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Matchmaker #3

Part of Miles Lewis

Illustrated by Wayne Spencer
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Paperback
$6.99 US
5.19"W x 7.69"H x 0.27"D   | 6 oz | 72 per carton
On sale Dec 27, 2022 | 96 Pages | 978-0-593-38355-1
Age 6-8 years | Grades 1-3
Reading Level: Lexile 550L | Fountas & Pinnell O
From the award-winning author of the Jada Jones chapter books comes an illustrated spinoff series perfect for STEM fans!

Valentine's Day is approaching, and Miles Lewis doesn't really like all the mush that comes with it. He is excited about the candy experiments they're doing in science class, though. And when his teacher asks for adult volunteers to help out, Miles and his friend Jada share that they're both planning on inviting their grandparents. That's when they realize that Miles's Nana and Jada's Pop Pop have a lot in common--could they be a perfect match?
★ "Another great addition to this ­heartwarming series that introduces young readers to STEM activities along with a lesson about giving back to one’s community." —School Library Journal, starred review
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
Chapter One
 
Hearts and Flowers
  
I’d know that Valentine’s Day was coming even if I forgot what month it was. Seems like every shop I visited with my mom, dad, or nana had a row of treats and cards decorated with hearts and flowers.
 
At the grocery store, I turned down an aisle and got a weird feeling when I saw pink and red packages crowding the shelves like people packed into a stadium. It was like you could hear them chanting, “Buy me! Buy me!”
 
Mom and I walked past the heart-­shaped boxes of chocolates, candy necklaces, and special snack bags of pretzels and chips. She stopped our cart at the valentines. Uh-­oh.
 
“Aren’t these cool?” she said, smiling as she picked up a pack with superheroes on the front. “You like these, Miles? Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it.”
 
I took the box and flipped it over to see what was inside. Superheroes were cool, but these valentines came with sticky-­sweet sayings. Ugh.
 
“Don’t look so excited,” Mom said, laughing at my frown. “We don’t have to get anything today. But you should pick some soon before the good ones are gone.”
 
I quickly slid the box back on the shelf and let out a big breath when we turned the corner. Whew.
 
Mom grinned at me but didn’t say anything. When we got home, I helped her bring in the groceries.
 
“Get anything good?” Dad asked when we came in. He unpacked the bags and started putting the food away.
 
“Well, I tried to get Miles to buy some valentines,” Mom said, winking at me. “He wasn’t having any of that.”
 
“Valentine’s Day isn’t that bad, is it, son?” Dad teased. “You get notes and treats from friends. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”
 
I tried to smile, but the flip-­flop feeling in my stomach was back. My friends were the best, but something about all the Valentine’s Day hearts and cupids made me want to stay away. I was over the holiday and it wasn’t even here yet.
 
“Leave my grandson alone,” Nana said playfully as she came into the kitchen. She hugged me around my shoulder. “Valentine’s should be about more than chocolate. Your granddad and I used to volunteer together to celebrate,” she told me. “We’d serve food to people in need, clean up the highway, send cards to service members. Nothing makes you feel better than helping others.”
 
“You’re right, Mom,” Dad said. “I was just messing with him. You know February is all about Black History Month for me.”
 
I liked when Nana talked about Granddad. He passed away when I was little, so I didn’t get a chance to really know him. He sounded like a cool guy. Nana always shared the fun things they’d done together. I wondered if she ever got lonely. She had us, but maybe she missed hanging out with someone her age.
 
***
 
The next morning at school, Miss Taylor said she had lots of activities planned for Valentine’s Day. I looked at my best friend RJ and my classmates gathered with me on the orange-­and-­blue carpet. Everyone was grinning. Was I the only one who wasn’t really feeling it?
 
“We’re going to write an ode to our favorite activity,” Miss Taylor said, the silver bracelets on her arm tinkling as she talked. “Anybody know what an ode is?”
 
Lena raised her hand. She loved writing. “A poem that celebrates something that matters to you.”
 
“Good job,” Miss Taylor said.
 
That wasn’t too bad. I could write about video games, bike riding, or science. And just like she had heard what I was thinking, Miss Taylor started talking next about doing chemistry experiments with candy. That got my attention—­I leaned in and grinned. I saw my friend Jada sit up straight, too. She loved science, just like me.
 
“We’re going to need some help for our special day,” Miss Taylor said. “In your take-­home folder, there are details about giving out valentines to your buddies, bringing goodies, and asking for adult volunteers.”
 
I immediately thought of Nana. I hoped that she could come.
 
***   
 
At lunch, it seemed like everyone was stuck on Valentine’s. I even heard a couple of kids whispering about crushes. Ugh.
 
At least RJ wasn’t caught up in the madness. He was all about the stash he’d get to bring home.
 
“I can’t wait,” he said between bites of cheese pizza. “Think of all the treats. Last year, my bag was stuffed like it was Halloween.”
 
I laughed.
 
Jada and her besties, Lena and Simone, sat on the other side of me. They were talking about the class party.
 
“I’m going to see if Pop Pop can make it,” Jada said.
 
“That’s a great idea,” Lena said as she dug into her chocolate pudding.
 
“Yeah,” Simone agreed. “Ask your pop pop. He’s fun.”
 
I remembered him from a nature trip we took with our class. He kinda reminded me of Nana. They were both easy to talk to and liked plants and being outdoors. Before I knew it, lunch was over, and it was recess. We lined up to go outside.
 
I was itching to play some kickball, but first I walked over to Jada. She was getting ready to jump double Dutch with her friends.
 
“I heard you say that you’re asking your pop pop to volunteer for the party. I’m going to ask my nana.”
 
“That’s cool,” she said. “Maybe we can introduce them. I bet they’d be friends.”
 
It was like a switch turned on in my mind. Thoughts started flowing. Our grandparents being friends would be awesome. I wondered if they had other things in common.
 
“What kind of music does your pop pop like?”
 
“Lots of stuff,” Jada said. “Jazz and R & B. He likes James Brown and a group called The Gap Band.”
 
“Really? My nana loves those, too.”
 
The more we talked, the clearer my idea became. You would think that planning to bring Nana and Pop Pop together would make me feel funny. But for some reason, the thought of them hanging out warmed me up inside.
 
Could they be a match?

About

From the award-winning author of the Jada Jones chapter books comes an illustrated spinoff series perfect for STEM fans!

Valentine's Day is approaching, and Miles Lewis doesn't really like all the mush that comes with it. He is excited about the candy experiments they're doing in science class, though. And when his teacher asks for adult volunteers to help out, Miles and his friend Jada share that they're both planning on inviting their grandparents. That's when they realize that Miles's Nana and Jada's Pop Pop have a lot in common--could they be a perfect match?

Praise

★ "Another great addition to this ­heartwarming series that introduces young readers to STEM activities along with a lesson about giving back to one’s community." —School Library Journal, starred review

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

Excerpt

Chapter One
 
Hearts and Flowers
  
I’d know that Valentine’s Day was coming even if I forgot what month it was. Seems like every shop I visited with my mom, dad, or nana had a row of treats and cards decorated with hearts and flowers.
 
At the grocery store, I turned down an aisle and got a weird feeling when I saw pink and red packages crowding the shelves like people packed into a stadium. It was like you could hear them chanting, “Buy me! Buy me!”
 
Mom and I walked past the heart-­shaped boxes of chocolates, candy necklaces, and special snack bags of pretzels and chips. She stopped our cart at the valentines. Uh-­oh.
 
“Aren’t these cool?” she said, smiling as she picked up a pack with superheroes on the front. “You like these, Miles? Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it.”
 
I took the box and flipped it over to see what was inside. Superheroes were cool, but these valentines came with sticky-­sweet sayings. Ugh.
 
“Don’t look so excited,” Mom said, laughing at my frown. “We don’t have to get anything today. But you should pick some soon before the good ones are gone.”
 
I quickly slid the box back on the shelf and let out a big breath when we turned the corner. Whew.
 
Mom grinned at me but didn’t say anything. When we got home, I helped her bring in the groceries.
 
“Get anything good?” Dad asked when we came in. He unpacked the bags and started putting the food away.
 
“Well, I tried to get Miles to buy some valentines,” Mom said, winking at me. “He wasn’t having any of that.”
 
“Valentine’s Day isn’t that bad, is it, son?” Dad teased. “You get notes and treats from friends. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”
 
I tried to smile, but the flip-­flop feeling in my stomach was back. My friends were the best, but something about all the Valentine’s Day hearts and cupids made me want to stay away. I was over the holiday and it wasn’t even here yet.
 
“Leave my grandson alone,” Nana said playfully as she came into the kitchen. She hugged me around my shoulder. “Valentine’s should be about more than chocolate. Your granddad and I used to volunteer together to celebrate,” she told me. “We’d serve food to people in need, clean up the highway, send cards to service members. Nothing makes you feel better than helping others.”
 
“You’re right, Mom,” Dad said. “I was just messing with him. You know February is all about Black History Month for me.”
 
I liked when Nana talked about Granddad. He passed away when I was little, so I didn’t get a chance to really know him. He sounded like a cool guy. Nana always shared the fun things they’d done together. I wondered if she ever got lonely. She had us, but maybe she missed hanging out with someone her age.
 
***
 
The next morning at school, Miss Taylor said she had lots of activities planned for Valentine’s Day. I looked at my best friend RJ and my classmates gathered with me on the orange-­and-­blue carpet. Everyone was grinning. Was I the only one who wasn’t really feeling it?
 
“We’re going to write an ode to our favorite activity,” Miss Taylor said, the silver bracelets on her arm tinkling as she talked. “Anybody know what an ode is?”
 
Lena raised her hand. She loved writing. “A poem that celebrates something that matters to you.”
 
“Good job,” Miss Taylor said.
 
That wasn’t too bad. I could write about video games, bike riding, or science. And just like she had heard what I was thinking, Miss Taylor started talking next about doing chemistry experiments with candy. That got my attention—­I leaned in and grinned. I saw my friend Jada sit up straight, too. She loved science, just like me.
 
“We’re going to need some help for our special day,” Miss Taylor said. “In your take-­home folder, there are details about giving out valentines to your buddies, bringing goodies, and asking for adult volunteers.”
 
I immediately thought of Nana. I hoped that she could come.
 
***   
 
At lunch, it seemed like everyone was stuck on Valentine’s. I even heard a couple of kids whispering about crushes. Ugh.
 
At least RJ wasn’t caught up in the madness. He was all about the stash he’d get to bring home.
 
“I can’t wait,” he said between bites of cheese pizza. “Think of all the treats. Last year, my bag was stuffed like it was Halloween.”
 
I laughed.
 
Jada and her besties, Lena and Simone, sat on the other side of me. They were talking about the class party.
 
“I’m going to see if Pop Pop can make it,” Jada said.
 
“That’s a great idea,” Lena said as she dug into her chocolate pudding.
 
“Yeah,” Simone agreed. “Ask your pop pop. He’s fun.”
 
I remembered him from a nature trip we took with our class. He kinda reminded me of Nana. They were both easy to talk to and liked plants and being outdoors. Before I knew it, lunch was over, and it was recess. We lined up to go outside.
 
I was itching to play some kickball, but first I walked over to Jada. She was getting ready to jump double Dutch with her friends.
 
“I heard you say that you’re asking your pop pop to volunteer for the party. I’m going to ask my nana.”
 
“That’s cool,” she said. “Maybe we can introduce them. I bet they’d be friends.”
 
It was like a switch turned on in my mind. Thoughts started flowing. Our grandparents being friends would be awesome. I wondered if they had other things in common.
 
“What kind of music does your pop pop like?”
 
“Lots of stuff,” Jada said. “Jazz and R & B. He likes James Brown and a group called The Gap Band.”
 
“Really? My nana loves those, too.”
 
The more we talked, the clearer my idea became. You would think that planning to bring Nana and Pop Pop together would make me feel funny. But for some reason, the thought of them hanging out warmed me up inside.
 
Could they be a match?

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