, so I had no problem with it.

How old is Freddie? I haven’t told the reader the exact age of my character, Freddie Ramos, in Zapato Power. I’m hoping readers in grades kindergarten through fourth grade will connect with him, and giving him a precise age might dampen that. In my mind, Freddie is a third grader.

My causes are bees, trees, seas, and all things affecting our environment. What's important to you besides writing for children and or young adults? I work part-time in an elementary school as a writing resource teacher, so I am passionate about education and literacy projects for children. I am also passionate about health care access for everyone who needs it.

Books and bees make life sweeter every day. If you had to choose: Honey or sugar? I enjoy dipping apples in honey, so if I could have just one for a special occasion, I would choose honey.


Natalie Dias Lorenzi said...

My students love the first FREDDY books, and will look forward to this latest one! :-)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Wonderful interview! : )