Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sophie Washington : The Gamer

Genre: Children's Middle Grade

Forty days without video games? Oh no!

Sixth-grader Sophie Washington and her friends are back with an interesting book about having fun with video games while keeping balance. It’s almost Easter, and Sophie and her family get ready to start fasts for Lent with their church, where they give up doing something for 40 days that may not be good for them. Her parents urge Sophie to stop tattling so much, and encourage her second-grade brother Cole to give up something he loves most, playing video games. The kids agree to the challenge, but how long can they keep it up? Soon after Lent begins, Cole starts sneaking to play his video games. Things start to get out of control when he loses a school electronic tablet he checked out without his parents’ permission, and comes to his sister for help. Should Sophie break her promise and tattle on him?


Now that I am getting older and am in the sixth grade, I can understand more of what our pastor is saying in the sermons. Today, he was talking about how hard it can be to stay away from things we like that may be bad for us.

“Temptation is a daily struggle for all,” he preached.

“The struggle for me is staying awake for two hours,” complains Cole. “I wish I could have been with my friends in children’s church.”

Cole prefers going to the special service for kids, and was mad that Mom and Dad made us join them in the main church this morning.

“It’s getting closer to Easter, and I want you to get a better understanding of what the holiday is all about,” Dad explains. “In children’s church, all you pay attention to is the snacks.”

“Those donuts they bring in are good!” Cole exclaims.

“Maybe we can stop by the donut shop on the way home.” Mom squeezes his shoulder.
I roll my eyes. Since Cole is the youngest, he’s my mother’s pet.

“Have you kids given any thought as to what you want to give up for Lent?” Dad asks.

“What’s Lent?” questions Cole.

“Lent represents the 40 days Jesus was in the desert and the devil tried to tempt him, or get him to do things he shouldn’t do,” Mom explains. “During the 40 days before Easter, we celebrate Lent by giving up something we like to eat or do that keeps us from thinking of more meaningful things, just like Jesus did.”

While designed for children 4-6, I don’t think there is anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this easy but very interesting read.  I also don’t think there are too many people who wouldn’t identify with it in one sense or another.  Definitely a message many children and parents could benefit from.
In today’s life of social media and digital games, we all sometimes find it difficult to concentrate or focus on what is most important.  This is true of adults and kids.  How do we accomplish this and more importantly, how do we teach our kids to do so.  Ellis’ book teaches a lesson in self-control and yet none of this book seems like a lesson. Portrayed in a narrative by the 6th grader, Sophie, this seems like a realistic story of a family, their children, and the everyday problems they face. 
This is also a well-designed book. Its easy to read with just enough graphics to follow the story.  Well-written, well-designed and timeless.

There are several other “Sophie” books and all have good ratings.  Seems like it would be prudent to check them all out.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:  Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. (see below)

Tonya Duncan Ellis was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She loves reading so much that as a child she took books with her everywhere. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was a teen.
Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer. She's an award-winning author of the Sophie Washington children's book series, geared towards readers ages 8 to 12. The books recount adventures of Houston, TX preteen Sophie Washington and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, and The Gamer. When she's not writing, Tonya enjoys reading, biking, swimming, travel and spending time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.



  1. It’s great to be on your blog! Thanks for featuring me! 😊

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for thanks for stopping by my tour Kathy! Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour, I hope it is a fun one for you, and thanks for the chance to win :)

  4. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Best of luck on the Giveaway and To Tonya best of luck on your book

    1. I’m glad to get the exposure for my book Kathy. Thanks again! Hope I find some new readers.

  5. Great post, I enjoyed following the tour :)

    1. Thanks Victoria. You’re a winner in my Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie tour so I’ll be contacting you about that. Congratulations! 😀

  6. I was really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!


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