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!
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:
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.
You entered the book giveaway for The Healing Spell, and the random number generator has selected you, yes you! to win this fabulous book!
The author would love to personalize her signature for you; please email kglittle at msn dot com and let Kimberley know to whom she should sign the book. Include your mailing address, and The Healing Spell will be headed your way. Congratulations!
Welcome! We’re excited to celebrate the book release of one of our very own members—Kimberley Griffiths Little’s The Healing Spell published by Scholastic Press launches TODAY!
July 1 is the perfect pub date for The Healing Spell because the final chapters in the story take place during the 4th of July weekend. Those last scenes include a shotgun, a wedding, a death, a confession, a storm and a very cute boy. But not in that order.
We caught up with Kimberley for an interview and a bonus—a giveaway of a signed hardcover of The Healing Spell! Leave a comment to be entered! The winner will be announced Saturday, July 3rd.
From the jacket flap: Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it’s crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother’s coma, but she can’t tell anyone. It’s up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.
Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption.
Livie’s powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.
Welcome to From the Mixed-Up Files, Kimberley!
We’re curious how a writer who grew up in San Francisco, lived a couple of stints in Oklahoma and Utah, and now makes her home on the banks of the Rio Grande happened to write such a convincing story about a girl growing up in the swamps of Louisiana.
I can answer that question in four words: A Family Road Trip.
About twelve years ago, my family and I drove the corridor of Highway 10, stopping in Louisiana and New Orleans for several days to explore. We met with a Cajun tour guide whose enthusiasm and knowledge and fascinating stories immediately captivated me. We also took a boat into the bayous and swamps with another guide who showed us where he lived along the banks and hunted and fished and took us out to his crawfish traps.
Four more words: I fell in love. Hard. I couldn’t stop thinking about my experiences in Louisiana and the magic I felt there and the people of the bayous. I started reading dozens of books, everything I could get my hands on—from native Louisiana writers, memoirs, professors writing about the history—to fisherman and wildlife photographers.
I returned again and again, staying in a cabin on the bayou, eating crawfish, dancing to live Cajun bands, visiting all the museums, watching documentaries. Last year I did a two week road trip with a friend from the South and we met with seven different traiteurs in their homes to hear about their experiences as a traiteur – a religious folk healer tradition that goes back three hundred years in the Cajun culture when they first arrived in the Louisiana swamps.
Unusual settings have always been a springboard for my work.
How many times did you revise the book, and did you end up taking out anything you loved?
When the story and my characters were bursting in my mind and I knew I was ready to begin writing, I wrote the first draft in a little more than three weeks during the summer when it was hot and muggy—the same season as the book. I felt like I was *living* Livie’s story right along with her. It was a bit surreal.
I spent 3-5 years revising—which included breaks to write and revise other manuscripts–but I kept going back to The Healing Spell because I loved it so much and the characters were so alive in my mind. I had a lot of interest from various editors, but the story was finally ready when an editor at Scholastic stayed up all night to finish reading the manuscript. The next morning she made an offer to my agent, as well as offering on two other manuscripts for a three-book deal.
I didn’t take out anything that I loved during the writing—or the editorial process. I actually got to add more depth to many scenes, especially the ones with T-Jacques Landry, a boy Livie knows down the bayou, as well as a whole new chapter. (Chapter Twelve, in case you’re curious!)
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
No one in particular, but many of the Cajun people and their stories in Greg Guirard’s book, Cajun Families of the Atchafalaya were incredibly inspiring to me. Then I had the most unusual experience last April of 2009 when I was introduced to a man who fit the character of Livie Mouton’s daddy—so perfectly it was like destiny to meet him and his wife.
Mr. Elward Stephens is an older version of J.B. Mouton, Livie’s daddy, in The Healing Spell.
He lives in a house that he built himself on Bayou Long, fishing out the back door, making his own cypress pirogue (small canoe-like boat), growing up barefoot in the woods and swimming in the bayou as a kid—and speaking French and listening to French music while we danced in his living room! He and his wife are two of my favorite people in Louisiana.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing a companion book to The Healing Spell, which is already under contract with Scholastic, but the publication date is not firm yet. Miz Mirage Allemond, the folk healer traiteur who lives in the swamp that Livie meets, is such an intriguing character that I wanted to know more about her. The new project is from the viewpoint of Shelby Jayne, Miz Mirage’s eleven-year-old daughter. Plus it has a ghost! And secrets! The title is still To Be Decided.
Thank you, Kimberley, and Happy Book Release Day!
Readers, we hope you enjoyed the interview!
If you’d like to a chance to win a hardcover of Kimberley’s new book, make sure you post in the comments section. Tweets and Facebook and Blog posts earn you more entries. The winner will be announced Saturday!
Kimberley is celebrating ALL DAY today so leave questions; she’ll answer, and let’s have a good time! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
July 26, 2015: Middle Grade Book Podcast
Next time you're in the car with your middle grade reader, listen to the podcast Book Club for Kids, featuring a trio of middle grade kids chatting about the book of the month, short conversations with authors, and readings by celebrities like L.A. Laker Tarik Black and Washington D.C. representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. Author guests include Kwame Alexander, Anthony Horowitz, Henry Neff and Kami Garcia. Click here
for the latest show.
June 2, 2015: Book Buzz at BEA
What were the hot in-demand advance copies at Book Expo America? Publishers Weekly offers a round-up of the books publishers and booksellers were talking about. The piece includes YA, middle grade and picture books coming later this summer and fall. Read more ...
May 31, 2015: Walter Dean Myers Grant
Submissions are open for the Walter Dean Myers #WeNeedDiverseBooks Grant for authors (or aspiring authors) of color, Native American authors, LGBTQIA+ authors, authors with a disability or authors from a marginalized religious or cultural minority. The deadline is June 21, 2015. Read more ...
April 13, 2015 Report from AWP conference
More than 12,000 writers took part in three intense days of writing programs at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. Publishers Weekly reports on several sessions and the Art and Business of Writing for Children. Read more ...
April 11, 2015: International Book Fair: Looking for that something special
The 2015 Bologna Book Fair didn't have a must-acquire "book of the fair." Instead, publishers seemed to be seeking out books that would standout from the back, either because of an inventive format, narrative hook, or an element of diversity …. read the Publishers Weekly report ....
January 8, 2015: Why No Sci Fi For Middle Graders?
A New York Public Library panel ponders the lack of science fiction for middle grade readers. Click here
to learn what the future holds for MG SF.
January 5, 2015: Turning Kids Into Readers
As kids head back to school after winter break, here's how to make reading fun. Click here
to read Josie Leavitt's Shelftalker piece in Publishers Weekly.
November 4, 2014: PW's Best of 2014: Children's books
We're entering list season in early November, with Publishers Weekly's picks for best middle grade books of 2014. (Best picture books and YA, too.) For the full list, read more ....
October 6, 2014: Free issue of Publishers Weekly
You can read the entire issue of the 10/6/2014 issue of Publishers Weekly online. The magazine is offering complimentary access to this week's digital edition to coincide with the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair. Read more ...
September 15, 2014: KidLitCon in October
Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children's Lit: What's Next? is the theme for the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Conference, a.k.a. KidLitCon, on Oct. 10 and 11 in Sacramento. "We blog, because blogging gives us a voice. We blog about diversity, because we've all got different voices …" Read more ...
Sept. 15, 2014 NBA finalists for 'young people's literature'
The 10 finalists for the 2014 National Book Award were just announced, including three middle grade titles. See the list of nominees read more.
To honor Christine Elizabeth Eldin (1966-2012), an aspiring middle grade author and co-founder of the Book Roast book promotion site, the Eldin Fellowship will recognize a middle grade writer with a $1,000 award. To be eligible, writers must be unpublished in the middle grade market, but may be published in other areas. Full details are available here READ MORE
August 1, 2014: From the Mixed-Up Files is all Mixed-Up
You may have noticed our site isn't working properly. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but rest assured, we are working tirelessly to isolate the problem and get it fixed as quickly as possible. We hope to be back up soon!
July 11, 2014: Apply for a Thurber House residency!
Thurber House has a Children’s Writer-in-Residence program for middle-grade authors each year and guidelines and application form for the 2015 residency were just released.
This unique residency has been in existence since 2001, offering an opportunity for authors to have time to work on their writing in a fully furnished apartment, in the historic boyhood home of author and humorist, James Thurber. Deadline is October 31, 2014. For details, go to READ MORE
July 10, 2014:
Spread MG books in unexpected places 7/19
Drop a copy of your own book or of another middle-grade favorite in a public place on July 19 -- and some lucky reader will stumble upon it.
Ginger Lee Malacko is spearheading this Middle Grade Bookbomb (use the hashtag #mgbookbomb in social media) -- much in the spirit of Operation Teen Book Drop. Read more ...
June 16, 2014: Fizz, Boom, Read: Summer reading 2014
Hundreds of public libraries across the U.S. are celebrating reading this summer with the theme Fizz, Boom, Read! Find out more about this year's collaborative summer reading program and check out suggested booklists and activities. Read more ...
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.
In 1968, E. L. Konigsburg’s middle-grade novel, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, won the coveted Newbery Award for Excellence in American Children’s Literature.This site is named in honor of her beloved book.We hope you approve, Ms. Konigsburg.And thank you.Your book has touched generations of readers, and, if we have anything to say about it, will continue to do so for generations to come.