Middle Grade Book Love: Midnight Without a Moon

I’ve been wanting to read Linda  Williams Jackson’s historical middle grade novel, MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON since I first heard about it early in 2017. I had the good fortune of interviewing Linda for my Author Spotlight series in January of that year, and the story has stuck with me ever since.

Which may be why I saved it for so long. (Yep, I was the kid who could make a candy bar last for days if I needed to). I had a feeling it would be rich in character and history as well as beautifully written, and I wanted to be able to dive right into it and read without interruption. I was not disappointed.

Book Love | Midnight Without a Moon | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comIt’s Mississippi in the summer of 1955, and Rose Lee Carter can’t wait to move north. For now, she’s living with her sharecropper grandparents on a white man’s cotton plantation. Then, one town over, an African American boy, Emmett Till, is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. When Till’s murderers are unjustly acquitted, Rose realizes that the South needs a change and that she should be part of the movement. Linda Jackson’s moving debut seamlessly blends a fictional portrait of an African American family and factual events from a famous trial that provoked change in race relations in the United States.

MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON is a compelling story – told with honesty and grace. Every school should have this book on their shelves.

Midnight Without a Moon (Rose Lee Carter #1)Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful and powerful. A tough, lovely, and real story about a young girl growing up in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950’s and struggling to sort out her place in her family and in the world at large. This is a beautiful book – filled with complex characters, sharp storytelling, and rich history. A must read for kids and adults.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A brave story well told.
  • A compelling and relate-able heroine.
  • A complicated family structure lots of kids will relate to.

For teachers

  • An accessible and compelling story about Civil Rights in America.
  • A great book to pair with To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Some beautiful examples of literary devices such as metaphor, simile, and alliteration.
  • A great Discussion Guide.

MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON and the next book in the series, A SKY FULL OF STARS, are both available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year | 2018 | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

2017 was a bit of a roller coaster year for many of us. Great highs Terrifying dips. And far too many unexpected turns. Between the thrill of seeing my book published and out in the world and the fear of seeing my husband sick and struggling, I’m feeling a little worn out and tossed around by 2017 –  and more than happy to usher in a bright and shiny new year.

My goals for 2018 are pretty simple:

  • Focus on the joy. Do  more of what I love with the people that I love.
  • Finish Book 2 – the project that’s been a casualty of life stress for far too long.
  • Write a picture book (or two or three).
  • Get a solid draft of a new mg historical novel.
  • Find the quiet. Take more walks in the woods and on the beach.

Not a small list, for sure, and not a particularly easy one. But a do-able one. And a necessary one. I feel the need for deep focus in the months ahead.The kind of deep focus that sometimes seems difficult in our busy lives full of screen time and instant updates.

Which is why I think I’ll start the new year using May Sarton’s poetic advice as a guide – and shove off the clutter and find my way “…back to still water.”

New Year Resolve

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

~ May Sarton, “New Year Resolve” from Collected Poems, 1930-1993

My wish for you is that you take the time to dream in the year ahead; find time for the quiet moments that fill you up and make you whole; take the time to rediscover yourself.

May 2018 be overflowing with love and happiness.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

A Christmas Thank You

Happy Holidays | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comIt’s been a big year here at my house. Lots of truly wonderful things happened – my first novel was published; I made a bunch of new friends; and I got to travel to some pretty cool places. And lots of not-so- wonderful things happened, too – my husband got terribly sick in March and we spent a whole  lot of time worrying and doctoring and trying to do life and work and art in the midst of chaos and doubt. People smarter than I say that the universe likes balance – and 2017 may have convinced me of this truth.

One of the things I know is that everything always look a little better when you take the time to count your blessings. And even in a hard year – when taking a moment to be grateful can sometimes seem like another thing on the to-do list – there are many things to be grateful for. And one of the things on my blessings list is you. So, I want to give you all a big Christmas Thank You. Thank you for being here for me this year – for showing up at book events, for talking with me over coffee and on Facebook and on Twitter, for cheering for all the good that’s happened and for supporting me through the bad. You are the best. <3

Sending you all much love and wishing you happiness in health in 2018.

Patricia Bailey | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com


Jolabokaflod: A Post About Book-Giving at the Mixed-Up Files Blog

Book-giving | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comLast week, I shared a post about gift-giving over at The Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors – the spot where I blog when I’m not blogging here. In it, I talk about the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve – and my own book-giving traditions.

I also asked some of my writing friends to share their book-giving lists – which they did, so there’s also a great book list of must-reads over there.

You can read the post here.

I’d love to hear about  your book-giving traditions – or the best books you’ve given or received as gifts. Feel free to share in the comments below.


Class of 2k17 Books New Year, New Library Giveaway!

It’s time for another Class of 2k17 GIVEAWAY!

This time we’re giving away a huge prize package! Start your year with a library full of books. We’re giving away 28 Middle Grade and Young Adult books and swag signed by the authors.



Click here to enter to win this awesome prize package!

~Contest ends 12/18/17~


So How Long Did It Take?

Last month I was asked to write an article that would fit in The Author’s Journey column of the Oregon SCBWI’s regional newsletter.

I was honored – and scared – which turns out to be a combination of emotions that actually gets work out of me.

I wrote the following piece in a whir – which may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but I’ve been pretty blocked writing-wise for quite some time. Getting words on a page – any words – felt like a freaking miracle to me.
The fact that the words made sense and seemed to resonate with the readers who took the time to email me was staggering.

And revisiting the serendipitous magic that resulted in a published book was healing for me. It’s always good to remember that dreams come true through a mix of hard work, aligned timing, and simple luck – and you’re only in control of one of these.

I hope you enjoy the article.

The Tragically True Adventure of Kit Dononvan | Patricia Bailey | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSo How Long Did it Take

There’s one question every author gets asked – whether they’re being interviewed or speaking on a conference panel – “How long did it take you to get published?”.

It’s a good question. A valid question. We’re writers, after all, and who better to give us a clue about the path to publication than someone who found a way through the wilderness and got a book on the bookstore shelf.

The only problem is that there are as many paths to that shelf as there are writers. Everyone’s journey is a little bit different. But one thing is true for all of us, and that’s the answer I usually give.

It’s taken my entire life – from birth to right now – to get published.

It’s taken every sentence I’ve scribbled since I learned to hold a pencil. Every book I’ve read. Every teacher who said, “I don’t understand what you mean here,” or “Tell me more about this.”

It’s taken every second I’ve spent daydreaming. Every time I’ve asked “I wonder?” Every hour I’ve passed following my curiosity.

It’s taken years of classes and conferences, craft books and critique partners.

Cycles of hope and doubt, failure and triumph.

It took forever.

And then, suddenly, it took no time and all.

I signed up for a manuscript critique at the Oregon SBWI conference in May of 2015 and had the incredible luck of meeting an agent who loved my book and my writing. I signed with her in June, and the novel was on submission in September. By March 2016 we had a publisher, and by the end of April 2017 my book was on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.

Which means I could say that my path to publication took two years. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

But we all know that’s not quite true. We’re all writers here after all. So maybe a better question to ask is: “Was it worth it?”

And to that question, my answer is an easy one.

Absolutely. Every minute of it.

(Originally published in Oregon SCBWI Newsworthy November-December 2017)



Surreal Moment No. 11

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – November 18 2017
St. Louis, MO. (NCTE) National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference

It’s been a week,  and I still cannot believe that I was part of a conference session at NCTE. Talk about surreal. I never would have imagined I’d be speaking to English teachers on a national stage – ever – let alone after I stopped being one.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I had the honor of presenting a session at NCTE on Refreshing and Renewing Reading in the Secondary Classroom with fellow Class of 2k17 members McCall Hoyle, Alexandra Ott, and Leah Henderson. It was so fun speaking about teaching again – and extra fun to be speaking about something so dear to my heart – how to implement pleasure reading in the Language Arts classroom. The me who read Nancie Atwell’s In The Middle religiously while I was getting my teaching certification would have been thrilled.

Surreal Moments | NCTE Panel | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com


surreal moments | Barnes and Noble Ladue | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

McCall and Alex and I also got to do a book signing at the wonderful Barnes and Noble in Ladue, MO. The staff was so friendly – and it was so fun being around so many kids and adults excited about books.

Surreal Moments | Barnes and Noble Ladue Store | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com





I’m also happy that I’ve gotten the chance to see some amazing scenery in my travels this year.

St. Louis | NCTE | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

But mostly I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to talk about books with people so passionate about reading and about kids. I’m extra grateful for all the new friends I’ve made along the way.


Book Review: This Book Isn’t Safe

Be honest – you’ve always had a secret desire to stomp around in concrete shoes and fling Frisbees with wild abandon. Well, I’ve always wanted to, and now I have This Book Isn’t Safe to show me how.

Book Love |This Book Isn't Safe | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comColin Furze, five-time Guinness World Record Holder and YouTube’s undisputed king of crazy inventions, instructs fans and curious young inventors on how to build ten brand new wacky inventions at home with an affordable tool kit.

Colin Furze’s bonkers and brilliant inventions such as a homemade hoverbike, DIY Wolverine Claws, an alarm clock ejector bed, and Hoover shoes have earned him 4.5 million YouTube subscribers and more than 450 million video views. Now Colin is on a mission to inspire a new generation of budding inventors with This Book Isn’t Safe! 

This Book Isn’t Safe contains instructions on how to make ten brand new inventions with a basic at-home toolkit, alongside behind-the-scenes stories about some of Colin’s greatest inventions and top secret tips and tricks straight from his invention bunker (aka a shed in his backyard in Stamford Lincolnshire).

THIS BOOK ISN’T SAFE is more than a handbook. It’s a peek inside YouTube sensation Colin Furze’s invention bunker. It’s filled with information and tips about inventing, YouTubeing, and fun facts about Colin. Plus, it offers 10 do-it-yourself inventions that you can make at home with a fairly limited toolkit and a bit of adult supervision. And despite the title, they can all be done safely (again, with the above-mentioned adult supervision).

I would have loved this book as a kid. Heck, I kind of love it as an adult. Colin has an ability to make inventing things look totally do-able – and I trust this book will inspire a generation of young inventors – and let their parents and guardians have a little fun too.

For readers

  • A easy-to-read and engaging format.
  • Step-by-step directions with lots of pictures to help guide you.
  • Super cool inventions!!

For teachers and parents

  • Engaging content.
  • A great excuse to break out the tool box and get your hands dirty creating something with your favorite curious kid.
  • Super cool inventions!!

THIS BOOK ISN’T SAFE is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells




Author Spotlight: Supriya Kelkar Talks About Ahimsa

Author Spotlight: Supriya Kelkar Talks About Ahmisa | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Suppriya Kelkar and her debut novel AHIMSA.


Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Range: Grades 3 to 7

Launch Date: October 2, 2017  


Please tell us a little bit about your book.

AHIMSA takes place in 1942 in British-ruled India. After Mahatma Gandhi asks each family to give one member to the non-violent freedom movement, 10-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life to join. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Her mother is. As the family gets more involved in the resistance, Anjali must confront her privilege and prejudices to ensure their little part in the movement is completed.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

The original idea for AHIMSA was based on my great-grandmother’s story. She was a Gandhian freedom fighter who was jailed for her role in the resistance. She later went on to become a congresswoman post-independence. I thought it was an incredible story with a strong female character full of persistence and resistance and social justice. Although the story is now fictional, I think it still retains those traits that drew me to the idea in the first place.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

Coming from a screenwriting background, I always do little character write-ups first, getting to know my main characters. I then use the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet to figure out the beats I need and move on to outlining. Once that’s finished, I start writing the actual draft

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, a Hindi film writer/director/producer has had a very big impact on my writing life. I started working on his writing team out of college and have learned so much from him about storytelling. It has been an incredible experience getting to learn from him.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

As a book that features an Indian character, AHIMSA can be a good pick for a mirror book and a window book. It also addresses social justice and privilege and resistance so although it takes place almost eighty years ago, many of its themes are relevant today, and can be used to show young readers they have what it takes to “alter the course of history” as Gandhi said.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers  about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My mom likes to tell the story about how when I was a kid and we went to see the Taj Mahal, while everyone else was admiring the Taj Mahal I was staring at a street dog saying, “Look at that dog!” So it is hard for me to pick my favorite dog but my childhood pet, Cookie, was a very loving Shih-Tzu and my best friend who I really miss.

Author Spotlight: Supriya Kelkar Talks About Ahmisa | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com


Author Spotlight: Supriya Kelkar Talks About Ahmisa | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSupriya Kelkar was born and raised in the Midwest. She learned Hindi as a child by watching three Bollywood films a week. After college she realized her lifelong dream of working in the film industry when she got a job as a Bollywood screenwriter. AHIMSA, inspired by her great-grandmother’s role in the Indian freedom movement, is her debut middle-grade novel. You can follow her on Instagram @supriya.kelkar and on twitter @soups25
Learn more at www.supriyakelkar.com


Thanks, Supriya!







Guest Post and Giveaway: Julie Leung and The Mice of the Round Table

I’m so thrilled to share my blog space with Julie Leung this week.
Julie is the author of two of my favorite middle grade books:  A Tail of Camelot and Voyage to Avalon – both part of her Mice of the Round Table series.

Julie’s latest book is Mice of the Round Table: Voyage to Avalon.

Guest Post and Giveaway | Julie Leung | www.patriciabaileyauthor,comA mysterious new threat sparks a dangerous quest in book two of the epic middle grade series Booklist called “a charming blend of Arthurian legend and Brian Jacques’ Redwall series.”

Young mouse Calib Christopher has nearly completed his training to become a squire to the Knights of the Round Table when news of a deadly plague comes to the castle. Soon all of Camelot is showing signs of the illness, animals and humans alike. Desperate to find a cure, Calib and his friend Cecily set off on a treacherous voyage to find the mythical, healing island of Avalon.

But even as their journey takes them over land and sea, back at home, Calib’s human friend Galahad discovers that the true enemy may have already found a way inside the castle walls…

Perfect for fans of New York Times bestselling series like Wings of Fire and Warriors, Mice of the Round Table brings to life a legendary world of animals and magic that kids will want to return to again and again.

I asked Julie to speak with you about the historical roots of her latest novel.

Five Historical Corollaries in Mice of the Round Table

As well as we all know the legends of King Arthur, what’s less known are the historical roots of this mythic king and his fabled court of Camelot. Throughout the centuries, so many storytellers have left their mark on the lore, it is impossible to separate fact from fiction. Even though most of Arthurian legends as we know it today are based in a tradition of literature rather than history, I still found inspiration in the latter. Here are a few ways I’ve infused some of my favorite medieval (and older) historical details into A Voyage To Avalon:

Plague: In Book 2, Camelot is beset by a mysterious illness that sweeps the castle like wildfire. Both animal and humans fall sick and no one can determine the cause, leading to panic and fear among Camelot’s inhabitants. Much like the plagues that ravaged the European countries in the Dark Ages, this disease operates as a silent and insidious foe. It is an enemy with no army and no face.

Feverfew: When the sickness first reaches the castle, Camelot’s healers, both human and animal, rely on a tea brewed with feverfew petals to help ease some of the symptoms. Feverfew is a real plant, a member of the daisy family, long thought to have medicinal effects. Dating back to the first century AD, it has been used to reduce fever, treat arthritis, and stomach problems. In terms of modern medicine, however, it is now only used as an herbal remedy to prevent migraines.

Vikings: A large part of the book will take place on the high seas, as our rodent heroes seek the healing realm of Avalon. Their aim: Find a cure for the plague. Along they way, they will encounter a new species of snow-colored pine martens I modeled after the ferocious Vikings of old. Much like their creature corollaries, these Norse seafarers raided and traded through Europe during the 8th to 11th centuries. When they were most active along the coastlines of the British Isles, they were a fearsome force to be reckoned with.

Ley lines: Avalon’s whereabouts are a mystery in the beginning. However, Calib and company discover important clues to its location using ley lines. Ley lines refer to the alignment of many ancient monuments, including the stone circles at Stonehenge. There are some who believe that the alignments mark a network otherworldly energy lines that criss-cross the globe, and that the ancient druids built their stone circles at key points along the lines to enhance their magic.

Triskelion: The inhabitants of Avalon all bear a mark on their skin modelled after triskelion, a triple spiral conjoined together. It is a symbol found on carvings throughout Neolithic Europe, including Newgrange in Ireland. It pre-dates even the Celtics, though it has now been adapted into Celtic and Christian imagery. The original meaning has been lost to time. But in my story, I imagined a magical origin.

Guest Post and Giveaway | Julie Leung |www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

JULIE LEUNG was raised in the sleepy suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, though it may be more accurate to say she grew up in Oz and came of age in Middle-earth. She works in book publishing as a digital marketer. In her free time, she enjoys furtively sniffing books at used bookstores and winning at obscure board games. Her favorite mode of transportation is the library.



Julie is generously giving away a set of books. Comment below for a chance to win both of Julie’s Mice of the Round Table books. Winner will be chosen at random on November 3 and announced here!

Guest Post and Giveaway | Julie Leung | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Thank you so much, Julie!


We have a winner! Congratulations, Gwen Katz! The books will be making their way to you soon.

Thanks for everyone who entered. And thanks again to Julie for guest posting and offering her books for the giveaway!