Title: Amberly and the Secret of the Fairy Warriors
Author: Gina Vallance
Twelve-year-old Amberly doesn't quite fit in with all the other fairies in Whimsical Land. One of her wings is undersized and paralyzed and instead of flying she has to run and leap through the air with the help of a stick. It's awkward, it's no fun, and she sometimes gets bullied for it, too. Worse than that, her mother worries about her disability and won't let her take sword-fighting lessons with her sorcerer uncle. But Amberly's been reading a fascinating book, Secret of the Fairy Warriors, and it's given her a clue to where her father disappeared when she was a young fairy. If she doesn't learn how to be a fairy warrior, she'll never get the chance to rescue him. Dark forces are at work, though, and Amberly and her fairy-butterfly watcher Safflower fall through a magical portal to where everything's in dark and scary contrast to the brilliance and light of Whimsical Land. Someone she meets and what she does there will change her life forever.
This middle-grade fantasy bursts with imagination and tucked into all the fun and adventure are unforgettable lessons on self-acceptance, personal empowerment, and overcoming adversity.
As Amberly leapt high into the air, she fluttered her wings and shook off her own pixie dust from her healthy right wing over the wildflowers. Then she saw Calista hovering below her. Amberly jumped right over Calista and rustled her sister’s soft, curly brown hair with her hand. “Hi sis!” she said. When she landed, her running stick sunk deep into the soft, damp soil. She fell backward and ended up in a sitting position beside her sister.
“Hi love. You all right?” said Calista as she fluttered her periwinkle blue wings.
Embarrassed, Amberly stood up and brushed herself off. “Why do I always end up falling to the ground? I’m a fairy not a troll!” she shouted as a few of the other fairies giggled behind her back.
“Don’t say that, Amberly! Being different isn’t a curse. You should be proud of your strength and speed. After all, it’s our unique abilities that can save us when we least expect it,” Calista said as she gently patted her little sister’s back.
“How can I save anyone, especially Father, if I have to use this stick forever! I hate it!”
“That stick helps you leap and run faster that any fairy can fly, little sis! If you didn’t have it, you wouldn’t be able to run and jump the way you do. Who cares if it interferes with your landings once in a while? That’s why you have this!” said Calista as she knocked on the top of Amberly’s acorn helmet with her curled fist and smiled.
“But, I’m the only fairy in the world that can’t fly. It’s not normal!” shouted Amberly.
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Set in a beautiful world called Whimsical Land, 12-year-old Amberly is one athletic fairy whose strength and determination to find her father allows her to persevere despite her paralyzed wing, and it is her differences that help her succeed.
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Gina Vallance has an AA degree in child development and a BA in English. She has worked as a preschool teacher and also as an art activity facilitator in a courthouse's children's waiting room. A childhood illness that sometimes left her marginalized and bullied was the inspiration for Amberly, a fairy who refuses to be sidelined by her disability. Gina works in Social Services in Los Angeles County and is happily married to her soulmate. They have a Shorkie dog named Emma, a Malshi dog named Raffaele, and two feline sisters named Belle and Jasmine. The next book in Gina's series, Onyx, is on the way.
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