Calvin And The Sugar Apples

Calvin And The Sugar Apples

(The Collective Book Studio, August 2023)

A relatable middle-grade reader that taps into essential life lessons about friendship, grief, and talking through feelings.
Calvin is a twenty-one-year-old chinchilla and has always been there for ten-year-old Amelia whenever she needed to talk about her problems—but he is no longer in his cage, and her parents just say he’s in a “better place.” Everything feels wrong without Calvin. Who does Amelia talk to about her disappointments at school? Who does she talk to about missing Calvin? And just when Amelia thinks she’s completely alone, a new student, Iris, arrives. Amelia learns that expressing oneself can happen in different ways, but it always starts with talking it out.

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Calvin And The Sugar Apples


"Debut author Oliveira’s lush prose brings the Portugal setting to life and portrays Amelia’s grief with realism. Her struggle to manage her emotions, as well as the deeper understanding she reaches of herself and the people around her, is endearing and rewarding. Balezza’s b&w pencil illustrations appear throughout, adding nuance to Amelia’s heightened feelings."

Publishers Weekly

"Calvin and the Sugar Apples is a sensitive and rich children’s novel — a thoughtful, warm reflection on overcoming loss and embracing change."

Foreword Reviews

"Original, deftly crafted, and inherently interesting from start to finish, Calvin And The Sugar Apples is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library fiction collections for young readers."

Midwest Book Review

"A big-hearted book, perfect for anyone who has ever loved a pet."

Carlie Sorosiakauthor of Always Clementine

"This is a relatable, charming and heart-wrenching story of a child trying to deal with loss. It reminds us that grief manifests in different ways and that talking about it helps."

Ellen Banda-Aakuco-author of The Elephant Girl

"Plotted as crisply as a ballet, with all the down-to-earth details of family life, brimming with color and humorous asides, this is a book unafraid of dealing with the weight of grief that exists even within the young."

Katherine Vazauthor of Above The Salt

"Calvin and the Sugar Apples is a heartfelt, touching story about what it means to be a friend, coming to terms with loss and the emotional stages of grief."

Samantha Solarzlibrarian

"Amelia’s journey of finding friends and healing heartbreak is as sweet as her beloved sugar apples."

Tamara Bundyauthor of Pixie Pushes On

"With Calvin and the Sugar Apples, Oliveira delivers a heartwarming tale about coping with the loss of a treasured companion. The story is complemented by Balezza’s stunning illustrations, making this book one that any young reader would enjoy, and one I will not soon forget."

George Jreijeauthor of the Shad Hadid children’s fantasy series

"This delicately told story deals with the weight of missing a treasured companion in a nuanced and balanced way through the eyes of a child who finds strength and comfort in new and unexpected ways. It will warm your heart!"

Tina Athaideauthor of Orange For The Sunsets

"With language more poetic than prosaic, Oliveira tells Amelia’s story for all the kids out there who have trouble expressing themselves. It will break and heal your heart all at once."

Cookie Hiponiaauthor of We Belong

"This book is beautifully written with a poetic feel that’s perfect for middle grade kids. Middle grade kids are often dealing with their big feelings about friendships, confidence, worthiness, loneliness and sadness, and this story will capture not only their but anyone’s heart."

Gloria Amescuaauthor of Child Of The Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter Of The Nahua

"A tender and touching story about loss and love, family and friendship, and ultimately, healing. A wonderfully crafted book that will reach middle-grade readers and parents alike. A beautiful debut."

David A. Robertsonauthor of On The Trapline

"A touching, heartwarming, and enlightening middle-grade novel about grief, family, friendship & the importance of true communication."

CrystalElementary Library Teacher

"Oliveira’s skillful storytelling pulls the reader in while inviting them to embrace empathy. A great read for parents and children alike!"

Arianne Costnerauthor of My Life As A Potato

"Calvin and the Sugar Apples is a big warm hug of a debut, as wise as it is charming, and a wholehearted ode to friendship as it helps us to heal and reconnect."

Adele Griffinauthor of A Blackberry Farm Story series

"Calvin and the Sugar Apples has enormous heart. Ten-year-old Amelia is sometimes awkward, often tongue-tied, and ALWAYS a bright shining star, even when she doesn’t know it. Readers will adore her!"

Lauren Myracleco-author of Upside Down Magic series

"A bittersweet story that deals with grief, sorrow, friendship and letting go. The author writes the story in a gentle way to help tweens navigate the waters of losing someone, in this case a pet chinchilla, with ease. This is definitely one I will recommend for library collections."

Deborah Zemanlibrary media & instructional design specialist