Middle Grade Summer Reading Bingo!

If you’ve been with me for a long time, you might remember when I did an interview series on my blog with children’s book creators called Creative Spaces. (Those interviews can be found to your right in the right sidebar.) To go along with those interviews, I also ran the occasional “Book Cover Bingo!” game, which was a lot of fun.

I was thinking about those things recently, and about how much I love middle grade literature, and how we have so many fantastic books being made for kids these days. I was a children’s bookseller in 1999 (Linden Tree Books, whoop whoop!), and there were some great books being published then, but it is incredible how far we’ve come. The range of stories being published now makes it feel like there is truly something for every reader out there, and that is a wonderful thing.

I wanted to do something to shine a light on this and celebrate middle grade literature, and with summer quickly approaching I thought, “Why not make a list of middle grade titles but in the form of a game people can play?” So that’s what I have for you today: Middle Grade Summer Reading Bingo!

How to play is simple: Pick the books you want to read, and read them! Score a traditional bingo by reading a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of books. Or maybe you want to go for the “four corners” or “outside edge” bingo. Or, for the very ambitious, go for a “full house” and read them all!

Middle Grade Summer Reading Bingo is not just for kids; grownups can play too! Even if middle grade literature isn’t typically your thing, you might be surprised at how much you enjoy reading these stories. If you have kids in your life, this can be a great activity for bonding over books.

All titles are published in the United States, so they might not be as easy to find if you’re in another country, but everyone is welcome to participate no matter where you live.

Teachers, librarians, booksellers, book groups, kid lit enthusiasts, anyone looking for a community activity—feel free to share this activity with the readers in your life. To print out the Bingo board, you can find the PDF file here.

If you’d like a prize when you get a bingo, email me through my website with your bingo titles and a mailing address, and I will send you an assortment of bookmarks and stickers, while supplies last.

I’ve linked to all the titles on Bookshop, where you can learn more about each one. Purchasing books through Bookshop supports independent bookstores, but of course you don’t need to buy the books to participate in Book Cover Bingo. All titles should be available at your local library, and if one isn’t, consider asking your library to add it to their collection. (Many libraries have a form for requesting new titles, and will be happy to add books they know their patrons want to read.) Another idea is to form a group that will share the books with one another.

If you’re on social media, share your Bingo progess as you go along. Let people know about the books you love! Use the hashtag #MiddleGradeSummerReadingBingo so others can find the posts. Let’s make this a summer of celebrating reading, middle grade literature, and having fun with books!

 

Book Tasting with The Country Bookshop!

Fourteen middle-grade authors will be chatting LIVE about our new spring books – all in one place, all in one hour, all free, all followed by a live Q&A. If you weren’t able to join us live, don’t worry–there’s a replay! View it at this link to hear about a lot of wonderful books! https://www.crowdcast.io/c/pv7bv0l5ywq5

 

Happy publication day to Sisterhood of Sleuths in paperback!

 

Hooray!!! Sisterhood of Sleuths is now available in paperback! I love this story, I love these characters, and I’m so excited it’s now in paperback and hoping that helps it reach more readers.

Sisterhood of Sleuths is a funny mystery about friendship, family, and was inspired by my love of Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a young, as well as the fascinating history behind the series and how it has endured for nearly 100 years. Yes, did you know that the iconic teenage sleuth is nearly 100 years old?!

The main character is Maizy, an aspiring film-maker who is working on a class project with her best friend, Izzy. For the class project, Maizy has written a screenplay called Shellfish Holmes about a lobster detective. But she and Izzy are having . . . creative differences, let’s say. And in general, Maizy is feeling like their friendship has been different—more strained—and she’s not really sure why. While she’s trying to navigate these things, she comes across a box of old Nancy Drew books and gets pulled into a mystery involving them that introduces her to the iconic teen sleuth and the history behind the Nancy Drew series.

It was a personal goal to write a “funny mystery” since I had just finished writing the first three Book Scavenger books, which do have funny moments and some quirky humor, but those are more intense mysteries with elements of danger and peril. The peril in Sisterhood of Sleuths is along the lines of being embarrassed in front of your classmates, or having a friend stop talking to you. So more realistic and relatable peril to the average young reader.

In the Sisterhood of Sleuths paperback, you’ll find the same wonderful interior illustrations by Vesper Stamper and author note and list of resources that are in the hardback, but you’ll also find a Reading Group Guide and a super special sneak peek at my next middle-grade novel, Back to Wonder. (Yes! I have a new book coming soon! It’s a mystery adventure set in 1985 about 3 children who come together to investigate something mysterious that arrives in their town, and then they go missing. Read the first four chapters at the end of Sisterhood of Sleuths!)

If you are a teacher or librarian and are reading Sisterhood of Sleuths with your class, or if your book group has chosen it as your next pick, I’m happy to do free virtual QA chats! Contact me through my website and we can set something up.

To celebrate the launch I was able to visit a number of independent bookstores to sign copies. There still might be some available at Linden Tree, Kepler’s, Books Inc., Hicklebee’s, The Reading Bug, Tattered Cover, A Second Star to the Right, or the Boulder Bookstore. Or order an unsigned copy through Bookshop.org or anywhere books are sold!

Sisterhood of Sleuths Book Trailer Design Thinking Project

Led by Marnie Steele, a teacher librarian at Meadowlark School, students participated in a Design Thinking Project where they read an advance copy of Sisterhood of Sleuths, met with me to discuss the book and what a good book trailer might consist of, and then worked independently or in groups to create their own book trailers. I was so impressed by their hard work and the videos they came up with! Participating in this project was one of my most favorite memories of the book launch for Sisterhood of Sleuths in 2022.

Here are all the book trailers that were created:

Book + Gift Pairing Suggestions

If you’re gifting any of my books for the holidays (or any time of year!) I’m always happy to send along a signed bookplate, bookmark, and stickers to include with your gift. Email me your request for a bookplate through the contact page on my website with your address and how you would like the bookplate personalized, and I will get it in the mail for you ASAP.

In my December 2023 newsletter, I pulled together a collection of ideas for gifts that would make a great pairing with the Book Scavenger series, as well as my other middle-grade novel, Sisterhood of Sleuths, and my picture book A Good Deed Can Grow. For descriptions and links to the items shared, you can read that newsletter here.