In FRUIT OF THE VINE, we meet Justin, a sensitive, introspective boy whose physical features and personality make him a convenient target for many of his cruel peers. One night, he wakes to find himself on a mysterious island, which is inhabited by a horde of bizarre creatures. Despite his desperation to find out where he is and, more importantly, how to get home, he becomes involved in the plight of Irvino, a beast who is ostracized on this island much in the way that Justin is in his own world. The story ends with a twist as Justin, in helping Irvino, ends up helping himself by making a lifelong friend out of Irvino. In essence, the protagonist of FRUIT OF THE VINE saves himself by saving his savior, but not in typical fashion. FRUIT OF THE VINE is unique from other books in the fantasy genre in that it is meant not only for the grade school-aged fantasy reader, but also for anyone interested in the topic of bullies, and how altruistic qualities can develop in children.
Ellen Weisberg is a cancer researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Principal Associate in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), with a doctorate in pharmacology. Ken Yoffe is a pediatrician (Billerica, MA). He also holds a doctorate in genetics. Publications include short stories and poetry published in PKA's Advocate (bimonthly literary publication), The Writing Disorder (quarterly online literary journal and print anthology book), and Natural Solutions (holistic health magazine). They have also published several children's books and two novels. ANGEL ROCK LEAP and ALL ACROSS CANADA were submitted to Kirkus Discoveries and received favorable reviews. Ellen and Ken have performed as part of a circus troupe promoting bullying awareness to Boys and Girls Clubs, retirement homes, and nursing homes throughout New England. The anti-bullying children's fantasy, FRUIT OF THE VINE, has been used as part of this show. They live in Chelmsford, MA, with their daughter, Emily.