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.

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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.

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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.

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2017 Debut Book Love – The Thing with Feathers

Fellow Class of 2k17 member McCall Hoyle’s debut novel, THE THING WITH FEATHERS, released earlier this month. This is YA at its best – and teachers and librarians are going to want more than one copy of this book on their shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | The Thing with Feathers | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comEmilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

THE THINGS WITH FEATHERS is a touching story and a compelling read. Teens will love it – but so will adults.

The Thing with FeathersThe Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful book – full of hope. McCall Hoyle’s YA debut captures the fears and excitement of edging past what’s comfortable and safe – and learning to trust the people around you. The writing is lovely and the characters are perfectly drawn – likeable but flawed, and at all times, believable.

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For readers

  • A relate-able hero.
  • A sweet romance.
  • A school environment/community that teens will recognize.

For teachers

  • Emily Dickinson!
  • Beautiful and heartfelt writing.
  • A close look at facing fears and finding your way to acceptance.

THE THING WITH FEATHERS is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Surreal Moment No. 10

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – June 24 and 25, 2017
Chicago, IL. (ALA) American Library Association Annual Conference

So, June was a month of firsts! I got to go to Chicago. I got to attend the American Library Association’s Annual Conference. I got to meet my editor, Kristin, plus a lot of great folks from Albert Whitman. And, best of all, I got to meet and hang out with a bunch a debut authors!

I stayed with a couple of other Class of 2k17 authors at the Marriott downtown where we had a great view of the city – and killer access to The Riverwalk and The Magnificent Mile.

ALA Chicago View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA Chicago Fog View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

ALA | Chicago riverwalk | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Downtown Chicago | www,patriciabaileyauthor.com

My ALA experience started with a book signing at the Albert Whitman booth. The line went on and on until we ran out of books and had to pull one off the shelf for a kid who was bummed to see them all gone. Can’t beat that! Everyone was so sweet!  And I even got to see (and pose with) my rock star local library director. Later that day I got to hang out with the Albert Whitman crew at the American Writer’s Museum for a cocktail party and celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Boxcar Children.

ALA | Klamath Gals | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Albert Whitman Booth Signing | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

On Sunday, I shared the PopTop stage with fellow Class of 2k17 debuts, Leah Henderson and Jodi Kendall, where we talked about setting as a character in middle grade fiction.

ALA | Class2k17 Poptop Stage | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

Every moment at  ALA was a blast. I met so many great people, saw some beautiful sites, and came home with a pile of great books. A truly perfect weekend just hanging out being an author.

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2017 Debut Book Love – One Shadow on the Wall

Fellow Class of 2k17 Books member Leah Henderson’s gorgeous MG debut, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, released last week. This is a middle grade book you want on your shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAn orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined.

With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?


One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is simply gorgeous in every way. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

One Shadow on the WallOne Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books I’ve read this year. Leah Henderson’s debut novel is simply captivating. A beautifully written tale of a young boy in Senegal who is determined to keep his family together – despite the very real dangers that come his way. Young Mor is faced with one tough decision after another, but with the help of his neighbors, his friends, and his family, Mor finds the will to not only survive, but to thrive. A gorgeous debut that is a must for every school and library collection.

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For readers

  • A relateable hero.
  • Wonderful sibling and community relationships.
  • An action-packed story.

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • Vivid details of everyday life that are compelling.
  • Discussion about doing what’s right even in the face of danger.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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2017 Debut Book Love: I Am Fartacus

2017 Debut Book Love | I Am Fartacus | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI AM FARTACUS: The title kind of says it all.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book with this many bathroom jokes in it. Maybe never. Still, the ARC of Mark Maciejewski’s middle grade debut, I AM FARTACUS, had me laughing right out loud more than once.

I’m pretty sure classrooms full of kids are going to be cracking up in 2017.

Mark gives us an interesting character in his bald, anti-hero Chub. Bent on revenge against Alanmoore Middle School’s most popular boy, (yep, Alanmoore – and that’s not the only reference to The Watchmen which only adds to the fun) Chub and his cadre of mischief makers plan and prank their way toward justice. But sometimes it’s hard to tell where the good guy ends and the bad guy begins.

I Am FartacusI Am Fartacus by Mark Maciejewski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A funny middle grade debut with a great cast of secondary characters. It’s tough not to like this short, bald anti-hero and his Cadre of Evil.

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A funny middle grade debut with a great cast of secondary characters. It’s tough not to like this short, bald anti-hero and his Cadre of Evil.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A fun cast of secondary characters. The Colonel may be my favorite adult ever.
  • Pranks, fart jokes, and more pranks.
  • Fun references to comics and movies.

For teachers

  • A anti-hero worth studying.
  • Discussion about the fine line between heroes and villains, bullying and getting even.
  • A main character who happens to be an immigrant.
  • A cast with a diverse set of family situations.

Another April debut, I AM FARTACUS is released April 18, 2017. It is available for order now at Amazon.

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Surreal Moment No. 9

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Surreal Moment – April 25, 2017
Ashland, OR. Bloomsbury Books

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is officially out in the world and on the shelf at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland!

Ashland Oregon and Bloomsbury Books has always held a special place in my heart. I went to college in Ashland, and Bloomsbury Books was one of my favorite places to browse. I especially loved their staff recommendations. In fact, the first book I read that made me think it might be possible for me to write stories about things I knew was a book I bought at that bookstore.

So to see my little book on the shelves there was beyond thrilling.

KIT DONOVAN Book Launch | Bloomsbury Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com   KIT DONOVAN Book Launch | Bloomsbury Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Thanks so much for the staff at Bloomsbury for making my visit a memorable one! By now, Kit should also be at Treehouse Books in Ashland and Barnes and Noble in Medford.

As for me, I’m back in Klamath, still in a state of shock.

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The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan Book Trailer

Because Kit is a tad impulsive, she’s decided to venture out into the world a month early – which means you can buy THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN now!

Head on over to one of these online retailers and purchase your copy today!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells | Indiebound

2017 Debut Book Love – The Shadows We Know By Heart

the shadows we know by heartFellow Class of 2k17 Books member Jennifer Park’s incredible YA debut, THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART, releases today and it is quite simply the book you did not know you have been waiting for all of your life.

Leah Roberts’s life has never been the same since her brother died ten years ago. Her mother won’t stop drinking, her father can’t let go of his bitter anger, and Leah herself has a secret she’s told no one: Sasquatch are real, and she’s been watching a trio of them in the woods behind her house for years.

Everything changes when Leah discovers that among the Sasquatch lives a teenager. This alluring, enigmatic boy has no memory of his past and can barely speak, but Leah can’t shake his magnetic pull. Gradually, Leah’s life entwines with his, providing her the escape from reality she never knew she needed.

But when Leah’s two worlds suddenly collide in a deadly showdown, she uncovers a shocking truth as big and extraordinary as the legends themselves, one that could change her life forever.

Jennifer handles this Tarzan retelling perfectly. She tells this story about love and loss beautifully – with just the right blend of heart and mystery.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is one of my favorite all-time YA reads. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

The Shadows We Know by HeartThe Shadows We Know by Heart by Jennifer Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every word of Jennifer Parks’s debut novel. The story is captivating from page one. Park plunges you into the East Texas woods until you feel like you’re part of the story and never want to leave. Great characters, a great setting, gorgeous writing and exactly the right amount of action/tension to keep you turning the pages. A haunting look at love, hope, and the lies we tell, this is a book I can’t wait to read again.

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For readers

  • An original love story.
  • A great, true-to-life sibling relationship.
  • A compelling mystery

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • A unique retelling of a classic.
  • Flawed and likeable main characters.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is on sale today. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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2017 Debut Book Love: The Ethan I Was Before

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comOne of the things that’s been a little bit strange and a lot wonderful about getting to read books before they are published is getting to experience them before all the reviews (both the good and the bad) come out and try to shape your opinion. I got to read Ali Standish’s THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE late last year and I got to read it with the same clean slate I read books like Bridge to Terabithia  and The Summer of the Swans when I was a kid. Which means I read it the same way I read books back then – straight through, sneaking in pages while I folded the laundry, waited in line at the post office, and even while I ate lunch (sometimes being a grown up pays off).

Ethan’s story is a deeply moving one. In THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE Ali Standish perfectly captures the time right after a life has changed irretrievably and just before it’s transformed into whatever is going to come next. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a well-deserved star for how it handles grief, guilt, and forgiveness. I’d say it’s a modern classic.

The Ethan I Was BeforeThe Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful of story of friendship, family, and loss, Ali Standish’s wonderful debut grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let me go until I saw Ethan through to the end. Strong characters, a spot-on setting, and great details bring the story to life. THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE is a soon-to-be classic. Readers of all ages will love this book, and teachers and librarians will be sharing it for a long time.

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For readers:

  • A strong, and likeable cast of characters.
  • A great, true-to-life sibling relationship.
  • Friendship and adventure.

For teachers

  • An exploration of the grief, guilt, and forgiveness.
  • A vivid setting.
  • A great example of building suspense by withholding information.

THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE is in bookstores now.

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