Excerpts: Chapters 1 and 2

Dear Kids and All Readers,

As I promised, today, July 23, begins two excerpts a week from Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse.

We are approaching the October 20 launch. Yay!

So, get a clue, Readers. I hope you enjoy this week’s sneak-peek!


From Chapter 1, “A Mystery from Eucalyptus Street”

A tremendous thunderclap propelled thirteen-year-old Lanny Wyatt right off the plush living room sofa. He had been dozing there after a heavy dinner, mesmerized by the drumming rain outside and the fire roaring in the enormous fireplace of the historic mansion on Eucalyptus Street. The immense estate had once belonged to an old-time Hollywood actor and actress. Their portraits, among others, had been staring down at him. Earlier he’d thought it was funny that the portraits’ eyes seemed to follow him around the room . . . but later, lying on his backside, not so much. The thunderclap was the final straw. He had scrambled to his feet

Lanny walked toward the floor-to-ceiling French doors and squinted through their tiny square glass panes. Beyond the flagstone patio, on the estate grounds, he noticed darkness had overtaken the old, windswept eucalyptus trees. Sheets of rain were blowing sideways, pelting and rattling the mansion’s windows. For split seconds, lightning illuminated the foliage with eerie strobe-like effects, giving the trees and expansive, rolling lawns a surreal, colorless appearance. This was the kind of night anything could happen. . . .


From Chapter 2, “Emeralds and Ancestors”

Isabela de Cordoba, the young woman who has hired the detectives to find an enormous emerald hidden on her family’s enormous estate in 1940, is about to read a letter. It is now 2015:

“I received an unexpected call two days ago from an attorney, a Mr. Troy Landis. He’s a partner in a long-established law firm here in town. He said he would be giving me a ‘secret letter’ written to me by my great-grandfather Lorenzo—more correctly, written to ‘Lorenzo and Alondra’s eldest descendant three generations hence’ and to be presented by an attorney on that person’s twenty-first birthday. My birthday.

She reads the letter from Great-Grandfather Lorenzo (excerpted):

“My dearest and eldest descendant of your generation —  . . . You are no doubt wondering why you are receiving a letter today from your long-deceased relative. No doubt you have also heard many stories down through the decades about “The Leticia Emerald” that was found in India. The emerald is indeed the primary focus of this letter.

I received the emerald in the mail from my sister, Leticia, who was in India in 1940. In the last five years, I have been unable to determine whether or not my brother and sister were ever the legal owners of the stone. This has haunted my dear wife, Alondra, and me to the point where we recently decided to hide the emerald for the rest of our lifetime and the lifetimes of the family’s next two generations. Hopefully, by the third generation descended from me, of which you are a part, some information will have come to light as to where and to whom the emerald truly belongs.

You are hereby charged with finding it if you choose—a Birthday Treasure Hunt . . .”

What’s the Story?

Dear Readers,

On July 9, I revealed the cover for Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse, Book 2 in my Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries series. Glad that’s finished!

Leading up to the book’s release on October 20, 2020, I plan to share two excerpts in chapter order each Thursday.

First, let’s start with the story’s synopsis. (Kids, that’s just a power word for “plot,” or “what the story is about.”)

So now, I present to you Book 2:

In 1945, Isabela de Cordoba’s great-grandfather, the famous silent movie actor Lorenzo de Cordoba, mysteriously hid a legendary, multimillion-dollar emerald somewhere on the family’s sprawling Eucalyptus Street estate. Seventy years later, the gem remains concealed. Nicknamed the “Green Curse,” the emerald is blamed for the Southern California familia’s numerous, untimely deaths.

On her twenty-first birthday, Isabela receives a secret letter with a cryptic poem. These documents from the long-deceased Lorenzo invite her to hunt for the gemstone. But first, she must decipher the poem’s six stanzas for clues.

To assist, Isabela hires her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the four Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, and their best friends, Moki Kalani and Rani Kumar. Eerie footsteps inside the mansion, unexplained occurrences in the adjacent cemetery, and the mysterious tenant in the backyard casita challenge them. But they ingeniously make progress on the poem’s meaning with startling discoveries. Sliding wall panels, a secret room, and hidden passages reveal much. The detectives aren’t the only ones looking for the emerald. The perilous race for the de Cordoba treasure is on!

So, get a clue, Readers. Come back next Thursday when I will share excerpts from Chapters 1 and 2. Until then, keep reading and writing! Thanks so much.

My Book 2 Cover, Finally Revealed!

Dear Kids, Teachers, Librarians, Parents, Grandparents, and Other Readers,

At last! Here is my cover for Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse. What do you think???

It depicts our four detectives hard at work. They have just solved a piece of the Puzzle Poem and are one step closer to finding the treasure. The Puzzle Poem has six stanzas that the detectives must decipher to reach their goal.

To celebrate the Cover Reveal and the book’s October 20 release, I will feature two chapter excerpts per week starting next week. At some point between now and October 20, I will also release the entire Puzzle Poem!

If you’re reading this today, July 9, please join me on my personal Sherrill Joseph Facebook page at 2 p.m. PDT when I go live to celebrate my Cover Reveal.

So, get a clue, Readers. Check my blog every Thursday at sherrilljoseph.com/news to get a head start on reading Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse!

A “Grand” Experience

Dear Kids and Other Readers,

The current Pandemic has separated many grandparents and grandchildren.

Wouldn’t it be fun to bring them together safely in a Zoom Book Club?

That’s just what I’m organizing with a local non-profit agency that has a bank of grandparents waiting to interact in this fun online activity. Better yet, they’ll be using my book, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets!

“Grand” Book Clubs can promote reading for fun, family dynamics, and getting my book into kids’ hands and hearts. The Grand pairs will read together at their leisure however they like. I will provide book club discussion ideas and ways to improve reading comprehension and kids’ engagement in the process from my years of teaching.

On a selected day, all the Grand pairs will come together on Zoom to meet me, have more book discussions, and ask questions! I’m so excited to see this unfold and to continue to hone my Zoom skills.

So, get a clue, Grands and All Readers. Stay tuned for more information in future blogs . . .

10, 9, 8 . . . Cover Reveal RSVP Time!

Dear Kids, Teachers, Parents, and All Readers,

Well, the countdown is finally on for my much-anticipated Cover Reveal for Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse, Book 2 in my Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries series!



What: My Online Book 2 Cover Reveal live on Facebook!    There will be Giveaways all day!

Who:  It’s being hosted by Adam Ross, a bookstore owner in Colorado, who kindly helps indie authors, especially during the COVID-19 shutdown. I will co-host.

When: Thursday, July 9, beginning at 8 a.m. PT.              ***I will go live at 2 p.m. PT.***    (That’s 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT, and 5 p.m. ET.)

I hope many of you–especially teachers, kids, librarians, and parents–will join in all day, but especially when I go live!  Please mark your calendars.

Where: The online Reveal will be on July 9 on Facebook. You can drop in and out during the day, but I hope to see you live at 2 p.m. PT.

How:  Please RSVP now  as “Going” using the following link. Use the same link to join in on July 9:


Or go to the Events tab on my website at sherrilljoseph.com/events for the link beginning July 1.

Or go to my website and click on one of the floating social media icons on July 8 or 9 for the link.

Why:  It’s time to celebrate virtually my stunning new cover in anticipation of Book 2’s October 20 launch.


So, get a clue, Readers. Join me for my Cover Reveal on July 9. Then, please share the cover on your social media platforms. That’s how you can help me build excitement for the book’s October. release Thanks so much for helping!


“Window, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors”

Dear Teachers, Librarians, and Other Adult Readers,

In seeking anti-racist resources for my last two blogs/news items (June 4 and 11), I discovered Rudine Sims Bishop. She is professor emerita of education at Ohio State University and considered the “Mother of Multicultural Children’s Literature.” You can Google her name for more fascinating information about her and her work.

She explains the value of acquiring and reading books to teach diversity via these three metaphors:

  1.  “Mirrors”:  Books are mirrors that allow readers to see themselves within the pages, thus affirming their own cultural beliefs, social values, and self-worth.
  2.  “Windows”:  Books are windows that introduce cultures different from the reader’s own, thus fostering changes of negative attitudes and stereotypes, appreciation of differences and similarities, and gaining knowledge of the history of another culture. Bishop says kids need both “Mirrors” and “Windows.”
  3.  “Sliding Glass Doors”:  Books are the glass doors that can provide a safe environment for readers to look through, open, and walk through in their imaginations to enter and become part of whatever world, new or known, the author presents.

So, get a clue, Readers. When looking for books for kids, think about Bishop’s three metaphors. All kids deserve a bookshelf full of Sliding Glass Doors that are both Mirrors and Windows to help create happy, confident, anti-racist citizens.