Excerpt: Whoopi's 'Sugar Plum Ballerinas'

Sugar Plum Ballerinas

She may have skyrocketed to stardom with the "Sister Act" movies more than 15 years ago, but most Americans know Whoopi Goldberg from her powerful personality as co-host of "The View."

Now the entertainment juggernaut is turning her efforts toward kids in a new children's book, "Sugar Plum Ballerinas." Written by Goldberg with help from Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Maryn Roos, "Sugar Plum Ballerinas" is the story of a little girl who has to overcome her fears and, with the help of some friends, perform in the annual show, "The Nutcracker."

Read an excerpt from the book below and then head to the "GMA" Library for some more good reads.

Chapter 1

Whoopi Goldberg
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"Brenda?"

The voice sounds like it's far, far away. That's because I'm buried in what my friend Al calls one of my "body part" books. (The proper term is actually anatomy.) I get one from the library each week, since I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I'll need to learn every bone and muscle in the human body at some point, so I figure I might as well do it now. Plus, I'm only nine, and I want to get all the important information I can into my head early, so it'll sink in before my brain gets filled with ridiculous things like how to put on eye makeup and how to make boys like you.

I squint at a picture of a skull. I thought the main part of your skull was just one big bone, but it turns out it's really a bunch of little bones that are all stuck together. Why is this? Wouldn't a big piece of bone be stronger? Motorcycle helmets are supposed to protect your brain, too, and they don't look like jigsaw puzzles.

A white-socked foot with a hole in the toe taps my leg. "Brenda!"

I surface. It's late afternoon on Sunday. Mom's at the other end of the couch. She's put down the book she was reading, and now she's poking me with her foot again.

"What?" I ask.

"Getting hungry?"

I nod. Sunday is my favorite day of the week, since Mom usually has to work on Saturdays. First, we have waffles for breakfast; then we go to a free museum or walk around Central Park. Afterward, we come home and read on the couch till it's time to make supper, which on Sundays is always alphabet pasta with olives and artichoke hearts. Every week we see who can spell the longest words with her pasta. Mom knows lots more words than I do, but I know more disease names, like hemochromatosis and pneumoconiosis, so I can hold my own.

"Chocolate milk or hot chocolate?" she asks.

I look out the window to evaluate. We have chocolate milk when it's hot out and cocoa when it's cold. It's early September, so we're almost getting into cocoa weather. The late afternoon sun makes warm gold rectangles on our walls, and it's starting to smell like fall in the park. But I'm not ready for winter yet.

"Chocolate hot," I say, talking backward without realizing it. My hero is the brilliant and talented Leonardo da Vinci. He wrote backward sometimes, so I decided talking backward was a good idea, too. Only my friends can understand me when I do it. It's good when we need to talk secretly and grown-ups are listening.

Mom, however, has declared our house a No Backward Talk zone. She says if I talk backward to her, she'll answer me in Latin, and we'll never get anywhere.

I realize she's giving me the you-just-talkedbackward-to-me look. "I mean, hot chocolate," I add quickly.

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