Simon Ellis, Spelling Bee Champ
Illustrated by Rob Shepperson (Margaret Ferguson Books/FSG, 2015)
Junior Library Guild Selection
How I Came to Write This Book
Simon appears as Kelsey's reading contest rival in Kelsey Green, Reading Queen; he's Annika's Sudoku contest rival in Annika Riz, Math Whiz; and he is a competitive racer in Izzy Barr, Running Star. When it was Simon's turn to star in his own book, I asked myself: "What problem could a kid have who is good at everything?" And the answer was immediately clear: "That he's good at everything." Simon is a very bright kid who has a wide range of intellectual and creative interests. He genuinely loves to read, and adores math, and savors playing the violin. And he shines as a speller because of his love affair with words, the longer and harder the better. But his best friend, Jackson, is getting tired of losing at everything to Simon - and when Simon tries letting Jackson win, Jackson gets even madder. Other kids start calling Simon "Super Simon" and then "Super Duper Pooper Simon." What is poor Simon to do? Hide his talents from his classmates? Pretend not to care about all the things that are dear to his heart? I hope this is a story with which gifted kids - or any kids who have ever felt different because of enthusiasms other kids don't share - can find themselves.