Book Review: Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

MADE in Lake County is a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Some links provided in this story are affiliate links. 

Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. This month we have gotten to know Natalie Rompella.  Natalie is a local author with a new book, Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. Today Maureen is going to tell us about the book.

Starting middle school may be one of the most daunting, stressful transitions in a child’s life. Gone are the warm friendly halls of elementary school, replaced with new faces, changing classes each period, homework and big projects. Add to that the changing dynamic of friendships, and new levels of stress come into middle schoolers’ lives.

Image provided by Natalie Rompella

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella tells the tale of one new middle schooler, Ana, who loves to spend all her spare time in the kitchen with her best friend Lily. The story starts as the girls compare their new middle school schedules, and realize that they don’t have homeroom or any classes together, a familiar dread faced by middle schoolers everywhere. Ana is feeling especially challenged, as she prepares to start middle school while managing her obsessive compulsive disorder, which causes her to fixate and obsess on cleaning to avoid germs. Her best friend Lily is the only friend she has who knows about Ana’s OCD.

As the story unfolds, Ana and Lily realize their dream of collaborating on their huge explorations project at school has been dashed by Ana’s homeroom teacher, who assigns partners. Ana is matched with Dasher, a new girl from Alaska who doesn’t know her way around the kitchen at all, and wants to make their project about sled dog racing, something that Ana has no idea about! Meanwhile, Lily has found a new partner in homeroom, causing stress and jealousy in their friendship.

Following Ana’s journey, in the kitchen, the school cafeteria, and the dog shed was relatable to all kids who have had to navigate new experiences and friendships during middle school. Her added struggle of managing her OCD despite all the changes in her life was explained in a relatable way that all kids would appreciate and understand.

Baking and sled dog racing may seem like an unusual combination, but Natalie Rompella weaved the sport into the book so that the story really makes sense. After reading the book, my 10-year-old daughter and I researched more about sled dog racing and the amazing work the trainers and dogs do together. And the added recipes in the book have already inspired some baking around our house. Most of all, the story of changing and growing friendships inspired us to reflect upon how we can add new friends to our lives without losing the special relationships are already in place. We couldn’t put the book down and had many conversations about friendships, anxiety, OCD, differences between people, sled dogs and middle school. Reading it together was a great bonding experience for us.

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners is a wonderful book for readers age 9 to 12 as they prepare to gain independence and navigate the world on their own. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for her event on January 20 at 12:00 p.m. when Natalie Rompella will be at the Barnes & Noble at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon hills for a book signing.

Natalie Rompella, MADE in Lake County
Photo credit Jessica Weinstock

Natalie is available for classroom presentations and school workshops. She offers multiple program options for different age groups, including writing workshops or interactive educational presentation on bugs.

Natalie Rompella, Children’s Author
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Disclosure: Natalie Rompella, Children’s Author, is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer of the story. If you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our series please contact the sales team at sales{at}LittleLakeCoounty{dot}com.

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

Natalie Rompella Children’s Author

About Maureen Collier 30 Articles
Maureen calls Vernon Hills home and four children call her “Mom.” With her children (boy 2/06, girl 9/07 and twin boys 6/12), Maureen is a busy Stay-At-Home Mom, who dedicates herself to modeling an active lifestyle for her family.

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