The Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour is BACK! We have a winner of last week’s contest and a chance for you to win another Skype visit for your classroom, scout troop, or reading group!
First off let’s meet Mixed-Up Middle-Grade author extraordinaire Sheela Chari! Hi Sheela, in a couple sentences please tell us about you and your book.
Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, until her instrument goes missing. On a journey that takes her from Harvard Square to Chennai, Neela sets out to find her lost instrument, and discover what it means to be a true musician. VANISHED is a 2012 APALA Children’s Literature Honor Book, and nominated for this year’s Edgar Award.
WOW an Edgar nomination! It’s the highest honor for mystery writers! Winners will be announced on April 26– imagine, readers! You can bring an Edgar award nominee (or winner!!!) to your classroom!
Originally Vanished began as a gift to my niece, who plays the veena, the instrument featured in the story. Eventually Vanished grew into a full-length novel of its own! Not only that, but the book has had other unplanned, happy consequences in my life. I’m not a veena player – I was trained as classical violinist. But in the past month, I’ve acquired a veena, and hope to start lessons soon!
What do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?
My middle grade years were so important to me – it’s when I made my first best friend, when I went out on the bus by myself, learned to ride a bike and to swim…and most important of all, when I discovered reading. Books were my adventure, my escape, and how I learned about the world around me. When I write for middle graders now, it’s a chance for me to be that girl again, to rediscover the world I saw as a 12-year old.
What was your favorite book when you were 8-12?
I’m going to name two: A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeline L’Engle and A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith.
What makes your author events special?
What I like about discussing a book like Vanished, is that it gives us a chance to talk music, foreign cultures, and what makes for a good mystery (and how all stories are a kind of mystery – of wanting to know what happens next). So I really think there’s something there for everyone. At some of my author events, I’ve even brought in a veena so that people can get a chance to experience what the real instrument looks and sounds like. I imagine that a Skype visit would allow us these same opportunities, too.
Readers would you like Sheela to visit your classroom, book club or any other group of enthusiastic middle-grade readers? You came to the right place. Leave a comment here for your chance to win. Pass it along on Facebook or Twitter for more chances– just be sure to come back and leave a comment telling us how you’ve spread the word. We’ll draw the lucky winner next Tuesday when we’ll present the next Mixed-Up Middle-Grade author for your Skyping pleasure! For all the scoop and frequently asked questions about the contest look HERE!
Please email the please email the Mixed-Up Files at msfishby (at) fromthemixedupfiles (dot) com with your contact information! You’ll be hearing from Sayantani shortly! And huge congratulations!!!!!
Readers keep those entries coming and you might welcome Sheela to your group… and come back next week for our next pit stop on the Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour!