Posts Tagged authors

Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors Tour

We’re thrilled to offer tons of helpful posts for everyone each month…and I’d love to take you on a tour of our site to make sure you aren’t missing out on any of our features.

*Are you looking for great new books to read? Toward the beginning of each month, we have a new release list to help you discover some must-read books. Here’s the post from July and this is the one for June. We also feature author interviews throughout the month, and many of them have a book giveaway (often signed by the author)!

*If you’re looking for interesting activities…these are great for teachers and parents to share with children and were added to help out during Covid-19.

*We have fantastic resources for teachers and librarians.

*Here are great resources for parents.

*We have lots of fun and helpful resources for kids, too.

*We love sharing unique book lists! Here’s a link to our diverse book lists that post toward the middle of each month.

*STEM Tuesday is packed with helpful posts…and lots of fun giveaways, too!

*Did you know that we have an agent/editor spotlight toward the end of each month? They’re packed with helpful info. You can enjoy them here.

*Here’s tons of helpful info for writers!

*If you’re wondering who writes all of these blog posts…here’s our current Mixed-Up Files team.

We love chatting about middle-grade books! We hope you’ll join in our discussions on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

If you love middle-grade books as much as we do and would like to join our Mixed-Up Files blog, check out this post with all the information you’ll need. We hope to hear from you!

STEM Tuesday– The Human Body — Interview with Author Sara Latta

Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview & Book Giveaway, a repeating feature for the fourth Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math!

 

photgraph of author Sara LattaToday we’re interviewing Sara Latta, author of Body 2.0: The Engineering Revolution in Medicine, among several other titles. The book features modern biomedical engineering challenges, some of the STEM professionals who do it, and people who have benefited from it. (Check out the Kirkus review here! If you subscribe to SLJ or Booklist, you can see additional reviews at those sites.)

Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano: What’s the book about—and what was most important to you in deciding to write it?

Image of book cover of Body 2.0 by Sara LattaSara Latta: Thanks for having me on your blog! Body 2.0 explores the ways in which engineering, science, and medicine are coming together to make some remarkable advances in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, neuroscience, microbiology, and synthetic biology. I begin the book with a brief history of biomedical engineering—arguably the first known example of which was a wooden toe found on an ancient Egyptian mummy—but primarily the book focuses on cutting-edge research and the scientists at the forefront of the research. That was important to me; much of the work I write about hasn’t even reached clinical trials. I wanted to show readers that they could jump into this research at a very exciting time.

 

CCD: Did anything about your sense of what was most important change as you developed the manuscript?

SL: I don’t know if it was most important, but at some point during the interviewing process I came to the realization that telling the story of the ways in which the scientists and engineers came to this point in their research would be really interesting to my readers. Several of them said they initially wanted to be medical doctors because they wanted to help people, but they didn’t have the stomach for it. One was an athlete who was inspired by his own injury; another transferred her love of Sherlock Holmes and detective work to scientific sleuthing. So I decided I had to create a separate section telling their stories.

CCD: What in the book most fascinated or surprised you?

 SL: Well, there was a lot! I’d been fascinated by brain-computer interfaces for several years, and even tried writing a sci-fi YA thriller using that technology a while back (it’s still in a folder on my computer). It’s really astounding how quickly work in the field—and other fields in the book as well—has progressed. I think that the work in synthetic biology holds enormous promise, not just in biomedical engineering but in other fields as well. The New York Times recently published an article about using photosynthetic bacteria to make concrete that is alive and can even reproduce.

CCD: I’d like to ask you a bit about your decisions about addressing ethics in Body 2.0. If I counted correctly, you spotlight three particular areas where scientific investigation and technological advancements raise important issues. Can you say a bit about your decision-making process about how much and what to spotlight, and your lasting impressions of the ethics related to this field?

SL: I told my editor going in to this project that I wanted to highlight some important ethical issues that some of this work raises, and she said “yes, absolutely.” It’s important to think about unintended consequences. I use the example that the discovery of petroleum as a cheap and plentiful source of fuel in the 19th century revolutionized the ways we lived, worked and traveled—and now we are paying the price with a global climate crisis. So I asked the question, what does it mean to be a human being when your brain is in a symbiotic relationship with a computer? Will these new technologies be available only to those who can afford them? One of the pioneers of gene editing recounted being jolted awake by a dream in which Adolf Hitler expressed interest in her work. It made her realize that “the ability to refashion the human genome was a truly incredible power, one that could be devastating if it fell into the wrong hands.”

CCD: As an author, what did you find most challenging about completing this book?

SL: Organizing all of the interviews and research I did for the book! I relied heavily on Scrivener and Evernote to bring it all together.

CCD: Can you say something about how you hope this book might impact readers?

SL: Biomedical engineering is all about improving the quality of life for people with diseases or injuries, whether it’s helping a person with quadriplegia become more independent or growing a bladder for a kid with spina bifida. I hoped to inspire idealistic young people interested in science, medicine, or engineering, who are also interested in making a positive difference in the world.

 

Win a FREE copy of Body 2.0: The Engineering Revolution in Medicine!

Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. The randomly-chosen winner will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (within the U.S. only) to receive the book.

Good luck!

Your host is Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, author of National Geographic Kids Ultimate Space Atlas, Running on Sunshine, andA Black Hole is NOT a Hole, among several nonfiction books for kids. As a STEM Education Consultant and co-founder of two STEM education organizations, STEM Education Insights and Blue Heron STEM Education, she develops STEM curricula, supports STEM education research, and provides professional development for teachers. Along with several STEM Tuesday contributors and other great authors, she’ll be participating in NSTA’s Science and Literacy event in Boston this spring. She’ll also be co-presenting with author Cheryl Bardoe.  Grab a sneak peek now, but better yet, stop by and say hello!

 

 

Perfect Podcasts for Middle-Grade Fans

I am convinced that there is no possible way I will ever be able to consume all the information that’s available to me as an author, reader, and champion of middle-grade literature.  Every day, I add to my “saved” file another article, blog post, Twitter thread, interview, or You Tube video pertaining to topics of interest centering around reading, writing, sharing, and understanding middle-grade fiction and nonfiction. And that doesn’t even include the always-growing list of actual BOOKS I intend to read this week. month. year. before the heat death of the universe.

I also know that my work as an author puts me on the road a lot. I’m not sure why it took me until 2020 to realize that one of the most efficient ways to spend “road hours” might be listening to podcasts. Yes, podcasts. They are still there, despite fact that some people are sure the world has outgrown this audio-only form of information dissemination. I’ve really enjoyed listening to several podcasts recently, so I’m going to share a few below.

(To go the webpage associated with each podcast, just CLICK ON THE PICTURE.)

A podcast about reading and writing middle grade novels utilizing ninja stealth and skill. Rob Kent interviews fellow authors and various publishing professionals to discuss the craft and business of producing middle grade and young adult novels.

Upcoming episodes (subject to change) include:

February 22 – Episode 61 Author Barbara Shoup Returns
February 29 – Episode 62 Author Kaela Noel
March 7 – Episode 63 Author Sayantani DasGupta
March 14 – Episode 64 Author Avi
March 21– Episode 65 Author Mitali Perkins
March 28– Episode 66 Author Anna Meriano

Tune in as Julie Anne Grasso and Pamela Ueckerman chat about middle-grade books – that is, books for primary-aged children or thereabouts… it’s a grey area but who’s counting? What we love, why we love it and who we believe it would suit.If you’re a lover of middle-grade books, a librarian, a parent seeking book recommendations, or perhaps an author wading your way through the world of middle-grade fiction, then Middle Grade Mavens is the podcast for you.

Who doesn’t love great word play?  Literary agent Jennifer Laughran has a website called “Literaticat.”  So, when it came time to name a podcast, what else would she call it but “Literaticast?” That’s some word-bending genius right there, people.

While not solely middle-grade, this podcast covers a wide variety of children’s literature topics and Jennifer frequently interviews amazing middle-grade authors. It’s also a twist to hear it all from the perspective on one of the industry’s top agents.

Hosted by Matthew Winner, elementary school librarian and co-founder of All The Wonders. The Children’s Book Podcast features insightful and sincere interviews with authors, illustrators, and everyone involved in taking a book from drawing board to bookshelf. 

Beyond booklists and author interviews, this podcast takes a deep dive into some very interesting topics in children’s literature. Recent podcasts include Redefining the Boy Hero and Readers’ Thoughts on Reading.

Hosted by Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp, the Yarn aims to tell the inside story of children’s literature. According to the website, there are a few things you should know about The Yarn:

  • The Yarn debuted in August 2015.
  • Travis calls it a podcast, Colby calls it an audio show. They both mean the same thing.
  • All interviews for The Yarn are conducted in person.
  • One definition of “yarn” is “A narrative of adventures” – Travis and Colby like how that sounds.
  • It was all Colby’s idea.

 

These are a few of the podcasts that have captured my attention recently. Can you add to the list of children’s lit podcasts that offer something wonderful to those who read, write, and teach middle-grade literature?  If so, please do in the comments below.