The 12th Candle by Kim Tomsic

Happy Thursday! Today's special guest is Author Kim Tomsic. She dropped by to chat with me about The 12th Candle, Les Paul, Megan Myers, and school visits. I wrote the words in purple, and Kim wrote the words in black. Thank you, Kim! 

The 12th Candle tells the story of a family curse, an “innocent” prank, and a magic candle. Since birth, Sage Sassafras has been plagued by the Contrarium Curse, aka the Curse of the Opposites, and it has pitted her against tall, rich, basketball star, Priscilla Petty. When Priscilla lands dunk shots, Sage throws bricks. When Priscilla has a good hair day, Sage gets tangles, and when Priscilla’s father lands a big promotion at work, things go really sour for Sage’s daddy.

So when Noodler, the biggest search-engine company in the world, challenges students at Goldview K-8 to the Doodle for Noodler art contest, Sage is determined to win fame before Priscilla can, and thereby change her reputation from infamous to famous. Plus, with a little help from a magic candle she received on her 12th birthday, she believes she can do even more! The candle brings pizza, art supplies, and new clothing—maybe it can change the curse, too, so Sage makes the ultimate wish—she asks for a curse-reverse. But the grass isn’t always greener.

With that wish, life goes wonky. Sage’s art skills tank, her BFF asks for a friendship break, and things at home flip upside down. Now with the candle’s magic wax running out, Sage needs to win back her friends and rally her frenemies, because if she doesn’t figure out how to break the curse and its reverse for good, she’ll be doomed to a life of opposites forever. 

The cake on The 12th Candle’s cover hints at the fact that a bolt of pink lightning unleashed the Contrarium Curse on Sage’s family a generation before she was born.

Did you know Sage Sassafras has read The Outsiders five times, and she loves Aladdin? Sage says it’s because the protagonists in both stories are judged as “bad” and nothing more than street rats. But it turns out they’re good and smart and a lot more than their circumstances. Sage’s favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back, because everyone finds out that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, but you still see that Luke is a good guy no matter what his father did.

Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World 
(April 9, 2019 Chronicle Books) is a 56-page picture book, beautifully illustrated by Brett Helquist. I’m excited to tell you this book is a Junior Library Guild selection, and I hope that means libraries everywhere will have it on the shelf, because I want kids to hear that even though someone says an idea is impossible, with grit, hard work, and determination the idea just might come to fruition. Guitar Genius is the nonfiction perseverance story of Hall of Fame icon, Les Paul, and the struggles he faced to engineer many designs that transformed the music industry. As a child, little Lester Polsfuss spent time inventing. Regardless of how many times he failed or who laughed at him, he kept trying. If Lester needed something and it wasn’t invented yet, he created it. I hope this true story of perseverance and curiosity pushes STEM to STREAM—science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and math.

Megan Meyers (from The 11:11 Wish) is the character most like me since she is the new kid in school. In fact, I was the new kid at eight different schools—plus I love wishes, dares, and magic, too!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about school visits. I love meeting readers! Here are a few of my school visit presentations (to learn more, please visit

Curiosity and Perseverence: (Guitar Genius)

This is a fun and interactive 45-minute slideshow and talk about Hall of Fame icon, Les Paul and my book, Guitar Genius. Curiosity and innovating are the focal points of this presentation with PERSEVERENCE at the core. Not only will we highlight Les Paul’s journey of curiosity and creating, but we will also discuss other success stories, considering individuals who refused to give up even when others said their goal was impossible. After the presentation, I like to offer another 10-15 minutes for Q&A. (Ideal for K-6)

Presentation: The 11:11 Wish

Wishes, Magic, Dares and STEM (The 11:11 Wish)

This is a 45-minute presentation with time afterwards for Q&A. It includes a fun and interactive talk and slide show about an author's life, inspiration to write The 11:11 Wish, and how the protagonist uses the scientific method to try and solve the mystery of the story’s magical consequences. The kids vote in a few polls including one on animals (since the protagonist volunteers at the humane society). Several volunteers wear lab coats and serve as assistants as we go through the scientific method. A good time is had by all! I like to add on 10 minutes at the end for Q&A. (Ideal for 3-6)

The 12th Candle Presentation: to come!

Kim Tomsic: Twitter = 

Look for The 12th Candle on October 8, 2019. 


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