Monday, February 10, 2014

Loved to Pieces . . . with Jill Santopolo

We have a special guest in the Cottage today. Author Jill Santopolo is visiting, and you're just in time to help us celebrate her (slightly early) book birthday! The first two books in Jill's Sparkle Spa series, All That Glitters and Purple Nails and Puppy Tails, will be published TOMORROW!

Jill has brought lots of sparkly nail polish and an armful of her cherished loved-to-pieces books from childhood to share with us. Maybe you'll recognize some of your favorites, too?


"I’m pretty sure that books were one of the first things I ever loved—right after my parents, a red plastic chair at nursery school, and apple juice. And when I loved a book, I really loved it. I read it over and over and took it everywhere with me. And a few of those much-loved, much-read books are still on my shelves today. I went through my collection and found the most battered ones. They are:

Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn. My mother rescued this black-and-white picture book from an elementary school library that was giving it away. And it was my favorite. It told the story of a boy who ran away from home to create a meadow where all the kids in his neighborhood could follow their dreams. My favorite was the page where Margot got to play a tuba in a house shaped like a combination igloo-teepee. I always wished I could crawl into the igloo part and toot the horn to visit her. 

Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I’m not quite sure what happened to the cover of this one, but I can only imagine that I opened it so many times that the binding just gave up. My favorite scene in this book is when Harriet roles around on the floor of her bedroom pretending to be an onion. (I tried being an onion in my bedroom a lot. I also tried being a tonsil.)

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. This book made me cry every time I read it, and I loved it for that. My favorite part is the very end (which I won’t give away), but I also love the small, specific details, like how Call threads his shoelaces through every other hole so that they’ll fit around his chubby feet.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A friend’s mom got this book for me for my eleventh birthday and I read it every single summer until I graduated from college. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but the bottom part of the book is much wider than the top because I once made the mistake of resting it on my damp bathing suit while reading. There are so many lines in that book that I love, but my favorite is this one: “From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again….”

And I guess that’s part of why my much-loved books are so worn. Old books feel like old friends and no matter where you are or how old you are, you can go back and visit them again and again."


Jill Santopolo is the author of the Alec Flint mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series and the Follow Your Heart books. The first two Sparkle Spa books, All That Glitters and Purple Nails and Puppy Tails, will be published tomorrow! 

You can learn more about her (and her books) at You can also follow her on Facebook at and on Twitter @JillSantopolo.

Praise for the Sparkle Spa series:

Published by Aladdin (Feb. 2014)
hc 978-1442473812; pb 978-1442473805

hc 978-1442473843; pb 978-1442473836

"This amusing chapter-book series opener follows two grade school sisters as they start their own donations-powered nail salon. . . . All goes well until mean girl Suzy shows up and threatens to spread nasty rumors. Can the sisters keep their new business alive? Santopolo keeps the prose easily readable and the atmosphere light as she focuses on the girls' creativity in setting up their salon. . . . The nicely original business plot may interest many young entrepreneurs. Not just for lemonade-stand owners." --Kirkus

"While there’s plenty of talk of nail polish colors, polishing techniques, and how salons operate, the author also devotes substantial attention to the siblings’ mutually supportive and respectful relationship, while touching on the idea that 'Girls can be smart, strong, and sparkly.'" --Publishers Weekly

1 comment:

  1. "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" is a tattered favorite of mine, too. And...I have two little girls who are going to love Sparkle Spa! Happy almost book birthday Jill!