Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour Winners! Plus Author Extraordinaire Kate Messner!!

The Mixed-Up Middle Grade Skype Tour has hit the road with a bang!

Six big winners for six fabulous Skype author visits!!

Without further ado here are the lucky winners and  the author they can expect to roll into their school, troop or book club …

Sydney Salter will visit GreenBeanTeenQueen’s library

Bobbie Pyron will visit Destiny Lawyer’s middle schoolers in rural Vermont

Tom Angleberger will visit Marilyn Gammon’s class

Kate Messner will visit Pragmatic Mom’s kids’ book clubs

Beverly Patt will visit Ms. Murray’s class  in Smithville

And last but not least Hillary Homzie will visit Mr. Curran’s class in Detroit, thanks to HeatherT

We’ll have another run of Skyping authors on the bus and up for grabs in the fall and over the next several months we’ll introduce you to our fantastic authors and what makes their school visits truly wonderful.

First up is author and Skyper extraordinaire Kate Messner

Hi Kate! We’re thrilled to have you here at the Mixed-Up Files and on the Skype Tour bus. Your middle grade novels have taken the world by storm in the last couple years and you have a brand new book- the first in an all new series- out this week. In a couple sentences please tell us about you and your books.

I’m a National Board Certified middle school English teacher who loves both reading and writing books for kids. My first nationally published novel, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z., won the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award. My books have also been Bank Street College of Education “Best Books,” Kids IndieNext list, and Junior Library Guild selections, and named to five state children’s choice award lists.  Right now, I’m excited about MARTY MCGUIRE, the first title in my new chapter book series, illustrated by Brian Floca and published by Scholastic, out this week.

What do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?

I love writing for middle grade readers because the books I read when I was that age are truly the books that made me who I am. When you’re ten or eleven years old, you’re figuring out how the world works and what your place in that world is going to be, and I think books are such a powerful part of that process.

What was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

I was a voracious reader, so I had a lot of favorites, but my favorite authors were Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. (Not long ago, a teacher told me that one of my books had reminded her of Beverly Cleary, and I almost burst into tears. She had no idea that she couldn’t have paid me a higher compliment!)

What makes your school visits special?

I think I love what I do so much that it’s contagious.  When I visit a school, I bring props and show kids lots of pictures of my writing process, so they see that research is so much more than books and computers. We talk about when you might need to take part in historical reenactments or travel (or even kiss a frog!) to get a scene just right.  And we talk about revision strategies, too – I show kids my messy, marked-up manuscripts and tell them about really specific ways they can use my strategies on their own writing assignments. More than once, a teacher has told me that she’s had to scrap her original plans for the day after one of my visits because the kids were dying to work on stories of their own, and that’s the best praise I can imagine.

Thanks Kate!!! And thanks to all the other authors on the bus… and everyone who entered to win a Skype visit. We’ll have lots more authors coming down the pike, so keep a look out!

Tami Lewis Brown will be driving the Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour bus… just like Margie Tempest, the twelve-year-old main character/under-aged driver in Tami’s middle-grade novel, THE MAP OF ME, coming out this August from Farrar Straus & Giroux.

Tami Lewis Brown