“Drop the Puck: Hockey Every Day, Every Way” is the fifth book in The Official Adventures series by author Jayne J. Jones, a Minnesota native now living in Florida. The popular book series is intended for children and this edition focused on a girl named Lila who lives with cerebral palsy who still manages to play hockey with her friends and teammates. The story celebrates playful hockey traditions and long-lasting friendships among teammates.
“Drop the Puck: Hockey Every Day, Every Way” revolves around Lila’s experiences playing on the Minnesota Bears, a special needs hockey team. Lila is wheelchair bound and skates through technology assisted braces. In real life Lila, was one of the series’ first readers and was introduced to the author by Errin Hakstol, wife of NHL Assistant Coach, Dave Hakstol. Through Lila’s mom, the author did research on Lila’s skating ability, her challenges from cerebral palsy and her frustrations with never being invited to a sleepover to simply using a scissors.
More than 15 NHL superstars have endorsed the book series thus far and Jayne was happy to discuss it via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in writing and why do you gravitate towards children’s fiction?
Jayne Jones (JJ): I co-wrote the 2013 USA Fiction Book of the Year, Capitol Hell. Writing a children’s book was on the bottom of my bucket list. A friend approached me about a children’s book idea and I blew it off. She got cancer and after feeling better, she approached me again. This time, we sat down and went to work! It’s been truly the highlight of my life.
MM: How did you first come up with the idea for this series and can you tell us a bit about all its titles and their plots?
JJ: The series really developed on its own! I thought it was going to be a one-hit wonder/picture book for toddlers! Boy was I wrong! Instead, the Series is now a five-book installment with the 6th debuting in 2020 and aimed for readers 2nd to 6th grade as a chapter book with some illustrations, a glossary and focused on true inspiring kids and their lives! The titles of each of the books—are created after the manuscript is finished and tie into the stories/life lessons incorporated into each special book.
MM: Why did this subject interest you and how did you find a publisher?
JJ: I was the rink rat little sister and married a hockey coach! There aren’t many children’s hockey books—especially chapter books! We hit a hat trick! I sought out our previous publisher with the idea and they said, goal!
MM: This latest story was inspired by a real girl and a true story–so how much of the plot is fact and how much is fiction?
JJ: Lila is the queen of grit and determination! It’s inspired by Lila’s life, love of hockey, her million-dollar smile, spunk for life, learning and laughing, and her reality of living daily with cerebral palsy.
MM: How did you get actual NHL players to recognize this series?
JJ: I write to them, telling them about the books. They all have been terrific, and we usually meet in person later and become friends. Most are dads and truly the superstars of the NHL—we have the best of the best!
MM: How did you decide to exhibit at the big New York Toy Fair this February?
JJ: We were invited to exhibit and who can say no!! What an honor!
MM: What’s your favorite thing about being the author of this series?
JJ: Making an impact and giving a voice to those underserved. It’s an incredible joy seeing pictures of kid’s reading our books and getting their letters about how much they love the characters, stories and can’t put them down! Truly makes your day!
MM: Can you give us any spoilers about the upcoming books?
JJ: Lila is back in action in book 6! Along with all of the crew from Hockeytown, USA!
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
JJ: Ultimate goals—we’d love for the Series to become a television show or film! I can just see Lila on the big screen and Cullen, Blaine, Paisley and Avery too! That really would be a win!
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