Get ’em While They (and you) Are Hot!

Hey, it’s only early August. Plenty of summer left. And plenty of time to take part in our latest giveaway of three new, terrific MG reads. Their authors shared some fun facts about their books with us.


From IndieBound: Parker is a normal sixth grader, or he was normal before the puppet. It’s just an old hand puppet, sticking out of a garbage can, and even though Parker’s best friend says leave it, Parker brings the puppet home and tries it on. Or maybe it tries him on. “You will call me Drog ” the puppet commands once they’re alone. And now, no matter how hard Parker tries, he can’t get Drog off his hand.

Maybe the only way to get rid of Drog is to truly listen to him.

Sue says: “To hear Drog’s voice in the story, I made the puppet and wore it. Yes, I can get him off–but I’ve had a lot of practice!”

The Aviary, by Kathleen O’Dell

from Amazon: Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she’s confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it’s a comfortable life, and if it weren’t for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark secrets about the family. The Glendoveers suffered a horrific tragedy: their children were kidnapped, then drowned. And their father George Glendoveer, a famous magician and illusionist, stood accused until his death. As Clara digs deeper and deeper into the terrifying events, the five birds in the aviary seem to be trying to tell her something. And Clara comes to wonder: what is their true identity? Clara sets out to solve a decades-old murder mystery—and in doing so, unlocks a secret in her own life, too. Kathleen O’Dell deftly weaves magic, secret identities, evil villians, unlikely heroes, and the wonder of friendship into a mystery adventure with all the charm of an old fashioned classic.

Kathleen says: “I usually write contemporary, realistic fiction. THE AVIARY is real departure for me, as it is both a spooky mystery and a magical fantasy set at the turn-of-the-century.
Though my story takes place in Maine, the inspiration for the book was local. For years I’ve walked my dog past an old estate in my southern California neighborhood. In the back yard, behind tall hedges, stands an iron aviary full of lime and lemon-colored parrots. Over time, I came up with a story for the house and the birds that became THE AVIARY. I wondered, what would it have been like to be children growing up there? What if the birds, themselves, contained the spirits of those children?
Writing the book was a magical experience as well. I hope readers like it as well as I do!

Cold Case, by Julia Leonard

From IndieBound: When 13-year-old Oz Keillor finds a dead body in his family restaurant, he is soon caught up in a mystery where the stakes are high. His older brother is the prime suspect, and Oz quickly finds out that the murder may be tied to the death of their father years earlier, who was accused of selling nuclear secrets to rouge governments.

With the fate of his family in balance, it’s up to Oz to try and crack the case, with the help of his best friend, Rusty. It’s a quest that has more twists and turns than the dusty roads of New Mexico–with the answer being closer to home than Oz ever could have imagined.

Julia says: “A couple of fun facts:
–All of the restaurants mentioned in the book are real except for Chez Isabelle, Oz’s family restaurant. But I got the inspiration for Chez Isabelle from another Santa Fe restaurant and one that is a favorite of mine.
–A.J. Powell was originally named Staunton Powell. Staunton comes from Staunton, Virginia which I’d drive by on my way to the University of Virginia and Powell is my Mom’s middle name.
–We called my brother Russell ‘Rusty’ growing up. I decided to give his nickname to Oz’s friend and fellow sleuth, even though she’s a girl!”

Congratulations, Sue, Kathleen and Julia!

To win copies of their books, write a comment below. Tweet or Facebook your comment and you’ll be entered twice. Only readers in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to win. Good luck and stay cool!

Tricia Springstubb on FacebookTricia Springstubb on Twitter
Tricia Springstubb
Tricia is the author of many books for middle grade, most recently "Every Single Second" (HarperCollins) and the third book in the Cody series, "Cody and the Rules of Life" (Candlewick Press). A frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and conferences, she lives in Cleveland OH. You can find out more about her and her work at