There's something quentissentially hopeful about young adult novels that feature teenagers on crosscountry roadtrips. Adi Alsaid's debut novel takes an even more hopeful approach, as the main character of Let's Get Lost might be on an epic journey, but it's a uniquely selfless one, as she has plenty to share with those she meets along the way.
Writes our reviewer, "Adi Alsaid weaves together the distant and disparate stories of his multiple characters, using Leila as the bright red thread to sew the patchwork quilt of their lives. The final product is beautiful, moving—and nothing like it would have been if kept separate." Read our full review of Let's Get Lost.
Adi is touring the web with ‘’Seize the Tuesday” posts to celebrate the publication of his new novel which goes on sale today! Each piece focuses on a different, fun example of how Adi was able to "Seize the Tuesday" in his own life and how that can inspire others to make a change in their lives, too. Seize the Tuesday not only gives readers a glimpse into Adi’s life, but also introduces readers to one of the key themes in Let’s Get Lost of "seizing the Tuesday"—of seizing a moment that can change your life forever.
About Let’s Get Lost:
Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings . . . until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
Seize the Tuesday: Learning to cook
By Adi Alsaid
One summer during college, I was back home in Mexico, bored out of my mind. Few friends were in town and the rainy season had me stuck indoors far more than I would have liked. Watching TV all day wasn’t my ideal way to spend the summer, but options were limited, and I ended up sitting in the living room with my sister a lot. That was the summer she became a big fan of the reality cooking show, "Top Chef."
It was during a marathon of "Top Chef" that I realized a crucial mistake in the way I’d been living my life. I’d always believed that living well and eating well went hand in hand, but up until then, I’d trusted others to provide me with great food. I could barely pour myself a bowl of cereal. Then I watched "Top Chef" and realized that the people on that show can make themselves those ridiculous dishes anytime they want.
As soon as I got back to Vegas, I begged my older brother, who’d gone to school for hospitality and therefore taken a cooking class, to teach me. He wasn’t quite up for it, too impatient to deal with someone who didn’t even know how to hold a knife the right way. So I watched a few more shows on the Food Network, then decided to cook for the first time ever. I was going to make tacos. Except I was a little trigger shy, so I decided to call a friend over and have him cook the chicken for the tacos while I made a salsa. Cutting vegetables and throwing them together seemed like a good stepping stone.
I moved on to pasta with sauce from a jar. I burned chicken. I didn’t think to wash vegetables. I watched more Food Network, made more salsas. I started going home for lunch to make myself bagel sandwiches, which slowly got more and more complex. I brought homemade dips to potlucks, perused the cookbook section at bookstores. I started making pasta sauce from scratch, offering to make a dish for family dinners. Spice is the spice of life, and I was starting to live it up.
In the years since, I’ve spent more and more time in the kitchen. My sauces are a little more complex, my repertoire more extensive. I’m sure my techniques are often ineffective, my knowledge still lacking, my knife skills still weaker than my brother’s. As friends and my Instagram followers know, I cook a lot now (and, yes, am guilty of photographing my kitchen exploits). But I’ve learned the joys of cooking delicious things for myself and for others, the joy in going to a grocery store with headphones on, not knowing exactly what I want to make but looking around until inspiration hits. There’s even the joy in cleaning up afterwards (not always, but sometimes), the evidence that hard work went into whatever I just ate, that a meal was earned.
Eating has always been life-affirming for me, and now cooking is, too.
About Adi Alsaid:
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating he packed up his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he has lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him that more places will eventually be added to the list.
Readers, Let's Get Lost is now available! Enjoy an excerpt.
We can't stop talking about the importance of summer reading, and we're not alone. Katie O'Dell, Youth Servies Director at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon, offers an expert's advice:
"Summer is a time of both risk and opportunity for reading skills. Kids who don’t read during summer break—especially those from low-income families—can lose up to two years of reading skill by the time they reach middle school. Research shows that a strong, supportive Summer Reading program can turn that trend around. Parents are key to their children's reading success. Follow these easy steps to best support your summer reader: Make frequent trips to the public library and check out stacks of books; enthusiastically dig into your own reading and model what you want to see in your children; ask questions about what your child is reading and listen closely, looking for read world opportunities to explore what they are interested in."
For parents and teachers who live in a state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards, you've probably noticed some major changes in what students are encouraged to read, how closely they read a text and what they write after finishing the final page. For example, Common Core encourages kids to pick up nonfiction titles and informational texts. BookPage contributor and children's book author Deborah Hopkinson shares some fun ideas to get kids reading more nonfiction this summer:
Summer is a time when readers of all ages love to dive into a good beach book. But it can also be a chance to expand reading horizons, try out new genres and make reading a family activity.
Especially now that many states are adopting the Common Core Standards, which call for students to be reading more informational texts, parents may be wondering just how to get kids reading nonfiction, especially if it’s outside a child’s usual comfort zone.
But nonfiction doesn’t mean boring. Informational texts can include everything from maps to cookbooks, from newspapers to Internet sites. So here are some ideas for spicing up summer reading for kids by incorporating nonfiction—and other genres—into summer activities.
Planning a vacation, near or far? Well, don’t hog the guidebook. Involve reading-age kids by giving them a research task: learning about the route or your vacation spot by doing some online sleuthing or taking charge of choosing a museum to visit. En route, stop at a historical marker and use it as a launch pad for finding out more. Internet searching is a great activity to do together. While children are often familiar with the basics of Google, information literacy means learning to evaluate the source of information.
Pair these vacation activities with fun books such as Marla Frazee’s wonderful Caldecott Honor book, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, or the 2014 Caldecott winner, Locomotive by Brian Floca. Thankfully, the classic 1984 favorite by Vera Williams, Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe is still in print.
Along the way
For long car rides, consider sharing a memorable book on audio. Two of our family favorites are Richard Peck’s A Long Way from Chicago and The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. Older readers might enjoy Road Trip (2013) by Gary Paulson and his son, Jim Paulson. The Listening Library website or your own local library will yield a host of other ideas that can turn road trips into lifelong memories. And if your family doesn’t own John Birmingham’s Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car, track down a copy since, as everyone knows, road trips don’t always turn out as planned.
At home: Bees, birds and backyards
Staying home can sometimes be the best vacation of all. Explore your own backyard with nonfiction titles about science and nature. An outstanding title in the National Geographic Scientists in the Field series is The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Disaster, by Loree Griffin Burns. There are also a number of good backyard bird watching guides for children, which can be paired with Dianna Hutts Aston’s lovely nonfiction book, An Egg is Quiet. Her other titles, A Seed is Sleepy and A Butterfly is Patient also combine Sylvia Long’s wonderful artwork with a lyrical text. A fun fiction read-aloud about kids who take on the running of a local apple orchard is The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins, which incorporates some real-world math problems.
Join your summer reading program (adults, too!)
Whether your summer plans keep you at home or take you around the world, be sure to sign up for the summer reading program at your public library. This year’s national themes are science related. For young readers, it’s Fizz, Boom, Read. The teen program is called Spark a Reaction. And for adults, it’s Literary Elements.
Possibilities abound for incorporating biographies, nonfiction and hands-on activities to create a family theme, which might go down in memory as “the summer we all learned about ____.” (Seriously, our family once spent a summer learning about submarines, reading books and watching every submarine film ever made.)
You might choose sea turtles, dinosaurs, horses or a scientist like Darwin, Einstein or Koch to learn about together. Jennifer Berne’s On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein, is a great choice for younger readers, while adults will be fascinated by Thomas Goetz’s highly recommended new book, The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis.
Most of all, keep reading!
Deborah Hopkinson is an award-winning author of historical fiction and nonfiction, including the 2013 Sibert Honor title Titanic, Voices from the Disaster. She got the idea for her new historical fiction novel for kids, The Great Trouble, about Dr. John Snow and the 1854 cholera epidemic, by reading Steven John’s nonfiction book for adults, The Ghost Map. Check out her website and follow her on Twitter.