Woo hoo! G.G. has always wanted to snowboard, and now she gets her chance. She boldly tells her family, “It’s the halfpipe or nothing!” But it’s a lot harder than she expected. Can G.G. brave that crazy flying couch, the lift? Slide the rails at the terrain park with her cousin Carlos? Or even ride the big, scary halfpipe? Shred the mountain with sassy, spunky G.G. in the first of this fresh, new chapter book series for kids ages 6-9.
Join G.G.—an eight-year-old Hispanic girl who lives in a big-city apartment —as she explores the joys and pitfalls of snowboarding for the first time, and the ultimate adventure of snowboarding down a real halfpipe. A thrilling read for kids in first through fourth grades. With photo illustrations by a former member of the U.S. Snowboard Team!
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And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:
The popcorn piece flew high above my face. I had to twist my neck and open my mouth really big, but… I caught it!
“Six,” I said as I chewed. This was a new record.
My dog, Pretzel, stared at me.
See, we have this game. I sit upside down on the couch, with my feet up high and my head hanging down. I like to watch TV this way. It makes all the shows better.
Then I get a bowl of popcorn and hold it on my stomach. I toss one piece of popcorn and try to catch it in my mouth. I like to see how many I can catch in a row. If I miss, Pretzel gets to eat it.
Pretzel loves this game.
As I was about to attempt seven in a row, Dad came home early from work.
“Hey, G.G.,” he said. “How’s spring break so far?”
“Pretty good. I’m trying to get to twenty in a row.”
“Ah,” he said. “Impressive.”
“Maybe I have a better plan,” he said. “We can go to the mountains.”
I tossed a popcorn piece. Aw, dang it, I missed. “Okay,” I said.
My family goes to the Rocky Mountains a lot. My Aunt Christina and Uncle Frank live there, near a ski area. We usually build a snowman and stuff like that. It’s okay.
But what I really want to do is learn to snowboard. Every time I ask, though, my mom says it costs too much. Or it’s summer and there’s no snow. My cousin, Carlos, got to learn two years ago. So not fair.
So going to the mountains does not get me too excited.
I tossed another popcorn piece. Dang it, missed again.
Dad said, “Also, I have a surprise.”
My hand stopped in the popcorn bowl. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” he said. “This time I thought we could snowboard.”
I rolled my feet over my head and stood up as popcorn flew all over the room.
“SNOWBOARD?” I asked. “Really? Really, really?”
“Really, really,” said Dad. “We’ll go up later today—when Mom, Grandma and Bell come back from the store.”
“Can Pretzel come?”
“I think it would be better if he stayed with Isaac. Why don’t you go ask if it’s okay?”
I ran down the stairs to Isaac’s. He lives one floor below us, in our apartment building in Denver. He’s also in my class. I don’t care that he’s a boy—he’s still a good friend.
When Isaac opened his door, I jumped up and down and yelled, “I get to learn to SNOWBOARD!”
He covered his ears. “Ouch.”
“Sorry,” I said.
He uncovered his ears. “When?”
“We leave later today.”
He asked, “Do I get to keep Pretzel?”
“If your dad says okay.”
We found Isaac’s dad working on his laptop. He likes Pretzel, so he didn’t even look up when he said, “Sure. All week?”
“Yep,” I said. “I get to learn to snowboard.”
“That’s nice,” he said. I don’t think he really listened, but that’s okay.
I told Isaac I’d be back later, with Pretzel and his food. “But maybe don’t feed him a ton today. He’s already had lots of popcorn.”
“You missed?” Isaac asked. He knows about my game.
“Okay,” Isaac said. “Bye, Geeg.”
Isaac is the only one who calls me “Geeg.” Everybody else calls me G.G. Except when I’m in trouble. Then I hear very loudly, “Gabriela Garcia!”
I hear my whole big name a lot.
Anyway, I left Isaac’s and went to the elevator. I use the elevator when I’m not in a hurry. I love to push those buttons.
When the door opened, Mom, Grandma Garcia and my sister, Bell, were inside.
“Hey, guess what?” I said, getting in with them. “We’re going to the mountains to snowboard!”
“Aw,” Bell wailed, “Mom! You said I got to tell G.G.!”
Then Bell stuck out her bottom lip. That is what Bell does when she doesn’t get her way. In our family, we call it The Lip. And it usually lasts all day.
Little sisters are a PAIN.
But today it didn’t even bother me. Today I was going to the mountains. To snowboard.
And not even a little sister could ruin that!
It was not my fault The Lip came out—again—in the car.
When we left our apartment, Dad said we’d be at my aunt and uncle’s house in no time. To me, that meant super quick.
Super quick went by and we were still in the city. So I asked nicely, “When will we get there?”
“Soon, G.G.,” said Dad. “Be patient.”
Every kid knows that soon means FOREVER. Frustrating!
The second time I asked when we would get there, Mom said, “Didn’t you bring your Eye Spy game?”
Yes, I did bring my Eye Spy game.
But I was bored with Eye Spy way back at super quick. I’d put it down and Bell picked it up. She’d had it the whole time.
So I took it back.
Now don’t you think it’s unfair that Bell kicked the back of Dad’s seat, screamed and put out The Lip… and I got in trouble?
I crossed my MAD arms.
Meanwhile, Bell yelled and lipped, Dad sighed and Grandma Garcia hummed to block out the noise.
It was loud in that car.
Mom tried to change the mood. She said, “Aren’t you two excited to learn to snowboard? What do you think you’ll do first?”
Bell roared, “I DON’T KNOOOOOOOOW!”
Well. I knew.
I played snowboard Wii at Isaac’s a lot. AND I’d seen snowboarders on TV. That was so cool I even watched it sitting right side up. So I knew all about it.
“First,” I told my family, “I’m going to the terrain park and ride some rails. Then I’ll catch some big air on a few jumps. Then I’ll ride the halfpipe.“
Not only did this make everyone in the car go quiet, but The Lip went away, too.
“Um,” Dad said finally, “that’s very bold, G.G. But maybe you could start smaller. Like with a ride on the lift.”
Ha! I thought my family knew me better than that.
“Nope, Dad. I’m going to shred all week.”
“What’s shred?” asked Bell.
I said, “It’s when snowboarders go down the hill.”
“Oh,” she said. “Is it hard?”
“Nope,” I said. “Well, maybe.”
“Why don’t we just see how it goes,” said Mom.
“Yeah,” said Dad. “Let’s not make any big plans for now.”
Well. I wasn’t going to finally get to snowboard and just wait and see.
So I said, “It’s the halfpipe or nothing, Dad. And that’s final.”
The next morning, Aunt Christina made pancakes and bacon because a good breakfast is very important. That’s what Mom always says when I make a face at runny eggs.
Which are GROSS.
But eating with cousins is a different kind of problem.
“Carlos,” I said, “you got syrup on my pants!”
“So?” Then he stuck out his tongue. Carlos is nine—only one year older than me. But sometimes he still acts like he’s in kindergarten. He’s a hard cousin to have.
I ignored him. Today was too special to let Carlos bug me.
I asked, “May I have more orange juice, please?”
“Sorry, kiddo, all gone,” said Uncle Frank. “Who wants the last pancake?”
“Me-me-meeeeeeee,” said my other cousin, Cari. She is little like Bell so she is sometimes a pain.
Still, I was not going to get grumpy.
“All right everybody,” said Uncle Frank. “Go get ready. We leave in half an hour.”
I jumped up from the table and ran to my big bag of stuff. I had to put it all on because it’s very cold on the mountain. I saw it on the Discovery Channel (upside down).
First, if your hands and feet get too cold, you get frostbite. That’s not when a big snow monster bites you, it’s when your fingers and toes get so cold they fall off.
Actually, first they turn black and THEN they fall off. Gross.
Also, you have to wear goggles over your eyes or you might get snow blind. That’s when the snow gets so bright it pokes light icicles deep into your eyes and you can never see again. Ever.
Also, you have to wear a helmet. Everyone knows why. Duh.
Here is what I put on, very carefully, so I wouldn’t get poked by light or have fingers fall off:
Extra thick socks. I like my toes and want to keep them.
Stretchy pants. Mom calls them yoga pants, but I don’t do yoga. I just wear the pants.
A shirt that comes up to your chin. It’s called a turtleneck because it makes you look like a turtle in a shell. Weird.
Goggles? Check. Mittens? Check. Warm Socks? Check. Helmet? Duh. Time to snowboard!
Snow pants. They keep you from getting wet. Very important. Because if you get wet, you get cold. If you get cold. . . there go body parts, falling off like crazy.
Helmet. Ditto duh.
Gloves. And not just any old mittens. These are extra special warm and thick so your fingers DO NOT FALL OFF.
Goggles. We already talked about those.
Once all my special mountain stuff was on, I went to the mudroom—where there was no mud, by the way. Weird!
The mud room was where we put all the snowboards and boots we’d rented the night before.
My snowboard went to my chin. Dad got one that goes to the top of his head because he likes to go fast, and a bigger snowboard goes faster. Dad’s snowboard is HUGE.
I put on my boots, picked up my snowboard and went out to Uncle Frank’s van. I put my board in the back and buckled up. I was ready!
But my family was slooooow.
So I waited.
Finally, Bell, Carlos, Cari, Dad, Mom and Uncle Frank were ready to go. Aunt Christina and Grandma Garcia were going to stay home and watch a movie. Boring!
I was so excited I had to wiggle my legs just a little, but I did not kick the back of Uncle Frank’s seat. No I did not. This was a special day, and I was screaming so loud inside that I had to be very quiet outside.