Book recommendations!

I recently Skyped with a terrific book club in Massachusetts, and the members asked me to recommend some other middle-grade novels that they might enjoy. I ended up putting a list together and e-mailing it to them, and since this isn’t the first time I’ve had a question like this, I thought that I’d share it here as well so that I can easily refer people to it in the future.

Of course, once I got started, I thought of more and more books I wanted to include, and I had to stop somewhere. So please don’t consider this a comprehensive list by any means…but I do wholeheartedly recommend every single one of these titles and hope you’ll check them out. Here we go!

Nooks & Crannies by Jessica LawsonMind-bending mysteries:
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Laugh-out-loud funny books:
Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz
The Only Thing Worse than Witches by Lauren Magaziner (great for Roald Dahl fans!)
Remarkable by Lizzie Foley
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Unputdownable historical fiction:
Katerina’s Wish by Jeannie Mobley
When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens (actually a mix of contemporary and historical!)
The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens

Madcap NYC-set adventures:
At Your Service by Jen Malone
Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle (which is also LOL funny!)

Tasty foodie books:
Cupcake Cousins (and sequels) by Kate Hannigan
It’s Raining Cupcakes (and sequels) by Lisa Schroeder

Deliciously creepy books:
Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes
The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
Grave Images by Jenny Goebel
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Nightingale's Nest by Nikki LoftinFabulous fairy-tale reimaginings:
Grounded by Megan Morrison
Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (best title ever, no?)

Wonderful contemporary stories:
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt (an excellent novel in verse)

What are your recent favorite middle-grade reads? Feel free to share more recommendations in the comments.

New feature: Discussion Guide for ALL FOUR STARS!

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman CoverIt’s been “coming soon” for an embarrassingly long time, but book club/classroom discussion questions for All Four Stars are finally here! You can find them by clicking the Teachers, Librarians, & Book Clubs tab on this site.

And if you’re reading All Four Stars or The Stars of Summer with your book club or class, don’t forget that I offer free 20-minute Skype Q&A sessions for groups as well! Details on the same page. 

I will do my best to get questions for The Stars of Summer up in a much speedier fashion. :) Hope your summer is going swimmingly!

 

ALL FOUR STARS turns one! (and giveaway)

Launch day for ALL FOUR STARS One year ago today–after nine years of writing, rewriting, submitting, hoping, and waiting–a little book called All Four Stars hit the shelves. A whole bunch of you showed up to celebrate with me at Books Of Wonder in New York, and I could hardly believe what an amazing welcome you gave Gladys into the world.

Now she’s out in paperback, sporting a shiny Crystal Kite sticker, is continuing her adventures in The Stars of Summer, and has another sequel on the way. I’ve received letters, e-mails, and even book reports from young readers who have embraced her story. Enthusiastic librarians, teachers, and booksellers have put her into thousands of readers’ hands.

Crystal Kite stickerSometimes in her restaurant reviews, Gladys struggles to find the right words to describe a truly transcendent meal, and I feel the same way right now. But I’ll try. To everyone who has taken the time to read my book, recommend it to a friend, purchase a copy, request it at your library, write to me to share your thoughts on it…you’ve played a huge part in making my dream of becoming a published children’s author come true. THANK YOU.

I’m giving away a signed copy of All Four Stars on Twitter to celebrate Gladys’s bookaversary–feel free to enter or spread the word here: https://twitter.com/TaraDairman/status/619503550394073088

And now I’m off to eat some raspberry cake for breakfast. Methinks Gladys would approve. :)

Crystal Kite winner!

Crystal-Kite-logo1-1024x393I can still hardly believe it as I type this, but All Four Stars has won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Southwest Region of the United States!

This award means a lot to me because it’s voted on by members of SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)–my children’s-book-creating peers. I can’t say thank you enough to all my colleagues in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Southern Idaho, and Wyoming who took the time to read my book and felt it was worthy of their votes.

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman CoverI’m looking forward to celebrating this fall at my local chapter’s annual conference in Denver. Huge congratulations to all the nominees and finalists, and to the winners in the 14 other SCBWI regions (and especially to my friend and agent-sib Laurie Ann Thompson, whose fantastic debut book Be A Changemaker is the winner for the Western region!)

Happy Monday, all–and hoping to see some of you at my next event, this Thursday evening at Wellesley Books in Wellesley, MA!

Blog tour wraps up, live tour kicks off!

SUMMER blog button3Well, friends, The Stars of Summer blog tour draws to a close today, but what a fantastic final set of posts Gladys and I have had from bloggers over the last few days! We had this incredible in-depth review from Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader, this delicious Q&A with Stephanie at Kitchen Frolic, an interview AND review from Brenda at Log Cabin Library, and finally, today, a review and brief Q&A with Michael at Project Mayhem. Thank you so much, everyone for helping welcome The Stars of Summer into the world!

As the virtual tour ends, though, the live tour kicks off! I am now on the east coast, and gearing up for two New York events this week: first, my NYC launch party at Books of Wonder this Thursday at 6pm, then my reading and signing at The Dance Loft in Long Beach this Sunday at 4pm. In the weeks after that, I’ll also be appearing at Wellesley Books in Massachusetts (Boston area), One More Page in Arlington, VA (DC area), Kids Author Carnival in NYC, and The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY. Please check my events page for my full schedule, and I’d love to see you at one of these panels or parties!

New blog tour posts, and first launch party!

SUMMER blog button3The blog tour for The Stars of Summer continues! Yesterday, the fantastic YA author Dahlia Adler–who is also a friend and a big fellow foodie–helped welcome my new book to the world with macaron pics and hot dog condiment chat at The Daily Dahlia. YUM.

And today, at For What It’s Worth, book blogger Karen has a review of the book and shares a recipe for brats with a slaw that contains blueberries! Wow!

In other news, last night was my first launch party for The Stars of Summer, at my terrific local indie, Boulder Book Store. We served completos Italianos and homemade cookies from the book, gave away prizes in a hot dog trivia contest, and generally just had a blast with all of the terrific friends, writers, kids, and even strangers who came out to celebrate. I’m still basking in the happy glow of being surrounded by so much love and support. Thank you, Boulder!! Here are a few of my favorite pics–full photoset at my Facebook author page.

signing at BBS

completo Italiano!the crowdTara reads

 

Release day for THREE great books!

The_Stars_of_Summer_CVR_LIBMy second novel, The Stars of Summerhits the shelves today. It’s crazy to think that, just a year ago, I was the author of zero published books, and now there are two out there in the world with my name on the spine!

I’m incredibly lucky to get to do the work I love doing and actually see my writing find an audience. So to everyone who read and supported All Four Stars over the last year–who told their local librarians about it, who encouraged teachers to bring it into their classrooms, who bought an extra copy as a gift for a young (or not-so-young) foodie in their life–THANK YOU. This series wouldn’t be continuing without your enthusiasm. I hope that you enjoy reading The Stars of Summer every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it (which was a lot), and that maybe I’ll see you at one of my events over the next month.

But today is extra-special to me because it’s not only my second book’s book birthday, but it’s also the release date for two debut books that I love and that are written by dear friends of mine. I really couldn’t think of anyone better to share this day with, and I hope that if you see one of these titles on your local bookstore shelf, you’ll grab it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

Stella

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

Happy book birthday to all!!

SUMMER blog button3Also, here are links to two more Stars of Summer blog tour posts that are up today: I’ve got an in-depth interview with Louise Galveston and giveaway at From the Mixed-Up Files, and a quickie interview with Leandra Wallace at her blog!

And now, back to preparing hot dog toppings for tomorrow’s Colorado launch party. :)