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Check out our great childrens' book recommendations, interviews, teaching tools and more at ReaderKidz.com for parents, teachers and librarians of kids K-5.

 

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This is our friend, author Frances Lee Hall, who passed away suddenly in 2016.

Frances Lee Hall receiving an Emmy Award for television writing and production

This is our writing group, "Beyond the Margins." Writers like to name everything.

 

Top row: Sharry Wright, Christine Dowd, Helen Pyne, yours truly; bottom row: Frances, Linden McNeilly & Annemarie O'Brien

Frances wrote a wonderful middle-grade novel, LILY LO AND THE WONTON MAKER. It's about nine-year-old Lily Lo and her quest to deal with her old-fashioned Chinese grandfather, Gung Gung, while trying to find her place alongside her friends and soccer teammates.

 Cover design by May Key C. Lee

Annemarie O'Brien and I, along with our writing group, Inkshares Media Company, and the enthusiastic help of family and friends and over 60 children's authors, published this #diversestory in late 2018 to bring it to young readers. It's perfect for ages 7 and up.

Order a copy of her book now at Amazon or through your favorite bookstore.

You can help us tremendously by leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Thank you!

Kirkus said, "Delicious wonton soup brings together a Chinese-American girl, her grandfather, and the community in this middle-grade novel… A well-told, thoughtful, amusing story of maturing perspective.”

Newbery and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia said, "I was forewarned that an early draft of this novel would make my mouth water for steamed dumplings. Years later, LILY LO makes my soul yearn for more Frances Lee Hall. Hall achieves an emotional taste palate of a girl's heart with the range of the salty and sweet lessons learned in between. Like her creator, Lily Lo is a forever friend."

All proceeds go to the education fund for Frances' and Lance's daughter, Emmie. 

GUNG GUNG'S RECIPE FOR WONTON SOUP (downloadable)

 The story behind the story.

It was the day after Thanksgiving 2016, that I visited Frances Lee Hall for the last time in the hospital here in San Francisco. We were all stunned that she had suffered a brain aneurysm the week before. She died late that night leaving behind her husband Lance and fourteen-year-old daughter, Emmie. 

Frances was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco State University before working in Television production. She won three (!) Emmy awards from the Academy of Televsion Arts and Sciences for her writing and producing at KQED, KRON and independently. She graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts in July of 2007, with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Everyone who knew her remembers her infectious smile and laugh, and her unfailing support and encouragement of her friends. “Yay!” was a frequent Frances response. She and I started a writers’ group that quickly grew. She worked hard on several manuscripts over the coming decade, determined to bring diverse stories to young readers. She had rarely if ever encountered a book in her childhood about a character or family like hers. She was thrilled when her agent, Marietta Zacker, sold her middle grade novel, LILY LO AND THE WONTON MAKER, to Egmont USA in late 2013. Sadly, the international publisher closed US operations a little over a year later and LILY LO, along with many other stories, never made it into print. Frances passed away without realizing her dream. 

This beautiful red children's book is solid evidence that dreams can take on a life of their own. We are so grateful to all those who help honor the memory and dream of an exceptional women and writer, Frances Lee Hall!

Read more about Frances and LILY LO at Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog Cynsations.

Kirkus Reviews January 2019, p. 167Kirkus Reviews, February 2019 LitPick Student Reviews May 2019