Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk, Authors of Fashion Academy | Selfie and a Shelfie
We snapped this selfie at BookCon in May where we launched Fashion Academy! It was a whirlwind! We signed 200 books in about 10 minutes and could barely catch our breath. But it was so exciting to see all these people lined up for it. When you work so hard on a new series it’s thrilling to arrive at that moment when the book is out and it’s real and you are talking to your readers for the first time.
This is Carrie’s book shelf; a mix of fashion handbooks like Teen Vogue and Michelle Phan, our first series Peace Love and Cupcakes, and assorted fave fiction like Gossip Girl, The Outsiders and So Be It.
There are lots of little frames of me, my mom and dad, and the little knit rug was my first time knitting! I had to save it!
People could learn that my taste in books runs from cupcakes to classics to page turners! My bottom shelves are filled with scrapbooks and albums and my fave picture books from when I was little. I have a hard time getting rid of any book I love. Even if I’m too old for Knuffle Bunny, I like to see that book smiling at me from my shelf.
About the Authors
SHERYL BERK has written about fashion for more than 20 years, first as a contributor to InStyle magazine, and later as the founding editor in chief of Life & Style Weekly. She has written dozens of books with celebrities including Britney Spears, Jenna Ushkowitz, Whitney Port, and Zendaya—and the #1 New York Times bestseller (turned movie) Soul Surfer with Bethany Hamilton.
Her daughter, CARRIE BERK, is a renowned cupcake connoisseur and blogger with over 105,000 followers at the tender age of 12! Carrie is a fountain of fabulous ideas for book series—she came up with Fashion Academy in fifth grade. Carrie learned to sew from her grandma “Gaga” and has outfitted many an American Girl doll in original fashions. The Berks also write the deliciously popular series The Cupcake Club that was recently made into an off-Broadway musical, Peace, Love, and Cupcakes at Vital Theatre in New York City.
Written by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk
Project Runway meets the tween scene in a trendy new series from the authors of The Cupcake Club
At the Fashion Academy of Brooklyn, FAB is a way of life.
Fashion-forward MacKenzie “Mickey” Williams is thrilled to be accepted to FAB Middle School (Fashion Academy of Brooklyn), a school that serves as a training ground for the fashion designers of tomorrow. (Their motto, “We are SEW FAB”). But when her daring fashion and stellar grades turn the Fab A-listers green with envy, Mickey discovers that standing out doesn’t always make it easy to fit in. So when friendly classmate JC comes up with a plan to help Mickey fit in, she decides to take the ultimate fashion risk—ditch her personal style for good.
One mega makeover later, pink-haired Mickey Williams mysteriously disappears, and the trendy, blonde “Kenzie Wills” shows up on the FAB scene, blending with the other students in a way Mickey never could. But when Mickey starts to lose herself to “Kenzie,” she’s not sure that fitting in is worth cutting herself down to size…
Ages 10-12 | Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | July 7, 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1492601623
Excerpt from FASHION ACADEMY by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk:
First Day Jitters
After spending the weekend with her aunt, Mickey concluded that Olive wasn’t that bad—at least not as bad as her mom made her out to be. She was just a bit uptight. It was hard for Mickey to understand how she and her mom could be sisters, much less fraternal twins. They had the same curly strawberry blond hair, though her mom highlighted hers and wore it long and loose and Olive pinned hers back in a tight bun. She recognized her aunt’s eyes as well—they were emerald green, just like her mom’s. Too bad she hid them behind thick tortoise shell glasses. Then there was her style: Olive looked like she had stepped out of a time warp. She wore a ruffled pink blouse, long pearls, and an A-line brown skirt. Maybe she was going for a retro 50s vibe? It was the opposite of her mom’s ripped jeans and vintage rock tee shirts. Maybe there had been some mistake and they were switched at birth? Maybe her Granny Gertrude got confused and accidentally picked up the wrong baby in the park one day?
Olive was also a neat freak who insisted that everything be “spic and span” and in its place.
“Mackenzie, clean up after yourself!” she scolded when Mickey left her sketchbook and colored pencils on the kitchen table. No one called her Mackenzie; her mom only used it when she was mad at her. It was a name she barely recognized or answered to. But as many times as she corrected Aunt Olive, she insisted on calling her by her “proper name.”
“Mom calls me ‘Mickey’ and I call her Jordana sometimes,” she tried to explain.
“I don’t care what you call your mom or she calls you. And you call me Aunt Olive out of respect,” she warned her.
Mickey wrinkled her nose. “Really? Mom says she called you Olliegator when you were little. I think that’s cute.”
Olive pursed her lips. “I’m an adult,” she replied sternly. Aunt Olive was an executive assistant at a big law firm, and she took everything very seriously. “Your mother needs to grow up.”
But that was exactly what Mickey loved about her mom—how she was such a free spirit and never cared what anyone thought or said about her. Mickey tried her hardest to be that way, but sometimes it was hard.
For the first day of FAB, she set her alarm for 6 o’clock so she would have time to style her outfit properly. She was proud of how it had all come together. She’d taken a beaten-up denim jacket from a thrift shop and dyed it black before adding crocheted doilies for trim at the collars and cuffs. It said exactly what she wanted it to say about her: “I’m edgy but feminine.” And wasn’t that what fashion was all about? Not just a trend or a style, but a reflection of who you are and how you’re feeling? That was what Mickey loved about designing the most, and what she had written on her FAB application:
“I love how you can speak volumes with a single stitch. Fashion should be fearless! I want to be a designer who always colors outside the lines and thinks outside of the box…”
She was pretty sure Aunt Olive didn’t see it that way. Her idea of taking a fashion risk was wearing a skirt that was hemmed above the knee.
“Does it really go together?” she asked, noticing how Mickey had paired her jacket with a white tank top and bike shorts, both of which were splatter-painted with green and yellow drips.
“It isn’t supposed to go,” Mickey told her. “It’s supposed look creative, which is what FAB is all about. Pushing the envelope!”
She added a pair of green cat’s eye sunglasses.
“Well, it’s colorful,” her aunt sighed. “I’ll give you that. And so is your hair. Good heavens!”
Mickey had created green stripes in her long, wavy blond hair with hair chalk.
“Now for the finishing touch!” she said. “No outfit is complete without accessories!” She slipped her feet into a pair of black high top sneakers, tied the yellow laces, and grabbed her bag.
“What is that?” her aunt asked, scratching her head. She squinted to make out the words on Mickey’s tote.
“It used to say ‘Louis Vuitton’—it’s a bag you keep a really fancy expensive bag in. Which if you ask me, is pretty silly,” Mickey explained.
Olive seemed puzzled. “You mean a dust bag? You made that out of a dust bag?”
Mickey spun the tote around. “Two of them, actually!” The other side read, “PRADA.”
“What? How? Why?” Olive asked.
“Well, it’s perfectly good flannel,” Mickey replied. “And don’t you think it’s kinda funny? A statement about recycling? I used two leather belts for the straps and jazzed it up with some studding at the seams. It cost me about $4 total at the flea market!”
She threw the bag over her shoulder and glanced at the clock. It was 8, and the school bus would be along shortly to pick her up on the corner.
“Your breakfast is ready,” Olive said, handing her a glass of green sludge. This was worse then yesterday’s quinoa and fruit concoction! She missed her mom’s breakfasts of left over Chinese Take Out omelets or cold pizza. But Aunt Olive insisted she start the first day of school with “something healthy and nutritious.”
“Do you have any chocolate milk?” she asked, getting up to check the fridge for something edible.
“This is better for you. It’s fresh kale, celery, cucumber, ginger and a touch of agave. It’s delicious.” She took a big sip of her own glass and licked her lips.
Mickey wrinkled her nose. It didn’t look or smell delicious. “I think I’ll grab something in the cafeteria,” she said, pushing the glass away. “I’m too nervous to eat.”
It wasn’t entirely a lie. She was pretty terrified for her first day at FAB. Just then, Mickey’s phone rang.
“All ready to conquer the world?” her mom asked.
“I think so, Jordana,” she replied.
“Ah, I see. We’re trying to sound very mature this morning. Send me a picture of the first day outfit and call me tonight. I want to hear all the deets.”
Mickey smiled. Her mom was trying to sound cool. “I will. Love you.”
As the bus pulled up to the corner of Columbus Avenue, Mickey took a deep breath. This wasn’t just the first day of FAB. It was the first day of the rest of her life. The first day of everything.
Discover more middle grade books like Fashion Academy, by Sheryl and Carrie Berk, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Carrie Berk, Clothes and Fashion, Middle Grade Books, and Sheryl Berk; and be sure to follow along with our Selfie and a Shelfie series.