Tag Archives: contemporary realistic middle-grade fiction

Indie Spotlight: Edmonds Bookshop, Edmonds, WA

This month’s Indie Spotlight is Edmonds Bookshop, located in the heart of the city of Edmonds, Washington, on the beautiful Puget Sound just North of Seattle. As their website says, they’ve been “Finding Good Homes for Books since 1972.”

EdmondsBookshop_holiday

If there’s a book you’ve been wanting, Edmonds Bookshop can help you. If there’s a book you’d recommend to others, they’ll lend a listening ear as well. Their children’s collection is tucked into a cozy nook that’s welcoming for browsing.

EdmondsBookshop_interior_upstairs     EdmondsBookshop_interior_front

Owner Mary Kay Sneeringer graciously shared with us about her shop.

MUF: Can you tell us what being an independent bookseller means to you? What does it allow you to do for your clients?

Mary Kay: Being an independent bookseller means I can bring any book into the store that I think will delight, intrigue, provoke or enlighten my customers. I learn so much from the readers who buy books from us. Remembering the stories they tell me, the books they have recommended in the past and their responses both to what they are reading and what is happening in the world informs many of the decisions I make about which books to carry.

MUF: What would you like people to experience when they walk through the doors of your shop?

Mary Kay: People who love books feel safe and comfortable in the right kind of bookstore. I hope people walk in and feel at home. I want them to be intrigued and to see books that they want to read on every shelf. The walls are lined with great stories just waiting for a reader to find them. Ideally, a browser will pick up a book and slip into its world losing all sense of time, falling under the spell of the author.

MUF: You stock a great selection of reads for young people, and we think it’s really cool that you offer a wide range of used books as well. Can you share with us some other ways your bookshop focuses on kids, in particular your middle grade readers?

Mary Kay: Middle grade readers often discover a certain author or genre and are extremely loyal. They can be reluctant to try something new. It is great when we can describe a book they haven’t tried yet in a way that makes them willing to take a chance on the unknown. When we get it right they come back, ready to trust us on another recommendation. We have a great resource in one of our staff members who is a children’s librarian and stays abreast of all that is happening for young readers.

MUF: What are some favorite middle grade reads, old or new, fiction or nonfiction, that you would recommend to our readers?

Mary Kay recommends: 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio,                                Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

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Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech              Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

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Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle            The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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All the Harry Potter books

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And, she says, The Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure series is great for learning survival skills in a choose your own adventure format.

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MUF: Any upcoming events you’d like us to pass on?

Mary Kay: Small business Saturday is November 29th, it’s a great day to show support for local, independent businesses. Tree lighting is that evening at 4:30.

We have expanded hours during the holidays. We are open Monday -Friday 10-8, Saturday 9-8 and Sunday 10-5. Saturday afternoons in downtown Edmonds will be very festive with a free decorated trolley, roving elves, a selfie-Santa, singers and lots of light and cheer. We wrap your purchases for free. Take it easy, make Edmonds downtown your holiday tradition.

MUF: Thanks very much, Mary Kay, for sharing about books with us. We had a good time visiting with you today! We hope your shop if full to bursting on Small Business Saturday.

Valerie Stein is author and publisher at Homesostasis Press. She’s currently at work on a middle grade historical mystery.

THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES Launch, Giveaway, and Time Travel Titles!

Do you love a little bit of time-travel/time-bending elements in your middle-grade books? We’ve got some great titles for you – plus we’re celebrating one of our very own Mixed-Up File-rs brand new Middle-Grade with Scholastic!

Time of the Fireflies_Cover

THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES is the story of a beautiful heirloom doll with a secret family curse, a bit of historical fiction from 1912–and time-slipping. The novel has received terrific reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and School Library Journal who said, “Haunting, well-constructed tale . . . A plot filled with suspense, adventure, and mystery. A perfect choice for lovers of ghost stories, historical fiction, or just a good yarn.”

Help Kimberley celebrate THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES by entering the Rafflecopter below to win a signed hardcover copy of FIREFLIES, gorgeous Book Club Cards, and a glow-in-the-dark firefly necklace like this one:

Fireflfy Necklace

THE-TIME-OF-THE-FIREFLIES-Book-Club-Guide.pdf

Watch the mysteriously spooky book trailer right here, too!

Time Travel Middle-Grade Titles – a Mix of New and Oldies!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

The Infinity Ring series by James Dashner, et al

WARP, Book 1 The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer

Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo

Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder

Nick of Time by Anne Lindbergh

The Last Snake Runner by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Here’s an even bigger list of MG and YA Time Travel books from Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/28181.YA_MG_Time_Travel

Let a book carry you away to another time and place!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberley Griffiths Little’s best ideas come when taking long hot baths, but instead of a sunken black marble tub with gold faucets and a dragon-shaped spigot, she has New Mexico hand-painted tiles in her adobe home along the Rio Grande. She makes a lot of chocolate chip cookies when writing/revising.

Find Kimberley on Facebook. and Twitter:@KimberleyGLittl Teacher’s Guides, Mother/Daughter Book Club Guides, and book trailers “filmed on location in the bayous/swamps of Louisiana” at Kimberley’s website.

 

Crystal Chan Interview and Giveaway

 

Crystal headshot, color

About Crystal:

Crystal Chan grew up as a mixed-race kid in the middle of the Wisconsin cornfields and has been trying to find her place in the world ever since. Over time, she found that her heart lies in public speaking, performing, and ultimately, writing. She has published articles in several magazines; given talks and workshops across the country; facilitated discussion groups at national conferences; and been a professional storyteller for children and adults alike. In Chicago, where Crystal now lives, you will find her biking along the city streets and talking to her pet turtle. Her debut middle-grade novel, Bird, is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. She is represented by Emily van Beek of Folio Literary Management. Bird has also sold in Australia, the UK, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Romania. Also, Bird is out in audio book in the US, and the narrator is Amandla Stenberg, who played Rue in The Hunger Games.

Bird cover

About Bird (From IndieBound):

Jewel never knew her brother Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Her parents blame Grandpa for the tragedy of their family’s past; they say that Grandpa attracted a malevolent spirit–a duppy–into their home. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Now Jewel is twelve, and she lives in a house full of secrets and impenetrable silence.

Jewel is sure that no one will ever love her like they loved Bird, until the night that she meets a mysterious boy in a tree. Grandpa is convinced that the boy is a duppy, but Jewel knows that he is something more. And that maybe–just maybe–the time has come to break through the stagnant silence of the past.

 Bird is your debut novel. Can you tell us a little about its journey from idea to book?

I had just finished reading Keeper, by Kathi Appelt, and was sick at home from work. I had also finished my first manuscript and was fretting that I might not have another idea for another novel. Ever. I was thinking about this for hours, and finally I got so sick of myself that I said, Crystal, either you get up out of bed and write your next book, or you go to sleep because you’re sick. But you’re not going to lie in bed thinking about not writing your next book.

And then I started thinking more about Keeper, and how I loved that story; it’s about a girl who thought her mother turned into a mermaid and goes out to sea in search of her. And I thought, A girl who thinks her mother was a mermaid – that’s such a great idea – I wish I had thought of that! But what if… instead… there was a girl whose brother thought he was a bird, but then he jumped off a cliff because he thought he could fly … Then the voice of the protagonist, Jewel’s voice, started speaking and I got out of bed and wrote the first chapter.

Jamaican and Mexican cultures and beliefs play a prominent role in Bird, but seem very out of place in Iowa. What made you decide to introduce that culture clash?

There has always been a culture clash for me! (laughing) I’m half Polish, half Chinese, and grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Navigating multiple cultures is the only thing I know. For example, my father, who is Chinese, demanded that I become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, and my mother, who is White, said I could be anything I want, which was also echoed by the larger American population. Of course, this was confusing and hard to navigate. Books that address culture clashes are out there but hard to come by, and I wanted to write a book for kids that might be experiencing them.

Do you believe in Duppies?

Possibly! :-)

What’s your favorite thing about middle-grade fiction (as a reader or a writer)?

The sense of story for middle-grade fiction has to be very, very strong. With adult literature, you can take your time on the page, show off your writing a little bit, and maybe twenty or fifty pages in you can start in the plot. If you give that same methodology to middle-grade kids, they’d chew you up alive. You need to have a strong story, a strong voice, and start it at the first line. I love that.

Why do you write middle-grade?

It’s the voice that came to me! My next WIP is for young adults, so we’ll see where my trajectory goes.

If there was one single thing that you wanted readers to get from Bird, what would it be?

The power of forgiveness can transform you and those around you in startling ways.

What other books do you recommend to readers who enjoyed Bird?

Bud, not Buddy, The Tiger Rising, The Underneath, A Wrinkle in Time. And don’t forget about Bridge to Terabithia!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to write middle-grade fiction?

Accept whatever emotions come up inside you – don’t push them down or ignore them, even if it’s uncomfortable. Because if you don’t allow yourself to feel anger, sadness, grief, or loss, how can you possibly write about these emotions for your characters?

And write from your heart, always. When you write, remember you’re writing from a special space inside, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And practice telling stories – tell stories all the time. When you’re not telling stories, practice listening to others tell their stories. Because that’s all that writing really is: telling a story.

Crystal is giving away a copy of the UK version of Bird (complete with all those weird UK spellings). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jacqueline Houtman  is the author of The Reinvention of Edison Thomas.