Texas Sweethearts

Children's Authors

NIKKI LOFTIN 

Nikki Loftin is the author of three novels for young readers: Wish Girl, which the New York Times called “a quietly poetic story about psychological truths”; Nightingale’s Nest, named as “the next great book” by the Children’s Literacy Foundation in 2014, and awarded the best children’s book of 2014 by the Texas Institute of Letters; and The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, winner of the Writer’s League of Texas Book Award 2013. Nikki’s short children’s fiction has appeared in Boy’s Life and Pockets magazines, among others. She also writes literary fiction, poetry, and essays for adults, and has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves, and the Guys Read: Terrifying Tales anthology. Nikki earned an MA from UT Austin in English/Fiction Writing, and teaches writing workshops in the U.S. and abroad.

Check out Nikki Loftin's Website for more information.

*****

WISH GIRL (Razorbill, 2015)
Middle Grade Magic Realism

Peter Stone’s parents and siblings are extroverts, musicians, and yellers—and the louder they get, the less Peter talks, or even moves, until he practically fits his last name. When his family moves to the Texas Hill Country, though, Peter finds a tranquil, natural valley where he can, at last, hear himself think.

There, he meets a girl his age: Annie Blythe. Annie tells Peter she’s a “wish girl.” But Annie isn’t just any wish girl; she’s a “Make-A-Wish Girl.” And in two weeks she will begin a dangerous treatment to try and stop her cancer from spreading. Left alone, the disease will kill her. But the treatment may cause serious, lasting damage to her brain.

Annie and Peter hatch a plan to escape into the valley, which they begin to think is magical. But the pair soon discovers that the valley—and life—may have other plans for them. And sometimes wishes come true in ways they would never expect.

*****

NIGHTINGALE'S NEST (Razorbill, 2014)
Middle Grade Magic Realism

Twelve-year-old John Fischer Jr., or "Little John" as he’s always been known, is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business, clearing brush for Mr. King, the wealthy owner of a chain of Texas dollar stores, when he hears a beautiful song that transfixes him. He follows the melody and finds, not a bird, but a young girl sitting in the branches of a tall sycamore tree.

There’s something magical about this girl, Gayle, especially her soaring singing voice, and Little John’s friendship with Gayle quickly becomes the one bright spot in his life, for his home is dominated by sorrow over his sister’s death and his parents’ ever-tightening financial difficulties. But then Mr. King draws Little John into an impossible choice—forced to choose between his family’s survival and a betrayal of Gayle that puts her future in jeopardy.

Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story, Nightingale's Nest is an unforgettable novel about a boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a girl with the gift of healing in her voice.

*****

THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY (Razorbill, 2013)
Middle Grade Fantasy

When Lorelei's old school mysteriously burns down, a new one appears practically overnight: Splendid Academy. Rock-climbing walls on the playground and golden bowls of candy on every desk? Gourmet meals in the cafeteria, served by waiters? Optional homework and two recess periods a day? It's every kids's dream.

But Lorelei and her new friend Andrew are pretty sure it's too good to be true. Together they uncover a sinister mystery, one with their teacher, the beautiful Ms. Morrigan, at the very center. Then Andrew disappears. Lorelei has to save him, even if that means facing a past she'd like to forget – and taking on a teacher who's a real witch.

What Lorelei and Andrew discover chills their bones – and might even pick them clean!