BOOK SCAVENGER Sparks Stories of Found Items

We kick off our celebration of the release of Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s middle-grade novel, BOOK SCAVENGER, with stories about the impact that found items have had our lives. But first, some excerpts from  her book’s fabulous reception from reviewers. (Hold your applause, please!)  Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, calling it ” Full of heart and replete with challenging ciphers for readers to decode.”  Kirkus praised it:  “A debut that challenges the brain while warming the heart.”  Booklist commended it: “A lively first novel.” And, finally, a chuckle from Goodreads: “ I love this book! Disclaimer: I also wrote this book. 🙂  Jennifer.”  CLAP! CLAP!


Here’s the plot summary:  Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol:  Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target.

Janet Fox:

Free Clover Clipart - Public Domain Holiday/StPatrick clip art ...I’m really good at finding missing things. I call it my “superpower.”  I don’t think I’ve ever found something that’s changed a life, but my entire family has come to count on my ability. I’m not even sure how I do it sometimes – it’s not logical. Maybe it’s a bit of ESP! Oh, and if you ever want a four-leaf clover, I’m your girl .

 Elaine Vickers:
 My favorite aunt had three charming and obedient daughters. They always brushed their teeth, but the oldest daughter, who was the most well-behaved, seemed to get many more cavities than the others.  Nobody was quite sure why. It was a mystery . . . until the family packed up their furniture to move and discovered a tiny mountain of chewable fluoride pills under her bed.

Mylisa Larsen:

One winter as I hauled out the dead Christmas tree, I solved the mystery of why my kids had been so much better about cleaning up the family room during the holidays. Apparently, when I told them to clean up, they’d just been stashing all the toys inside the tree. As I dragged it down the driveway, it started to shed toys–dozens of hotwheels cars, tinker toys, legos,  action figures and someone’s socks. The volume of what they’d stashed in those conveniently bushy branches was astounding!

Donna Bowman Bratton:

One December, when I was about ten years old, I came across something mysterious in our garage. It was large. Very large.  And covered with blankets. I peeled one away and found a beautiful white and gold dresser. I was dumbfounded. At that moment, my older brother walked in.  “You have to keep it a secret,” he said. “That’s Mom’s Christmas present.”

I was so excited to be charged with this ginormous and glorious secret! I knew my mother would feel like a princess when she saw it. I could not wait to see the look on her face. Could. Not. Wait. Well, after a sleepless Christmas Eve, the anticipated morning arrived.
“Can we give it to her now?” I whispered to my father.
“Not yet,” he said.
After all the other gifts were unwrapped, my father and brother disappeared to the garage and carried in the beautiful dresser.  Then they went back to the garage and brought in a headboard, foot board and canopy that looked too small to fit my parents’ bed. And it was too small, because the furniture was their gift to me.

Penny Parker Klostermann:

Recently, one of my sisters and I were visiting my parents. As we were helping them organize closets and cabinets, my dad mentioned that they had some boxes in the basement that hadn’t been touched for decades. We headed down there and found a book my mom had created for a high school project. My mom, who is 84 and has dementia, had forgotten about it.  The project required that she write her life history from the time she was born until her senior year in high school. It was organized into chapters filled with her funny stories,  photographs, and drawings. For the rest of that afternoon, we took turns reading it aloud and listening to my mom reminisce about each chapter. What a scavenging treasure!
Carole Gerber: 

My dear mother-in-law Bette died in 2013, a few months shy of her 90th birthday.   She was widowed twice, first in her forties and again a few years before she died.  My husband, daughter, and I flew to Minnesota to sort through her things and get her home ready to sell.  My daughter Jess and I discovered a small train case filled with cards from her second husband, who passed on at age 87.  One read: “Happy birthday to my wife who’s got it all – capability . . . versatility . . . and lovability.  (Signed) Your loving husband, Don. May God bless you always. ” An anniversary card was signed, “You’ll never know how much I love you. Don.”  Jess and I sorted through them all – crying and laughing (some of them were racy!).  We all still miss her, but take comfort in knowing that she was cherished throughout her long life.

Maria Gianferrari:

Maria's great-grandfather's poems.

Maria’s great-grandfather’s poems.

I found a book of handwritten poems written by my maternal great- grandfather, Placido Costa. The worn and tattered notebook is dated, 1913, and they’re written in Italian, in numbered verses. I remember having a feeling of deep satisfaction and connection. It may sound strange, but that poetry was somehow in my blood—that it was his legacy to me somehow. I later found out that his son, my great uncle Salvadore, a Catholic priest, also wrote poetry in his spare time, but I never knew him very well. The poetry bug then skipped a generation— neither my mother or any of her siblings were interested in writing, but I was bitten.


Want to win your very own signed copy of BOOK SCAVENGER?  Please leave a comment here, or after of any of this week’s posts, for a chance to win!

You can also buy BOOK SCAVENGER at the following locations:




Barnes & Noble

Thanks for joining us here at Emu’s Debuts! Please visit again on June 3rd, 4th, and 5th for  new and exciting posts on Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s BOOK SCAVENGER.


Filed under Book Launch

18 responses to “BOOK SCAVENGER Sparks Stories of Found Items

  1. What wonderful stories! Beautiful post, and it’s only made better by the fact that it’s celebrating the release of Book Scavenger!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Adam. I look forward to your book’s debut in September!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mariagianferrari

    Thanks, Carole! I loved reading about all of these surprising found treasures.

    Janet–I lost a pair of silver hoop earrings that I loved about 6 years ago–any psychic thoughts? Too bad we live in a different house now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I truly love your story about your great-grandfather, Maria, and appreciate that you shared it – and the photo – with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tamaraellissmith

    What lovely and magical moments you have captured here! Thank you Carole! And hooray Jenn and BOOK SCAVENGER!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fun post! And a great way to celebrate Jenn’s book release 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Awesome, Carole! Jenn, the more I learn about your book, the more I’m dying to get my hands on it – to the point where I just ordered my own copy, because I can’t wait for the ARC. Because ordering a copy is something we can all DO now! It’s real! It’s here! Congratulations and hooray!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks, everyone, for your comments – and best wishes to Jenn for sales that match her reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Suzanne Morrone

    I love the story of found things, especially the ones that give insight into family history. Sadly, my aunt’s house was emptied by a despicable person and I lost all our family records, photos, and the possibility of discovering hidden or lost treasures. So reading about others finding things fills a need in me… And, I’m so excited to finally read this book! Hey!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Suzanne Morrone

    That “Hey” was supposed to be “Yey!”


  11. Can I share my favorite “found” story? We were at a street fair, and I admired a hand-beaded ankle bracelet at a craft booth. I wasn’t sure, though, so we walked on. When we had seen the whole fair, I decided I wanted the bracelet so we went back to the booth but the bracelet was gone. Oh well, I thought, it wasn’t meant to be. We started walking toward our car and we hadn’t gone more than two or three blocks when my eagle-eyed son said, “Hey Mom! Look at this!” Sure enough, there was the very bracelet I had wanted, lying on the sidewalk, just waiting for me.

    Can’t WAIT to read your book, Jenn. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Janet Fox

    I LOVE this book!!! Kids will, too!!

    (I hereby volunteer to try and find your lost items, although I’m blanking on the hoop earrings at the moment.)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If you are coming to the Wisconsin gathering, I expect you to distribute four-leaf clovers to all EMUs, Janet!


  14. These are such wonderful stories, everyone! I’m loving reading them. Thank you guys so much for making this such a fun week!


  15. You are welcome, Jennifer! We hope sales of BOOK SCAVENGER will match its fabulous reviews.


  16. I was fortunate to read and then hide a copy of BOOK SCAVENGER in Vermont a couple of months ago. It’s now in its third hiding place! What a fun idea!


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