I am pleased to introduce Rebecca Klempner. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and she is the author of several books. The most recent is an endearing middle grade novel, Adina at Her Best (Menucha).
Adina Ben Ami truly tries her best but often manages to get in trouble. When things go awry during a class trip, it seems Adina will never turn things around. But Adina’s heart is in the right place and when she’s needed most, Adina knows just what to do!
Tell me a bit about Adina. What inspired you to create her character?
Several of my family members and friends grew up with ADHD or other similar issues in school–dyslexia, developmental disorders, etc.–and often their experiences at home and school were crushing. The consequences of their learning disabilities, particularly if they were inadequately treated, often had a detrimental effect on their self-esteem. Yet these individuals are often the most creative and gifted among us. Since fiction is a wonderful way to develop empathy, I felt that sharing Adina’s experience with inattention and impulsivity might help those suffering from learning disabilities and other forms of special needs feel less alone, as well as help those around them understand where such individuals are coming from.
Adina has some very relatable challenges. What are you hoping young readers can take away for her “adventures?”
I hope that my readers see that being different doesn’t make you bad…it just means you’re different. Also, that accepting help for any issues you might have doesn’t make you “broken.” Accepting professional help with psychological, educational, or health problems even if it freaks you out a bit means that you are brave. And it will help you improve your shortcomings while allowing your gifts to shine.
The setting in ADINA AT HER BEST is unique. Can you tell me what drew you to the California rancho?
I’ve always loved history, and when I was a kid in Maryland, I grew up visiting colonial-era monuments. I even attended college adjacent to St. Mary’s City, the original European settlement in Maryland. When my kids have free time in the summer, visiting monuments to California history is a way to recapture my own youthful interest, as well as entertain my children. Rancho los Cerritos happens to be one of my favorite of the ranchos remaining in Southern California. It’s just about 45 minutes away from us in L.A. The reenactments, architectural details, and furnishings really bring history to life. When you arrange a tour, if you tell them kids are coming, they even let you play “old-fashioned” games like hoops.
In the end, Adina saves the day by helping an adult with health symptoms she recognizes. Was this inspired by real life events?
One of my grandfathers survived multiple strokes, as well as a few friends of our family, and quick action makes a huge difference in recovery. But you can’t act if you don’t notice what’s going wrong.
To learn more about Rebecca please visit her web site http://rebeccaklempner.com