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PREMIERE ISSUE: FALL 2013

FEATURING

MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX

68

SEPTEMBER 2010


EST. 1972

HPB.COM


staff

Margaret Brown fo u n d e r a n d p u b l i s her Laurisa White Reyes e d i to r i n ch i e f

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COOL READS FOR KIDS


premiere issue: fall 2013

contents

DEPARTMENTS 4

a word from the editor

26

under the covers

32

spotlights

36

reviews

38

publisher’s corner

40

on our shelf

42

best of the blogs

46

poetry

6

margaret peterson haddix interview with the author of Risked

10

chris grabenstein interview with the author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

48

character spotlight

50

bookshelf

12

new author interview with McKenzie Wagner

58

contributors

60

last words

14

new author interview with Jennifer Gooch Hummer

16

genre fiction excerpts

44

halloween picks

On the cover: Risked by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013, www.simonandschuster.com

Images from Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Gilbert Ford, 2013, Random House Children’s Books and Up in the Air by Anne Marie Meyers, illustrated by Ethan Aldridge, 2013, Jolly Fish Press


a word from the

editor

W

elcome to the debut issue of Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing new endeavor. Good books have the power to entertain, to spark imaginations, and to transform lives, which is precisely why Middle Shelf came into being. We want to connect middle grade readers with the very best books, whether they are on the best-seller lists, published by small and indie presses, or self-published. What will you find in this issue? First, Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of many popular books for kids and teens, gives us a glimpse into the latest book in her The Missing series. Gilbert Ford and Nicole de las Heras discuss how they worked together to create the cover for Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, who is interviewed in this issue as well. You’ll also meet 12-yearold author McKenzie Wagner and debut author Jennifer Gooch Hummer. With Halloween just around the corner, check out our selection of fun and spooky titles. In addition, you will find excerpts, reviews, and a feature called Publisher’s Corner, introducing you to the people who transform great stories into books. Beginning with our January 2014 issue, we plan to include Letters to the Editor. Tell us what you like about the magazine, which books you’ve enjoyed reading, and what you’d like to see in future issues. Or respond to our READERS CHALLENGE (below). Email your letters to: Laurisa@shelfmediagroup.com [Kids, make sure you have permission from an adult.] We hope Middle Shelf will become a cherished resource for parents, teachers, librarians, and, of course, kids. Laurisa White Reyes editor-in-chief READERS CHALLENGE: Write a 2- to 4-line poem about or using the word “SNOW.” Selected entries will be published in the January 2014 issue of Middle Shelf. Find Middle Shelf on Facebook: www.facebook.com/middleshelfmagazine 4

PREMIERE ISSUE: FALL 2013


NEW BOOKS

FOR KIDS IN NEED Nothing makes you smarter than reading. But to become a strong reader, you need books. And many kids from low-income families don’t have books of their own at home. First Book is a nonprofit that makes sure all kids have books of their own. Find out how YOU can get involved at firstbook.org.


feature

author interview

Margaret Peterson

Haddix Risked: The Missing, Book 6 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers http://haddixbooks.com/books/risked.html

Ages 8-12

RISKED

The Missing Series #6 Jonah thought that after his last adventure in 1903, he and his sister Katherine would have a break from time travel for a while. For the first time, he’s willing to look into his own identity in the past, and he thinks this is his chance. But he barely has time for a single Google search before he, Katherine, and their friend Chip are tricked and zapped back to 1918 — and to the house where the Romanov family was imprisoned after the Russian Revolution. Trapped without a fully working Elucidator, the three kids still hope they can escape and save the lives of Anastasia and Alexei Romanov. But is it possible to change time that much when modern-day scientists have identified the entire Romanov family’s remains?

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Middle Shelf: Tell us about your new book, Risked. Margaret Peterson Haddix: In Risked, the time-traveling siblings Jonah and Katherine and their friend Chip end up imprisoned with the Romanov family in the tumultuous summer of 1918, more than a year after Tsar Nicholas II abdicated his throne. Jonah, Katherine and Chip desperately want to be able to save the two youngest Romanovs, Anastasia and Alexei—and any of the rest of their family as they can. But the kids wonder: Is that even possible, when they already know from research in their own time that the entire family was assassinated? How can they rearrange time that much? MS: Risked is the sixth book in the Missing series. Tell us about the series as a whole. Haddix: The Missing series begins with 36 babies mysteriously showing up on an otherwise abandoned airplane. Siblings Jonah and Katherine and their friends face an FBI cover-up, double-crossing adults, and risks to time itself as they try to solve the mystery and then travel through time rescuing various children endangered by their native time periods, ranging from the 1400s on.

MS: What inspired you to write Missing? Haddix: I first became intrigued by the notion of a mysterious planeload of babies. Then, once I figured out who those babies should be, I was fascinated by the idea of writing about kids who were raised in the twenty-first century getting to explore dangerous time periods of the past. MS: You’ve published 30 books, including the popular Shadow Children series. Which book(s) are particularly special to you and why? Haddix: The easy answer is that all of them are special, although the books tend to be special for different reasons. For example, Among the Hidden, the first Shadow Children book, is special partly because it came so naturally to me and I felt like I knew the main characters, Jen and Luke, so thoroughly right from the start. Another book, Uprising, is special because it was very challenging to write, and I was constantly wondering if I could carry off the balance between the actual history and the three differing characters at the heart of the story, Bella and Yetta and Jane. I could probably go on this way, mentioning every single one of my 30 books!

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MS: What books did you enjoy reading when you were younger and how have they influenced you as a writer? Haddix: I was a huge reader as a kid, and read everything I could get my hands on. I think the variety of reading material—sci fi, realistic contemporary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, etc.—influenced me in that I have now also written books in a variety of genres, and enjoy bouncing back and forth between various types of books as a writer as well as a reader. Some of my favorite books were older ones that in some cases had belonged to my mother or grandmother— like Little Women, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, etc. I liked a lot of the character-driven books, where reading felt like hanging out with a beloved friend. But I also liked more adventurous stories, many of which I borrowed from my brothers’ bookshelves. Some books I remember particularly enjoying that were adventures with girls as main characters were From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsberg; The Long Journey, by Barbara Corcoran; and She the Adventuress, by Dorothy Crayder.

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MS: Could you share a little about your initial road to publication? Haddix: I studied creative writing in college, but also studied journalism because I thought it was a safer bet in terms of allowing me to support myself after college. So I worked as a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis for four years, which gave me a lot of valuable writing experience and also exposed me to a lot of interesting people and ideas. When my husband’s job took us to a small town in Illinois where there wasn’t much job opportunity for me, I switched to teaching part-time at a community college and told myself that this was my chance to use the rest of my work time for writing fiction. Like most writers, I endured way more of the “submit—then get rejected” cycle than I wanted to. (Because who wants to endure any of it?) After about two years, I got an agent; a year later, Simon and Schuster accepted my first two books for publication: Running Out of Time and Don’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey. MS: What were some of the most interesting things you learned during your research for the Missing Series? Haddix: I’m a history buff anyway, so I was fascinated by pretty much everything


due out in the fall of 2014. It is a companion book to two of my earlier books, Just Ella and Palace Of Mirrors. Now that there will be three, the plan is to call the whole trilogy “The Palace Chronicles.” Palace Of Lies picks up the story from the perspective of Princess Desmia, who was something of a mysterious character in Palace Of Mirrors. Here’s the official description of the book: Desmia and her twelve sister-princesses are finally ruling Suala together, as a united front. All seems to finally be well, and Suala seems to have gotten its happily ever after at last. But Desmia, trained by a lifetime of palace intrigue, is not so sure.  She desperately wants to believe everything will be fine, but she can’t help but see danger around every corner. And then the unthinkable happens, and Desmia’s worst fears are confirmed.  Now,  without the support of the sister-princesses she’s grown to rely on or the trappings of royalty that have always made people listen to her, Desmia must find the courage to seek out the truth on her own terms—and MS: What can we expect from you in determine the course of two kingdoms. the future? Beyond Palace Of Lies, I have plans to Haddix: Besides the Missing series, the write middle grades books that will come next middle grade book I have coming out out in 2016 and 2017, but that is too far is a book called Palace Of Lies, which is ahead to really talk about yet! about the time periods and personalities I researched for the books in the Missing series. There are now a host of historic people I would love to go back in time to meet to see if they are really the way history portrays them—not just the obvious ones like, say, Albert Einstein, but also his first wife, Mileva (who played a huge role in Caught), Elizabeth Woodville (who became queen and mother of the princes in the tower in Sent), John White (the despairing grandfather in Sabotaged, who was also an amazing artist). All of them seemed to have been able to think very differently and, in some cases, behave very differently, than others of their time period. That intrigues me. Of all the time periods, people, and events I’ve researched for the series, I was probably most fascinated by all the oddities connected to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. So many very bizarre, unexplained things happened on that island. I want to have all the mysteries solved, not just the most famous ones!

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feature

author interview

Chris

Grabenstein Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Random House Books for Young Readers www.randomhousekids.com

Ages 8-12

ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the 21st century—at once a flashlight-under-the-covers adventure and a literary delight. Middle Shelf: You started out as an Chris Grabenstein: Yes, indeed! I use improv comedian. Have any rules of the basic improv principle of saying improv influenced your fiction writ- “Yes, and...” every day when I write. When you’re improvising a scene with ing?

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a partner, the only real rule is to not deny what your partner creates and then build on it. For instance, if you say, “Hands up, I have a gun!” and I say, “No, that’s your finger” our scene dies. But, if I say, “Hey, isn’t that the gun the Martians left last time they landed in our trailer park?” we’re off and running. In my author visits to schools, I try to teach kids how to use this technique so they never have writer’s block. It’s a great way to let your subconscious come out and play. Of course, once you improvise that scene on paper, you go back and tighten it up and make it better. (The second lesson of my school visits is that the secret to writing is rewriting.) But, utilizing the “Yes, and...” technique opens you up to all sorts of opportunities your rational brain may never find. MS: You’ve written books for kids as well as a number of mysteries and thrillers for adults. What does writing for middle readers allow you to do or explore that writing for adults does not? Grabenstein: I find that I get to use more of my imagination when I’m writing for Middle Grades readers. That said, I borrow the pacing, cliffhangers, and twists of my adult mysteries and thrillers to keep kids burning through the pages. I suspect this is why my books have done so well with reluctant readers. The nicest e-mails I receive are from parents who tell me that their son or daughter wasn’t a reader

until they picked up one of my books and couldn’t put it down. Also, at book signings, kids sometimes hug your book while they wait on line for you to sign it. Very few adults are book huggers. MS: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a celebration of literature and libraries and even the Dewey Decimal System. Did you frequent the library as a kid, and what were some of your favorite books that you discovered there? Grabenstein: Unfortunately, in my own life, the opposite is true. After being born in Buffalo, NY my family moved to a part of Tennessee where, at the time, libraries and books and even education weren’t celebrated very much. I don’t think our small town even had a public library. At school, our library wasn’t considered an important part of the learning experience. Visiting schools and public libraries for the past five years, I have been extremely impressed by the libraries and librarians that are out there helping young minds find books to devour. Often, the favorite part of my school visit day is early in the morning, drinking coffee with the librarians, listening to them interacting with the eager kids who come through the door at 8 a.m. hungry for a new book to read. “Oh, if you liked X, you’ll love Z,” they say. And I ask myself, where were these libraries and librarians when I was a kid?

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feature

author interview

McKenzie

Wagner The Stones of Horsh (Benotripia, Book 2) Cedar Fort | www.cedarfortbooks.com

Ages 11-15

BENOTRIPIA

The Stones of Horsh With the queen gone, the Darvonians have the perfect opportunity to invade Benotripia, find the Stones of Horsh, and harness their great powers. Only three children stand in their way: Roseabelle, Jessicana, and Astro. But this time, the Darvonians know not to underestimate these children, and the invaders come prepared. Roseabelle and her friends must survive long enough to save the stones.

McKenzie Wagner: It feels amazing to Middle Shelf: Congratulations on be a published author! I love everything your books, McKenzie. How does it about it—doing signings, speaking to feel to be a published author at your kids, and most of all, the writing. And I am currently twelve years old. age? And how old are you?

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MS: Your second book, Benotripia: The Stones Of Horsh, came out in September with Cedar Fort Publishing. Could you tell us about the story? Wagner: Sure! In The Stones Of Horsh, the Darvonians have secretly invaded Benotripia to find mystical artifacts. These artifacts, the Stones of Horsh, are extremely powerful. Roseabelle, Jessicana, and Astro return in this exciting sequel. It’s a race against time between the three friends and the Darvonians. The outcome will decide the fate of Benotripia. MS: When did you decide to become an author? Wagner: It all started with reading. I learned how to read when I was four years old and instantly loved it. I was hooked on all kinds of books. In first grade my teacher, Ms. Kunz, taught me how to put a book together. When I went home, I started to write my first book. At the end of the summer, my parents read it and thought it was pretty good. We decided to submit to a publisher in Oklahoma. And let me tell you, I was not expecting what came next. The publisher actually liked my work and decided to publish it! My next book I wrote when I was nine, and it was called Benotripia: The Rescue, which is the first book in the Benotripia

series. Cedar Fort, a publisher in Utah, had heard of me and decided to publish The Rescue and its sequel. MS: What has been the biggest or best surprise about being an author? Wagner: Probably meeting all of the new people. I had heard in a lot of older stories that authors are hermits, but that is definitely not true. I’ve talked with kids, telling them to follow their dreams. I’ve spoken with teachers who are trying to motivate their students. And of course, I’ve talked to other authors. In truth, I never thought I’d meet so many fantastic people. MS: What advice can you offer other young writers like yourself? Wagner: Never give up. Getting rejected by publishers is not exactly a picnic, and sometimes it makes you feel like you should just quit. But let me tell you—if your story is rejected, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good story. It just means that maybe that’s not what genre or type of book the publisher was looking for. I know an author who has two hundred rejection letters, and she’s now a New York Times Bestseller! So please don’t give up, and keep following your dreams.

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feature

author interview

Jennifer

Gooch Hummer Girl Unmoored Fiction Studio Books | www.fictionstudiobooks.com

Ages 10-14

GIRL UNMOORED Everyone’s new favorite seventh grader is Apron Bramhall, the unmoored star of Girl Unmoored. We talked to author Jennifer Gooch Hummer about Apron, writing, and the upcoming film adaption of the book.

Middle Shelf: You started writing Girl Unmoored when you were 10. What did it start out as? How did it develop over time? Jennifer Gooch Hummer: When I was 10 years old, Apron knocked on my head. I don’t know where her name came from; as far as I know there has never been a girl named Apron in the history of the world.

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But I started A Girl Named Apron in a red spiral notebook that I still have today. Not much happened in this first story; all Apron did was pack up to go live with her grandmother in Maine. I put the notebook aside, but Apron stayed with me all these years. It wasn’t until I met my friend Mike 15 years later that her story came to me. MS: What lesson have you learned about writing that you would share with your 10-year-old self? Hummer: Promise your characters you will tell their story, no matter what. Because the truth is, no one really cares if you finish that story. Obviously, this isn’t the case if you are writing for a homework assignment — your parents and teachers care a great deal about you finishing your work. But writing fiction as a passion or a hobby can be hard to stay focused on. There’s just so much to do in a day, and sitting down to write for yourself can become last on your list. But by promising your characters to tell their stories, your self-destructive thoughts have no choice but to take a hike. After all, your character showed up at the page. You should too.

manipulating nurse who took care of Apron’s mother. Apron is floating in a sea of trouble, until she meets Mike. Apron is 13 and Mike is in his 20’s. But Mike is handsome and charming and sweet, so it’s only natural that Apron would have a crush on him. Growing up is hard and spicy and foggy. One minute you think you know where you’re headed and the next minute someone switches the map on you. Mike and Chad show Apron what love means — not necessarily the romantic kind, but the kind that can save you. MS: What were some of your favorite books as a middle grade reader? Hummer: In middle grade, my favorite author was Judy Blume. Blubber and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing were two of my favorites. There was no one writing like Judy Blume at the time. Now, of course, there are many great contemporary middle grade fiction writers, but she was the leader of her genre.

MS: Was it hard to say goodbye to Apron when you finished Girl Unmoored? Hummer: Yes! But then a great thing happened. Girl Unmoored was optioned for a MS: Tell us about your main character, film. I just finished writing the screenplay, so I spent my summer once again with Apron Bramhall. Hummer: Apron has just lost her mother Apron, Chad, Mike, and unfortunately, the and is about to lose her best friend. And evil M. Writing Girl Unmoored for the big if those two things aren’t bad enough, screen was just about as fun as it gets as her father is about to marry the evil a writer. Now, it’s onto my next book.

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excerpts

COOL READS FOR

1

HISTORICAL

2

HUMOR

3

COOL

KIDS Find your next favorite book right here.

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MULTI-CULTURAL

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5

DYSTOPIAN

CONTEMPORARY

6

FANTASY


historical

Ages 10-14 Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick Viking Juvenile | www.us.penguingroup.com Winner of the 2012 SCBWI Book Launch Award

“G

eorge Nelson saw your brother. They fished him from a barrel in a pond and he said it was ‘the Weaver boy,’ and then he up and died. Your brother is going to pay this time. He can’t get out of this one.” “No, you got it wrong,” Shad said again, but the moment the words were out of his mouth, he knew he shouldn’t have spoken. He gritted his teeth and watched as the realization came over Rachel’s face. Her eyes grew silver-dollar bright. Her neck stretched up and her shoulders down. Then her mouth fell open and she covered it with her hand, even as she spoke. “You were there.” Shad’s tongue grew thick. He wanted to speak, but he couldn’t form words. “Get on! What do you know?” “I—I—” “You tell me. You tell me right now! You know what happened.” He shook his head. “I see it in your eyes.” “Rachel—” “Don’t you Rachel me, Mr. Weaver. Sir!” Maybe it was the way she said sir. Maybe it was the way she saw through him. Maybe it was the way Mama had shaken all over this morning. Or the way they’d taken Jeremiah when he was so fast asleep and hung-over, he hadn’t put up a fight. Maybe it was Rachel saying George Nelson had died. He didn’t know, but he grabbed Rachel’s

wrists and twisted them. He bent them into each other and heard her let out a little shriek, and he didn’t let go. Through her arms he felt her weight shift and knew her knees had buckled, but still he didn’t let go. Her eyes bored into him and he held her wrists and he felt strong. From Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick, Viking Juvenile, 2013. http://www.us.penguingroup.com/ nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780670014392,00. html?Brotherhood_Anne_Westrick. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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humor

Ages 9-12 Lulu in LA LA Land by Elisabeth Wolf Sourcebooks, Inc. | www.sourcebooks.com www.luluinlalaland.com

M

y name is Lulu Harrison, daughter of the super cool actor Lincoln Harrison and famous film director Fiona. I’m little sister to fashionable, fancy fifteen-year-old Alexis. My address is 15000 Stone Canyon Road, Bel Air, California (that area between Beverly Hills and Brentwood). You’d think my life was pampering and parties. Well, it could be, but the problem is, I’m the Not Fitter Inner. I love to garden. The rest of my family loves to groom. I love to bake. They love to buy. I love science experiments. They love strenuous exercise (like yoga or Pilates). Are you starting to understand? Here’s what it means to be a Not Fitter Inner. Everyone who ever meets my dad or reads about him thinks he’s dreamy. They’re not wrong. He’s got thick, wavy brown hair and forest-green eyes. BUT I have this secret idea he doesn’t even know where my room is in the house. I’m one gazillion percent sure he doesn’t know the name of my best friend, my favorite food, or what grade I’m in. My sister, Alexis, is flaw free, or at least that’s what she’s always telling me. She has thick, dark hair that’s always blown out. She has an L.A.-style toothpick body. People constantly mistake her for a young actress. She loves that beyond belief. Here’s how I look: plain. I have frizzy, shapeless brown hair that I never have time to cut or brush. I’ve got pale skin with

overlapping freckles. I’m average height and just a little teeny-tiny bit extra chunky. I sure don’t want to look like those walking skeletons you see around L.A. My best feature on the outside is my deep-green eyes. My other best parts that you can’t see, like my brain and my feelings, my family doesn’t care about. Out of sight, out of mind. From Lulu in LA LA Land by Elisabeth Wolf, Sourcebooks, Inc. 2013. http://www.sourcebooks.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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multi-cultural

Ages 10-14 A Girl Called Problem by Katie Quirk William B. Eerdman’s Publishing | www.eerdmans.com

S

She who hates, hates herself.

hida ran back to her own cooking hut. Mama was stirring their ugali to a thick consistency. Shida handed her the two tomatoes and, after hesitating for a moment, offered her the onion as well. “Good, Shida. That was fast.” Mama began peeling the onion with their dull kitchen knife. Shida handed Mama their other pot and threw the peeling scraps over her shoulder into the yard before propping herself up in the doorway. “Mama, I think this move to Njia Panda could be a good thing for us.” Mama grunted and raised her eyebrows. “I could go to school and learn from the nurse. She could teach me how to become an even better healer and then when I’m older —” “Shida, stop!” Mama put down the knife. Her eyes were suddenly focused. “You’re a girl now, a child. Yes, you have healing skills. So did I when I was a girl. But how many medicine women do you know in our village?” Shida stared at the flames. “But, Mama —” “No, Shida. You don’t know any. Only men. And now try to imagine one of these medicine women you dream about coming from what people call a dishonorable family, a family without a father. Do you see? That’s you, Shida. Is that the sort of luck people are looking for when they go to a healer?” “No,” Shida said. She shifted back and forth between her feet and pulled at a hole in the waist of her dress. “You have to understand this, Shida.

—South African proverb

Now, you’re a girl. But tomorrow, you’ll be a woman. People have room in their lives for girls with crazy mothers and dead fathers. They feel sorry for these girls. How many fathers will choose to have their sons marry a young woman without a father? A young woman whose family has an unlucky history? Your best hope is to get married now while people still think of you as a girl.” From A Girl Called Problem by Katie Quirk, William B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 2013. www.eerdmans. com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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dystopian

Ages 10+ A Nothing Named Silas by Steve Westover Cedar Fort | cedarfortbooks.com

“S

ilas, you know what you’ve got to do. This is it. This is everything.” My head bobs in recognition as Father rubs the back of my shoulders and neck. I stare at the shimmer and listen to the static buzz of the domed Shield overhead. Then one of the race officials steps to my side, and I hold out my hand. He scans my wrist and then moves on to the other racers. To my right, five contestants are surrounded by family and friends, but Gregg stands alone on my left. There’s no one to cheer him on, and I can tell his indifference is just an act. He stands tall and resolute, but I see his eyes roam the crowd as if hoping his father will miraculously appear, forgiving him for his second-place failure on the exams yesterday. I should be more focused on the Regency Race, but I can’t help feeling a little sorry for him. In a way, I’m the cause of his father’s abandonment. Gregg rotates his neck, plants the spiked toes of his shoes into the soft ground, and then returns my stare. He growls. His lips tighten and his jaw clenches as he places the tips of his fingers onto the dirt. His biceps flex and I laugh at his attempt to intimidate me. He should know better by now, but then there’s never been a day quite like today—at least not for us. Father digs his fingers into my shoulders and pulls me tight against his body. His warm breath tickles my ear as he whispers, “Get your head in this. Do you hear me?

You must win.” I nod in agreement. “I always do, Father.” He usually appreciates my confidence, but not today. His whisper sharpens. “This isn’t like the other races. Silas, you will win this. The scouts are watching. The Regents are watching. The draft is tomorrow. This is your life. Do you hear me, Silas? You cannot fail.” From A Nothing Named Silas by Steve Westover, Cedar Fort Books, 2013. www.cedarfortbooks.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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contemporary

Ages 10-14 A.K.A. Genius by Marilee Haynes Pauline Books & Media | www.pauline.org

“What do I think about that? A genius? That can’t be right.”

“G

abe, honey, come sit down,” says my mom. The line between her eyebrows doesn’t go with the smile on her face. “We need to talk to you about something.” It looks like the weird thing is coming my way. I search around in my brain and try to figure out what I did wrong or how I messed up. I come up blank. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened the last few days, my room is kind of picked up, and I did my homework last night. I don’t even think I’ve been too rotten to my sister lately. “What’s going on?” I flop into the chair that’s the only other place to sit. Too late, I remember this is not a chair for flopping. I wince and rub the spot on my butt that hit first. “Well, Champ, Mr. Dooley called today and told your mom something interesting,” says my dad. Everyone knows that nothing good has ever happened to a kid after a call from the principal. My stomach clenches up like a fist. I hold myself perfectly still and wait for more. “Do you remember those tests that you took at the beginning of the year?” my mom asks. “Yeah, the whole seventh grade took them. It was two days of boring. What about them? Did I do something wrong?” They seemed pretty easy, but maybe I used the wrong kind of pencil or filled in the wrong bubbles. “No,” says my mom. “Just the opposite. It seems that you did exceptionally well.” She stops and looks at my dad. My dad

jerks his chin toward me, which I guess means he wants my mom to tell me. “It seems that the tests showed that you have a very high IQ.” My mom smoothes her already-smooth blonde hair. “Actually your IQ is so high that you’re—” “A genius! A real genius,” my dad blurts. “What do you think about that?” From A.K.A. Genius by Marilee Haynes, Pauline Publishing, 2013. http://www.pauline. org/PublishingHouse/tabid/1006/Default.aspx. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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fantasy

Ages 9-13 Hope (Faerieground Book 2) By Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser Capstone Press | www.capstoneyoungreaders.com

LUCY I float in and out of sleep. It is strange to be blind. I’m used to a life of light. Now everything is dark. Someone bursts into my tent, bringing a rush of cool air. “The queen wants water,” she says. It’s Caro. Kheelan is with me, holding my hand. “You can’t take this water,” he says. “Lucy needs it.” I want to smile, to thank him, but I am frozen in my body. I can’t move.

I can only listen. “Lucy doesn’t need it,” Caro says. “She’s dying.” Kheelan’s grip on my hand tightens, and then he lets go and stands up. I hear him walk toward Caro, and I imagine what they must look like: Kheelan calm and dark, Caro light and angry, her hands on her hips. “Calandra will die years before Lucy does,” Kheelan says. “That’s what you think,” she says. “They won’t let Calandra die.”

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SOLI Calandra is asleep when Kheelan bursts into the tent. I drop her hand. “Here,” he says, thrusting a cup of water toward me. “Caro said you needed this.” “Thank you,” I say. I reach for the water. My hand brushes his as I take the cold cup, and I feel the familiar tingle slide down my spine. I smile up at him, and he reaches out and strokes my cheek. Then Calandra moans from her bed. “Andria, find Mommy,” she says. “Find Mommy, I’m sick.” “Who is Andria?” Kheelan asks. “Isn’t that Lucy’s mother?” “My sister,” the queen says, shaking her head. “Tell her to find my mother.” I try to help her drink the water, but it mostly drips down her face. The proud queen, once so beautiful, looks broken, dying. Then she’s asleep again. Motherbird races into the tent, her face flushed. “Come, Soledad,” she says. “Quickly. Lucy has been taken.” She holds up one black feather.

“Who?” Kheelan asks. “The Crows?” Caro says, “That’s right. Now give me that water. Soli asked for it for the queen.” “Soli is with her?” Kheelan asks. He sighs. “I’ll take her a cup. You stay here with Lucy.” The cool air brushes my face again, and Caro grabs my hand. She leans her face close to mine—I can feel her breath. “Now, Lucy,” she says. Her voice is still low and From Hope by Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser, angry. “Let’s go.” Capstone Press 2013. www.capstoneyoungreaders. And I hear the flap of wings. com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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feature

under the covers

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library By Chris Grabenstein Random House Children’s Books | www.chrisgrabenstein.com/kids Cover Artist: Gilbert Ford http://gilbertford.com Art Designer (Random House): Nicole De Las Heras 26

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ore often than not, our first impression of a book is its cover. If the art grabs our attention, we are more likely open to the first page. The cover gives us a glimpse into the story and the characters. It sparks our imaginations. But how much thought do we give to how that cover came to be, or the people who created it? In Under the Covers we explore not the story between the covers of a book, but the story of the cover itself. Gilbert Ford’s distinctive artistic style graces the covers of many books including Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Johnathan Auxier, and Write This Book by Pseudonymous Bosch.

with Gilbert Ford & Nicole De Las Heras

Middle Shelf: How did you become a cover artist? Gilbert Ford: I went to Pratt Institute to become an illustrator. After I graduated I worked as a designer and illustrator of children’s educational toys while I did freelance illustration for magazines and books during the nights and weekends. Eventually, I picked up enough clients to work for myself full time. So I actually illustrate all kinds of things, including picture books. Covers are just one of my specialties. MS: How does the story influence the cover art for a particular book? Nicole De Las Heras: When I first started working on the cover for Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, only a partial manuscript was available—Chris [Grabenstein] was still putting the finishing touches on it. Luckily, Chris is an author who uses an  inspiration board when he

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writes, so he had lots of inspiration for me and the illustrator to work with. In addition to sending character and setting  descriptions, Chris also created a helpful list  of some of the fun things the characters find inside of the library, including the rare white tiger and the Sherlock Holmes and Huck Finn silhouettes that appear on the final jacket.  Book jackets are always a collaborative process, and I think after we’d  all read the manuscript, it was pretty clear to everyone that the jacket for the book needed to evoke a board game in some way. After all, the book centers around Luigi Lemoncello, the master game maker. The next task was pairing the right illustrator with the project and watching it come to life. I had been a fan of Gilbert Ford’s work for a while. To me he seemed like the perfect fit, and I was given the go-ahead to hire him for the project. Luckily, he accepted! MS: Gilbert, do you read the books for which you design covers? Ford: I actually do make the time to read the books that I illustrate. In middle grade fiction, the design team prefers to see specific scenes from the book that might entice the reader into picking up the book. If there is a wraparound cover (where the front and back cover are illustrated), the back usually includes other characters from the story to further tease the reader with a taste of what lies inside. All of these scenes include details from the story that I could only get from reading the manuscript. MS: How much contact do you have with the author during a cover project? Ford: I have very little contact with the author during the process of designing the covers. Sometimes the author gets last say before the cover gets final approval. I generally hear from authors after their books hit the shelves. MS: What art mediums did you use for Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library? Ford: Nicole already knew that she wanted a wraparound cover to resemble a game board. Before I illustrated full time, I designed educational toys and their packaging, so I found myself beginning the process

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more as a toy designer. The sketches that I sent were a little tighter than my other cover concepts since Nicole was clear about what she wanted. I used Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Indesign at first, and later came in with brush and ink for the characters. Sometimes with my other covers I will paint a chunk of it in watercolor, but not for this one. MS: How was the interior art developed? Heras: In addition to the jacket art, this book also required some interior puzzles to be created. These needed to be very specific as they help to  advance the plot and serve as clues for the reader to solve the game along with the characters. Chris provided reference for what everything needed to be, and I hired another illustrator to execute all of the interior spots, which I then put together in the right order to create the rebuses.  We decided to have these drawn in a silhouette style to keep consistent with the silhouettes on the jacket. MS: What’s the process of developing a cover from start to finish? Ford: My agent usually sends me the work order. The designer then sends me the manuscript and I spend a day reading it and taking notes. I create at least three rough sketches and send them to the designer and the art director. The editor, who is the person in charge of overseeing all aspects of the book, including finding the story and helping the author make it even better, discusses the sketches with the designer and art director. We work back and forth until the cover is good enough to show in a meeting with the editorial and sales and marketing teams. If sales and marketing think that people will buy the book for the cover, then I have done my job and I can create the final art (which by now is just putting on finishing touches). If they don’t think people will pick up the cover, however, I have to start over with fresh sketches. About a week before the book goes to print, I usually get an emergency call that one last small change must be made to the cover. This whole process takes about six months. Heras: We probably went through just a couple of rounds of sketches ... and ended up with the really fun package we have today! I’m really happy with how this package came together.

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nonfiction spotlight

Ages 8-12

“When the sun god Ra shone his light through the moisture goddess Tefut, a rainbow arched across the world.” Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Christina Balit National Geographic Society | http://books.nationalgeographic.com/books

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his over-sized hardbound book with its bold, colorful illustrations and astounding collection of stories and facts is itself a treasure. The author’s lyrical retelling of the myths and legends of ancient Egypt makes each God and Goddess leap off the page, transporting readers back to a time long ago when these myths were first imagined. The many photos and sidebars detailing Egyptian history, artifacts, and culture are

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not only informative, they enhance the myths themselves, grounding them in the real day-to-day existence of the ancient people who once used these stories to explain the world around them. Treasury of Eg yptian Mytholog y is the companion to the equally stunning Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes and Monsters, also written by Donna Jo Napoli. Both books deserve a permanent place on every school and home library shelf.


graphic novel spotlight

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes Edited by Kazu Kibuishi Amulet Books

Explorer 2: The Lost Islands Edited by Kazu Kibuishi Amulet Books

Ages 8 & up

Ages 8 & up

even clever stories answer one simple question: what’s in the box? Funny, fantastic, spooky, and suspenseful, each of these unique and beautifully illustrated short graphic works revolves around a central theme: a mysterious box and the marvels—or mayhem—inside. Artists include middle school favorites Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), as well as Jason Caffoe, Stuart Livingston, Johane Matte, Rad Sechrist (all contributors to the groundbreaking comics anthology series Flight), and upcoming artist Emily Carroll.

he highly anticipated second volume to the critically acclaimed Explorer series, The Lost Islands is a collection of seven all-new stories written and illustrated by an award-winning roster of comics artists, with each story centered around the theme of hidden places. Edited by the New York Times bestselling comics creator Kazu Kibuishi, this graphic anthology includes well-written, beautifully illustrated stories by Kazu, Jason Caffoe, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, Jake Parker, Michel Gagné, Katie and Steven Shanahan, and up-and-coming new artist Chrystin Garland.

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novelty book spotlight

Ages 8+

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ou’ve never seen a doodle book quite like this one! Photo Doodles invites young artists and designers to complete more than a hundred different photographs, everything from rollercoasters and soda can labels to book covers and imperial palaces. Photo Doodles repackages the most kid-friendly activities from Quirk’s Fill in the Blank, with a smaller trim size, a lower price point, and dozens of new just-for-kids creative challenges. Get ready to think outside the box, color outside the lines, and exercise your imagination!

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Photo Doodles by Viiiz Quirk Publishing www.quirkbooks.com


Can I get Shelf Unbound on the

iTunes Newsstand?

App-solutely! 35


TEAK recommends The Expeditioners by S.S. Taylor and Katherine Roy McSweeney’s McMullins

Ages 10 - 14 Teak Balena is 12 years old and in the 7th grade. He has one pet and one younger brother. His favorite books are The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. His other interests include chess and soccer. Teak wants to either be an architect or a lawyer. His dreams never end, and he is always looking for an adventure.

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[Summary] Computers have failed, electricity is extinct, and the race to discover new lands is underway! Brilliant explorer Alexander West has just died under mysterious circumstances, but not before smuggling half of a strange map to his intrepid children—Kit the brain, M.K. the tinkerer, and Zander the brave. Why are so many government agents trying to steal the half-map? (And where is the other half?) It’s up to Alexander’s children—the Expeditioners—to get to the bottom of these questions, and fast. [Review] This entertaining book called The Expeditioners by S.S. Taylor is a fun and exciting page-turner and always keeps you on your toes. This book has action, mystery, and pure thrill. You can’t stop reading this great novel. This book spotlights the futuristic adventures of three children of a famous explorer who mysteriously died. The teens live in their parents’ house until a corrupt government agency called the BNDL confiscates all of their father’s records in an attempt to find the hidden treasure. The three kids M.K, Kit, and Zander set out on a quest to stop the BNDL from finding and misusing the treasure. Their cross-country expeditions take them to the Arizona desert where discoveries await. Will the BNDL take the glory, or will the Expeditioners claim victory???


KELLY’S reads A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle Amulet

Ages 8-12 [Summary] Mary O’Hara is a sharp twelve-year-old Dublin schoolgirl bravely facing the fact that her beloved Gran is dying. But Gran can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up on Mary’s street with a message for Gran, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman, Tansey, is a ghost—Mary’s great-grandmother who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. To persuade Gran, she needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey: one of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.

Kelly Bergh is a senior in high school. She works at her local library and has found that she quite likes reading. She plans to enter college next fall to study to become an editor.

[Review] A Greyhound of a Girl is an absolutely charming novel, engaging from the very first page. For readers like me who are usually wary of novels with ghostly elements, Roddy Doyle’s witty Irish dialogue eliminates all potential creepiness while still allowing the plot to fit the supernatural genre. Because its characters span four generations of women, I would recommend this book not only to middle grade readers but to anybody of any age looking for a beautiful story about the timelessness of family support. 37


publisher’s corner Tanglewood Press was founded in 2003 by Peggy Tierney and is the home of many wonderful books for children of all ages, including the popular picture book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Wood. Today Peggy shares a glimpse into the publishing world and the process behind creating entertaining and memorable books.

Tanglewood Press Peggy Tierney, Editor & Publisher www.tanglewoodbooks.com Middle Shelf: How do you choose books to publish? Tanglewood Press: The first step of publishing a book is the selection of the manuscript to publish. We have an employee whose sole duty is to read the manuscripts received (the “slush pile”) and select a few that stand out, maybe thirty or forty in any year. Then the editor will go through those few and select one or two to publish. MS: How often do you publish books? TP: Books are published by season — the main ones being spring and fall —and the work on a book begins twelve to eighteen months before its release. Marketing and sales plans also begin right away. Bookstores ideally want to have sample books and marketing materials six to nine months before a book is released. So at the same time a manuscript is being edited, marketing plans and pieces are being created. MS: How important is the cover of a book? TP: People often assume that a cover is the last thing done for a book, but it’s often the first. Why? Because it is the most important marketing piece of a

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book. The ideal cover expresses the story but should also be so cool looking or create some curiosity that it makes the customer want to pick it up off a bookstore shelf. Cover creation is a joint effort between designers, illustrators, editors, and the marketing and publicity team. And it’s way harder than it looks! MS: Can you explain the process of editing and printing books? TP: While the manuscript is being edited, a developmental editor looks at things like character development, pacing, tone, plot. Writers will rewrite parts that can be improved. A copy editor handles punctuation, grammar, spelling. A proofreader will then give the book a final reading. Still, even with so many editors working on a book, little mistakes can slip through. After that, the designer takes the manuscript and cover image and puts them into book form, ready to print. A production manager arranges the printing process, which is always done by a printing company, not the publisher. The marketing team has prepared lots of materials describing the book and why stores should sell it, and the


sales people take those materials and visit bookstores and the people in charge of selecting titles for bigger chains (they are called the “buyers”). There are many other things that have to happen behind the scenes, as publishing is a very complex business. MS: What books will Tanglewood Press publish this fall? TP: We here at Tanglewood are very excited about The Rock of Ivanore, the first book of The Celestine Chronicles. It is a great introduction to classic fantasy, with a mysterious quest, wizards and dragons, strange creatures and exotic kingdoms, and lots of surprises. It is coming out in paperback in October. Available at the same time will be the second book of The Celestine Chronicles, The Last Enchanter, and it is just as thrilling as the first one (some of us think it is even better!). Also new is Mickey Price: Journey To Oblivion, a story of three kids who are sent on a secret mission to the moon to save it from a space station’s nuclear meltdown. It, too, is a book that is full of action that keeps building in excitement and suspense to the very end. Our favorite part is the humor —it really is funny in a way that we think readers will enjoy. Tanglewood’s goal is simple: to find and publish books kids will love.

Mickey Price: Journey to Oblivion by John Stanley Tanglewood Press ages 8-12

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he moon is under threat of a nuclear meltdown due to a space station malfunction. Complicating things is the presence of pleurinium, a magnetic material that makes humans instantly, seriously ill — well, all humans who are 14 years old and up. Mickey Price is an orphan in Orlando; Trace Daniels is a go-kart champion in Nevada; Jonah Jones is a budding scientist in Illinois. They don’t know each other, but they are all being watched and studied by men in white shirts, thin black ties, and distinctive gold-colored sunglasses. The three kids are invited to a NASA camp, but this camp isn’t for summer fun. It’s a training camp for a mission full of dangers that will test each of them to the maximum, but it’s also an adventure full of thrills, fun, and some unexpected companions, not all of whom are human. The Last Enchanter (The Celestine Chronicles, Book 2) by Laurisa White Reyes (editor of Middle Shelf) Tanglewood Press ages 8 – 12

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onths have passed since Marcus and Kelvin succeeded in their quest to find the Rock of Ivanore. Kelvin is living as royalty in Dokur, and Marcus is studying magic with Zyll. When Fredric is murdered and Kelvin becomes king, Zyll and Marcus head for Dokur in hopes of protecting Kelvin from meeting the same fate, though it quickly becomes apparent that none of them are safe, and Marcus has had disturbing visions of Zyll’s death. With the help of his old friends Clovis and Bryn, joined by new friend Lael, a feisty girl in search of her mother, Marcus uncovers a powerful secret that will change the course of his life forever. TRAILER 39


on our shelf “My cousin Remember is what polite people call different. I call him weird. He’s the reason I have to get up so early, the reason I got into it with Dirk the Jerk, the reason I’m always late to meet my friends, the reason my whole summer’s going to be a bust. This was definitely going to be a disaster.”

Ages 10 +

Remember Dippy By Shirley Reva Vernick Cinco Puntos Press www.cincopuntos.com

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hen Johnny’s mom takes a job in New York, Johnny winds up at his Aunt Collette’s house for the summer looking after his older cousin Remember. Yes, that’s his name: Remember Dippy. Mem for short. Mem isn’t your typical teenager. He is high-functioning autistic, prone to tantrums, brilliant at video games, and fiercely loyal to his friends. At first Johnny is anything but happy about spending his vacation toting Mem with him everywhere he goes, especially when he’s trying to catch the attention of Jo, his friend Mo’s sister, but after some unexpected turns of events Johnny begins to see Mem, and some other people in his neighborhood, a little bit differently. Remember Dippy, his cousin Johnny, and all the characters from Hull, Vermont, hooked my interest from the very first page. These are normal kids facing not-so-normal situations, like rescuing the neighborhood bully from a near-drowning, or helping the local pizza owner fish an engagement ring out of a floor vent. Even Mem’s beloved pets, two furry ferrets, are unusual. But that’s what makes this story so compelling. It’s a fast read about false assumptions and the importance of accepting people for who they are, something Johnny discovers over the course of this little gem of a story. The book is listed as Young Adult because the characters are in their mid-teens, but this story is perfectly accessible and appropriate for younger readers. With no profanity or other “mature” material, Remember Dippy is a book I can recommend with confidence.


on our shelf

Ages 8-12

“Sara said my wings would choose me, but the blue ones are perfect. Those are the ones I want.”

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0-year-old Melody wants to fly. When she jumps off a park swing and lands in the magical realm of Chimeroan, her wish finally comes true. This is where the dreams of children become reality. Melody receives a set of beautiful wings with a mind of their own, but to keep them she must solve three riddles. But more difficult than any of the challenges she must face in Chimeroan is facing her own past and the guilt she feels over the car accident that left her father paralyzed. What first drew me to Up in the Air was the delightful cover, which reminded me of my own childhood and that momentary freedom I’d feel when leaping off a swing. But the story wasn’t at all what I expected. After a brief introduction to Melody and her parents, all of whom bear the burden of the accident, I was quickly transported, along with Melody, to a world of magical realism inhabited by dragons, unicorns, leprechauns, giants, and even aliens. Like the imaginations of children, there are no limits in Chimeroan, or in Meyers’ bold yet tender tale. Fans of all kinds of stories from fairytales, to fantasy adventure, to realistic fiction will easily connect with Melody’s troubles—and triumphs. Adult readers will appreciate Meyers’ depiction of the young mind: her fears, her aspirations, and her capacity to make difficult decisions crucial to her own happiness and the happiness of those she loves. Up in the Air is a story about a regular little girl who finds herself in the most extraordinary of circumstances, and the value of living the life we are given. This little gem is a delight and deserves to be read.

Up in the Air By Anne Marie Meyers Jolly Fish Press www.annmarie-meyers.com www.jollyfishpress.com

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best

of the book blogs

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint Illustrated by Charles Vess Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Ages 8-12

THE BOOK MONSTERS http://www. thebookmonsters.com/ book-review-the-cats-oftanglewood-forest/

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[SUMMARY] In this whimsical, original folktale written and illustrated throughout in vibrant full color by two celebrated masters of modern fantasy, a young girl’s journey becomes an enchanting comingof-age story about magic, friendship, and the courage to shape one’s own destiny. Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills— until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures—from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People—to find a way to make things right.

[REVIEW] Lillian is a girl that reminded me of myself, in love with old tales of fairies and magic. When she falls asleep one day beneath a tree, she is bitten by a snake and the cats of Tanglewood Forest turn her into a kitten to save her life. The only problem is she is not happy to be a kitten instead of a little girl and seeks out a way to change back. What she finds is that turning back into a little girl may mean a worse fate for her dear Aunt, who takes care of her and is her only family in the world. Lillian must now find a way to save her only family. But what is she willing to give up to save her Aunt? Through this journey, Lillian learns more than any little girl about  what it means to be human.  I loved the illustrations in this novel, enough that I am putting this one on my “to buy” list. I have always been a fan of de Lint’s storytelling and paired with Vess’s illustrations, I felt completely transported into the story. I felt that I was Lillian, trying to save my only family while wanting to keep my true human form. Final verdict: The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a fantastical read that will transport you to Lillian’s world — filled with magic and unbelievable characters. 


Ages 8-12

PROJECT MAYHEM I was so excited when I was asked to review this book. I’m a longtime lover of Johnny Cash’s music. I even did a painting of him years ago (my starving artist days), so when I was asked to review John Carter Cash’s book, Johnny Cash’s son, I was mega thrilled! John Carter Cash is a musician and a picture book writer. This is his first middle-grade novel and given how well written this debut is, I can only imagine we will see more to come by this great author. http://project-middlegrade-mayhem.blogspot. com/2013/08/review-lupusrex-by-john-carter-cash.html

Lupus Rex by John Carter Cash Rebellion [SUMMARY] Ysill and Cormo are two quail who must risk their lives when they are driven from their home by crows, and find they must find a common cause with other creatures if they are to find safety in a world full of perils and adventure. The crow king is dead, and in the field below all the creatures tremble as the Murder gathers to choose a new king from the rival sons Sintus, Milus and Nascus. When the crows drive everyone from the field to keep the reckoning secret, the quail Ysil, Cormo and Harlequin believe they must simply follow their elders to safety. But when the crows turn against each other, the forest becomes full of danger. In the confusion the last wolf, Asmod, shucks off his isolation and begins to raise an army to claim the kingdom for his own. As hidden truths are brought to light and enormous sacrifices are made Ysil and his friends must make an epic journey and an unthinkable alliance if the lesser animals are to survive.

[REVIEW] What I Liked: Small heroes: Cash has quails fighting wolves! That right there says we are in for an epic struggle. Great bad guy: Asmod is an awesome bad guy wolf. If any of you have read my books, you know I like the baddies and Asmod is a villain among villains! It is realistic: Some might say it is a little too real, but I disagree. Animals are violent, bottom line. They don’t call it the food chain for nothing. History: Cash gives the different species their own history and tradition, which only lends to our love of these characters. Epic factor: This is a perfect example of an epic animal adventure that will keep kids interested. You want to see the good guys win, but you want to watch them get there too.  Douglas Smith: Anyone recognize the style of that cover? Okay, it’s the same guy who did the Wicked (Gregory Maguire) covers, Douglas Smith, one of my favorite illustrators! Extra points for that! In closing: If you like epic animal fantasy this is the book for you. It’s full of rich characters and an inventive storyline. It’s available in hardcover, paperbook, and ebook...so go get it!

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themed books:

HALLOWEEN Monster in the Mudball by S.P. Gates Tu Books www.leeandlow.com/ books/505/hc/the_monster_in_ the_mudball

Ages 8 – 12

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monster is loose in London! And it’s kind of Jin’s fault that Zilombo got loose. He tracked the monster to slimy Oozeburn Creek, but how does he get Zilombo to go back into her mudball, where she can’t hurt anyone? That’s when Jin meets Chief Inspector of Ancient Artifacts A.J. Zauyamakanda—Mizz Z, for short—who has arrived to inspect the mudball and insists that Jin help her find the monster that hatched from it. But Zilombo gains new, frightening powers every time she reawakens. She’s cleverer than ever before ... and she likes to eat babies. When Jin’s older sister gets distracted along the Oozeburn and forgets to watch their baby brother, Smiler is easy pickings for Zilombo! Will Jin’s baby brother be the next baby on Zilombo’s menu? As Zilombo’s powers grow, Jin and Mizz Z team up to outsmart Zilombo! 44

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The Emerald Ring: Cleopatra’s Legacy, Book I by Dorine White Sweetwater Books (Cedar Fort) http://blog.cedarfort.com/ category/sweetwater-books/

Ages 8 – 12

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rdinary “tween” life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve-yearold Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical  emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger. The fun of discovering the ring’s unique abilities turns to fear when she finds out a dangerous cult bent on restoring Rome to power is after the ring. Forced to choose between keeping the ring and saving her friends, Sara learns the price of bravery in this electrifying read!


Substitute Creature: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4 by Charles Gilman Quirk Publishing www.quirkbooks.com

Ages 9 – 12

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hen a giant nor’easter dumps a blanket of snow on the village of Dunwich, Massachussetts, Robert Arthur and his friends find themselves marooned inside Lovecraft Middle School. The kids have no choice but to spend the night—while snacking on cafeteria food, sleeping on classroom floors, and facing off against a mysterious substitute teacher who may have a sinister secret. The latest adventure in the Lovecraft Middle School series features more adventures, more outrageous monsters, and another terrifying lenticular cover!

Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli Andrews McMeel Publishing http://andrewsmcmeel.com

Ages 7 – 12

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eet Desmond Pucket— professor of frightology and master of monsters. Someday Desmond will be famous for his special effects wizardry, but for now he’s just trying to make it through sixth grade which means he needs to stay one step ahead of the school’s disciplinary officer, Mr. Needles. The only problem is Desmond just can’t stop pulling pranks—like the time he attached a shrieking rubber goblin to the toilet seat in the teachers’ bathroom. Or the time he put giant motorized worms into the mashed potatoes in the cafeteria. And now Desmond has to stay prank-free for the rest of the year, or he won’t be able to go on the class trip to Crab Shell Pier, home of the Mountain Full of Monsters ride! It’s going to be tough, but Desmond has to try.

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poetry

Basketball = Life the world is made of bounce and aim basketball’s not just a game in every little cell alive you’ll find a move, a bounce, a jive atoms vibrate all the time in people, puppies, trees, and slime Crazy About Basketball by Loris Lesynski, Illustrated by Gerry Rasmussen Annick Press http://www.annickpress.com/

Ages 8-12

a grain of sand a drop of blood a gasp of air a blob of mud everything has bounce inside it even rocks although they hide it everything you’ll ever know is always moving, on the go the universe? this brilliant game? they sometimes seem a lot the same

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PREMIERE ISSUE: FALL 2013


Nightball I can’t go in I know it’s night but I have to get my shooting right playground’s empty dark and cold but I’ll stay here until I’m old if that’s how long it takes to get the hang of landing in the net streetlight shows a perfect arc the swish sounds louder in the dark a lot of shots, a little spin, but some still miss —but more get in! I bet I’m better really soon my biggest fan tonight? the moon. From Crazy About Basketball, Annick Press, 2013. http://www.annickpress.com/. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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character spotlight

Ages 8-12

Stella Batts is the young star of a series of books written by Courtney Sheinmel and published by Sleeping Bear Press. Perfect for fans of Clementine and Junie B. Jones, Stella has five books out so far: Stella Batts Needs A New Name; Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow; Pardon Me; Who’s In Charge; and A Case Of The Meanies.

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PREMIERE ISSUE: FALL 2013


Today Stella visits with Middle Shelf magazine to tell us a little about herself and her books. Middle Shelf: Welcome to Middle Shelf, Stella. Could you introduce yourself to our readers? Stella Batts: Hey I’m Stella Batts. I’m eight-years-old and I live in Somers, California, with my parents, my younger sister Penny, and my new baby brother Marco. My family owns a candy store, which is super cool because eating fudge is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world. Another favorite thing is writing—which is why I’ve written FIVE books so far. You can read about my latest adventures in Stella Batts: Who’s In Charge? MS: Who are you most like, your mom or your dad? Stella: I look the most like my mom—especially our eyes and our hair. My hair used to be much longer than it is now, but I had a little accident with a stick of gum. So now it’s cut short, but not as short as my dad’s! Sometimes I act more like him, though. Like, my dad and I both like elevators (my mom is afraid of them), and we’re both inventive (my dad invents candy things and I invent stories). MS: What is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you? Stella: It’s not something I like to talk about, but fine, I’ll tell you. At the beginning of school this year, we were on our nature walk and I tripped and fell in front of everyone, right into something really gross. Ever since then, the meanest boy in my class has called me Smella. (I wrote a bit more about it in my first book, Stella Batts Needs A New Name.) MS: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re by yourself? Stella: Writing, of course! MS: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Stella: I think I would go to London. That’s a famous city in England, and it’s also where my new best friend Evie is from. She has a cool accent and says things like “lift” for elevator and “loo” for bathroom. She’s the only person I know who talks like that, but if I went there, everyone would! Except I think I’d only want to go if Evie were with me. That way I wouldn’t get lost. MS: Thank you for stopping by, Stella! It was really great meeting you!

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BOOK Seven Moon Circus: The Adventures of a Wild Boy in a Space Traveling Circus by Randy Morrison

K

eep your action boys excited about reading with Seven Moon Circus: The Adventures of a Wild Boy in a Space Traveling Circus.   Sample chapters and Educator’s Common Core Guide: 7mc.com.

www.7mc.com Available at Amazon. Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

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et in Maine, 1985, Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. Her mother has died, her father is about to marry a wicked witch and her best friend has dumped her for a newer model. Then she meets “Jesus”—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ Superstar—and his boyfriend. These three unlikely friends form an unbreakable bond not even death can separate.

Black Pool—A Jack Flynn Adventure by C.H. Garbutt

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elpless to save his mum from drowning off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, and just barely surviving himself, young Jack Flynn is rescued by a mysterious pair of webbed hands reaching up from the ocean depths. Jack recalls nothing of his narrow escape until years later when he meets Lillay, a young teenage mermaid, at the Dublin docklands, where his past and future meet. www.blackpoolthebook.wordpress.com Available at Amazon. Flying with a Broken Wing by Laura Best

“B

“Girl Unmoored may be the undiscovered young adult novel of the summer.” —Entertainment Weekly

est creates an authentic portrait of postSecond World War life in a rural Nova Scotia community. Her descriptions of Saturday nights at the bootlegger’s house, women gossiping at the general store and a dance at the local hall capture a strong sense of time and place.” —Atlantic Books Today

www.jennifergoochhummer.com Available at Amazon, BarnesandNoble, iTunes and other online retailers.

www.lauraabest.wordpress.com Available Amazon and Indigo.


BOOK A Box of Gargoyles by Anne Nesbet

N

esbet creates threatening evil and an engagingly magical setting. She gives Maya real doubts and worries, particularly about protecting her family and her mother’s recurring illness. Fans of the first book will enjoy this next installation, but it functions smoothly on its own as well. —School Library Journal

www.annenesbet.com Available Amazon and Indiebound. Aces Wild by Erica Perl

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Promote your book in Middle Shelf in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Middle Shelf is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

“A

elly’s story is essentially a coming-of-age tale about moving to a new place, dealing with grief, and learning what is important in life. This book stands on its own, although readers will certainly be interested in what happened the summer Zelly took care of an orange-juice bottle in the previous book. —School Library Journal

general sense of adventure and wonder permeates this tale, making it a fun, quick read. Eddleman brings a strong sense of atmosphere to this post-apocalyptic coming-of-age piece, and the underlying message—that it’s possible to contribute in unexpected ways—is a positive one.” —Publishers Weekly

www.ericaperl.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

www.peggyeddleman.blogspot.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.


BOOK Wild Boy by Lloyd Jones

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Friends of Liberty by Beatrice Gormley

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his book grabs you from the very first page and pulls you right in, not least because of the hugely likeable Wild Boy and his sparring partner, Clarissa. The setting is vivid and gritty and some of the scenes are not for the squeamish. —Inis Magazine

et against the forging of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution, this engaging novel tells a tale of friendship and of fighting for one’s beliefs. It will appeal to kids who like historical fiction, and it is a good choice for classroom discussions of the war. —School Library Journal

www.roblloydjones.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

www.beatricegormley.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

Iris Brave by Ali B.

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Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

“J

ris Brave isn’t as courageous as her name suggests. That’s about to change. On a summer visit to her grandpa’s farm, a mysterious stranger shadows Iris, leaving her cryptic messages. When this outsider turns out be a phantom from her family’s past, Iris sheds her timid ways to uncover the truth and protect the family she loves.

ones is interested in giving readers more than spooky thrills; his characters have moral heft and are concerned with issues such as culpability, whether people can be considered good if they have done bad things, and the importance of living life to its fullest.” — Kirkus Reviews

www.facebook.com/alibbooks Available Amazon and Indiebound.

www.garethwrites.co.uk Available Amazon and Indiebound.


BOOK Merits of Mischief: A Bad Apple by T.R. Burns

I

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile by Shannon Messenger

“T

t’s easy to get drawn into this fast-paced, funny, and entertaining adventure, filled with sympathetic, eccentric, and mischievously talented characters. At its heart, it’s a story about the importance of individuality and being a good friend, and a last-minute twist will leave readers hungry for the next book. —Publisher’s Weekly

his debut novel is a powerful and appealing package of skillful world-building, fantasy, suspense, mystery, and middleschool relationships A slew of interesting and well-drawn characters, careful plotting, and just plain good storytelling will have readers racing through the pages” —School Library Journal

www. authors.simonandschuster.com/T-RBurns/85716264 Available Amazon and Indiebound.

www. ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

The Templeton Twins: Make A Scene by Ellis Wiener

M

ake a Scene is as irresistible and hilarious as its predecessor. Holmes’s artwork throughout is both unique and intricate, adding to the story and its characters. This humorous story is sure to entertain reluctant and avid readers alike. —School Library Journal

www.ellisweiner.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

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Promote your book in Middle Shelf in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Middle Shelf is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


BOOK Charlie Bumpers vs. Teacher of the Year by Bill Harely

“C

harlie’s kindness to a new classmate from Chile and his growing appreciation of Mrs. Burke supplements the comedy. Dynamic and skillfully drafted ink-and-watercolor spot illustrations from Gustavson, who illustrated Harley’s Lost and Found, help chronicle the hijinks.” —Publishers Weekly www.billharely.com Available Amazon and Indiebound. The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason

Jack Strong Takes A Stand by Tommy Greenwald

J

ack Strong just wants to be a regular kid. But his parents have overscheduled his week with every extracurricular activity under the sun. His parents want him to be “well-rounded” and prepared for those crucial college applications. Jack’s just about had enough. “A cautionary tale the whole family will find amusing and enlightening.” —Kirkus Reviews www.tommygreenwald.com Available Amazon and Indiebound. The Show Must Go On by Kate Klise

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agnason’s beautifully illustrated and expertly translated book is charming, eccentric, moving, and humbling —often reminiscent of Roald Dahl or William Steig. It’s a magical coming-of-age story that may also remind adults to appreciate the here and the now, and that the grass on the other side may appear greener, but that doesn’t mean it’s better.” —Typographical Era

he Klises maintain a light touch with the messaging, giving the book a comforting thematic unity around the importance of kindness; and humor is apparent in every detail, from the smallest conversational exchanges to the extravagantly silly set pieces that mark the book’s major plot points. Readers will eagerly await the next volume of over-the-(big)-top hijinks. —The Horn Book Magazine

www.andrimagnason.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

www.kateandsarahklise.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

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BOOK Trapper Boy by Hugh R. MacDonald

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et in a 1920s coal-mining town, Trapper Boy is the story of 13-year-old JW Donaldson, a good student with a bright future. JW was looking forward to summer. But there is something worrying his parents. His father’s hours at the mine have been reduced and they face difficult decisions [that] will have a[n] unimagined impact on the young man’s life. www.facebook.com/hughrmacdonaldauthor Available Amazon and Indiebound. Brilliant! Shining a Light on Sustainable Energy by Michelle Mulder

“A

n upbeat exploration of the oftencurious world of alternative energy... The book is peppered with exotic photographs, as well as quick-shooting boxed items, to catch the attention of busy eyes. A smart, welcoming introduction to alternative fuels, one that puts the greater world in readers’ hands.” —Kirkus Reviews

www.michellemulder.com Available Amazon and Indiebound.

Animal Andy by Kathy Sattem Rygg

T

en-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. When Andy takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo. www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ kathyrygg Available at Amazon.

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Promote your book in Middle Shelf in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Middle Shelf is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


BOOK I.Q.: The Alamo by Ronald Smith & Michael P. Spradlin

A

Fatty in the Back Seat by Deborah Prum

“T

bout the I.Q. series: “The best-developed character, Boone, steals the show as the paternal, James Bond-loving intelligence officer whose crime-solving dog is a sidekick. Action lovers will find just enough substance to keep them coming back for future episodes.” —School Library Journal

his pageturner is easy to read but left me thinking long after I finished. Anyone who knows (or has been) a kid who struggles—family issues, school issues, self-esteem issues—will relate to Fatty. I liked the characters, I liked the prose, I liked the story.Five stars.” —Amazon Customer Review

www.rolandsmith.com Available Barnes and Noble.

www.deborahprum.com Available Barnes and Noble.

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Promote your book in Middle Shelf in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Middle Shelf is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here.

Mimi Power and the I-Don’t-Know-What by Victoria Miles

A

rtist, animal lover and would-be swimming sensation Mimi Power knows what it’s like to live under the tyranny of a three-yearold sister. But with the school art show looming and a prize too-good-to-give-up-on at stake, Mimi will have to tap into her big-sister-power and find her own little piece of the sky.

Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.

www.magnifico-victoria-miles.blogspot.com Available Barnes and Noble.


BOOK Touched by Fire by Irene N. Watts

Lucy at Sea by Barbara Mariconda

...Watts provides a fascinating account of what the great unsinkable ship was like. The catastrophe is rendered in a heartbreakingly graceful style, and Lou performs heroically in shepherding her two little girls to safety on a lifeboat in this uniquely engaging and satisfying coming-of-age historical adventure tale.” —Starred Review, Booklist

torms and high seas, a mysterious house and a more mysterious ship, a magical sparkling cloud that brings new hope—they are all here. This novel is a hymn to courage, with a tempo that turns the pages, a rhythm that stirs the spirit.” —Newbery Honor winner, Gary D. Schmidt

www.irenenwatts.com Available Barnes and Noble.

www.barbaramariconda.com Available at Amazon.

My Monster Bubble Writer Book by Linda Scott

M

onstrously fun and in time for Halloween, this is an activity book that teached children how to create spooky hand lettering. Highly educational, this is a book with lessons hidden within fun activities. Inspiring writing and drawing, My Monster Bubble Writer Book encourages kids to create alphabets with attitude.

www.facebook.com/thebubblewriter Available Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Promote your book in Middle Shelf in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Middle Shelf is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


fall 2013 KATE BOURNE is the co-creator of the blog The Book Monsters. She currently holds a B.A. in English and is married to her high school sweetheart. Kate previously blogged at The Neverending Shelf. BETH BRACKEN is a children’s book editor living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and son. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing books, Beth spends most of her time knitting endlessly, watching reruns on TV, and drinking lots of tea. JOHN CARTER CASH is the only son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. John is a singer-songwriter and record producer. He is the author of his mother’s biography, Anchored in Love. His first children’s book, Momma Loves Her Little Son, was published in 2009. Lupus Rex is his first novel. NICOLE DE LAS HERAS is an award-winning graphic designer with Random House, Inc. and has been working on children’s books for fifteen years. She designs  both covers and interiors for a variety of formats, including picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels. CHARLES DE LINT’s numerous awards and honors include the World Fantasy Award, the Canadian SF/Fantasy Aurora Award, and the White Pine Award. He has written over 70 books and has been the main book reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since 1987. RODDY DOYLE is the author of nine novels. He won the Man Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His novels have been made into popular films, including The Commitments and The Snapper. GILBERT FORD’s toys have won several Oppenheimer awards, and his illustrations have been recognized by many prestigious organizations including The Society of Illustrators Original Art and The Society of Publication Designers. He has illustrated more than 30 covers and 13 books. S.P. GATES is a former teacher who once taught in Malawi. She has authored over one hundred books and has been commended for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. She has twice won the children’s-choice Sheffield Children’s Book Award. CHARLES GILMAN is the author of The Tales of Lovecraft Middle School series  and the pen name of Jason

cool reads for cool kids.

contributors

Rekulak, an editor who lives in Philadelphia. CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is an award-winning author, playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Winner of two Anthony and three Agatha Awards, he is also a former writer for Jim Henson’s Muppets and past president of the New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX has written more than 25 books for kids and teens. Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status; the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and more than a dozen state readers’ choice awards. MARILEE HAYNES lives with her husband and three young children just outside Charlotte, North Carolina. a.k.a. Genius is her first novel. Its sequel, Genius Under Construction, comes out in January 2014. KRISTEN HARVEY, co-creator of the blog The Book Monsters, is an Elementary School Library Media Specialist in Chicago. Kristen previously blogged at Bookworming in the 21st Century. JENNIFER GOOCH HUMMER received her B.A. in English from Kenyon College. She lives in Los Angeles and Maine with her husband, their three daughters, and their dog, Apple. Girl Unmoored is her first novel. KAZU KIBUISHI is the creator of Amulet, the awardwinning New York Times bestselling graphic novel series, and the editor and art director of eight volumes of Flight, the influential Eisner-nominated anthology series. He lives in Alhambra, California. LORIS LESYNSKI’s first book, Boy Soup, was published in 1996 and became an instant success. Twelve books later, Loris has become known as one of the most inventive, humorous and talented poets for young people in North America. She lives in Toronto. ANN MARIE MEYERS grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She later worked at the Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Board and later at the United Nations. She went on to become a freelance translator.


fall 2013 DONNA JO NAPOLI is both a linguist and a writer of children’s and YA fiction. She holds a BA in mathematics and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures, both from Harvard University. She also studied at MIT. She has since taught linguistics at several distinguished universities. KATIE QUIRK wrote the middle-grade novel A Girl Called Problem after living and teaching in Tanzania. She currently lives in Maine and is working on a book about raising her son in India. GERRY RASMUSSEN is an internationally syndicated cartoonist who draws the comic strip Betty. Gerry’s first book, Crazy About Soccer!, paired his talents with those of poet, Loris Lesynski. Following in the footsteps of that success is Crazy About Basketball! KATHERINE ROY is an author and artist living in New York City. The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon is the first novel she has illustrated. JOHN STANLEY and his wife, both lawyers, hope their twin boys will grow up to be explorers or scientists or historians or teachers but will still love them if they become lawyers, too. This is his first book. He lives in Durham, N.C. COURTNEY STEINMEL is the author of All the Things You Are, Sincerely, Positively, and My So-Called Family. She graduated with honors from Barnard College and attended Fordham University School of Law. MARK TATULLI is an internationally syndicated cartoonist best known for his popular comic strip Heart of the City and Lio. Tatulli is also an accomplished filmmaker and animator, and the recipient of three Emmy Awards. S.S. TAYLOR has a strong interest in books of all kinds, expeditions, old libraries, mysterious situations, longhidden secrets, missing explorers, and traveling to known and unknown places. The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon is her first novel. PEGGY TIERNEY founded Tanglewood Publishing in 2003. She has been a children’s book editor and publisher in the UK and in the US since 1995. She has a degree in comparative literature from the American University of Paris. SHIRLEY REVA VERNICK’s writing has appeared in many national publications. She also runs a popular storytell-

contributors

ing website, storybee.org. Her first novel, The Blood Lie, was the recipient of several awards, including the Simon Wiesenthal Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award. VIIIZ, Vahram Muratyan and Elodie Chaillous are founders of ViiiZ, an art direction and graphic design studio created in 2005 in Paris. They graduated from the acclaimed Parisian design school ESAG-Penninghen. They are the authors of Fill in the Blank (Quirk Books, 2012). MCKENZIE WAGNER, Twelve-year-old McKenzie Wagner wrote her first book, The Magic Meadow and the Golden Locket, at the early age of seven, and wrote her second book, The Blue Lagoon and the Magic Coin, shortly thereafter. The Benotripia series are McKenzie’s first published novels. HILARY WAGNER is the founder of the blog Project Mayhem. Her first novel, Nightshade City debuted in 2010. The White Assassin released in 2011, and her latest book, Kings of Trillium, comes out this year. She also writes for National Geographic School Publishing. STEVE WESTOVER graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Political Science, and currently works in banking. Steve is the author of the Crater Lake series and has also published two FBI thrillers: Defensive Tactics and Gold Clash. A.B. WESTRICK has been a teacher, paralegal, literacy volunteer, administrator, and coach with Odyssey of the Mind and Reading Olympics. A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Divinity School, she received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2011. DORINE WHITE is the founder of the blog The Write Path. She earned a BA in Humanities from Brigham Young University. She lives in Washington state with her husband and six children. Cleopatra’s Legacy: The Emerald Ring is her first novel. ELISABETH WOLF, Lulu in La La Land is Elisabeth’s first book. Lulu in Honolulu comes out in 2014. Before writing the Lulu series, Elisabeth worked in media and government. She’s a graduate of Smith College and Stanford’s School of Education. She was a Fellow with the National Coro Foundation. Middle Shelf is published bimonthly by Shelf Media Group LLC, 3322 Greenview Drive, Garland, TX 75044. Copyright 2013 by Shelf Media Group LLC. Subscriptions are FREE, go to www.shelfmediagroup.com to subscribe.

cool reads for cool kids.


LAST WORDS

Two people are lost when a soul jumps—the jumper and the person

whose body we enter.

— from Iris Brave: Soul Jumpers, Book I by Ali B.

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PREMIERE ISSUE: FALL 2013


The Association of Independent Authors (AiA) is a global not-for-profit membership organization representing, advancing, supporting and encouraging self-published (independent) authors. Our membership spans five continents, with directors based in the USA, Asia, Australia and South Africa. The role of the AiA is to guide, educate, support, encourage and unite authors who have chosen to self-publish. Our Body of Knowledge (BoK) is a comprehensive resource on all aspects of selfpublishing and running a small business—today’s authors must understand the business side of publishing (sales, marketing, promotion, legal and financial issues) and how to sell a book in a global marketplace.

Our vision is that independent publishing will be the preferred, first choice, for all authors.

Our mission is to create a culture of excellence, teamwork and professionalism in a community environment where sharing and collaboration benefits each individual member and independent authors as a whole. Annual membership subscription (Associate, Member) US$50. Affiliate level is free. Come join us! (Mention promo code SHELF to receive an additional three months membership for the annual subscription of US$50.)

www.independent-authors.org

Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids Premiere Issue Fall 2013  

What to read next for middle-grade-level readers. Subscriptions are free at www.shelfmediagroup.com.

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