Posts Tagged Kayla Miller

July New Releases

Whether it’s a spooky, silly, or serious book you’re looking for, July has some great reads for your summer pleasure. Take a look!

 

Coop Knows the Scoop

By Taryn Souders

The whole town is talking about what’s buried beneath the playground. Windy Bottom, Georgia is usually a peaceful place. Coop helps his mom at her café and bookstore, hangs out with his grandpa, and bikes around with his friends Justice and Liberty. The town is full of all kinds of interesting people, but no one has ever caused a problem. Until now.

And somehow, Gramps is taking all the blame! It seems like there are a lot of secrets that were buried in their small town after all. Will Coop and his friends get to the bottom of the mystery and clear Gramps’s name before it’s too late?

 

 

Act (A Click Graphic Novel)

By Kayla Miller

Olive is excited to start sixth grade: new teachers, new experiences, and a field trip to the big city with her best buds! But when Olive finds out that a school policy is keeping some kids from going on the trip, she decides to act. She’s prepared to do whatever it takes to be heard—even if it means running against Trent and Sawyer, two of her closest friends, in the student council election! With intense campaign competition and emotions running high, can Olive make a big change and keep her friends?

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Kayla Miller crafts a genuine and inspiring story about evolving friendships, supportive family, and finding out that you—yes, you—have the power to make a difference.

 

 

Attack on Pearl Harbor (Ranger in Time)

By Kate Messner, illus. by Kelley McMorris

I Survived meets The Puppy Place in this thrilling adventure novel as Ranger—a time-traveling golden retriever—races to the rescue on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Ranger travels back to 1941 Hawaii, where World War II is on everyone’s minds. That includes Ben Hansen, a young sailor stationed at Pearl Harbor, and twins Paul and Grace Yamada who are making their weekly market trip when Japanese bombs begin to fall from the sky. As the surprise attack puts all of Ranger’s new friends in danger, his search-and-rescue training kicks into high gear. Can he help them survive against all odds?

 

 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

By Eiko Kadono

Half-witch Kiki never runs from a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year. Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected.

With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places. Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new readers and dedicated fans.

 

 

Scare Me

By K.R. Alexander

A haunted house has come to life in this spine-tingling novel from the author of The Collector.

They’ve lost control of the haunted house.Every year, the town of Happy Hills holds its haunted house contest. In a spooky old manor, teams of kids come up with new ways to frighten people. The scariest team wins. But this year, all the teams are going to lose. Because this year the house itself has awakened . . . and it won’t be happy until it’s devoured all the people inside. What started out as a game has turned into something much more deadly. Is there any way out?

 

 

War Stories

By Gordon Korman

There are two things Trevor loves more than anything else: playing war-based video games and his great-grandfather Jacob, who is a true-blue, bona fide war hero. At the height of the war, Jacob helped liberate a small French village, and was given a hero’s welcome upon his return to America.

Now it’s decades later, and Jacob wants to retrace the steps he took during the war— from training to invasion to the village he is said to have saved. Trevor thinks this is the coolest idea ever. But as they get to the village, Trevor discovers there’s more to the story than what he’s heard his whole life, causing him to wonder about his great-grandfather’s heroism, the truth about the battle he fought, and the importance of genuine valor.

 

 

History Smashers: The Mayflower

By Kate Messner, illus. by Dylan Meconis

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and made friends with Wampanoag people who gave them corn. RIGHT? WRONG! It was months before the Pilgrims met any Wampanoag people, and nobody gave anybody corn that day.

Did you know that the Pilgrims didn’t go straight from England to Plymouth? No, they made a stop along the way—and almost stayed forever! Did you know there was a second ship, called the Speedwell, that was too leaky to make the trip? No joke. And just wait until you learn the truth about Plymouth Rock.

Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving.

 

 

Dress Coded

By Carrie Firestone

Molly Frost is FED UP… Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top. Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn’t, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit. Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F. Because it’s impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips. Because girls’ bodies are not a distraction. Because middle school is hard enough.

And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long, her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what’s right, and they’re not backing down.

 

 

Who Is David Beckham?

By Ellen Labrecque, illus. by John Hinderliter

Whenever a young David Beckham was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d always answer with the same response: I want to be a footballer. This English native got his wish when he joined the Manchester United team in 1991. Since then, he has been crossing, bending, and free-kicking his way to stardom. In his twenty-year career as a professional soccer player, he has won nineteen major trophies, and appeared at three FIFA World Cup tournaments.

David Beckham has become an international cultural icon for his soccer skills, his charity work, and his fashionable wife and family.

 


If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

By Erin McGill

President Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” And a dog is what many presidents got.

From James Garfield to Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, presidents often found a friend in Fido (in fact, Abe Lincoln’s pup was actually named Fido). Others preferred cats, horses, small critters, or even big, ferocious animals like bears and alligators.

Whether it’s favorite dogs like Barbara Bush’s Millie or the Obamas’ Bo; Abraham Lincoln’s cat, Dixie; Calvin Coolidge’s hippo, Billy; or Andrew Jackson’s foul-mouthed parrot, Poll, Erin McGill brings to life a menagerie of presidential pets in this entertaining, whimsical, and carefully researched picture book that’s perfect for animal lovers and history buffs alike.

 

 

Rise of Zombert (The Zombert Chronicles)

By Kara LaReau, illus. by Ryan Andrews

While helping her best friend, Danny, film his latest horror flick, Mellie discovers a scraggly cat behind a dumpster outside the YummCo Foods factory. Mellie names the stray Bert and hides him in her room, knowing her parents won’t let her keep him. But soon Bert has decapitated all her stuffed animals, and before long he is leaving the headless corpses of birds and mice as gifts for her. Danny is convinced the cat is a zombie, living on the brains of his victims. But is that what is really going on? Award-winning author Kara LaReau lets loose a fresh and sharply funny new mystery series, with an irresistible touch of the macabre. Fans of creepy stories and animal lovers alike will devour this fast-moving first episode in one gulp.

Interview with author Kayla Miller and a giveaway of Kayla’s latest, CAMP!

Today we welcome Kayla Miller to the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors blog. Kayla is the author/illustrator of the graphic novels CLICK and CAMP, and here Kayla talks about their process for creating their novels; what it is about sleepaway camp that makes it a perfect setting for a middle-grade book; and their short-lived career as high school talent show host. Read on, and then enter to win a copy of CAMP below.


Mixed-Up Files: We see from your bio that you did not always want to be a cartoonist, and that wanted to be a paranormal investigator with a specialty in ghosts and aliens. That is hilarious! Why do you think you came up with that career path?
Kayla: I loved anything spooky or weird as a kid. My middle school library had this series of books about paranormal phenomenon and cryptozoological creatures that explained the history of each topic and had examples of people’s experiences. I was obsessed. When I was younger than that, I had wanted to be a private eye and had a bunch of toy evidence collecting kits and “spy tool” kits. Becoming a paranormal investigator seemed like a natural combination of those two interests.

Mixed-Up Files: So when did you decide you wanted to draw and write for a living?
Kayla: High school. My favorite subjects were always Art and English. When I was looking at colleges I was torn between doing something art related or something writing related. In the end art won and I went to school for illustration, but I kept writing while I was in art school and would complicate my illustration assignments by making them into comics. When I graduated, I thought my career would be as an illustrator/cartoonist putting pictures to other people’s stories and writing would be a hobby. I honestly didn’t know I’d be lucky enough to write as part of my job until an editor approached me and asked if I wanted to illustrate and write a comic.
Click by Kayla Miller
Mixed-Up Files: Your first graphic novel was CLICK. Can you talk about where the inspiration for that came from?
Kayla: The idea for setting a book at a school variety show came from my agent (then editor) Elizabeth, whose daughter had just participated in one. It’s partially inspired by her experience of how being asked to break into groups for a project can strain friendships, something I can definitely remember being an issue when I was a kid, and partially inspired by my own experience hosting my high school talent show. My co-host and I had come up with a series of skits and gags to do between the other students’ acts that we considered to be Vaudevillian or like the banter from the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour… but were mainly just very silly.

Mixed-Up Files: Re: CAMP — we’re assuming you went to sleepaway camp. Is that right? What did you want to capture when writing about this rite of passage for so many kids?
Kayla: I went to Girl Scout camp as a kid and I worked at an Arts & Sports summer camp as a counselor when I was in college. Camp is many kids’ first time being away from their family and I think that’s a big step. Camp gives kids a place where they can assert themselves and make their own decisions in a way they might not be able to at school or home. I wanted to capture how that freedom is both exciting and stressful at times.
Camp by Kayla Miller
Mixed-Up Files: For people who don’t really know much about making a graphic novel, can you explain the process to us a little bit? Do you write the story first with little sketches? Draw each panel as you write?
Kayla: I always write the whole story first. I start with an outline and then move on to writing a script with dialog, a breakdown of how many panels will be on the page, and descriptions of the images. After that I make “thumbnails” which are very tiny sketches that help me figure out how the panels will be laid out on the page and a rough idea of where the characters and objects will be in the panel. Then I move on to sketching, inking, lettering, and coloring.

Mixed-Up Files: Was the process different with your second book? What did you learn from your first one?
Kayla: I think I was more organized with the second book. CLICK was the longer than all the pages of every other comic I’d ever made combined, so it was really a big undertaking and I don’t think I realized how much harder it was to keep track of things on that scale. I tried to be more orderly with CAMP. CLICK was also the first time I worked with a designer or a colorist on comics, so I had to get used to passing files between multiple people and communicating about changes. It’s been a big adjustment from working on webcomics alone, but I think I’ve finally got it down.

Mixed-Up Files: Can you suggest a few of your favorite graphic novels that our middle-grade readers might want to check out?
Kayla: If you like CAMP, I’d check out Vera Brosgol’s BE PREPARED. It’s also about a summer camp, but a very different kind of camp than the one Olive and Willow go to– it’s actually kind of like the camps I went to as a kid. I also love Kristen Gudsnuk’s MAKING FRIENDS and Brenna Thummler’s SHEETS!

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