What is an Options Pile?

Like many of you, I often find my library holds come in all at once. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed with books that have due dates, in addition to the books on my shelf at home that want to read. Here’s what my pile looks like today after my latest library run. It’s not out of control, but it could easily stress me out if I actually planned to read them all.

Did you hear that? If I actually planned to read them all. I have no intention of reading all of these books, and I’m totally OK with that. Why? Because a lot happened in the weeks since I put holds on many of these books. I spent a lot of time examining how I feel about what I read, and what I want that part of my life to look like in 2021. I watched two classes from Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy about examining our reading lives and setting intentions for the new year, and I feel I have a much better sense of who I want to be as a reader. Some of these books just don’t fit what I want to be reading right now, and I’ll return them without any guilt. They didn’t cost me anything, and I helped my library’s circulation statistics for the month.

Some books I’ll keep on my pile, but I still might not read them. A trick I learned is to stop thinking of this as my “to-be-read” or TBR pile, and to think of it as my “options” pile. I find this helps take the pressure off the need to read them all, and instead presents me with a pile of interesting books from which I can choose. I like to have a variety of genres and lengths to appeal to my different reading moods. If a book sits there for a while, I’ll eventually return it to the library, but I know that I can request it again at any time (I’ve been known to have the same book on my options pile many different times, waiting for the right mood to read it). It feels less stressful to have an options pile, and easier to return the books without regret that I didn’t get a chance to read them all.

I’d love to hear if you use this idea, and how it works for you.

Many Points of Me

Author: Caroline Gertler

Publisher: Greenwillow

Release Date: January 12/21

Length: 352 pages

Reviewer: Laurie

A coming of age story dealing with grief, identity and friendship, Carolyn Gertler’s debut Many Points of Me places you in New York City sharing the love of art and a mystery for eleven-year-old Georgia. An extraordinary middle-grade debut read!

Georgia’s famous artistic father died a little over a year ago. She misses him but feels like she has had to share him and his death with the world and struggles with that. Her mother is busy planning a memorial exhibit at the Met, and Georgia’s father’s artwork is all over the apartment. When Georgia discovers some crude sketches on the back of a piece her father did of her when she was 10, she feels like she stumbled on the notes of his last unfinished painting and removes it, telling no one. Georgia hopes that this sketch will prove that the unfinished painting in his final asterism series was to be of her, demonstrating the importance of his relationship to her. At the same time, her BFF Theo is bugging her to join him in entering a piece into an art contest. When she refuses, he mistakenly enters the sketch Georgia found, thinking it was hers and not her father’s. Now not only is her friendship with Theo strained, but Georgia must get the sketch removed from the contest. Due to her frustration with her friendship with Theo, Georgia joins a new social circle. Hanging out with the popular girls doesn’t alleviate her friendship problems; instead, it creates additional ones. So now life has become even more complicated. 

Many Points of Me will resonate with middle-grade readers; the tension when friendships go awry, the longing of wanting to belong and the journey of figuring out who you are and where you fit in relationships. The grieving and healing that Georgia goes through trying to figure out how to move forward felt very real, and I believe it will help others in similar situations. This debut book, full of heart, has realistic relationships, self-discovery and is all mixed in with art, making it a welcome addition to classrooms and libraries.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Gr. 5+

Race to the Bottom of the Earth

Author: Rebecca E.F. Barone

Publisher:  Henry Holt & Company

Release Date: Jan. 5/21

Page Length: 272 pages

Reviewer: Laurie

Thank you Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

Race to the Bottom of the Earth was my first book of 2021, and what a DEBUT read! It was surprising how little I knew about Antarctica and its exploration of this continent, and I suspect that many middle-grade readers will be similar. The format that author Rebecca E.F. Barone chose by alternating the different eras, trips and types of explorations is appealing and keeps you turning the pages to find out what will happen next.

The book covers the initial team race to the South Pole by explorers by Captain Robert Scott and his crew from England versus Roald Amundsen and his group from Norway set in the early 1900s. The second race is an individual competition set in 2018 by adventurist Colin O’Brady and Captain Louis Rudd to be the first to travel solo across the continent.

Ms. Barone has divided the book into three sections; The Set-Up, The Race, and Epilogue followed by Bibliography and Endnotes. Each section alternates between the competitors; Amundsen/Scott and O’Brady/Rudd. Presented this way kept me racing to find out what would happen next. Perhaps this was my lack of knowledge about the individuals and Antarctica in general, but talking with others more familiar and read the book found the story enjoyable. I am not sure what the final images look like having an eARC, but I did appreciate having the maps to see the path and know the photos will also help readers appreciate the conditions these men experienced.

As a retired educator, there are numerous ways one could use this story; research and primary sources, author’s craft, comparing and contrasting between the two different eras and engagement. The realities exposed and perseverance from all the individuals who were part of the trips would also fit into many middle-grade themes. I found that I wanted to find out more and searched on the side. Now I have Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Journey narrated by Simon Prebble to enjoy and further my learning.

Released on January 5th, be sure to add this nonfiction title to your purchases and TBR piles!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Gr 5+

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday What Are You Reading?) Jan. 4/21

Happy New Year!I know 2020 was an unsettling year, but there were many gifts in terms of books! I think last year my TBR pile was at it’s highest with so many phenomenal books that I wanted to read! I couldn’t keep up (and will address that in tomorrow’s post). There were times that I also struggled with reading and had trouble focusing. Since November, I have found comfort revisiting friends from books already read.

Currently, I am listening to John Flanagan’s Ranger Apprentice books and the series spinoffs Brotherband Chronicles, the Early Years, and the Royal Rangers. I am happy to be on waitlists from my local library to revisit these series in a new audiobook format. Despite it being an older series, it is still extremely popular, resulting in long waitlists for all four series. I now have finished the recently released Royal Ranger The Missing Prince that left readers with a cliff-hanger, so I will be watching for the publication of the next book in that series to find out how that gets resolved! 

If you enjoy fantasy fiction, with a medieval setting, heroes with imaginary wars and battles with young apprentices, this series will keep you entertained. The series began as twenty short stories to encourage his then 12-year-old son to read and that Will is based on his son, sharing similar physical characteristics and interests. One of my all-time favourite series, this was one I would often recommend to readers.

 I am not totally caught up in the past! I am almost finished my first book of 2021, Rebecca E.F. Barone’s Race to the Bottom of the Earth, which is spectacular! I am trying to read more nonfiction and this book has me up late at night. I love how Ms. Barone has set up the book alternating between two different time periods and two different types of races. I am learning so much about Antarctica and the courageous individuals who explored that continent. My next read will be one from the Winter Challenge, as I have a lot of catching up to do with so many participants getting several books read!

I ALWAYS need to have an audiobook on the go so while I wait for my audiobook holds, I began a series new to me, but many of you will have already read The Magisterium series. I am now listening to the second book, The Copper Gauntlet.   I like the struggle that Callum is battling and see similarities to the other popular fantasy series.

I want to acknowledge the two that started this all. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of children’s lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too, and hence a version for #kidlit began! So join in on the fun every Monday by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading. Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading, and show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.

I also managed to pick up a pile of picture books, some graphic novels and chapter books from my local library. My hold and request have skyrocketed after scouring the various lists and blogs to find the ones I missed. I look forward to reading those in between breaks of walking Kaizer and being with my family. I hope you all have had time to spend time with your loved ones and to read. I already know this year is going to be a great year of sharing and reading books!

Happy Reading,

Laurie

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday What Are You Reading?) Dec. 28/20

The last week of a very bizarre year with hopes of something better on the horizon. Since November, I have found comfort revisiting friends from books already read. I am listening to John Flanagan’s Ranger Apprentice books and the series spinoffs Brotherband Chronicles and the Royal Rangers. I am happy to be on waitlists from my local library. I am pleased that despite it being an older series, it is still extremely popular. I now have finished the recently released Royal Ranger The Missing Prince that left readers with a cliff-hanger so I will be watching for the publication of the next book in that series.

Patiently Waiting Library Holds

  • Ranger Apprentice Book 6/11: The Seige of Macindaw by John Flanagan, narrated by John Keating
  • Brotherband Chronicles Book 4/8: The Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan, narrated by John Keating.
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, narrated by Avi Roque

Currently, I am finishing up The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray and will then dive into some 2021 debuts. I hope to finish three debuts before the end of the year to meet my December reading goal. While I wait for my audiobook holds, I began a series new to me, but many of you will have already read The Magisterium series. I am now listening to the second book The Copper Gauntlet.   I like the struggle that Callum is battling and see similarities to the other popular fantasy series.


I want to acknowledge the two that started this all. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of children’s lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too, and hence a version for #kidlit began! So join in on the fun every Monday by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading. Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading, and show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.

I scored a pile of picture books, some graphic novels and chapter books I have been waiting for or discovered as I checked out various lists and blogs to read the ones I missed and look forward to reading those in between breaks of walking Kaizer and being with my family. I hope you all have had time to spend time with your loved ones. 

Happy reading!

Laurie

 

Maybe You Missed… Middle Grade Part 2

On Tuesday, I continued with my Maybe You Missed posts by sharing and highlighting Canadian Titles. Today I will share part two, middle-grade books that I enjoyed that perhaps you missed. This was incredibly difficult to narrow down to just twelve non-Canadian books. Each year I see the middle-grade books becoming stronger and stronger. Looking at my list, I am happy to include four debut authors (top row), eight what I would term #ownvoice authors, and several that dealt with unique topics for me. I know I need to continue to broaden my horizons and have already read some excellent 2021 debut books that I will be excited to share.
I am going to follow Kathie’s lead when she posted the twelve books that impacted her. Below are the twelve books that resonated and have stayed with me from this past year.

As always, I know I can be adding to my TBR/Options pile, so please let me know in the comments what I Maybe Missed. Next week is the last post in this series when I share Young Adult books that Maybe You Missed. 

Laurie

Maybe You Missed…Middle Grade Part 1

Next, to picture books, I love all things middle grade. The bulk of the books I read now are middle-grade books. One of my goals for 2021 is to create specific goals for the middle-grade books I read to ensure I read more Canadian authors. Hence this post focuses on Canadian middle-grade books, and then I will do another post featuring the rest of the middle-grade titles. So here are some books that maybe you missed.

Dragon Assassin by Arthur Slade, Narrated by Clare Corbett

I’m not a fan of dragons, but, oh, did Mr. Slade and Clare Corbette reel me in with this audiobook series. A well-developed world with a complex cast of characters, including a very sarcastic dragon name Brax and a fast-paced plot, had me listening to the wee hours of the night. Carmen, the main character, is a one-eyed assassin who makes a deal with a dragon to seek revenge on her twin brother, who has just tried to wipe out the entire Assasin School from which she just graduated. Just try to tell me you don’t want to find out how that all goes down. The only down part of this story is that you can only get the audiobooks on that platform that starts with A. The first three books are available as one via Scholastic, and fingers crossed, the rest of the series gets printed. That said, the audiobooks are incredible!

War Stories by Gordon Korman

A story that focuses on the intergenerational relationship between a great-grandfather (Jacob) and great-grandson (Trevor), yes, please. Trevor loves all things to do with war glamorizing it and desensitized to the realities of war, while Jacob is carrying a secret one he has kept for far too long. The emotional journey of both of these characters individually and their relationship is unique. The close relationship and the banter they have is not found in middle-grade books often. There is also the opportunity for readers who play war type video games to think more critically about the authenticity of the games and the real-life emotional connections that are not there.

Hatch by Kenneth Oppel

I easily could add Bloom to this list although, I did enjoy the second book Hatch, a little more. In Bloom, we saw the ecosystem developed, but in the second book, it’s all the different species that hatch, and yes, they are twisted and creepy. I love the imagination that Oppel uses in this series and the fast pace of the books. Readers not only get to see the conflicts between the newly hatched creatures and the world but also the characters themselves. I cannot wait to see how Mr. Oppel ties the series altogether – and that’s the power of his writing and imagination. I know there will be twists, but what will they be?

The Barren Grounds by David Alex Robertson

So many yeses to this book. An #ownvoice Canadian author, addressing the many stories that Canadians need to read. Morgan and Eli are live in foster care. Eli is experiencing foster care for the first time, while for Morgan, it is all she has ever known. Eli has ties to his culture and knows it connects to who he is, but for Morgan living in foster care all her life, she has lost this connection to her Indigenous roots. When they pass thru to the barren lands of Askí, via Morgan’s artwork, they meet Ochek (Fisher), who is the hunter for the starving community, Misewa. Misewa is in perpetual winter because a man stole green time from Misewa. Ochek teaches Morgan and Eli the ways of the Indigenous people, and then they agree to help Ochek retrieve “green time” from man to save the community. Elements of foster care, identity and colonialism are all themes evident and stepping stones to truth and reconciliation. Long overdue.

Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman 

Louisa is being shipped off to the Tasmanian rainforest to stay with her uncle for the summer. It is the last place she wants to be with an upcoming audition. Louisa is a violinist, unlike her family of conservationists and animal lovers. A summer of self-discovery where maybe a trip half-way around the world shows just how connected you are to your own family. Another book with themes of friendship, family, conservation and a setting with animals that many will not be overly familiar with, this book gives any reader numerous ways to connect.

Peril at Owl Park (Aggie Morton #2) by Marthe Jocelyn 

The second in the series and paying tribute to murder mystery matriarch Agatha Christie, we find Aggie and her friend, Hector, trying to solve a murder at her older sister’s new home at Christmas. Readers have an opportunity to go toe to toe with Aggie and Hector to find out who killed one of the actors in the travelling show. Mysteries that are wickedly well-written and sophisticated and will challenge readers.

Sarah and the Search for Normal by Wesley T King

After receiving several mental health diagnoses, Sara wants nothing more than to be normal. A middle-grade story, providing insight into mental health that many readers live with or know someone living with one or more mental health conditions. False Alarms, Lead Ball and The Danger Game, are how Sara explains panic attacks, depression and schizophrenic episodes and may, for the first time, give this age group a deeper understanding of these mental health diagnoses and lead to greater empathy.  An opportunity to open doors and continue to remove the stigma of mental health.

Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson

Another intergenerational story that does so many things via the impact of a West Highland Terrier named Harvey. Colleen gracefully weaves three stories from the present and the past, using Harvey as the conduit. Maggie, Harvey’s owner, Austin who volunteers and finds Harvey at a senior’s complex and Mr. Pickering, a resident who thinks Harvey is his old dog. The tales of Mr. Pickering and the Depression are so vivid and captivating they steal the show and your heart.

Me and Bansky by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

I loved how the main character Dominica spent time questioning the privacy policies happening in her school and how she used project on artist Bansky to help share her message. Privacy, social media, digital citizenship are all topics that readers generally only have a surface knowledge. Any book that can begin conversations in that direction to get readers to start thinking critically, to reflect and perhaps change their current practices is a book worth promoting.

Let me know in the comments what Canadian books you enjoyed this year! Stay tuned for the rest of the Maybe You Missed Middle Grades…

Laurie

Maybe You Missed…Graphic Novels

In case you missed my post earlier in December, I discussed how in late November, early December, those “Best Lists” roll in, and yes, I admitted to looking at them, but it was more to see what I may have missed rather than see what others have deemed “best.” Since I am always on the lookout for new books to read, enjoy and share with others the past few posts, I have shared books that perhaps you may have missed and can add to your reading stack. I am trying my best to include 12 – one for each month of the year but, admittedly, I am not always successful. 

Today I am sharing graphic novels. I decided to separate the middle-grade graphic novels into genres and then added the young adult section. I provided details about the two Canadian titles that I read. Clearly, I need to read more Canadian graphic novels in 2021!

So here are the graphic novels that Maybe You Missed…

Middle Grade Animals & Fantasy

Kodi by Jared Cullum

Mellybean and the Giant Monster by Mike White

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Bear by Ben Queen, illustrations by Joe Todd-Thanton

Middle Grade: Realistic, Historical and Biographical

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Trespassers by Breena Bard

When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Cub by Cynthia L. Copeland

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu

Twins by Varian Johnson and illustrated by Shannon Wright

I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic of 1912 by Lauren Tarshis and art by Haus Studio

Young Adult

As promised, here is some further details on the two Canadian graphic novels that in my opinion should be in every YA classroom and library.

If I Go Missing is the one title not published in 2020 but released in December of 2019. A haunting, powerful book to hiFrom the Roots Up is the second in the Surviving the City series by Tasha Spillet. It begins where Surviving the City left readers off, with Dez grieving over her grandmother, trying to adjust to life in a group home and living life as an Indigenous Two-Spirit person.  From the Roots Up focuses on Dez and her struggles to be accepted. From her best friend Miikwan not fully understanding what Dez is experiencing to Elder Linda still following protocols from when she was young,  readers see the challenges as Dez goes about daily life. Vibrant colours and the inclusion of elder spirits complement the storyline as those connected to Dez work together to make the world more inclusive. Having a Two-Spirit person as the main character and tackling the issues they face and resolving them provides mirrors and windows on a neglected but relevant issue. Everyone needs to see themselves in stories, and From the Roots Up is the first of its kind that I have read to share and inform readers about Two-Spirited people in a caring and informative manner. ghlight again, so more readers become aware of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). The book contains excerpts from the letter sent by 14-year-old Brianna Jonnie to the Chief of Police in Winnipeg in 2016, who ponders why the police and media are slower to react when Indigenous females go missing versus white individuals. The novel with few lines outlining who she is as an individual and the many societal stereotypes she is not. With shades of black, grey and white with splashes of red, acknowledging the Red Dress movement, this graphic novel adds to the sombre tone of the sparse but powerful text. The ending drives home the inequities Jonnie feels. “If I go missing and the [Winnipeg Police Service] has not changed the behaviours I have brought to your attention, I beg of you, do not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be.” If you are not familiar with this title, I urge you to read it and include it in your classrooms and libraries.

From the Roots Up is the second in the Surviving the City series by Tasha Spillet. It begins where Surviving the City left readers off, with Dez grieving over her grandmother, trying to adjust to life in a group home and living life as an Indigenous Two-Spirit person.  From the Roots Up focuses on Dez and her struggles to be accepted. From her best friend Miikwan not fully understanding what Dez is experiencing to Elder Linda still following protocols from when she was young,  readers see the challenges as Dez goes about daily life. Vibrant colours and the inclusion of elder spirits complement the storyline as those connected to Dez work together to make the world more inclusive. Having a Two-Spirit person as the main character and tackling the issues they face and resolving them provides mirrors and windows on a neglected but relevant issue. Everyone needs to see themselves in stories, and From the Roots Up is the first of its kind that I have read to share and inform readers about Two-Spirited people in a caring and informative manner. Another must have book for classrooms and libraries.

If I Go Missing by Brianna Jonnie with Naheni Shingoose, Art by Nshannacappo

Go With the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneeman

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, Art by Gurihiru

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Art by Danica Novgorodoff

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Flamer by Mike Curato

From the Roots Up (Surviving the City Vol.2) by Tasha Spillett and illustrations by Natasha Donovan

Some of you may not agree with the placement of some titles in Young-Adult, feeling that perhaps you would have them as middle-grade or upper middle grade. I placed them here as the libraries I borrowed from or other libraries I checked placed them as young-adult. It would make for some interesting conversations – are there any you remove from the young-adult?

Next Thursday, I look forward to sharing the Middle-Grade books that Maybe You Missed. Til then, happy reading.

Laurie

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday What Are You Reading?) Nov. 30/20

This weekend I participated in the #stayhomereadmore reading marathon hosted by the #LitReviewCrew, and I found out about it via Alexis Ennis (@Mrs_Bookdragon). It was great to connect with old friends and see what they were reading, meet new readers and, of course, naturally add to my TBR/Options pile. I was not as hardcore as others in terms of my tracking, but it did get my butt in gear to finish up some books I had been neglecting and to get ahead on my Canadian Shining Willow picture book nominee stack.

Last Week

Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini by Betsy Uhrig. Reluctant reader Alex has been asked to help his aunt review a book she has written. It is incredibly dull, so Alex and his friends are providing suggestions with the help of a ghostwriter. A delightful debut and had me chuckling out loud with some of the antics the trio of friends found themselves in as they worked together to improve the book. A definite purchase for classrooms and libraries and would make for an engaging read-aloud. I appreciated the super short chapters to balance what some readers may find intimidating with the length.

The Icebound Land by John Flanagan. The third book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series has two focuses; one on Will and Evelyn as prisoners of the Skandians, and Halt and Horace, who are attempting to find and rescue the pair. This is one of my favourites of the series as we see other sides to the main and supporting characters, and is a bit darker than the previous two books.

Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin: Told from two perspectives and in two timelines, readers meet Lukas and Joy two best friends who love math, puzzles and scavenger hunts. Every year on their birthdays only two days apart, they create a scavenger hunt for one another. This year Joy is still trying to get over the death of Lukas that happened on her birthday. She finally decides to begin the scavenger hunt she never started on the day he died. When it is Lukas’s perspective, we are back in time, seeing the preparation of the clues to the scavenger hunt leading up to the cause of his death. I LOVED this story and am shocked that there has not been more buzz about this book and will write more later.

The Calm and Cozy Book of Sleep: Rest +Dream + Live by Beth Wyatt. This was an informative quick read on ways to improve your sleep. Chapters included setting up your bedroom environment to settling down and waking up routines. Although I do not have trouble sleeping, I found this book engaging and picked up a few pointers for myself.

Up Next

Picture Books and Nonfiction Books: As always, I have a stack to savour in between reading and listening to novels.

Peril at Owl Park (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #2) by Marthe Jocelyn. Going into one of my favourite genres of reading, some mysteries. I enjoyed the first Aggie Morton (The Body Under the Attic) so I am looking forward to reading a Christmas themed murder. 

I have two adult books on the go…

A Promised Land by Barack Obama and narrated by the author. Delving into an adult book – I enjoyed Michelle Obama’s Becoming so much I thought I would listen to his memoir as well. This is a lengthy but captivating read, but it will be one that I pop in and out of as other books from my library become available.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. As suggested by Kathie, this book looks to fit in nicely for my post tomorrow. Just started, Ms. May has a strong writing voice, and I look forward to the journey she is going to share with me.

Down the Road

Many audiobooks on hold from my public library, including the elusive Royal Rangers #4 The Missing Prince, by John Flanagan. So, whatever shows up will be what I start. In the meantime, my print books will be of a mystery theme – Premidated Myrtle Elizabeth Bunce and then the recently indie purchase The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray.

I want to acknowledge the two that started this all. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of children’s lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too, and hence a version for #kidlit began! So every Monday, join in on the fun by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading. Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading and to show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.

Happy reading!

Laurie

Supporting Debut Authors

*You can find the 2021 MG Debut Release Dates calendar at MG Book Village. Please feel free to reach out to have your name added or information edited.

By Kathie

My desire to help promote debut authors started four years ago when I connected with Jarrett Lerner during MGBooktober on Twitter. His debut book, ENGINERDS, had just come out the month before, and as we worked closely together in the following months to launch MG Book Village, I had a chance to see how much effort he put into promoting it. He connected with educators and librarians, supported other authors, took every opportunity he could to speak to young readers, and spent countless hours getting his book out there. As the Village grew and I started doing interviews and posts with another year’s debut authors, I made an effort to read more of their books. I discovered that many of these books were truly fantastic, and I learned an important fact: Debut authors and their books are not inferior, poorer in quality, or less in any way – they are simply new to the scene and people don’t know them yet.

Last year we did our first Fast Forward Friday series at MG Book Village. I wanted readers to see these book covers, recognize the faces of their authors, and learn about their stories. I got to know many wonderful authors and enjoy several excellent MG stories in all genres. There are currently 22 authors signed on to participate in 2021 Fast Forward Friday starting in late November, and I’m excited that you’ll have a chance to meet them and learn more about their books each week.

I wanted to do something here at Bit About Books, too, so every Wednesday I’ll be posting a review of a debut book that I enjoyed. You’ll be able to check out the #2021mgdebut hashtag to find those reviews once they’re posted. Some of the books to be reviewed include Clues to the Universe by Christina Li, Many Points of Me by Caroline Gertler, Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles, a Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus, The Fabulous Zed Watson by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester, and The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman.

During the month of November, I plan to read many 2021 debut authors, including the ones pictured above. I’ll be talking about them on Instagram and Twitter, and I hope you’ll write down some titles that sound interesting to you, and help support these authors in 2021.

Here are some resources for finding MG debut authors.

You can find The 21ders website here: https://the21ders.com/

You can find the Class of 2K21 website here: https://authorjelle.com/2k21

You can find the Las Musas 2021 debut releases here: https://www.lasmusasbooks.com/2021-releases.html