It’s finally June, and I’m sure a lot of us are looking forward to some sunny days and some new books! Lucky for us writers, publishers, bookstores, and libraries have our backs. Check out my list of June New Releases over at the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog. June is looking good with a fun nonfiction release from the MUF’s own Jennifer Swanson. (Congratulations, Jennifer!!) and a contemporary novel from my friend Supriya Kelkar (Yay, Supriya!). there’s sure to be a lot of a great books to help you ease into summer.
Beastly Bionics: Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired by Nature by Jennifer Swanson
Discover how the natural world inspires innovation in science and technology to create the latest and greatest breakthroughs and discoveries in this exciting book.
Did you know that scientists have developed a bionic tool shaped like an elephant’s trunk that helps lift heavy objects? Or that the needle-like pointed beak of the kingfisher bird encouraged engineers in Japan to change the design of the Shinkansen “bullet trains” to reduce noise? Across multiple fields of study and methods of problem-solving, scientists are turning to biomimicry, or engineering inspired by biology or nature, to make all kinds of cool technological advancements. From robots that protect people and gather information to everyday inventions, like reflectors on the roads and ice-proof coatings for airplanes, to new sources of renewable energy, this book dives into the ways that nature can give us ideas on how to improve our world. Discover more than 40 examples of technology influenced by animals, learn about some of the incredible creatures who have inspired multiple creations, and meet some of the scientists and the stories behind their inventions.
Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster
A fast-paced series starter perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and filled with adventure, mythology, and an unforgettable trio of friends.
On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.
Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.
The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin…the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.
With only his village’s terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.
American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar
An 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.
Discover more June New Releases over at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors. And, happy reading!!
One of my favorite things about writing for From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors is that I get to talk to so many great writers.
The following post is especially fun for me because I got to do an interview with Janet Sumner Johnson, who successfully writes both Middle Grade and Picture Books.
You started your career as an author writing Middle Grade (THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURES OF THE PB&J SOCIETY). What got you interested in writing Picture Books? And, how long did it take you to write a manuscript you were happy with?
I have always loved picture books. The idea of telling a story in so few words fascinated me! When I had three young kids at home, we had just moved to a new city, and we spent a lot of time at the library and reading picture books. Kids can be pretty inspiring (lol!), and that’s when I first attempted to write a picture book.
Granted, I was busy writing middle grade during this time, but it took eight years from the moment I wrote that first picture book, to when I finally dared show a manuscript to my agent.
Where do you get your ideas? And, once you have an idea, how do you know if it is best suited for a Picture Book or a Middle Grade book? Do you start out with the form specifically in mind or does it sometimes take you by surprise?
Read the rest of the interview over at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors and be sure to check out Janet’s books at your favorite bookstore.
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.
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.
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:
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!!
I was over at the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Novels blog last month talking about friendship. In the post, I featured some of my favorite middle grade books about friendship.
Head over to the blog to check out the post and maybe grab one of these middle grade books about friendship to take back to school with you and share with a new friend.
I’m over at the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Novels blog this week talking about all the wonderful books hitting the shelves this month. In between fireworks, backyard barbecues, and summer hikes through wild flower fields, grab one of these new books and settle in for a some fun reading.
And have a safe, happy, and fire-free Fourth of July!
I’ve been a little MIA here at the blog the last two months. Between work, revising my novel, and dealing with an illness it’s been a little chaotic in my world. But things are finally moving out of stuck mode, which means, I should be back to blogging – and writing – regularly again.
Fingers crossed 🙂
I have managed to keep up with my posing duties over at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, so check out my last post over there – Writing Books: A Revision Resource Round-Up.
I also came across some fun mentions of Kit on other blogs and books lists – including the always amazing A Mighty Girl site. You can find links to them here.
Thanks for sticking around.
It’s been an interesting 2019 so far – and a fast-moving one. I cannot believe it’s already time to usher in March! Did I mention March is one of my favorite months of the year? It carries with it the promise of Spring, bushels of tulips, and the birthdays of some of my very favorite people (plus my own).
And it’s bringing in a whirlwind of new Middle Grade books.
This week, I’m over at the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors with a list of March New Releases designed to fill all of your reading needs on the blustery and the sunshiney days March is sure to be full of. Check the post out, then head back over here and let me know what you think of this year’s March New Releases.
It’s Presidents Day, and I’m over at the From The Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors blog talking with my writing friends about middle grade characters who would make great presidents. One of them even suggested Kit for president!
I was too shy to put it on the list over there, but I’ll share it with you all here.
Kit Donovan (From The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey). Kit is fearless! She stands up to bullies, she fights for justice, and she doesn’t quit. Kit would be an amazing president!
—Janet Sumner Johnson, Author of THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE THE PB and J SOCIETY.
Read the rest of my post – Charlotte For President!! – over at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors and nominate your favorite Middle Grade Character!
And, Happy Presidents Day!