Ellis and The Magic Mirror
by Cerece Rennie Murphy
Ellis discovers that someone or something is hiding out at Harriet Tubman Elementary and trying to stop children from learning. Determined to solve the mystery, Ellis, Toro, and his little sister, Freddye go on a secret mission to find out the truth about the mischievous Buddy Cruster and stop whatever he has planned.
Join Ellis, Freddye and Toro as their quest leads them deep into the forest and on an adventure you will never forget.
Book Reviews"A fun adventure that teaches goodness and the power of friendship. It is a great book that helps take reluctant readers to the next level. The story is interesting and highlights the importance of team work and the unique characteristics each of us have that adds to the team. The sky is the limit with the adventures this crew can have! Such fun"
-Mrs. Mommy Book Nerd blog
"A Children's Book 4 Geeks!When you read the first two or three pages of Ellis and The Magic Mirror, you're probably going to think that it's just a regular children's book with a generic... message that's supposed to come across to readers. Though shortly after...you'll realize it's much more than that. There are great lessons throughout the book that should not be overlooked. I highly recommend getting this book to share with young children. It's a great book to read to kids and you'll have as much fun reading it as they will listening to it."
- Black Girl Nerds
"The vocabulary and reading levels are very appropriate for second and third grade readers. The...plot is great [and] kept my attention. I also like that the main characters are African-American children dealing with normal...lives. I have struggled to find books with African-American characters who are not stereotyped or set in a time period of racial struggle...great job!!! ."
- M. Erb, 2nd Grade Teacher
"Delightful and unexpected. Young readers will thoroughly enjoy this book."
- Tanya Barnett, Founder and CEO, Forever Free Books
Order copies today:
Message from Cerece Rennie Murphy, Author
Ellis and The Magic Mirror is about a young boy who finds a magic mirror and discovers that there is a secret society of trolls hiding out at his school that is trying to prevent children from learning. The book takes readers on an action-packed adventure as Ellis, his best friend, Toro, and his little sister, Freddye head deep into the forest to solve the mystery of the mischievous trolls. The story of Ellis and The Magic Mirror is laced with themes that emphasize character building, the unique qualities that reside within every child and the value of learning, family and friendship.
With full color illustrations integrated throughout this five-chapter story, Ellis and The Magic Mirror was written and designed to facilitate an easier transition from storybook to chapter book for young readers (ages 6-10 years old). By combining the vibrant images that storybook readers are accustomed to with a more challenging narrative, Ellis and the Magic Mirror strives to encourage early readers to dive into more complex stories, without sacrificing beautiful imagery.
As a mother of a 7 year old boy and a 4 year old girl, I think this book would be a good fit for your organization because a) it's unique in the world of early reader chapter books that typically leave vibrant illustrations at the front cover, b) it fills a growing need that I am seeing among parents and teachers for books that capture the attention of reluctant readers, (especially boys) while still moving their reading abilities forward, and c) it offers a diverse group of main characters who are doing cool things in a world that is modern and full of possibilities.
For your convenience, I have included a book summary and a picture of the cover with this email. Ellis and The Magic Mirror was released in hardcover and paperback on August 18, 2015. The book is also available now in a digital form at Amazon.
Feel free to read the first chapter and learn more about Ellis and The Magic Mirror here. Review copies are available in paperback and electronic format.
I thank you in advance for your time and hope that you will consider sharing Ellis and The Magic Mirror with your family, friends, educators, network and social club members. I am available to answer any questions you may have. I hope to hear from you soon.
Cerece Rennie Murphy, Author
Meet Author Cerece Rennie Murphy
Wow, we're starting right in with the deep stuff! OK. You know, I really think that God has led me to where I am in my life today. As a young girl, I never expected to be happily married with two beautiful children. I never expected to be a writer, much less a published author. Honestly, I expected my life to be rewarding career wise and lonely in every other sense. I'd worked hard to get a good education, so I expected to be financially independent. I also knew I wanted children, so I planned to be a mother, but I expected to be on that journey alone. If I got married, I expected to get divorced and have to raise my children alone. I know that sounds pretty bleak, but it's the truth of how I saw my life right up until my early 30s. When I look at my life now, it is very clear that this is God's vision for my life, not mine, and I'm so grateful that God had bigger dreams for me than I ever could have imagined for myself.
But through everything, I always knew that God was with me and I got that knowledge from my mother, who is THE MOST spiritually connected person that I know. She prays without ceasing with a prayer book that was handed down to her from my grandmother who was a PRAYER WARRIOR. Grandma Mary was NO joke! No weapon against her had any hope of prospering! Though she passed more than a decade ago, I know I live in the benefit of her prayers today. These two women, my mother and my Grandmother, are women of incredible faith and courage. I stand on their legacy and it has always motivated me to do and be my best.
BPM: Was there ever a time in your life you let FEAR block your path? If so, how did you overcome it?
Me and fear are well acquainted. Though I don't know if I've ever let fear block my path, it sure has slowed my progress quite a bit. The fear and doubt around writing and publishing the Order of the Seers trilogy was brutal at times. With the 2nd book especially, it was like doing battle every day, just to get a page written. I would cry and shake, convinced that no one would like what I'd written, that I had no talent or no right to do what I was doing.
But the thing about me is that, on some very visceral level, I hate being afraid. I hate letting fear control me. There are many good reasons not to pursue something, fear is rarely one of them. I have been an avid reader since I was 5 years old. I know what a story can do. I know that each story you are given is a blessing from God - a calling. That's why I feel so honored to be a writer, to be given a story to tell. So if I let the fear win, what I'm saying to God is, "You gave me this blessing, but I'm too afraid to share it. I know you would not have given me this blessing if I wasn't equipped to share it, but hey, it doesn't matter. I think my fear is more important than your purpose." Can you imagine saying that to GOD? Yeah, exactly - me neither! My fear of wasting the breathe of God within me trumps almost any fear I have. But that doesn't mean I no longer feel afraid. I think, with each thing I do, I just get better at managing the fear, so that I can get what I need to get done. If that doesn't work, then I remember that the bottom line for me is, these stories are not about me at all. They are about the people who will be blessed, inspired and entertained by them.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
Sure. I'm so excited that my first children's book titled, Ellis and The Magic Mirror. This is a very special book to me because my son asked me to write it for him and we worked on the story together - from story concept to illustration and cover approval. Ellis and The Magic Mirror is about a very curious boy named Ellis who finds a magic mirror and discovers that there is a secret society of trolls at his school who are trying to stop children from learning. Ellis, his little sister, Freddye, and his best friend, Toro go on an adventure in the forest to uncover the mystery of the trolls and stop whatever they have planned. It's an early reader chapter book with lots of action. The book is targeted towards readers age 6-10 who are transitioning from story book to chapter book. The feedback that I've been getting from educators and kids is really exciting. I can't wait to share it!
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
The fact that my son asked me to write him a book was really all the inspiration I needed. I don't think it would have occurred to me to write a children's book without him asking me, but it was such an honor that I couldn't refuse. But besides that, I noticed that there was a real need for chapter books that helped with the transition from storybook to chapter book. Last year, before my son first asked me to write a book for him, I knew his teacher was struggling to find reading material that held his interest. To make matters worse, his teachers and I couldn't get him to try chapter books, even though he was more than capable of reading them. When I asked him why, he said to me that "There were too many words and no pictures." So when he asked me to write him a book, I knew it was my chance to address a need that I was seeing in our home, hearing from his teachers and other parents who were experiencing the same thing I was. I set out to develop a story that combined full color illustrations with a complex narrative and as much action as I could get away with in a children's book.
My husband and I also noticed that it was getting harder and harder to find more advanced books that featured children of color - even more rare, was a child of color in a fantasy adventure. Most parents don't have the knowledge on how to produce a children's book, even if they want to, but when my son asked me, I thought, "I actually know how to do this." I'm proud to be a part of the #weneeddiversebooks movement.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
I think my work speaks to people who are seeking thought-provoking literature that many not be conventional - readers who want to be spiritually-inspired and entertained. Although Order of the Seers is adult science fiction and Ellis and The Magic Mirror is a children's fantasy adventure, they are essentially about the same thing - people discovering their true calling and power and using that gift to change the world for the better.
Watching the news these days can be a soul crushing experience. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by all the horrible things that are happening. But I believe that ordinary people can save the world. I believe this because I know there is no such thing as an ordinary person. We are all superheroes, but most of us have no idea how powerful we are and so we act like ants when we're actually giants - giants who can see the future because we create the future with our thoughts, our words and our actions. We can do these things because we are children of God and God has given us these abilities.
My writing is all about finding that awareness in myself and helping my readers discover the same truth for themselves because I believe, once we understand our true power, nothing can stop us from healing this world. If you like your spirituality wrapped in an action packed adventure, you'll probably enjoy my books.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved working with our son on this book and seeing him see himself in the story. He owned every part of the creative process. He told me what he wanted in the story. I wrote the words and he edited them, telling me what made sense, what didn't, and what he thought would be "even cooler". His confidence in participating (and expecting to participate) in the development of this book made me so proud. He's actually really good at giving constructive criticism in a very thoughtful way! I also loved being able to show him how much I love him by writing and publishing a story just for him.
BPM: Writing gives you a way to share your boundless imagination in your fiction books. But this book is different. How do you use your writing to serve others in this book?
I know that our little boy isn't the only little boy who needs to see himself in the stories he reads, whether that means as an African-American, a kinda nerdy, kinda goofy kid, or an adventurer with an insatiable curiosity. My son will tell you that he's not the cool kid in school, but he doesn't care. He's charting his own path and I hope this book encourages other little boys and girls to step out of the mold and rejoice in their own uniqueness.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
I learned that God is constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone before I've even had a chance to settle in and that I need to get used to it. LOL!
BPM: What were your goals for this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My first goal with this book was to write a book that our son could read and enjoy. My second goal was to make sure that our younger daughter felt engaged with the story (At first, when I told her about the trolls, she wanted NOTHING to do with it.). They both sleep with copies of the book in their beds. I've caught both of them looking at it late at night. It's been one of the most incredible experiences of my life - to think that I could create something that they would like as much as Dora or a Magic Tree House book. Those were my primary goals and it feels incredible to have met them. Now, I hope that other children can enjoy them as well.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
Oh, man. Well, I'm already working out the story concept for the 2nd Ellis and The Magic Mirror book with my editor/son. I'm also so excited to start on a historical romance novel that I've had in my head ever since I finished editing the final book in the Order of the Seers Trilogy last fall. I don't usually read romance, but I adore loves stories with a supernatural element and this one has totally captured my heart. I've already started writing scenes for it, but now that Ellis and The Magic Mirror (Book I) is finished, I can really dive in!
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Well, first of all, thank you for this wonderful interview. It really gave me a chance to explore my journey in a new light. :-)
If you'd like to learn more about Ellis and The Magic Mirror, you can visit the series website at: http://www.theellisseries.com
For more on my science fiction trilogy (and me, as a writer), visit http://www.cerecerenniemurphy.com
I'm on Twitter @cerecermurphy and Facebook at:
And finally, I'm on Instagram at https://instagram.com/cerecermurphy
Hope to see you there!
Ellis and The Magic Mirror by Cerece Rennie Murphy and Gregory Garay (Illustrator)