Monday, November 25, 2013

Middle Grade Heaven -- Seven debut authors from the Lucky 13s in one room! Plus a GIVEAWAY


Seven of the Lucky 13s; in front: Kit Grindstaff, A.B. Westrick,
back row (l to r): Elisabeth Dahl, Caroline Carlson, Kristen Kittscher, 
Melanie Crowder, Jennifer Ann Mann


Last week, I had a blast meeting seven middle grade debut authors at once. Yes! I made it to the last stop on the Lucky 13s VENTURES AND MISADVENTURES tour! I got quite a few pictures (most were a little blurry because I didn't want to use flash and, you know, blind them all). Thanks to Haverford Township Free Library and Children's Book World for hosting the event. Scroll down for info on the books.


From left: Kit Grindstaff, Kristen Kittscher, Melanie Crowder, Caroline Carlson,
Elisabeth Dahl, Jennifer Ann Mann, A.B. Westrick





Kit Grindstaff and Kristen Kittscher both said their books were the first they'd ever written, 
although Kristen admitted it took many years and at one point she started over!
Here, Kit talks about THE FLAME IN THE MIST while Kristen looks on.







A.B. (Anne) Westrick with the Magic Jar of Literature (more on that later)







Elisabeth Dahl talks about (and still has!) her favorite book from childhood,
ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET









The audience got to play a fun game!
They took turns pulling out a slip of paper from the Magic Jar of Literature and reading the sentence aloud. They then tried to guess which of the seven books it came from, after which the author read the entire passage. Every kid in that audience was eager to participate.  







Melanie Crowder reads a moving passage aloud from PARCHED. 





Young fans talk to Caroline Carlson, Elisabeth Dahl, and Jennifer Ann Mann







A. B. Westrick with a happy fan


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Any of these books would be a great addition to your middle grade shelves. They range from funny to serious and include fantasy, realistic contemporary, and historical. 


The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, ages 9 to 13)
In this darkly-atmospheric fantasy, Jemma Agromond learns she's not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. I've recommended this book before, in this post.





Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl (Amulet/Harry N. Abrams, ages 8 to 12)
Genie has been selected to be the class blogger and write down the wishes and dreams of her classmates. But it's scary to express her opinion in public. What if her class gets upset?







Parched by Melanie Crowder (HMH Books for Young Readers, ages 10 to 14). In this haunting, evocative eco-fable, written in a gorgeous prose that's almost poetic, a boy, a girl, and a dog struggle to survive in a world gone dry. I'm in the middle of reading this one, and I'm taking my time so I can savor the language. I first heard about this book from Akossiwa Ketoglo in this post.








Sunny Sweet is SO Not Sorry by Jennifer Ann Mann (Bloomsbury USA, ages 8 to 12). Eleven-year-old Masha has a six-year-old evil genius for a sister. Most of the action takes place in one crazy day, starting when Masha wakes up with plastic flowers glued to her hair. First in a series!







Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick (Viking Juvenile, ages 10 and up). The Civil War has ended, but for fourteen-year-old Shadrach, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, the conflict isn't over. His older brother takes him to a meeting of a secret society whose mission is to protect Confederate widows. But when Shad realizes what the KKK is really doing, he must make a decision.







Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, Book One) by Caroline Carlson (HarperCollins, for ages 8 to 12). Hilary has always wanted to be a pirate. But the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates won't take girls. So Hilary sets out on her own high-seas adventure, with her best friend, a talking Gargoyle. Plenty of shenanigans abound. Read Natalie Aguirre's interview with Caroline on Literary Rambles at this post.







The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher (HarperCollins, ages 8 to 12, first book in a series!)  Sophie Young and Grace Yang are best friends, and spies. Fans of funny middle-grade mysteries will devour this fast-paced contemporary mystery, set in a California beach town.The girls find more than they bargained for when they spy on their neighbor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka: Dr. Awkward), the middle school guidance counselor. What is Dr. Awkward hiding?



Kristen admitted this book is "somewhat autobiographical" because she had a spy club with her own best friend when she was in school. So the story has a highly authentic feel, as Sophie and Grace sneak around, make accusations, and get in deep trouble.

And the best part is, I'm giving away my signed hardcover copy of The Wig in the Window (only because it's the first book I finished reading)! Plus it comes with a pen, so you can write your own spy notes. To enter, all you have to do is become a follower and comment on this post. International entries welcome. This giveaway ends at 10 pm EST on Sunday December 8 and the winner will be announced on Monday December 9. Good luck!

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Don't forget you still have nearly a week to enter my other giveaway, for a hardcover of The Monster in the Mudball. Go to that post to enter.

31 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful writeup, Joanne!

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    1. You're welcome, Elisabeth! That was an event I will long remember.

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  2. Oh Joanne can I say how jealous I am right now? (erm in a good way of course). 7 middle grade authors!!! But I'm happy you took the time to share with us. Some of the books I've read and others I wasn't able to get to, including The Wig in The Window.
    Great post and thank you for the mention! :)

    ~Akoss

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    1. No problem, Akoss. You can be as jealous as you want. ;)

      I realize how lucky I am to live within an hour of that library. Heck, I would have driven two hours for that event. It was so much fun.

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  3. Wow! That sounds like so much fun! And now I have a lot of great ideas about what book I should read next!

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    1. Any of these books would be worth your time, Andrea.

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  4. Amazing day for you. Just a little jealous here! Thanks for the chance to win.

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    1. You're welcome, Rosi. Good luck! It was a pretty amazing day.

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  5. What a great collection of books. Thanks for the sampler!

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  6. How fun! I've read some of these books, but not all -- yet. :-) Please don't enter me in the giveaway. I have my own copy of THE WIG IN THE WINDOW and plan to feature it on MMGM in two weeks!

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    1. I'll look forward to your thoughts on it, Barbara!

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  7. You're giving away your signed hardback copy?!? You're a better blogger than I am, Joanne. I totally covert signed copies... (Fingers crossed for the win!)

    This event sounds like a lot of fun--I'm envious you met so many great writers at one fell swoop. The Magic Jar of Literature sounds like a wonderful idea for audience participation.

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    1. That should be "covet", by the way. I am NOT very covert about my coveting!

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    2. Ha HA! Thanks, Michael. Needed a laugh today. Yes, I'm always torn about keeping the books I Iove or spreading that love by sharing. Doesn't make me a better blogger.

      And these ladies are very creative when it comes to an interactive event.

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  8. How awesome you got to meet them all. And what a fun game! Thanks for the shout out about my interview. Let someone else win as I've gotten ARCs of a number of these books. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. It was pretty awesome, Natalie. You have a great Thanksgiving too.

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  9. I had heard about several of these books, but it's great to see them together. What an amazing group you got to meet. I can't wait to add several of these titles to my library. Thanks for the informative and fun post.

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    1. Your library will be the richer for it, Greg. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Most of those books sound like they'd be great reads, but Sunny Sweet Is Not So Sorry looks hilarious. Thanks, Joanne!

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    1. It's laugh-out-loud funny, Myrna! I just started reading that one today.

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  11. Great list of books! :) This sounds like a great event! :D
    Happy Thanksgiving! :)

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    1. Oh, it was, Erik! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

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  12. What an amazing experience with all those authors at one event. I'm not entering because I already have the book.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

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  13. The Wig In The Window sounds so charming! What a great event. I hope you enjoyed!

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    1. Hi, Gina. It was so much fun meeting these clever writers.

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  14. Wow, that looks like it was a very fun event! How cool that you were able to attend! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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  15. What a cool event! Love that Magic Jar of Literature idea. I might have to steal that!

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    1. It was fun, Sherrie. And the kids got a big kick out of the Magic Jar of Literature.

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