November 3, 2022

Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad #3: The Law of Cavities Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to the Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad #3: The Law of Cavities Blog Tour!

Follow along as we celebrate the release of The Law of Cavities (October 11th) with behind-the-scenes looks from author Valerie Tripp, plus 5 chances to win all 3 books in the Izzy Newton series!

Step Outside: 
The unexpected benefits of Outdoor Education
by Valerie Tripp

One of our core missions in the “Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad” series is to show that science is not restricted to labs; it is all over, everywhere, every day, for everyone. So I was happy to send the Squad girls and some of their sixth grade classmates to Outdoor Environmental Education, which happens here in Montgomery County in sixth grade. (For three days, students go to the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center in Rockville. If you Google “the Smith Center in Montgomery County MD” you can see clips about the program as well as the website for the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center itself). The idea is to encourage students to become stewards of the environment and apply scientific knowledge “in place,” but studies show that there are lots of other side benefits: engagement in science, demystification of science, motivation to explore scientific fields. Outdoor education allows students to shine who may not shine in the classroom. In the case of the S.M.A.R.T. Squad, going to outdoor education allowed us to have a mystery that is a true adventure with high stakes in a story that involves animals and natural phenomena. It opens up a whole world of experiences in a different setting while quietly providing the benefits of the actual trips themselves. I also hoped to show the joy of friendship, especially as experienced in a wonderful outdoor setting. Perhaps most important of all is the fact that we were tapping into one of our young readers’ most heartfelt concerns: the future of the environment.

Plus, Outdoor Ed is big fun! When I asked my Lunch Bunch girls at the end of sixth grade about their favorite memories, they said, “Oh! Outdoor Ed!” with great enthusiasm and went on to talk about sleeping in bunk beds, cooking over a fire, hiking, and telling ghost stories – all of which I put straight into The Law of Cavities! They were very proud of how the girls were a lot less fussy than the boys about getting wet and dirty and touching worms and snakes and dead bugs. They talked a lot about how they stayed up all night “spilling the tea” (gabbing). They said there had been a “split” during the trip, which they resolved by letting time pass, by the efforts of one girl to mediate, and by speaking to their teacher about it. (That “split” inspired the “cavity” that I used metaphorically and literally in The Law of Cavities). I should note that while the Lunch Bunch girls were relating these tales and saying how much they had loved Outdoor Ed, in the background their teacher was making a comically distressed face and clutching her hair to show that her experience of the trip was well, let’s just say, not one she wanted to repeat any time soon, due to the drama—and sleeplessness!

The mystery of how to save Camp Rosalie Edge (the setting for the Atom Middle School sixth graders’ Outdoor Education Experience) was a perfect S.M.A.R.T.  Squad mystery because it involves biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and math/technology. It affects the girls and their friends and teachers and loved ones, and it’s reasonable and believable that a group of—albeit very brainy—sixth grade girls can solve the mystery. I like problems that require effort and stick-to-itiveness on the part of the Squad to solve. Also, I like how solving this mystery requires the synergy of the girls’ abilities combined so that there is not one hero but instead, we see what happens when their talents are stirred together. The mystery in The Law of Cavities lends itself to the dual purpose of being an objective problem as well as, metaphorically, a problem in their group. For example, the cavity that Ms. Martinez falls into is the objective correlative of the way that some girls have a break, a rift, a cavity if you will, between them.

A message to readers from author Valerie Tripp:
I hope my readers will come away with this message: You are a scientist. You observe, test, evaluate, and draw conclusions constantly. STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—is not restricted to labs or science fair booths or classrooms. You’re doing STEM stuff everywhere, all the time, when you cook, run, feed you pet, quench your thirst, dive into a wave, wash your hands, learn to do a cartwheel, spend time on your laptop, look up at the stars, cut an apple into parts and divvy up the shares. Know this, embrace this, celebrate this—and take responsibility for both exploring AND protecting this extraordinary, exciting, surprising universe. Get out there! Be active, curious, and focused. Take yourself seriously. Your actions matter because they will shape the world we all live in.  Be mindful, pay attention, learn, and live fully with courage and zest.  And don’t be afraid to fail. Chaos, mess, and failure are essential parts of all creative endeavors like science. Don’t worry. Things heal. Mistakes are forgiven. You have plenty of time to tidy up.  


Meet the characters, watch the book trailer and check out the Educator and Reader's Guides on the series website here!

The S.M.A.R.T. Squad is back to tackle more middle school mayhem with science, technology, engineering, math, and friendship!

In this third book in the S.M.A.R.T. Squad series, best friends Izzy Newton, Allie Einstein, Marie Curie, Charlie Darwin, and Gina Carver set out on a mystery-filled Outdoor Adventure Camp experience.

Now that Izzy’s finally found her voice in public speaking class and become an ice hockey star, she’s determined to conquer her “dizzy-Izzy-ness” in new situations―including caring for her brand-new braces on an outdoor education overnight and her friends’ good-natured teasing about her friend Trevor. But the forecast for fun turns cloudy when the girls discover their cabin chaperone is none other than Izzy’s tough public-speaking teacher, Ms. Martinez, and their junior counselor is eighth grade mean girl, Maddie Sharpe.

When an innocent exchange of harmless pranks with Maddie takes a turn for the worse, the Squad turns to science to prove their innocence. That’s nothing, though, compared with the terrifying swamp monster haunting their campsite, a catastrophe befalling Ms. Martinez, and a mysterious disaster threatening the future of camp itself.

With their very survival on the line, will science be enough to save the day?


"Wholesome entertainment for preteens, offering positivity without didacticism."

"It's one thing to have children's books about scientists or podcasts or stories about strong women in STEM, but it's another world entirely when your children get to feel represented by the characters they're reading about. The characters in the Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad series are diverse, smart, and sure of themselves the way all middle school girls are---through their dreams and newly acquired skills they're still getting used to."


About the Author

VALERIE TRIPP is the co-creator of the American Girl book series that includes titles featuring Felicity, Josefina, Kit, Maryellen, Molly, and Samantha. Tripp also wrote American Girl's Wellie Wishers titles, Hopscotch Hill School titles, numerous leveled readers, songs, stories, skills book pages, and plays for educational publishers. Tripp is writer and editorial director of the Boys Camp series, and a writer, editor, and art editor for Sterling Publishing Company. Tripp received a B.A. and honors as a member of the first co-educated class at Yale University and a master's of education degree from Harvard University.



  • Five (5) winners will receive the complete 3-book Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad series: Absolute Hero, Newton's Flaw, and The Law of Cavities
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11/13 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Schedule:

October 31st BookHounds
November 1st Teen Librarian Toolbox
November 2nd Pragmatic Mom
November 3rd A Dream Within a Dream
November 4th From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors


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