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2. A JAR FULL OF BUTTERFLIES – Middle Grade Literary Fiction

Monday, 3 November 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Assorted_Uzi_Water_Guns_lgMentor Name: Brenda Drake and Brooks Benjamin

Mentee Name: Donna Munoz


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Literary Fiction

Word Count: 50,000


After leaving Mexico to live in Texas, Graciela’s beloved traditions are slipping away. But when her plan to get her family back home goes horribly wrong and her sister is diagnosed with cancer, she must let go of the past and embrace her new life or risk being left behind.


Outside my window, the motor of my papí’s truck screeches, and then click, click, clicks. He’s trying to get it started, so he can leave to work, but it won’t budge. This happens almost every morning. Maybe it doesn’t like to wake up. Same as me.

It never did this back in Mexico. Even the truck knows better. Texas isn’t home. I climb down from the top bunk and press my forehead against the cool window. My tired eyes blink at the new sun.

Papí rests his head on the steering wheel. The truck looks glum under the shade of the driveway’s canopy. He tries to revive it again. Its rusty body shudders and stops.

I know exactly what he’s doing in that truck. He’s gently pumping the gas a few times, begging it to start. “Ándale, mi niña.” He’ll say in Spanish. This means, “Come on, my little girl.” He straightens and does the sign of the cross and lowers his head to pray. Papí’s old truck needs a lot of coaxing and a lot of prayer. If that truck doesn’t start, he won’t get to work.

Sometimes I wish it wouldn’t start. Then he’d come back in and maybe sit at the breakfast table with me, and we could eat and talk and laugh, just like we used to, Graciela and Papí. Now, that only happens on Sundays.

I consider praying for the truck not to start. But instead, I do my own sign of the cross, hoping for a miracle.

Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Ammi-Joan Paquette says:

    Nice, I’d love to see the full ms on this!

  • Stefanie Lieberman says:

    I’d like to see more, please! Please send the query, synopsis and first ten pages to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. In the subject line of your email, please type: For Stefanie Lieberman – PITCH WARS REQUEST.

  • Jim McCarthy says:

    Hi Donna, I’d be happy to take a look if you want to send the manuscript along to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. A Word doc is best, if possible.

  • Saba Sulaiman says:

    Hi Donna,

    I’d love to read more of this! Please send a full synopsis and the first 10 pages of your manuscript (Word documents will suffice) to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — thanks, and let me know if you have any questions!

    Good luck!

  • Lara Perkins says:

    Hi Donna,

    I’d love to see more! Please feel free to send a query and the first 50 pages (as a word or pdf attachment) to lara@andreabrownlit.com and please write “Pitch Wars Request: A Jar Full of Butterflies” in your subject line. Thanks!

  • Uwe Stender says:

    Hi Donna,
    Please send the complete manuscript as an MS Word attachment to uwe@triadaus.com
    Please also include the query and type “PITCHWARS Request” in your subject line. Looking forward to reading.
    All best,

  • Susan Hawk says:

    Hi Donna!

    What a lovely opening! I’d love to see more. Please send me the complete manuscript to kidsqueries@thebentagency.com and type PITCH WARS in the subject. Many thanks, I look forward to reading!

    Best, Susan

  • Lana Popovic says:

    Hi Donna,

    This sounds gorgeous. Could I – along with everyone else in the world 🙂 – see the full ms, please? If you could email it to me at lana@chalbergsussman.com with “PitchWars: A JAR FULL OF BUTTERFLIES” in the subject line, that would be lovely!


  • Victoria Marini says:

    Dear Dana,

    I would love to see this manuscript! Please send a query plus the full to victoria.gsliterary@gmail.com Thank you!

  • Louise Fury says:

    I remember this one under the old title and so I’m looking forward to reading the revised manuscript. Please send the full manuscript as a .doc attachment, with your query as page one, to furyqueries @ thebentagency.com. For the subject line, put PITCH WARS: YOUR TITLE. Thanks!

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