Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes by Candy Wellins and Jess Rose

Hello, Candy Wellins! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! Thank you for stopping by to discuss Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes, a special picture book that is going to help children have meaningful and important conversations. When did you know you needed to tell Mabel’s story?

Candy Wellins: Thanks for having me back! I’ve wanted to tell Mabel’s story for a long time, probably since I was a little girl living in two homes myself. My parents were divorced and just like Mabel, I often found having two houses confusing—especially when I was trying to remember where the bathroom was in the middle of the night!

I was a teacher for many years and now a mom to three young kids. I see so many kids living Mabel’s life and not only because of divorce. I see kids torn between homes because of foster care, new jobs and immigration. Home is your sanctuary, and it can be very hard when that sanctuary isn’t stable.

I hope those kids living in multiple homes find a kindred spirit in Mabel and embrace the adventure they are living.


Scenario: Imagine you’re booktalking Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes to elementary school guidance counselors.

Candy Wellins: Divorce is a very relevant topic for young readers. Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes acknowledges the frustration and confusion of not just the divorce itself, but also the life after the divorce. Adults can move on and start new lives, but the kids are literally stuck in the middle, often living out of suitcases as they travel between mom and dad. It’s rough. There are daily struggles for these kids, but they’re also resilient. Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective to help us see the possibilities in a rough situation. Mabel may not have an ideal setup, but she does a good job of making the best out of it.


Please finish the following sentence starters: 

Jess Rose’s illustrations capture Mabel’s moods perfectly. From uncertainty to disappointment to relief, you can tell exactly how Mabel feels just by looking at her face.

Izzy may be just a class pet, but she knows a bit about having multiple homes and is the the inspiration Mabel needs.

John Schu, you should have asked me how my geoduck book is coming along. Last time I was here I told you about my upcoming young graphic novel, A Geoduck is Not a Duck. We’ve signed Ellie Peterson on as an illustrator and she’s done a marvelous job bringing the characters to life. That book comes out in March 2024 and I hope to be back to share a sneak peek when it’s ready.


Yay! I look forward to discussing A Geoduck is Not a Duck. Thank you, Candy! 


Candy Wellins is a former elementary school teacher and has a BA in journalism and a master's in literacy education. She's now a full-time mom to three wonderful children who keep her up-to-date and immersed in children's literature. She is the author of Saturdays Are for Stella and The Stars Beckoned: Edward White's Amazing Walk in Space. She and her family make their home in Central Texas. When she's not reading, writing, or mothering, Candy loves running, traveling, and taking naps!


Jess Rose is an illustrator and designer living in Yorkshire, England. She has loved to draw her entire life, creating characters and helping tell stories that children can relate to. She has two children and uses her experience as a parent to inspire her work.


Look for Mabel's Topsy-Turvy Homes on October 25, 2022. 


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