A new skating book is out called Cammie and Alex's Adventures in Skateland. Written by Olga Jaffae, it tells the story of Cammie and Alex, two young figure skaters who want to compete in the annual Skateland competition. Disappointment sets in when their coach tells them that they cannot compete in the event because they have not been practicing their edges, the foundation of skating. The duo take matters into their own hands and decide to go to Skateland anyway by following a magic Zamboni. According to Alex,
All rinks in the world are connected. You can get to any rink if you don't step off the ice....Skating is like a country of its own. Those who skate are all linked together by a secret bond. Every rink in the skating world is yours.
So the two set off on an adventure to Skateland and encounter witches and other creatures along the way. To escape the witches' spells, Cammie and Alex must perform perfect figure eights, three turns, and other edge work. The two also learn lessons about pride and humility at the end of the trip. Do Cammie and Alex make it to Skateland? Do they get to skate in the competition? You'll have to read the book to find out, but here's a hint: All their edge work during their journey did not go to waste!
I had a chance to chat with Olga (see right) about the inspiration for her book, and not surprisingly, it all started when she took up skating two-and-a-half years ago, at the age of 46. Although she skated a little as a child growing up in the Ukraine, she began taking lessons and learning the fundamentals about edges, jumps and spins during the last few years, while living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband. The more she learned about skating, the more excited she became about the sport, and the thrill of learning something new each time she stepped on the ice. That seems to be a universal trait among us adult skaters. During a plane ride to the Ukraine to visit her mother, Olga outlined the story for Cammie & Alex's adventures in Skateland and within a month, the book was written and soon illustrated.
Olga said that the idea to include witches as part of the story was something she felt was natural to the world of skating.
I feel that figure skating is very much like a fairy tale, like magic. You have pretty dresses, fairy tale music [Cammie's music that she skates to in the book is The Nutcracker], and in fairy tales, you have witches! So these witches try to discourage Cammie and Alex and test their ability and confidence, and they meet the challenge.
This is Olga's first skating book for children and she is working on an outline for a sequel, where Cammie and Alex are a year older and encounter new adventures. When not on the ice at the Regency Ice Rink or Lancaster Ice Rink, Olga, who has a degree in linguistics, teaches Hebrew at the Jewish Community Center.