HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8My Writing and Reading Life: Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Author of Just Like Me
My Writing and Reading Life- Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Author of Just Like Me

My Writing and Reading Life: Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Author of Just Like Me

The Children’s Book Review | April 6, 2016

My Writing and Reading Life- Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Author of Just Like Me

Latest published book …

Just Like Me – a funny, uplifting summer camp story about unlikely friendships and finding your place in the world.

You wrote it because …

I wrote Just Like Me because of my daughter Chaylee. She was adopted from China, and her “Chinese Sisters,” the girls adopted from the same orphanage she was, were the real inspiration for this story. They began life together in China and are now still friends. They also went to summer camp as the girls in the story do. Though my daughter’s experience is unique in many ways, it also embraces many truths that are universal for all middle grade readers.

Best moment …

This came when I finally finished the book because it was such a tough one to write. I call it my difficult child. For some reason, I had a hard time finding the real heart of this story. Thankfully, my awesomely, fabulous editor, Aubrey Poole was super encouraging and patient while we worked on my revisions. As a result, Just Like Me turned into a book I am really proud of.

Your special place to write …

I call myself a writing nomad because I’m a wanderer. I take my lap desk and write wherever I can find a quiet, comfortable place in my house.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

Here are the things I need to write: Spiral notebooks with fun, colorful covers and wide-ruled lines, pencils made of real wood with very nice erasers, a heavy-duty electric pencil sharpener for my pencils, my lap desk, and my laptop. Then I’m good to go.

Favorite bookshop …

Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL for two reasons. One – it is an awesome bookstore with a wonderful children’s section. Two – it is located two doors down from my favorite pizza restaurant, Lou Malnati’s. So, when I go to the bookstore, I almost always stop in for some pizza too.

Currently reading …

Island of the Blue Dolphins. I’ve read this book before, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Currently I’m reading it aloud to my daughter.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write…

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo because it is such a touching and compelling story, and the language used to tell it is absolutely beautiful.

An author you idol …

I really admire Katherine Paterson because I think her books say so many important things.

Favorite illustrator …

I love Peter Catalanotto – especially his illustrations in the picture book An Angel for Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant. What he does on each page adds so much to the story – it’s amazing to me!

A literary character to vacation with …

I would enjoy going on vacation with the kids from Klickitat Street – Ramona and Beezus Quimby and Henry Huggins seem like they would be tons of fun to hang out with. Maybe Ribsy could come along too.

Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Connect with Nancy J. Cavanaugh …

Nancy J. Cavanaugh is the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet and Always, Abigail. She has been an elementary and middle school teacher, as well as a library media specialist. She and her husband and daughter enjoy winters in sunny Florida and eat pizza in Chicago the rest of the year.


Just Like MeJust Like Me

Written by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Publisher’s Synopsis: In the tradition of Every Soul a Star and Inside Out & Back Again, Just Like Me is a funny, uplifting summer camp story about unlikely friendships and finding your place in the world from the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet.

Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters-we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They like egg rolls, and I like pizza. They’re wave around Chinese fans, and I pretend like I don’t know them.

Which is not easy since we’re all going to summer camp to “bond.” (Thanks, Mom.) To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Lake in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a camp trophy and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.

Told through a mix of traditional narrative and journal entries, don’t miss this funny, surprisingly sweet summer read!

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1492604273

Available Here: 


Discover more books like Just Like Me, written by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with , , , and ; plus, be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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