Friday Feature:

Mackenzie Goode Makes a Mistake

Author’s Inspiration:

The Mackenzie Goode Books are a series: Mackenzie Goode Makes a Mistake. To date, there are three in the series:

  1. A Big One
  2. In the Kitchen
  3. On the Basketball Court

The genesis of Mackenzie’s first mistake was lifted from my own childhood—I couldn’t keep my mouth shut while the principal read our class a story.  I got in BIG trouble—with a punishment that likely didn’t fit the crime:  In a dark classroom, my teacher scolded me: “If you were my child, I would hit you.”

My mother was appalled. Certainly, by my behavior, but even more so by the behavior of my educator. Mom told me, in no uncertain terms: “Nobody has the right to touch you, hit or, or threaten to do so.”

Mom had her own talk with the principal and assigned me her own punishment too: I had to write an apology letter to the principal for my rude behavior. My teacher never apologized to me. I always wish she had because we all make mistakes. I wrote the ending I wished for: for me, my kids, and all kids! We must own our mistakes, address them, and learn from them—grownups and kids, alike.

About the book:

Eight-year-old Mackenzie Goode has a sense of humor that always gets her into trouble.  But in third grade, she makes the ultimate promise to herself: no more mistakes. Mistakes are for babies and the last huge mistake she made, back in second grade, caused her a forever grounding and to see a look in her parents’ eyes she never wants to see again: disappointment. When the principal of the school visits Mac’s class as a mystery reader, (some of the children were expecting teen pop idol Baylor Fast) Mackenzie’s will is tested. Instead of listening to the principal read, Mac sings her best friend, Cheese, a song she makes up about their friendship. Right in the middle of class!

Mac winds up in the worst sort of trouble!  The see-you-after-school kind of trouble. The kind of trouble that is sure to create that look in her parents’ eyes she was trying so hard to avoid. Fixing this sort of mistake won’t be easy, but with the help of Cheese (and her parents) Mac tries.


Mackenzie Goode looked at herself in the bathroom mirror and tried to brush her hair for the first day of school. ”Wrong,” she said. “Just wrong.” She used water. She used her sister’s fancy hair gel. But nothing worked, and her hair wouldn’t lie flat. Mackenzie was blessed with a great sense of humor, but had eight—count them, eight—cowlicks, those things that made her hair look crazy no matter how many times she brushed it.

On the first day of third grade Mackenzie’s cowlicks were not agreeing with her at all, especially the one above her left ear. That’s why she wore two pigtails every day in second grade. But this was third grade and Mackenzie Goode promised herself she would not wear pigtails in third grade. Pigtails were so last year. The kids would make fun of her. She would shoot a joke back at them. And who would get in trouble? Mackenzie. That’s who. And that would be a mistake. And there was another thing Mackenzie promised herself: she would not make any mistakes in third grade.

About the author:

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. The first book I ever wrote is called The Bunny and The Eggs.  This character driven tale is about the Easter Bunny, his hard work, and his love for the holiday. I bound it with masking tape and my mother wrote The End in cursive.  To me that was exactly how a real book was supposed to look!

I grew up in Tenafly, NJ, attending Ralph S. Maugham School, Tenafly Middle School and Tenafly High School.  I graduated in 1983 and went on to Villanova, but not before my high school guidance counselor looked at my grades and said, “Boy, I thought you were smarter than that.”  At the tender age of 16 I was a bit devastated.  I have since learned that we all excel at different things and at different times.  Academically, I blossomed in college.  I have been fortunate enough to pursue what I love—writing.  When you find the thing you are passionate about, do it.  If you are lucky enough to make a career out of it, that is success.

I write across genres, including romance, women’s fiction, middle-grade and chapter books. There is nothing I like more than telling stories (and mining golden nuggets from my own life). My hope is that my audience enjoys reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

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