‘The Pennymores’ is a Kid’s Book Building a Real-World Secret Writing Society

David Thompson

Mar 3, 2022

The Pennymores & the Curse of the Invisible Quill by Eric Koester (The Pennymores: Book 1) is a perfect read for middle-grade readers and young adult readers (plus parents will love the delightful quips and subtleties if they read together or read to a younger child). The book has a wonderful ending that'll leave you anxious for the rest of the series. Five Stars.

"There are lots of book clubs out there," Eric Koester, author of the Pennymores & the Curse of the Invisible Quill shared, "but we didn't see a lot of writing clubs. Since the Pennymores story includes this secret writing society called the Plumes, we needed to create a real-world 'secret' writing society for the readers of the book to encourage more writing and writers out there."

Koester's middle-grade/young adult book The Pennymores is a fun, energetic, fast-paced book that will remind the reader of that joy with subtle complexities in The Hobbit, Narnia, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate Events. The characters are exceptionally designed, filled with heart, and their interplays make the book easy to connect with its vast web of individuals, places, and events.


The book is centered around the fact that writing is banned - all writing from books, newspapers, store signs, and school notes. But our protagonist Parker Pennymores has other plans, forming a secret writing society of the 'misfits and outcasts' in her school known as the Plumes. They even have a secret hand sign. We meet the pippy and delightful leaders of their group that includes Monty, Tatiana, and the Gazette Twins, a cast you'll definitely want to hear more from in future books. The Plumes have been secretly learning to write - a direct opposition to the Illiterates who have taken it upon themselves to enforce rules against writing. The first half of the book shows Parker and her friends struggle with this responsibility before coming together in a 'made for the movies' standoff with Cassandra Waddle, Muddle, and this evil band of anti-writing zealots.

Readers begin to understand why writing has been banned as they learn you 'write' magic with a quill (rather than casting it with a wand). The Plumes find themselves at the center of the hidden magic writing world as their own powers as magic writers are revealed.


And that was how Koester turned the story into the perfect opportunity to bring the Plumes to the real world. He should know about real-world writing communities as a professor affectionately known around Georgetown University as "The Book Professor." Koester has created a global community of aspiring book writers, coaching more than 1,500 authors to develop and publish their books over the past four years.


"My daughters and I worked together to develop the book idea and this story of the Pennymores," he shared. "It started as a bedtime story we created together during the pandemic and just kept growing from there. They loved the idea of writing being magic, and we started to realize that kids reading the book should all be able to come together and write. We decided to create The Plumes: A Secret Writing Society."


Children six to fourteen years old are invited to participate in the book experience through a community of fellow kid-writers. They'll have a monthly writing challenge, a shared space to connect, plus connections to other writers. They are already building YouTube tutorials for kid-writers to help with storytelling, character development, and more.


"We didn't just want people to read the book and be inspired about writing," Koester said. "We wanted to bring people together and help them be writers. Writing is lonely, but it certainly doesn't have to be. I'm hoping we can inspire lots of future writers."


Koester's daughter Quinn (who shares a name with one of the Pennymores sisters in the book) said, "We think every kid should create a writing club - a secret one - at their school. We all write something one page each month. It's not really even homework because you can write on whatever you actually want."


The book is perfect for anyone who loves fantasy and adventure stories, filled with many of the magical elements that have delighted readers of CS Lewis, JK Rowlings, Rick Riordan, and JRR Tolkein. The clever connection of the reader to a community of other 'magic writers' is something that will set apart this expansive book, world, and series for parents, teachers, librarians, and the readers themselves.


Parker Pennymore, the book's rambunctious protagonist, says early in the book "So we built a secret society because no one else was doing anything about it. And yeah, we're just a bunch of misfits, outcasts, and nobodies but when the punishment for writing was... well, death, who else was going to join us? Does that make me some kind of troublemaker? I guess if that all counts as trouble, then yeah, you can call me a troublemaker. Turns out, someone needs to be."

Who doesn't need a little trouble making these days? Especially all of us writers.


The Pennymores & the Curse of the Invisible Quill by Eric Koester (The Pennymores: Book 1) is a perfect read for middle-grade readers and young adult readers (plus parents will love the delightful quips and subtleties if they read together or read to a younger child). The book has a wonderful ending that'll leave you anxious for the rest of the series. Five Stars.