Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy engaging with science-loving Jada Jones in this easy-to-read chapter book.

When Jada Jones's best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She'd much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada's teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she's in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn't seem to like any of Jada's ideas. She doesn't seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?  

The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.
Kelly Starling Lyons (kellystarlinglyons.com) is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young readers including Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice & Sing Inspired Generations, Ellen's Broom, Hope’s Gift, and Tea Cakes for Tosh. Her chapter books include the popular Jada Jones and Miles Lewis series and She Persisted: Dorothy Height and She Persisted: Coretta Scott King. Kelly is a teaching artist and founding member of The Brown Bookshelf. She lives in North Carolina. View titles by Kelly Starling Lyons
Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at FIT and children's book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the author and illustrator of Grandma's Purse, Just Like Me, and Becoming Vanessa, and has illustrated numerous children's books, including the New York Times bestsellers The King of Kindergarten and The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert. Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes. Learn more about Vanessa and her artwork at VanessaBrantleyNewton.com and on Facebook and Instagram. View titles by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Chapter One: Best Friend Blues

For the first time ever, I overslept.
 
Usually I beat everyone downstairs on school mornings. But when I woke to the sun peeking through my blinds, I just shut my eyes again. I would have kept right on sleeping if Mom hadn’t come into my room.
 
“Jada,” she said. “It’s time to get up.”
 
I groaned and yanked the cover over my head. Thinking about school meant thinking about Mari. At recess, we used to take off hunting for rocks—inky black slivers, orange hunks perfect for writing on pavement, gray nuggets splashed with silver that shimmered in the light. Why did she have to move? 
 
Mom sat next to me on my daybed and gently pulled my fuzzy blanket back. My eyes blurred as I sniffed and tried not to cry.
 
I turned to the wall.
 
“I know you miss Mari,” she said, pulling off my sleeping scarf and stroking my braids. “But you have lots of kids in your class who would love to be your friend. You’ll see.”
 
Mom kissed my head and left so I could get ready. I washed up and slid on my jeans with deep rock-stashing pockets and purple dragon T-shirt. I opened my jewelry box and picked up the heart-shaped pendant Mari gave me for my birthday. I clutched it in my hand. Her half said “best.” My half said “friend.” Even though Mari had just left Raleigh for Phoenix on Friday, I already felt like part of me was gone. 
 
For breakfast, Daddy made his specialty—homemade banana pancakes with strawberry syrup.
 
“Can I get just a tiny smile from my favorite daughter?” he said, setting a flowered plate in front of me. 
 
Daddy knew that would usually make me laugh. I’m his only daughter. I tried to smile, but it felt more like a grimace. All teeth with no joy. While my little brother, Jackson, gobbled his pancakes, I poked at mine with my fork. Finally, I washed down a mouthful with a gulp of milk.
 
Daddy put his hand on my shoulder. 
 
“Blues can feel like they’re here to stay,” he said softly. I knew what he meant. Daddy plays all kinds of music—hip-hop, jazz, reggae. But his blues songs made me think of an aching way down deep. I wondered if the hurt of losing Mari would ever go away.
 
“But you know what’s certain about the blues?” he asked.
 
I looked up at him and shook my head.
 
“They don’t last forever.”
 
I thought about what Daddy said on the way to school.
 
“Try to have a good day, honey,” Mom said as she dropped Jackson and me off at Brookside Elementary. I nodded before closing the car door behind me. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought. Maybe I could have an okay day without my best friend. 
 
I walked Jackson to kindergarten and slowly climbed the stairs to the fourth-grade hallway. Miss Taylor had said we would be starting a new science unit. I couldn’t help but get a little excited about that. But when I walked into my class, the first thing I saw was Mari’s empty seat. I sat across from it and quickly hid my face behind my library book about different kinds of gems. 
 
“Sorry Mari is gone,” Lena whispered to me as she slid into her chair. She and Carson sat at my table. We were the only group that now had three instead of four.
 
I put down my book and looked at her instead. Daddy said you could tell a lot by someone’s eyes. Her kind, brown ones said hope you’re okay.
 
“Thanks,” I said.
 
Lena is cool. Her best friend is Simone. They are nuts about jump rope the way Mari and I are crazy for rocks. I thought about Mom saying I’d make new friends. Maybe I could show Lena and Simone how awesome rocks could be.
 
 
 
"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere." —Kirkus

"Readers who love "Ivy and Bean" or "Katie Woo" will want to meet Jada Jones." —School Library Journal

About

Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy engaging with science-loving Jada Jones in this easy-to-read chapter book.

When Jada Jones's best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She'd much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada's teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she's in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn't seem to like any of Jada's ideas. She doesn't seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?  

The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.

Author

Kelly Starling Lyons (kellystarlinglyons.com) is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young readers including Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice & Sing Inspired Generations, Ellen's Broom, Hope’s Gift, and Tea Cakes for Tosh. Her chapter books include the popular Jada Jones and Miles Lewis series and She Persisted: Dorothy Height and She Persisted: Coretta Scott King. Kelly is a teaching artist and founding member of The Brown Bookshelf. She lives in North Carolina. View titles by Kelly Starling Lyons
Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at FIT and children's book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the author and illustrator of Grandma's Purse, Just Like Me, and Becoming Vanessa, and has illustrated numerous children's books, including the New York Times bestsellers The King of Kindergarten and The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert. Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes. Learn more about Vanessa and her artwork at VanessaBrantleyNewton.com and on Facebook and Instagram. View titles by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Excerpt

Chapter One: Best Friend Blues

For the first time ever, I overslept.
 
Usually I beat everyone downstairs on school mornings. But when I woke to the sun peeking through my blinds, I just shut my eyes again. I would have kept right on sleeping if Mom hadn’t come into my room.
 
“Jada,” she said. “It’s time to get up.”
 
I groaned and yanked the cover over my head. Thinking about school meant thinking about Mari. At recess, we used to take off hunting for rocks—inky black slivers, orange hunks perfect for writing on pavement, gray nuggets splashed with silver that shimmered in the light. Why did she have to move? 
 
Mom sat next to me on my daybed and gently pulled my fuzzy blanket back. My eyes blurred as I sniffed and tried not to cry.
 
I turned to the wall.
 
“I know you miss Mari,” she said, pulling off my sleeping scarf and stroking my braids. “But you have lots of kids in your class who would love to be your friend. You’ll see.”
 
Mom kissed my head and left so I could get ready. I washed up and slid on my jeans with deep rock-stashing pockets and purple dragon T-shirt. I opened my jewelry box and picked up the heart-shaped pendant Mari gave me for my birthday. I clutched it in my hand. Her half said “best.” My half said “friend.” Even though Mari had just left Raleigh for Phoenix on Friday, I already felt like part of me was gone. 
 
For breakfast, Daddy made his specialty—homemade banana pancakes with strawberry syrup.
 
“Can I get just a tiny smile from my favorite daughter?” he said, setting a flowered plate in front of me. 
 
Daddy knew that would usually make me laugh. I’m his only daughter. I tried to smile, but it felt more like a grimace. All teeth with no joy. While my little brother, Jackson, gobbled his pancakes, I poked at mine with my fork. Finally, I washed down a mouthful with a gulp of milk.
 
Daddy put his hand on my shoulder. 
 
“Blues can feel like they’re here to stay,” he said softly. I knew what he meant. Daddy plays all kinds of music—hip-hop, jazz, reggae. But his blues songs made me think of an aching way down deep. I wondered if the hurt of losing Mari would ever go away.
 
“But you know what’s certain about the blues?” he asked.
 
I looked up at him and shook my head.
 
“They don’t last forever.”
 
I thought about what Daddy said on the way to school.
 
“Try to have a good day, honey,” Mom said as she dropped Jackson and me off at Brookside Elementary. I nodded before closing the car door behind me. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought. Maybe I could have an okay day without my best friend. 
 
I walked Jackson to kindergarten and slowly climbed the stairs to the fourth-grade hallway. Miss Taylor had said we would be starting a new science unit. I couldn’t help but get a little excited about that. But when I walked into my class, the first thing I saw was Mari’s empty seat. I sat across from it and quickly hid my face behind my library book about different kinds of gems. 
 
“Sorry Mari is gone,” Lena whispered to me as she slid into her chair. She and Carson sat at my table. We were the only group that now had three instead of four.
 
I put down my book and looked at her instead. Daddy said you could tell a lot by someone’s eyes. Her kind, brown ones said hope you’re okay.
 
“Thanks,” I said.
 
Lena is cool. Her best friend is Simone. They are nuts about jump rope the way Mari and I are crazy for rocks. I thought about Mom saying I’d make new friends. Maybe I could show Lena and Simone how awesome rocks could be.
 
 
 

Praise

"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere." —Kirkus

"Readers who love "Ivy and Bean" or "Katie Woo" will want to meet Jada Jones." —School Library Journal

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