Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence
Oregon’s National Book Festival 2023 Children’s/Middle Grade Title
Named in the Bank Street College of Education's Best Children’s Books of the Year
⭐"[Sonja] Thomas’ debut will pull at readers’ heartstrings. A noteworthy debut." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Cover Art by Brittney Bond
Cover Design by Tiara Iandiorio
From the Desk of Zoe Washington meets Ways to Make Sunshine in this heartfelt middle grade novel about a determined young girl who must rely on her ingenuity and scientific know-how to save her beloved cat.
Twelve-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend Thomas just moved a billion and one miles away from Florida to Washington, DC. Her dad is job searching and he’s been super down lately. Her phone screen cracked after a home science experiment gone wrong. And of all people who could have moved into Thomas’s old house down the street, Mira gets stuck with Tamika Smith, her know-it-all nemesis who’s kept Mira in second place at the school science fair four years running.
Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has been the most stable thing in her life lately, but now he seems off, too. With her phone gone and no internet over the weekend at her strict Gran’s house, Mira must research Fig’s symptoms the old-fashioned way: at the library. She determines that he has “the silent cat killer” diabetes. A visit to the vet confirms her diagnosis, but that one appointment stretched family funds to the limit—they’ll never be able to afford cat insulin shots.
When Mira’s parents tell her they may have to give Fig up to people who can afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the $2,000 needed within a month. Armed with ingenuity, determination, and one surprising ally, can Mira save her best (four-legged) friend before it’s too late?
Publisher: Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 22, 2022
Length: 368 pages
Ages: 8 - 12
"Middle grade readers looking for realistic stories with engaging protagonists will enjoy meeting Mira, a girl whose passion for science gives her a sense of purpose and the tools to solve problems." - School Library Journal
Interviews / Reviews / Featured
Book Review: Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence | Fantastic Books & Where to Find Them, May 26, 2022
Book Talk : Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence by Sonja Thomas | Read with Val, March 30, 2022
A Heartfelt Summer Read about STEM-Girl Power, Cats, & Having Faith in Yourself | The Quiet Pond, March 16, 2022
2016 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship Recipient: The Edna L. Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers Literature
Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship Judge’s Comments
It’s impossible to resist the charm in Sonja Thomas’ *Mira & Whiskers*. Starting with the unforgettable opening line, “I live in a world of suck,” Thomas immerses her reader instantly into Mira’s world—a place rich with love, hope, humor, and an infectious abundance of youthful energy and optimism. Seeking solace and wisdom from her “massive, humongoid cat” Whiskers, Mira is an endearing protagonist who agonizes over cleaning her room, her father’s unemployment, and her desire to become the World’s Greatest Scientist. Not once does Thomas’ authentic voice falter. It’s evident she has a masterful command of creating relevant stories for young people, written in an accessible and truthful narrative that consistently comes across as genuine. Here she has painted a compelling, heart-warming tale of a young girl discovering her potential and true self. Young readers will certainly identify and connect with Mira—and many will fall in love with the equally adorable Whiskers. As a writer, Thomas maintains an extraordinary ability to find beauty in the ordinary and celebrate it for all it’s worth.
*original title for my middle grade debut novel SIR FIG NEWTON & THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE