The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

Written by Rebecca Laxton

Illustrated by Gracie Laxton

Ages 10+ | 252 Pages

Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc | ISBN-13: 9781960146236

Publisher’s Book Summary: Thirteen-year-old Emma Murry has three goals for summer vacation: finish her art terms project, land an ollie, and help the environmental club save the monarchs.

But then her Instagram crush Jeb Scott and his celebrity dad Chester make a surprise visit to Black Mountain. At first, Emma is thrilled, but then she overhears their plans to destroy the monarch butterfly garden to build a ski resort. She and her best friend Sophie add a new summer goal: STOP. THE. SCOTTS.

Emma ignores Sophie’s warnings and makes friends with Jeb, convinced she can change his mind. Then when Chester receives a mysterious death threat, Emma teams up with Jeb to investigate. She slowly discovers people are not what they seem as she attempts to untangle friendships, organize a protest, and uncover supernatural secrets hiding on the mountain.

Emma will have to go through her own metamorphosis by overcoming her fears and facing what she dreads. If she fails, she could jeopardize everything—butterflies, friendships, and her family.

Available for purchase on Amazon,, Barnes and Noble.


Rebecca Laxton has served school communities as an afterschool program director, reading specialist, and school psychologist. While working for Boone County Schools, she was named the Kentucky School Psychologist of the Year for collaborating with teachers and administrators to write and evaluate an emotional intelligence curriculum.

Rebecca is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Charlotte Literary Arts, and the North Carolina Writers Association. Her short memoir, “Throw Like a Girl,” about playing on a mostly boys Little League team can be found in The Love of Baseball (McFarland 2017). Currently, she is a dyslexia practitioner and enjoys reading, writing and spending time in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three dogs.

Rebecca invites you to visit her online at


Gracie Laxton is a freelance graphic designer and dance choreographer from North Carolina but is currently based in New York City. A 2021 graduate of Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, NC, she studied art as part of The Savannah College of Art and Design’s high school joint enrollment program. Currently, she attends Marymount Manhattan College, pursuing degrees in dance and art.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry Tour?

Rebecca Laxton - The purpose of the tour is to spread the word about the book to librarians, teachers, parents and caregivers, or any adult who recommends books to older middle grade readers. This book is perfect for kids 11-13.

Life Is What It's Called - What will the readers learn from this story?

Rebecca Laxton - The Kirkus review stated, “… there’s educational value too, as Emma not only praises nature, but also notes for Jeb (and readers) things that harm the environment.” While this book wasn’t written to teach kids things, there is a lot they can learn through the main characters who love nature and art and who are trying to persuade another character to love those things as well. I was also writing it during early Covid in the spring 2020, when my daughter Gracie was working on her AP art portfolio and school was closed. I didn’t know a lot about art, but I wanted to help guide her, since she had limited access to her teacher. I spent a lot of time on the AP website and other sites learning about art terms. That’s when I got the idea to have each chapter title be an art term that relates to both the artwork Emma is working on and the narrative in the chapter. The terms have double meanings. So, there’s a lot of educational STEAM content, but it’s done in an organic way and is not didactic.

Life Is What It's Called - What was your favorite scene to write?

Rebecca Laxton - I have several favorite scenes, so it’s hard to choose. But there’s a scene where Emma takes Jeb to the monarch butterfly garden and they see a caterpillar form into a pupa. Jeb is both horrified and amazed. I had a similar experience a few years ago when my kids and I raised monarchs. When the caterpillar is ready to transform into the pupa, it finds a secure location to hang upside down then sheds its skin one last time to reveal the bright green chrysalis. There were so many times that we missed the transformation. We’d look into the terrarium and the pupa would already be there. It’s a really quick process. But one day a caterpillar transformed while I happened to be sitting right by the terrarium. Jeb’s reaction in the book was the same as mine—shocked, amazed, and slightly horrified. Realizing that the caterpillar’s enzymes are about to eat the caterpillar so that it turns to goo inside and then reforms into a different being is both really gross and really amazing. I tried to capture my own experience through Jeb’s eyes. But I also like this scene because Jeb is a guy who grew up in the city, and he has had a limited experience with nature. After seeing the caterpillar transform into the pupa, he’s starting to understand why Emma loves nature so much. It starts his own metamorphosis—his transformation from city kid to nature lover that happens slowly throughout the book.

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you feel it's important to discuss metamorphosis?

Rebecca Laxton - The book is titled The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry because it refers to a conversation that Emma’s mom has with her about that growth in cognitive development when kids begin to realize the world is complicated. Emma’s mom uses the metaphor of the metamorphosis of a monarch to explain those cognitive developmental changes. Kids at this age are just beginning to have metacognition—the ability to think about thinking–so it takes Emma a little while to process what her mom meant, but Emma is trying to figure out how to navigate the grayness of a world she previously thought was black and white. It’s important to have these conversations with kids so that they understand the developmental changes they are going through. There’s a big focus on the physical changes that occur during puberty, but there’s a lot of cognitive changes happening as well, that kids aren’t always equipped to deal with.

Life Is What It's Called - Are you like any of the characters in the book?

Rebecca Laxton - I’m probably most like Emma’s mom, because I’m also a mom. Emma uses colors to describe people, and she describes her mom as being the color after violet, “a mix of intense blue but powerful and invisible ultraviolet.” She flies under the radar taking care of everyone she loves in ways that aren’t always seen, which I think sums up parenthood. But I’m like other characters too. I share Emma’s love of art and nature, although I’m not an artist. I hate to be late just like Sophie does. I love my dogs and talk to them like they’re people, just like Cami, and I enjoy a good show tune like Evelyn, except I can’t sing (although when home alone I sing loudly). I also enjoy being around kids and often make jokes that only I find funny, just like Mr. Zauber.

Life Is What It's Called - Why does this book stand apart from what's on the market?

Rebecca Laxton - The middle grade audience of eight-year-olds to twelve-year-olds is such a wide age range developmentally. This book was written for kids at the upper end of that range, those who are eleven, twelve, and even thirteen. Cognitively those kids are transitioning from concrete thinking to more complex thinking, so they’re beginning to think more abstractly and more logically. They’re ready for books that have more difficult themes unlike an eight, nine or ten-year-old, and there isn’t a lot of books for this age range currently in the market. It’s also a contemporary novel about current 2020s kids and a lot of MG seems to float into historical fiction or fantasy.

Life Is What It's Called - What should readers know about you as an author?

Rebecca Laxton - I use my background in psychology, literacy, and creative writing to create books that are relatable and fun to read. I loved reading as a kid and met so many interesting characters in the books I read. I’ve tried to create the same kinds of memorable characters for my readers. Readers can join my reading club on my website for puzzles and updates, and can also contact me with any questions or opinions about the book, or just to tell me about their pets. I love animals.

Life Is What It's Called - What are you working on next?

Rebecca Laxton - I have two projects I’m working on. One is another upper MG that takes place in the same town as The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry and has some of the same secondary characters, called The Curious Disappearance of Beth Anne Sperling about a thirteen-year-old girl who goes on a quest to rescue her bewitched aunt from an alternative dimension, and a lower MG, Bugsy Popper and the Lost Pets of Lillington about a ten-year old sleuth and pet psychic. The first is the book of my heart and was written to help me process grief after losing my dad, and the second is my attempt at writing with a bit of humor. They’re both very different but writing them has been very fulfilling.


One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A SWAG bag that includes:

  • A signed hardcover copy of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
  • A tote, puzzle, word search, small skateboard sticker, small butterfly sticker, and large vinyl butterfly sticker made with the illustrator's graphics.

Five (4) winners receive:

  • A signed paperback copy of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry Book Giveaway

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rebecca Laxton. The questions asked in the review are based on my personal view.

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