She has won a so-called “prize” in her school: to read her essay in front of her entire smallish town. Except that Ruby has a bad case of stage fright. Help comes in the guise of her eccentric Great Aunt Alice, who may—or may not—have been a starlet in the golden age of film.
Great Aunt Alice floats between two worlds: day-to-day reality, and a world of memory (or fantasy) in which she hobnobbed with the likes of Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, John Barrymore and Vivien Leigh. Her colorful stories—of helping Barrymore prepare for a role, teaching Bogart to whistle, pulling Brando out of bed to audition for The Godfather—will entertain and delight readers of all ages.
What’s more, each of Alice’s tales contains one of her nine “secrets to becoming a star.” These secrets, which unfold as Ruby prepares for her speech, ensure that she shines when the big day comes, her fear of public speaking now just a memory. The two come to appreciate each other—and readers come away with down-to-earth, effective public speaking tips.
Targeted Age Group: 8-12+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
About the Author:
Nancy Buffington is a former English professor who now is self-employed as a public speaking coach. She remembers being outgoing and carefree as a young girl, then becoming shy and withdrawn at around Ruby Lee’s age. From sixth grade through graduate school, she only spoke in class when called on by the teacher, and it was always a painful experience. While teaching public speaking at Stanford University, she discovered the transformations that occurred in students’ lives when they learned to speak effectively—and happily–in public. She now teaches outside the classroom, helping professional adults find and use their voices. She lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband Clyde, sons Jesse (19) and Gabriel (11), and four tabby cats: Betty, Grace, Lola and Cleo. While she has published a range of academic pieces, this is her first children’s book.