We’re happy to welcome Lindsey Stoddard, #kidlit author of the new middle-grade novel, BRAVE LIKE THAT, to the site for five fast questions PLUS a free giveaway of her book. Read on for our interview and details on how to win a copy!
Mixed-Up Files: Can you give a summary on what your new title is about?
Lindsey Stoddard: BRAVE LIKE THAT is the story of 11-year-old Cyrus Olson who was left on the step of a firehouse when he was a newborn and was adopted by one of the firefighters, who’s also a local football legend. Cyrus is expected to be the town’s next great wide receiver but he doesn’t know how to tell his dad he’s not brave like that. With the help of a stray dog, a new group of friends, and a kid who moves to town, Cyrus learns what kind of brave he is.
MUF: I’ve been thinking quite a bit about kids and bravery during such a difficult and unsettling time. What can middle grade readers get from your book, particularly about bravery and feeling afraid, that might be relevant and helpful?
LS: I’ve been thinking of this too, and hoping that even through this isolating time, kids are finding ways to feel less alone. Books are always a great tool for that. In BRAVE LIKE THAT, Cyrus discovers that he’s not as alone as he thinks, that everyone has something that makes them feel different. He also uncovers the different types of bravery in the people around him, and that makes him feel stronger and more self-assured. To middle grade kids, right now, I’d say, gather courage from the courage you see around you. From the first responders, sure, but also of your family members, or a friend, or neighbor, a worker, and if you can’t find strength there, look for it in the pages of a good book and run away, as far as you can, with that character.
MUF: Since kids don’t have the same access to libraries at this moment, how will readers find out about your book? Can you talk a bit about releasing a new #kidlit book during such a different publishing landscape?
LS: The release of a new book is so exciting, and it was really hard to have school visits and launch events canceled FOR BRAVE LIKE THAT, but I’m very much hoping that they’ll just be postponed, and that when schools and libraries and bookstores can reopen safely, we’ll find a way to celebrate the novel and its readers. I hope the families that can, will support their local independent stores, or order a signed/personalized copy through my local indie, The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. I’ll be doing some virtual visits with school groups and book clubs throughout the rest of May and June and will post some fun giveaways and sneak peeks on my social media accounts.
MUF: What’s next for you? Are you working on any new books or any other projects?
LS: My next novel, BEA IS FOR BLENDED, is due out in 2021 and I’m so excited for it! I’m in the beginning drafting stages of another idea and spending lots of time with my family while we’re all home. I think maybe I was really getting into the BRAVE LIKE THAT spirit because we just adopted a pup of our own!
MUF: What are a few of your favorite middle grade books of the past few years? What should kids add to their ‘to read’ pile if they’re looking for cool stuff to read?
LS: My favorite reads from the last couple years were: THE BRIDGE HOME by Padma Venkatraman– I can still feel every little part of that world the author created. It’s a story about friendship and family and survival and it’s just so beautifully done. I loved every word. It was written in the 2nd person POV, which really helped to build the suspense.
IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD by Ashley Herring Blake– Ivy felt so very real. I was right there in her shoes for the whole book.
SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS by Renee Watson– I love a good NYC book, and all of Renee Watson’s books are amazing. It’s a story about place and history and family and learning exactly where and who you come from.
NEW KID by Jerry Craft– Such big issues dealt with such honesty and humor.
LALANI OF THE DISTANT SEA by Erin Entrada Kelly– The world she built in this book was so magical and the story was so full of adventure and courage that I just couldn’t put it down.