Adventure in Utah: The Back Story

My middle grade novel ME AND THE WEIRDOS was originally published back in 1981 by Houghton Mifflin. Later it was published in paperback by Bantam, excerpted in a Holt Anthology, translated into French, and won an ALA/CBC Children’s Choice Award and the Utah Children’s Book Award. 

Over the years I’ve received lots of fan letters from children who read the book, from all over the US and other countries. But we’ll get to that later… Last June I received the most unexpected, beautifully written, sweet email ever!!…from two high school seniors named Eva Perkins and Ashley Berrett who live in Blanding, a small town in southeastern Utah. They began by saying that they had been chosen as Sterling Scholars, a scholarship program in Utah.

Eva Perkins, Sterling Scholar for Music





Excerpt from their email:

Ashley Berrett, Sterling Scholar for Drama

 I have always had a strong love of reading, and part of that love came from reading and re-reading your book “Me and the Weirdos.” It was my mom’s book before it was mine, and she read it, too. It is a book that taught me valuable lessons about accepting people for who they are and loving life. 

The email went on to say…

Well, as sterling scholars, we are currently trying to write a musical for our local middle school to perform…we both really liked the idea of using a children’s book as a plot basis. Immediately, I thought of “Me and the Weirdos.” It has a perfect quirkiness to it that every musical needs, and it teaches very good lessons that lots of middle schoolers need. 
     …So, I’m asking if we can use your book as inspiration for our musical… As an aspiring author, I am very excited for the possibility of using one of the books that helped me form a love of reading as a musical idea… 
So of course, I wrote back, “No way!” Just kidding! I said Yes and thanked them for asking permission. They later told me that upon receiving my response, there was much jumping up and down and shrieking. Stay tuned…


2 Responses to “Adventure in Utah: The Back Story”

  1. T. Leilah Murphy

    This is one of those moments when you have to believe that stars really do align. A remarkable account of the young women who as children were introduced to a remarkable book — seeing something in it that others had overlooked.

    Jane, your book will surely find its way into the hands of my great nieces. Now how do I get an autographed copy?

    (I look forward to reading all the coverage of this once-in-a-lifetime event. … or perhaps it is just the start of a new journey for your work. Now that would be a beautiful thing … especially for this lover of books and theater!!!) — Leilah

    • AdminJaneSutton

      Thank you for your appreciative words, Leilah. I will be working on getting the book back in print and will keep you posted!


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