Great Hibernation coverWell, friends, the day is here. My fourth novel, The Great Hibernation, is out in the world. This is definitely my weirdest book, and in some ways, also my most personal. Writing it was a long journey that spanned 2013—before I was a published author at all!—until very late 2015 (two days before I gave birth to my first kiddo). The editorial process, by contrast, was a fairly short one (at least by publishing standards), from selling it to Wendy Lamb Books in early 2016 to seeing on the shelves now in 2017.

When you start writing a novel, you often have no idea if or when it will ever reach readers. I certainly couldn’t have anticipated this story entering the world in the midst of the political and natural strife so many of us are now facing. And in a way, it feels weird to be celebrating something joyous like a new book release when so much around us feels like it’s falling apart.

But at the same time, if we let all joy be swallowed up by darkness, the darkness wins. That’s something that I refused to let happen to my characters in The Great Hibernation—even though a series of sinister, stressful things happen to them over the course of the book, those challenges never quite destroy their creative spirits. In fact, they inspire my main character, Jean Huddy, to grow braver and louder than she ever thought she could be.

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Jean Huddy, in Rebecca Green‘s beautiful illustration, taking on the patriarchy of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord

So perhaps the fictional town of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord (my quirky setting for The Great Hibernation) will, for a few hours, serve as a refuge for readers who need it. Perhaps the humor in the story will help them forget their troubles for a bit. And then, when the time comes for them to stand up and take the next steps in their fight—for justice, for recovery, for whatever their own challenge is—perhaps my characters’ journey will lend them a little extra strength, too.

Happy reading, and stay awake.


Need a copy of The Great Hibernation? Just hop into your car, truck, or snowplow and head to…

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 BookPeople (signed copies)Your local independent bookstore * Penguin Random House * Powell’s * BAM * B&N * Amazon *  Indigo (Canada)Book Depository (International)


Need to find me over the next month? 

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Meet me at one of my booktore events (NYC; Westchester; Boston; Arlington/DC;  Boulder, CO; Austin, TX)…snowshoes, hopefully, not required


Want to know more about The Great Hibernation?

What would happen if every grown-up in town fell asleep and the kids were left in charge? A great pick for fans of A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff and Greenglass House by Kate Milford, or any reader seeking a quirky mystery with a big helping of silliness.
The most important tradition in tiny St. Polonius is the annual Tasting of the Sacred Bear Liver. Each citizen over twelve must eat one bite of liver to prevent the recurrence of the Great Hibernation, when the town founders fell asleep for months.

This year is Jean Huddy’s first time to taste the liver. It doesn’t go well.

A few hours later, all the adults fall into a sleep from which they cannot be woken, and the kids are left to run things. At first, they have a blast. But then the town bullies take over the mayor’s office and the police force, and pretty soon Jean begins to suspect that this “hibernation” was actually engineered by someone in town.

Courage, teamwork, and scientific smarts unlock an unusual mystery in this delightful and funny story about one girl who inspires the kids around her to join together to save their home.


Want to read some nice things people have said about The Great Hibernation?

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Memorably humorous…Lighthearted enough to entice readers with the silly premise and whimsical illustrations sprinkled throughout, this middle grade book nonetheless explores some rather important political ideas about individuality and the need for a balance of powers in governance. A strong selection for most middle grade shelves.

“Quirky without being over-the-top, Dairman’s novel is a funny, wintry romp that explores just what might happen if kids were in charge.”

“[A] whimsical mystery…The fast-paced plot belies the sleepy small-town setting, and it’s refreshing to see a cast of characters who genuinely love their village and their families, whatever their quirks, instead of yearning to escape them.”

“Definitely will not induce drowsiness. Utterly original.”
author of The True Meaning of Smekday and the Cold Cereal Saga

“Imagine Lord of the Flies as a comedy set in snowy terrain and you have The Great Hibernation: a hilarious, whip-smart page-turner you don’t want to miss.”
New York Times bestselling author of Book Scavenger and The Unbreakable Code




The Great HibernationThank you so much to everyone who helped me celebrate the cover reveal for The Great Hibernation, illustrated by Rebecca Green, and to everyone who entered my ARC giveawayThe randomly selected winner is…

**** Jennifer Doyle ****

Congrats, Jennifer, and happy reading!

The Great Hibernation will be available for preorder soon, and I’ll share links when this is possible. I’m also planning to hold launch events in Austin, New York, DC, and Colorado this fall, so keep an eye on my events page as the year progresses!

(Also, in case you missed it, Rebecca posted a sneak peek at an interior illustration from the book on her Instagram yesterday. I can’t wait until everyone gets to see all of her whimsical, wonderful work!)


Let’s not beat around the (thistleberry) bush. Here it is, the cover for my next middle-grade novel, The Great Hibernation, coming September 12 from Wendy Lamb Books/Random House! The illustrator is the incredible Rebecca Green.


Why yes, that is a sheep wearing snowshoes. And a boy in a 17th-century mariner’s costume. And a fjord, and an ice floe, and oh yeah, a bear photobombing everyone with a handful of thistleberries…

I promise, it’ll all make sense once you skate into the story–I’m only sad that nine more months need to pass before you can do so.

But wait! Maybe you don’t have to wait so long, because advance reader copies (ARCs) of the book have already been printed, and I am giving one away today! Yes, you could be the winner–and learn what that boy on the cover won his medal for before everyone else. 🙂

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win, and to earn more entries, please see the directions below.

Here’s the official summary of The Great Hibernation:

The most important tradition in tiny St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord is the annual Tasting of the Sacred Bear Liver. Each citizen over twelve must eat one bite of liver to prevent the recurrence of the Great Hibernation, when the town’s founders fell asleep for months.

This year is Jean Huddy’s first time to taste the liver. It doesn’t go well. A few hours later, all the adults fall asleep. And no one can wake them.

The kids are left to run things, and they’re having a blast. That is, until the town bullies take over the mayor’s office and the police force.

Jean suspects that this “hibernation” was actually engineered by someone in town. She starts to investigate, and inspires other kids to join her in a secret plan to save St. Polonius.

Courage, teamwork, and scientific smarts unlock a quirky mystery in this delightful and funny story.

ISBN 978-1-5247-1785-8 (trade)
ISBN 978-1-5247-1785-5 (library)
ISBN 978-1-5247-1787-2 (ebook)


And there are blurbs!

“Definitely will not induce drowsiness. Utterly original.” – Adam Rex, author of The True Meaning of Smekday and the Cold Cereal Saga

“Imagine Lord of the Flies as a comedy set in snowy terrain and you have The Great Hibernation: a hilarious, whip-smart page turner you don’t want to miss.”  – Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, New York Times bestselling author of Book Scavenger and The Unbreakable Code

“Should I say ‘Udderly original’? No—there are no cows in it, just a ram. Utterly original.” – Adam Rex again

(I am still freaking out about these blurbs. The True Meaning of Smekday and  Book Scavenger are two of my all-time favorite books. I am so grateful to Adam and Jennifer!)

Enter to win

ONE lucky reader will win an ARC of The Great Hibernation!

Leave a comment on this post to enter, and you can earn extra entries by signing up for my e-mail newsletter and/or tweeting about the giveaway.

Here’s a sample tweet you can use:

Cover reveal & #giveaway: Win an ARC of #TheGreatHibernation, @TaraDairman‘s Fall ’17 @randomhousekids comic gem!

Let me know in your comment if you’ve signed up for the newsletter (either now or in the past) and/or tweeted so I can give you credit. This giveaway is open to domestic and international entries. I’ll announce a winner one week from today, on Wednesday, January 18.

And feel free to share this cover however you like. The Great Hibernation should be available for preorder very soon from all booksellers!



My next (next) book!

For all those who have been asking what’s coming from me post-Gladys, I finally have an answer for you!

In today’s Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

deal announcement pw

Here’s a bit more of the story behind this book.

In January of 2013, my mother was very ill–on a breathing machine in a hospital bed, fighting for her life. I flew to New York to be with my dad and sister, sleeping on a mattress on the floor at my parents’ house for two weeks when I wasn’t at the hospital.

One morning, I woke up on that mattress clinging to the remnants of a vivid dream: Two children in a tiny boat in choppy, frigid waters, trying to sail for help because something was very wrong at home. All of the adults in their little town had mysteriously fallen asleep, and no one could wake them up.

Looking back now, the connection between this dream and my family’s situation at the time seems so obvious–but I didn’t see it then. I just thought “Well, that’s a decent story idea.” And I put it in my back pocket.

Miraculously, over the course of many months, Mom made an amazing recovery. I returned home and resumed my work on the All Four Stars series, though between contracts I started to play around more with my parents-falling-asleep book idea. My dream had also gifted me with the perfect setting, inspired by a remote town in northern Iceland that I had visited the year before. And I had a handful of characters who were starting to feel real to me.

Yes, people live here!

Yes, people live here!

Teasing out the story’s plot strands was harder. I’m a serious plotter–I love suspense and mystery and surprise–but the twists this story seemed to want to take scared me a little. It was a much bigger, much more complicated plot than I had ever attempted before (science and politics and myths and sheep farming!). When I finally drew up the courage to pitch it to my husband, he gave me the full-on “are you crazy?” stare.

I pressed on, though. I outlined. I tackled the dread synopsis. I finally finished an appallingly bad first draft in February of 2015–literally the day before I got the green light to write Stars So Sweet, the third book in the All Four Stars series. So into the drawer my draft went for several more months.

Non-negotiable deadline!

Non-negotiable deadline!

I finally got back to this book in the fall, writing a new draft nearly from scratch. Stars So Sweet was pretty much done at that point, but I had a new deadline: the due date of my first child, who was coming at the end of the year. The story took shape as my belly grew. I made it through two more drafts with the help of an intrepid team of beta-readers. I tamed that roaring bear of a plot (this is not a random metaphor–an unruly bear actually plays an important role in the story 🙂 ) and finally sent the book in to my agent, who had been excited about it ever since I’d mentioned my idea to her at our retreat in 2013.

Two days later, my baby was born.

And now, to my absolute delight, the wacky, challenging book I wasn’t sure I could pull off has found an editor who loves its quirkiness and wants to bring it to readers everywhere!

We can’t wait to share it with you all.