Great hopes for THE GREAT HIBERNATION

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.

-Tara

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.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

“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.”
-BOOKLIST

“[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.”
-BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN’S BOOKS (BCCB) 

“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

 

Giveaway: SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK by Ellen Wittlinger!

511xSpTjNgLUpdate, 8.25.17: Congratulations, Daria! You’ve won the ARC of Saturdays with Hitchcock. Thanks to all who entered, and please do check it out when it hits the shelves in October!

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Hello, friends. As excited as I am about The Great Hibernation hitting the shelves next month, I am just as pumped about the slew of other fantastic middle-grade books that are coming readers’ way this fall.

And Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger (October 10, Charlesbridge) is at the top of my list. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and I absolutely fell in love with it. You can read my review below, and I’m not kidding when I say that it’s probably my favorite MG read so far this year. I’m thrilled to have an advance copy to give away–I hope you’ll enter to win it!

Here’s a little more about the book:

Twelve-year-old movie-loving Maisie is in need of a distraction from her current romantic dilemma when her Uncle Walt comes to stay with her family after being hurt on the set of the movie he’s filming in Hollywood.

Maisie’s best friend, Cyrus, has been hanging out a lot with Gary Hackett, whose last-name sounds to Maisie like a cat barfing up a hairball. When it seems as if Hackett might like Maisie romantically, she’s none too pleased, and Cyrus is even less impressed.

Uncle Walt has a way of pointing Maisie in the right direction, and Maisie’s love of movies also keeps her centered. Heading to the local independent theater on Saturdays to see old movies helps Maisie stay grounded as she struggles with growing up, family tensions, a grandma who seems to be losing her memory, and a love triangle she never expected.

My own review on GoodReads:

Saturdays with HitchcockSaturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK is probably my favorite MG read of 2017, and I’m kind of desperate for everyone else to check it out. Maisie is just the sort of heroine I adore–one with a strong, specific passion (in this case, movies); loyalty to her friends and family; and, most importantly, the ability to recognize when a bad first impression of someone merits reconsideration. On every page, I relished watching her interact with this book’s stellar and complex supporting cast as she worked her way through a variety of personal and family challenges.

All of which may make this book sound a little dry or serious, when really, it’s not. And I think that’s Ellen Wittlinger’s biggest accomplishment. There are plenty of books out there that deal with the types of issues that SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK tackles–dementia, family money issues, burgeoning crushes, and questions about sexuality–but few that do it with such a light touch and in such a compulsively readable way. So many different types of readers would connect strongly with this story, and I’m really excited for it to find its way in the world.

Giveaway Alert!

I’m so inspired to get the word out about this one that I’m giving away my advance copy (ARC) to one lucky reader–just leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. You can also earn an extra entry by tweeting about the giveaway.

Here’s a sample tweet you can use:

Win an ARC of @EllenWittlinger’s brilliant MG novel SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK (10.10.17, @charlesbridge): http://bit.ly/2ijSl1Q #giveaway

Let me know in your comment if you’ve tweeted so I can give you credit. This giveaway is USA only. I’ll announce a winner this Friday, August 25.

Good luck!

Fresh raves for THE STARS OF SUMMER!

Stars of SummerI’m so pleased to share two terrific new reviews for The Stars of Summer.

First, it’s been named an “Editor’s Pick” over at Honolulu Family Magazine, which features it in their “5 Great Books for Kids” article. They are also giving away a copy.

And Kiwi Magazine has named it one of their new summer reading favorites, saying “This fast-paced book is full of surprises and likable characters who quickly learn not to judge a (cook)book by its cover.” Thank you for the lovely write-up!

In other news, the good folks at Penguin have designed a beautiful PDF version of the discussion guide for All Four Starsperfect to print out for your classroom, library group, or book club. You can find it linked here on my “Teachers, Librarians, & Book Clubs” page or on the Penguin Young Readers website.

The title and cover reveal for the third book in the All Four Stars series will be coming soon, and my newsletter subscribers will get an exclusive first peek at it. You can sign up here if you haven’t already–thanks!

And happy final days of summer!

Blog tour, day 3!

SUMMER blog button3Greetings, friends! The Stars of Summer‘s blog tour continues!

Today, Sylvia at A Baked Creation has cooked up a true treat of a post. It’s a little bit book review, a little bit funky Toronto hot dog joint crawl (I want that po’boy hot dog!), and a little bit of childhood memories of favorite hot dogs eaten with family. I just love it. Thank you, Sylvia!

THE STARS OF SUMMER blog tour kicks off!

SUMMER blog button3The Stars of Summer is a little over a week away from hitting the shelves, but its blog tour kicks off today! A whole bunch of generous kidlit and food bloggers will be posting reviews, interviews, recipes, and more over the next couple of weeks, and I’ll do my best to round up the links daily here.

First off, a terrific review and hot dog recipe collection from Katie at Bookish Illuminations. Katie is also giving away signed copies of All Four Stars and The Stars of Summer!

Check back tomorrow for the next stop on the tour, and for the winner of my own giveaway of The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer.

Three new reviews for ALL FOUR STARS!

ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman coverHello, friends!

I’m so pleased to share excerpts from a few new trade reviews for All Four Stars.

First off, the Children’s Literature and Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association (IRA) has named All Four Stars one of its “Groundbreaking Reading Choices for Fall”! Their review says: “Absolutely delicious storytelling! This is a delightful novel full of lively characters, beautiful language, humor, and creativity.” (full review here)

All Four Stars has also received a very nice review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (BCCB). They say: “Dairman . . .  writes with sympathy and humor. Kids who appreciate an underdog—and those who watch the Food Network religiously—will appreciate Gladys’s journey.”

And finally, Library Media Connection has this to say about All Four Stars:  “This debut novel dishes up a descriptive story that will appeal to middle school girls. If some of the situations seem improbable, the reader will happily exercise a suspension of disbelief. Like comfort food, this story is homey and goes down easily.”

Many thanks to all those who took the time to review! And to everyone who’s been reading All Four Stars. 🙂

Next week, I’ll be revealing the title and cover for the sequel right here on this blog (and even earlier to my newsletter subscribers). I’m so excited to bring you the next part of Gladys’s story.

In the meantime, make sure you enter to win a copy of Vivian Divine is Dead by my fellow Colorado writer Lauren Sabel!

A few more reviews

Project MayhemMy fellow Baker’s Dozen Success Story Michael Gettel-Gilmartin has reviewed All Four Stars over at Project Mayhem today, calling it “classic middle grade, full of heart and humor.” Thank you, Michael! The post also features an interview with me, so if you’re dying to find out what middle-grade books influenced me as a kid or what my favorite breakfast is, check it out

Over at GoodReads, top reviewer Karen has also left All Four Stars a very nice review, which also features an adorable picture of a baby turtle. 🙂

And finally, the trade journal Booklist has chimed in with a terrific review of the book. The full text will be published soon, but here’s an excerpt:

Gladys is a lovable character with plenty of spunk and desire, and readers will happily cheer her on, while the fresh plot adds a delicious dimension to the host of stories set in sixth grade.

It’s definitely exciting to see readers starting to connect with the book I worked on for so many years. Can’t wait for publication day!

Thumbs up from School Library Journal!

One of the (many, many) wonderful things about living in Colorado is being a full two hours behind the east coast–meaning that, even though I wake up at a pretty reasonable hour most days (around 7:20 or so), people in New York are at their desks by then, and have sometimes already sent me fun news by e-mail.

Today, such an e-mail was waiting from my editor, letting me know that All Four Stars had received its first industry review–and that it was a good one! Hooray!

The full text will be published in May, but here’s a fun excerpt:

The [restaurant-reviewing] plan goes disastrously and hilariously awry, but Gladys and fine food ultimately triumph. The characters are well drawn…Give this one to your young foodies.
-SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Also, last week, NYPL librarian Betsy Bird featured All Four Stars on her SLJ blog, Fuse #8, along with some other fabulous summer releases coming from Penguin Young Readers.

Many thanks to SLJ for the love–Gladys & I love librarians right back!