Middle Grade Book Love: American as Paneer Pie

I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC of Supriya Kelkar’s upcoming Middle Grade novel, AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE, this week.

You may remember Supriya and her Middle Grade debut AHIMSA.

Well, she’s back. This time with a contemporary novel set in the Midwest that’s sure to become a middle grade favorite.

Middle Grade Book Love | american-as-paneer-pie | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAn Indian American girl navigates prejudice in her small town and learns the power of her own voice in this brilliant gem of a middle grade novel full of humor and heart, perfect for fans of Front Desk and Amina’s Voice.

As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs, especially when someone teases her for being Indian.

When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha.

To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school.

When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.

 

American as Paneer PieAmerican as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lovely, heart-felt story that does a brilliant job of looking at everything from friendship to racism from the very believable perspective of an eleven year old.

Lekha is a great middle grade heroine. She’s smart, funny, and trying so hard to both be herself and to fit in – at home, at school, and at swim practice – that the reader is pulled right into her story and can’t help but cringe and cheer along side of her. Her pain is easy to connect with, her missteps are real and oh-s0-relatable, and her triumphs are just the right size to make any reader see that growth, change, and forgiveness is possible.

Great supporting characters – including present and realistic parents – round out this story and make it one of my current favorites.

A must read!

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A easy-to-relate-to kid with real life concerns.
  • Great friendships (and believable rivalries).
  • Puns!

For teachers

  • A smart, funny, and engaging handling of some big topics.
  • True-to-life examples of racism (macro and micro), including classroom-level aggressions from kids and adults.
  • A couple fun lesson ideas (an Op-Ed assignment and cooking assignment) that would work great in any classroom.

AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE releases May 12, 2020, but is available for
pre-order online.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

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February New Releases at Mixed-Up Files

February New Releases at Mixed-Up Files | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m over at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors today sharing some books that are coming out this month.

February New Releases

February is looking promising you all! This month’s New Releases list is filled with everything your Middle Grade reader is looking for – from mysteries, friendship stories, sports, and, yes, dogs!! I think we’re all going to be glad that this year is a Leap Year. Now, we have an extra day to read these beauties.

Check out the list at From the Mixed-Up Files.

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My Year in Books 2019

My year in books

2019

This is my Goodreads Year in Books for 2019.

I had a goal of reading a book a week/4 books a month – one poetry collection, one middle grade or YA novel, one work of fiction/memoir/essay that was not kidlit, and one nonfiction work. It looks like I managed to do it. 🙂 I enjoyed the variety – and especially liked the monthly poetry read – so I plan on setting the same goal in 2020.

TOTALS

I read 18,011 pages across 75 books Img bookstack 96


The Autobiography of a Jukebox by Cornelius Eady

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SHORTEST BOOK
75 pages
The Autobiography of a Jukebox

by

Cornelius Eady
LONGEST BOOK
610 pages
Flight Behavior

by

Barbara Kingsolver
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
AVERAGE LENGTH
240 pages

MOST POPULAR
2,083,108

people also read

The Alchemist

by

Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A Map for Wild Hearts by Andrea Hannah
HIGHEST RATED ON GOODREADS
A Map for Wild Hearts: How to Make Art Even When You’re Lost

by

Andrea Hannah
4.88 average

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Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
My first review of the year
 
A lovely book that tackles a number of complex issues in a real and heartfelt way. Ruby Moon Hayes is a character that’s easy to root for, and her frustration, sadness, and eventual compassion feel very true to life. The author does a wonderful job of showing just how hard standing up (for yourself and for others) can be – and how necessary it is for all of us. Great friendships form the heart of this story that’s all about finding and using your…more
MY 2019 BOOKS
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Holdfast by Kathleen Dean Moore
Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
 
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky
Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney
Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
In the Next Galaxy by Ruth Stone
Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron
 
Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim
Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room by Kelli Russell Agodon
On Being 40 by Lindsey Mead
The Astonishing Maybe by Shaunta Grimes
When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd
Composed by Rosanne Cash
Counting to Perfect by Suzanne LaFleur
One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant
A Brief History of Time by Shaindel Beers
I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
Story Genius by Lisa Cron
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Moist Meridian by Henry Hughes
Deep Creek by Pam Houston
Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos
The Anxiety Toolkit by Alice Boyes
Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot by Adam Gidwitz
Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
The Subject Tonight Is Love by Hafez
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz
Medical Medium by Anthony William
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles
Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
 
At This Distance by Bette Lynch Husted
The New Codependency by Melody Beattie
Far Away by Lisa Graff
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Grace of Necessity by Samuel Green
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett
Top of My Lungs by Natalie Goldberg
The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata
Goodbye, Mr. Spalding by Jennifer Robin Barr
Aspire by Ole Carlson
The Autobiography of a Jukebox by Cornelius Eady
Transitions by William Bridges
Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice by Brené Brown
Postcards from Venice by Dee Romito
Nate in Venice by Richard Russo
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Aimless Love by Billy Collins
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Burnout by Emily Nagoski
A Map for Wild Hearts by Andrea Hannah
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Men, Women, and Worthiness by Brené Brown
After the Ark by Luke Johnson
Someplace to Call Home by Sandra Dallas
GMC by Debra Dixon
Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan
Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler
The Tools by Phil Stutz
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
Bite Every Sorrow by Barbara Ras
My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder
The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
My last review of the year
So, that’s my 2019 Year in Books. What about yours? Please let me know what you read (and loved), so I can add it to my To Read in 2020 pile.
PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

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Happy New Year and Happy New Writing Tools!

Happy New Year and Happy New Writing Tools Happy New Year, everyone!

I got a little ahead of the new year by starting my resolution process early. I used December to sort out my goals, implement some new strategies, and try out some new writing tools.

So far so good.

Somehow, not having the New Year New You pressure made trying new things and discarding those that didn’t work so much easier. And it made the entrance into 2020 a little less desperate, a little less all or nothing.

I like that.

I shared a little of my experience and some of my new favorite writing tools over at From the Mixed-Up Files in December:

“It’s the end of the year. For most people, the changing of the calendar is a time to take stock of where you’ve been and to figure out where you want to go. Successes are counted; vision boards are created; goals are written; and a shiny new year of possibility is just waiting for the clock to strike midnight.

It’s a hopeful time.

This year, I decided not to wait for the new year to revamp my writing life. I dove in early – not with the stock-taking or the goal-setting components though. I’m already pretty clear about where I’ve been and where I’d like to get. Instead, I focused on the regular sit-down-and-write parts of the job. What’s working? What’s not? And are there some writing tools I can use to make all of it easier?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying things out. I’ve created some rituals to help make the transition to writing quicker and easier and I’ve gotten rid of some tools/habits that just aren’t working. I’ve also played with some new tools to see what might make me more efficient and more organized. I thought I’d share my current writing tool box with you all as a little New Year’s gift, with the hope that you might find something on my list that will make writing a little easier for you too.”

Head over to From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors to check out my list of favorite writing tools. Maybe one of my writing tools will help revamp your writing life. If so, please share – either there or back here. And let me know what changes  you’re making this year in the comments below.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
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Author Spotlight: Jennifer Swanson Talks About Spies, Lies, and Disguise

Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Mixed-Up Files member Jennifer Swanson and her middle grade book SPIES, LIES, AND DISGUISE: THE DARING TRICKS AND DEEDS THAT WON WWII.

Author Spotlight | Jennifer Swanson Talks About Spies, Lies, and Disguise | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
Title:  Spies, Lies, and Disguise: The Daring Tricks and Deeds that Won WWII

Genre: Middle-grade nonfiction history

 Age Range:  9- 11 years and up

 Launch Date: Out Now!

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book.

In the late 1930s, times were desperate. The world found itself at war again, less than twenty years after the first World War had ended. No one could quite believe it. And no one wanted it. The leaders of every country involved were left with no choice. They had to try to end the war as fast as possible, using whatever means they could.

That meant coming up with secret operations meant to deceive, deflect, and confuse their enemies. Poison the cattle that the Germans eat? Deliberately float a corpse dressed up as a spy across the water to have it wash up on Germany’s shore? Create a unit of top secret commandos with a license to kill? These were all real tactics attempted with the ultimate goal of defeating Hitler. In this off-center look at history, readers will be captivated by the classified and covert efforts made by each side as they tried to gain the upper hand and win the war. Restricted access is lifted to give the reader a peek into the top secret operations of the daring men and women who fought the war under a cloak of secrecy.

Spies, Lies, and Disguise  has been getting some great reviews:

“The highly readable and well-organized text is accompanied by occasional breakout panels and spreads and focuses mainly on missions conducted by the Allied powers. While each chapter is organized around a different type of spycraft or specific mission, the accounts are more or less chronologically arranged and touch on major events such as D-Day and the ­dropping of the atomic bombs, adding context that will help readers newer to the subject. The text is accompanied by a combination of period photographs and illustrations by O’Malley, whose expressive style adds to the book’s cheekiness. VERDICT A must-read for budding military historians and spies-in-training. Purchase wherever books by Alan Gratz and thrillers like Framed! by James Ponti are ­popular.”

– School Library Journal

“This book will capture your attention from the very beginning!” ―School Library Connection

“Black and white photos, O’Malley’s cartoon-style recruitment posters and illustrations, and a narrative tone free of textbook stuffiness combine to create broad appeal.” ―BCCB

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

 I wrote a book for an educational publisher a few years back that was very short, but I did a massive amount of research for it. Way more than I used in the book. I was SO fascinated with the military ops and secret missions that were executed in WWII (most likely my interest also came from the fact that I attended the U.S. Naval Academy and took classes in military strategy). When I found the format for the book, wham- it all came together very quickly. This structure just seemed the best way to convey excitement and intrigue to my readers.

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

My writing process is different for every book. For this one, I spent hours devouring books on WW2, researching the Imperial War Museum’s archive files, and doing tons of photo research. I typically research as a I write, because that is most efficient for me. The writing part of this book came very easily, which was awesome. I really had tons of fun writing this book!

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?

One of the big reasons why I love STEM/STEAM so much is because of my 7th grade science teacher, Mrs. Roth. She just made Science FUN! I woke up every morning excited to go to her class to learn. At the time (in the early 80s) is wasn’t that common to have a female science teacher – especially not in a very small town. She showed me that women could do science and do it WELL! I have carried that love of science my whole life.     

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?

I think this book is a great resource for teachers in the classroom because it talks about the military strategy that was used during World War II. The book gives young readers a glimpse into the innovative and secretive actions that each side took in an attempt to win the war. It highlights many true heroes of the war, and brings attention to some of the lesser-known missions that truly worked! The narrative is reader-friendly for the age group and invites the reader to read more about these amazing accomplishments.           

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

We have two dogs that I adore. They are Lily and Sasha. Sasha is a Great Pyrenees, which means basically, she is a giant polar bear of a dog. She is white, fluffy, and weighs 120lbs.  Lily is a beautiful, lovable golden retriever. She is “small” weighing in at only 70lbs.  We are big dog people in this house and love our fur-babies dearly.

Author Spotlight | Jennifer Swanson Talks About Spies, Lies, and Disguise | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight | Jennifer Swanson Talks About Spies, Lies, and Disguise | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comScience Rocks! And so, do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the award-winning author of over 35 nonfiction books for children. Jennifer’s passion for science resonates in in all her books, but especially her Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact, which received a Florida Book Award, a Eureka California Reading Association Gold Award and an NSTA BEST STEM book award. Her newest book, Save the Crash-test Dummies, received a starred review with Booklist and a Eureka Silver Award. Jennifer has presented at multiple SCBWI conferences, National NSTA conferences, the Highlights Foundation, the World Science Festival and the Atlanta Science Festival. You can find Jennifer through her website www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com or on Twitter or Instagram @JenSwanBooks

You can pick up a copy of SPIES, LIES, AND DISGUISE: THE DARING TRICKS AND DEEDS THAT WON WWII at your favorite independent bookstore or online.

Thanks, Jennifer!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

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Catching Up

ponte-vecchio-bridge | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
It’s been pretty quiet here on the blog the last couple of months. The good news is all is well. My husband and I spent a good chunk of October in Italy, roaming around Rome and Florence, taking in amazing artwork, eating so much pasta, and discovering the joy of gelato. We had an incredible time – some of which you can see over on my Instagram.

 

 

But I haven’t been completely silent. I wrote a couple of blog posts over at the From The Mixed-Up Files site that you can check out below:

Books About Museums

November New Releases

And I’m back to work on the novel I’ve been struggling to finish. Here’s hoping I can bring in all together soon. Wish me luck!!

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Nellie Bly

I don’t remember the first time I heard of Nellie Bly. I may have been around the same age as my character Kit in The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan, or I may have been a couple of years younger.

I’m pretty sure I discovered her in the biography section of my school library, a place a spent an inordinate amount of time reading books about a wide range of women – all of whom seemed like women who did things I might want to do when I grew up or had characteristics I wanted to grow in myself. I spent a lot of time with Amelia Earhart (bold), Carol Burnett (savvy and funny), Rosa Parks (brave) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (who at some point decided her own regular life was worth turning into a story). I’m guessing somewhere in there I read about Nellie Bly, and her spunk, determination, and down-right gutsy nature stuck with me.

I didn’t consciously or purposely put Nellie Bly in my novel. She just showed up – right at the perfect time – and gave my character the exact thing she needed to complete her story arc. Writing – when it’s working – is often part magic. Sometimes things come to you in a flash of insight and luck, and sometimes your subconscious hands you the key you didn’t even know you needed. Either way, it’s a sort of alchemy – time travel coupled with story structure sprinkled with fairy dust from the muse. And it’s awesome. 🙂

I’m working on a new book now, so my thoughts are scattered in a thousand directions and far away from the early 1900’s and news rooms. Maybe that’s why coming across this Brain Pickings article about Nellie Bly felt a little like running into an old friend. It took me back – to writing The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan and to that younger version of me reading book after book about interesting and  inspirational women.

The article is fun, plus it contains an animated documentary. Check it out. Maybe she’ll become one of your inspirations too.

 “As the most famous woman journalist of her day, as an early woman industrialist, as a humanitarian… Bly kept the same formula for success: Determine Right. Decide Fast. Apply Energy. Act with Conviction. Fight to the Finish. Accept the Consequences. Move on.”

Nellie Bly Makes the News: An Animated Documentary About the Investigative Journalism Pioneer Who Paved the Way for Women in Media

 

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Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI was hiking with my husband the other evening, taking pictures of the sunset and listening to the coyotes call to one another across the sagebrush, when I notice the change in light, the shift in the particular shade of blue that defines the summer sky in this part of the country. It’s turned darker, deeper. A color that signifies the change in seasons here on the high desert. A color that, to my eye, means means the beginning of the the end of summer.

The next morning I woke to Eric Nixon’s fine poem, “Peak Summer”,  in my inbox. A little reminder to grab all the summer you can get, before it’s gone.

Peak Summer
by Eric Nixon

We’re steeped deep in summer
And everything around me
Seems to indicate it’ll never end
But still I’m spending time
Looking for the subtle signs
Trying to figure out when
We’ve reached peak summer
When the billion green trees
Start to dull ever so slightly
When the bounty of vegetables
Found at all the local farm stands
Start thinning in quantity and quality
When the Halloween candy
Appears in the supermarkets
And the Back To School! signs
Show up in the big box stores
When the sun sets a little earlier
And gets a little more noticeable
Each night, night after night
Until you start thinking about
How much daylight you’ve lost
All of the signs and all of the things
I’ve been noticing are telling me
That we’re right in the midst of
Peak summer and if I’m not careful
It’ll be completely over
And I’ll have missed it entirely
As the season folds into fall

“Peak Summer” by Eric Nixon from Equidistant. © Double Yolk Press, 2019

How do you know summer’s on the way out in your neck of the woods? Let me know in the comments section.

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Friendship

Laura | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
My beautiful friend Laura is in the process of leaving this life. The news is both not completely unexpected, and, still, surprisingly sudden. Laura’s  been my writing buddy, my cheerleader, and my regular Wednesday coffee date for years now, and I’m going to miss her wit, her energy, her smile, and her writing more than I can pretend to know.

We took this picture last summer as part of a project she was doing. She photographed a day in her life – a day that consisted of breakfast and writing talk with me, a quiet memoir writing session on her beautiful deck, meditation group, and a glass of wine before dinner. Her days were the kind you dream about. A perfect mix of friends and family, of extroversion and introversion, of good wine, and good books, and deep conversation. The kind of day that comes from a lifetime of figuring yourself out and knowing what matters.

That’s Laura. Funny and smart. And forever herself. She has been my believing mirror – the person Julie Cameron says help us see ourselves and our dreams in the most positive light. The person who cheers us on when we are most doubtful of our abilities.

I only hope I have been that for her, too.

<3

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