Welcome to my stop on the Calvin Sparks and the Crossing to Cambria blog tour! I’m really excited to share this middle grade novel with you. Don’t you just love the cover? Read on to find out more about the book.
What Will Your Disneyland Be?
By Rusty Anderson, author of Calvin Sparks and the Crossing to Cambria
I remember it well. It was a dark night. My friends and I were staring at an abandoned, two-story house. Some of the windows were broken. The front lawn was dead. Weeds had overrun the flower beds. Bushes reached over the walkway, ready to grab our ankles. Some people believed the home was a refuge for the homeless. Others thought it was haunted. Perhaps it was both. As curious kids, we were going to have a look around.
To my relief, the front door was locked. A friend suggested we try the back door. I turned the handle and pushed the squeaky door open. The inside was dark. Too dark to see anything. A friend dared me to jump in through the door and scare whatever was on the other side. I was about to do it, but I had a feeling we should go back home for flashlights.
Thirty minutes later, I pushed that same door open and shined a light inside. In the floor in front of us, there was a large hole–a trapdoor that was wide open. I noticed stairs leading down into the darkness. Chills ran up my back as I lifted the lid and slammed it shut. I didn’t want anyone to fall in.
We quietly tip-toed through the house, trying to spook each other around every corner. Nearly every step we took up the spiral staircase squeaked. When we got to the top, we shined our lights into a nearby room. Clothes were strewn about the floor. In the closet we saw an unraveled sleeping bag. It appeared that it was occupied. We had enough and we quickly fled the scene.
The biggest mistake I made that night, more than twenty-five years ago, was closing the trapdoor. For a long time I had wondered what was underneath that floor. And after years of imagining witches, werewolves, or dungeons, I finally figured it out.
This experience inspired many ideas as I wrote Calvin Sparks and the Crossing to Cambria. Calvin and his friends access the magical world of Cambria through a trapdoor in the floor of an abandoned cottage.
Without imagination, Calvin Sparks would never have been written. And I think it’s safe to say, without imagination life would be pretty boring. Imagination is being able to form ideas or concepts that are not present to the senses. I believe anything we do in life requires imagination. And the more one exercises his imagination, the better off he’ll be.
Walt Disney is an example I like to use when teaching about the importance of imagination to children. Everyone knows who Walt Disney was because they all know what Disneyland is. A little background on Walt Disney: he was fired from his newspaper job because he lacked imagination. But Walt Disney kept with his love for animation, even through failed businesses. He developed various cartoons, one of them being about a mouse. His development of Disneyland didn’t come until later in his career, but when it did finally become a reality, Mickey Mouse became the mascot.
Walt Disney’s vision of Disneyland was to have it be a place where families could come and be happy. Mickey Mouse’s primary role was to run around the park and take pictures with the guests and help spread happiness. When Disneyland first opened, it had only a handful of rides. Most of the rides at Disneyland that you would call your favorites today, Walt Disney never saw. But he would be fine with that, because he had vision. Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Imagination allows one to create. It allows one to look outside the box. It allows one to approach problems in different ways. No matter your role in life–musician, school teacher, athlete, doctor, mother, father–your imagination can keep you creating by thinking of new ideas or concepts others have never seen.
And who knows…just as Calvin Sparks was created from my imagination, your imagination can allow you to create your version of Disneyland. What’s stopping you? What will your Disneyland be?
Live. Imagine. Create.
About the Book:
Calvin Sparks and the Crossing to Cambria by Rusty Anderson
Age range: 8-12
Grade range: 4-7
Print Length: 270 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (November 9, 2014)
“I told you,” said Perry. “I told you we’d find it.” Calvin smiled and shook his head at Perry.
“You were right, Calvin,” Anna said, standing in awe. “You were absolutely right.”
For years, Calvin’s grandfather has told him stories about a cabin deep in the woods that holds an amazing secret. Then one day Calvin and his two best friends find the cabin. Inside they discover more than just the world’s coolest clubhouse. This is The Crossing—a magical portal that takes them to another world.
Soon all three are in Cambria, a fantastic world filled with bizarre people, wonderful food, real magic, and even dragons! There Calvin learns that his family has a secret history and he’s swept up in the same dangerous mission that got his father killed thirteen years ago.
Can Calvin, Anna, and Perry stand up to the evil sorcerer Galigore and his grotesque minions? Or is Calvin doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps? This epic adventure story is perfect for kids and parents alike. Full of action, adventure, mystery, and magic, it’s an entertaining read that will keep you guessing.
About the Author:
Rusty discovered his passion for writing at an early age. When he was in the fourth grade he was given an assignment to write, illustrate, and bind a book. He liked it so much, he wrote three––most of which were pretty awful. One of those books, however, received accolades at a district writing competition.
Originally from California, Rusty is no stranger to apple boxes and packaging tape. He attended three different middle schools and two different high schools between California and Utah. He lived in Guatemala, learned to speak Spanish, and eventually made his way back to Utah, where he graduated from the University of Utah. Rusty was the editor of a monthly Utah newspaper and currently pays the bills doing graphic design and marketing.
On the weekends, Rusty stays up late playing games and watching movies with his family. He and his wife, Jayne, reside in the beautiful mountains in Heber Valley with their six children.