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Middle Grade

Heat waves, blackouts, and the beauty of a backlist as I hit the road to California

By Appearances, Middle Grade, Young Adult
I’m having déjà vu as I head to Los Angeles this week. The trip includes a library visit, the SCBWI conference, and a bookstore event to discuss one of my backlist titles that's eerily relevant this summer. Hugo on a reluctant summer walk July 2019 has been a roaster for most of us, no matter where we live. Almost 200 million people have been affected by record high temperatures in July and several deaths were blamed on the heat. Here in Richmond, Hugo – who is stuck in his black fur coat – has flat out refused to go farther than a block for his walk. This, from a dog who lives for them. But as I read about the 50,000 people who lost power in New York City last month, my mind wandered to how eerily similar it was to the summer of 1977, when 9 million people lost power in New York City for 25 hours. It happened during one of the worst heat waves on record, just like now, when even the night temperatures wouldn’t drop below the nineties. What followed in that overheated desperation was looting and arsons, a communal scream about all the ways the city was failing its residents back then. What I remember most of that year is that the heat was a mere backdrop for Son of Sam, a serial murderer who was still on the loose in the boroughs killing young women and their dates. The task force assigned to his capture was located in...
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Summer reads on the airwaves in a city near you

By Appearances, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, Picture Books, What I'm Reading, Young Adult
So, I’ll be on a radio tour for the next couple of weeks, which I love, since it involves zero travel and lots of time to talk books. They’ve asked me to recommend a few summer reads, both older and new. Here’s the list of titles I’m drawing from. I won’t be able to talk about all of them every time, but I hope to plug each of them at some point. Check out the list of stations on my events page and tune in if you can! Picture Books A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña Under My Hijab by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed and illustrated by Anoosha Syed  Chapter Books and Early Middle Grade A Boy Called Bat by Elana Arnold (other titles in series: Bat and the Waiting Game and Bat and the End of Everything) Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana Medina (other titles in series: Juana and Lucas) The Magnificent Mya Tibbs by Crystal Allen (other titles in series: Spirit Week Showdown and The Wall of Fame Game) Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (four books in series; next installment this fall.) Middle Grade The Last-Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden New Kid by Jerry Craft The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd...
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