Port Washington author Beth Ain’s series for second through fifth graders, “Starring Jules,” has been chosen in the "Best New Series" category of Parents Magazine’s 10 Best Children’s Books of 2013.
“We do the Ten Best every year because we are huge fans of children’s books. Helping parents sort through the thousands of children’s books that come out every year is a great service to our readers,” says Karen Cicero, contributing editor to Parents magazine.
Ain says it was thrilling to find out hers had won. “I was blown away,” says Ain, 38.
“Starring Jules” is the story of a second-grader with so much pizzazz that she’s noticed by a casting agent who wants to make her famous. In the first book, “Starring Jules (As Herself),” released in March, Jules auditions for a TV commercial. In the second book, “Starring Jules (In Drama-Rama),” released in September, she is cast in a pilot for a sitcom. All the while, she navigates the hurdles of second grade social life in her Manhattan school.
Children help Parents magazine choose the winners from the finalists presented to them by librarians, Cicero says. “What the kids really loved about ‘Starring Jules’ was that it was really funny and really relatable,” Cicero says. “They love it that the dog in the book ate broccoli. That cracked them up.” Cicero also complimented the dialogue in the book for capturing the way kids really talk to each other. The 10 Best list is published in the magazine's December issue.
A third book in the series, “Starring Jules (Super-Secret Spy Girl),” is due out in February. In that book, Jules is in a movie. All the books are hardcover, published by Scholastic, and cost $14.99.
Ain has also just finished a fourth book in the series, in which Jules starts third grade. That book won’t be out until fall 2014.
Ain moved to Port Washington with her husband, Jonathan, a corporate lawyer, and their two children, Grace, now 8, and Elijah, now 6, three years ago from the Upper West Side. She says that being in the universe of small children inspired her to write about them. “I was looking myself for books that represented a more modern, urban family,” she says. So she created a series herself.
Click here to see all of the Parents magazine Top 10.