Posts Tagged Kerry O’Malley Cerra

Interview & 2 Giveaways with Kerry O’Malley Cerra

I’m excited to share this heartfelt interview with TWO generous giveaways with all of you! 

Kerry O’Malley Cerra is an award-winning author of middle grade books. Her first novel, Just a Drop of Water, landed on five state reading lists, won the Crystal Kite Award, a Florida Book Award, and was named to VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction list for 2014. Her second novel, Hear Me, is out now. Stay tuned for her forthcoming book, Make a Little Wave, expected to debut sometime in 2024 with Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing. Kerry’s work has received praise from The New York Times, Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, VOYA, and the Horn Book Guide calling her stories moving, perceptive, well-developed, and woven with an expert hand. Kerry lives in South Florida with her family and two poorly behaved rescue-dogs.

You can find Kerry on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Welcome back to the Mixed-Up Files, Kerry! I loved interviewing you for your debut middle-grade novel, Just A Drop of Water, and am thrilled to celebrate the launch of Hear Me with you.

What sparked the idea for Hear Me?

Thanks, Mindy. I always appreciate your support, and not only for me. You are a champion for many authors! Always! The thing about Hear Me is that I never wanted to write about hearing loss. I toyed with maybe someday writing a character who happened to have hearing loss without it being the central theme, but even that wasn’t something I was sure I wanted to tackle. So in the meantime, I wrote stories of abled characters. After talking with a friend about the need for books with accurate hearing loss representation—and still vowing I wasn’t the person to write that book—the whole first chapter came to me in detail. I’ve heard authors say some books write themselves, and I never understood that. In fact, I was a bit jealous of it. Imagine a story that writes itself! Well, this one did. I wrote the first draft in only four months. It was extremely cathartic for me—the whole thing feels somewhat like a gift, actually. I struggled for years to accept my disability, and sure, I feel like much of that time was wasted, but I also now know that I needed that time to grieve my loss.

Kerry after having unilateral cochlear implant surgery

When I wrote chapter 1 that first night, the last line (now the last line of chapter 2) set the trajectory for the story. And it shocked me. It was visceral. Completely unplanned. But I knew right then what the storyline would be. Rayne wants desperately to talk to her audiologist alone, but her mom isn’t having it. Rayne says in her head that she’ll never have the chance to ask the doctor the one question she wants answered most—can her parents force her to have the cochlear implant surgery even if she doesn’t want it? I’ll never forget the moment my fingers typed that line. It was like, holy smokes, that’s what the book is about. I was locked in.

So back to your question. The topic of writing a hearing loss story came from a conversation with a publishing-friend, but the story itself took on a life of its own. I’d love for that to happen again someday. It was quite powerful.

Your entire book is powerful, too. And so needed. Thank you for writing it! Here’s a trailer so readers can get to know Rayne. 

What do you and the main character, Rayne, have in common…and how is she different from you?

Kerry showing her cochlear implant at a school visit

Rayne and I both have parents who love us very much. My parents, however, gifted me the privilege of having a say in whether I wore hearing aids or not. I’ll always be grateful for that because I wasn’t ready to accept my loss at age sixteen. But it’s fair to note that Rayne’s hearing loss is much more sudden and much more progressive than mine was. Still, I wish her parents had taken a step back and given them all time to deal.

We’re also different in that Rayne learns to love and accept herself more quickly than I did. She actually taught me a lot as she came to life on the page. She’s strong, fierce, and utterly determined to be heard. I’m a lot like that now, but I certainly wasn’t at her age.

And yet, both Rayne and I struggled physically and mentally when we were initially diagnosed. We both tried to hide our disabilities. We both tried to overcompensate because we had something to prove. We both felt stuck in between a hearing world and a deaf one.

Mostly, I’d like to think we both preserved and came out stronger. Neither of us feels broken anymore.


I’m tearing up reading this. I have 75% hearing loss and totally relate to the broken feeling Rayne has. Thank you so much for sharing such a heartfelt story. What would you like to say to anyone who feels broken?

Do you mean broken as it pertains to hearing loss only? If so, I have to say my favorite part of the book is when Mr. Lazar tells Rayne and her parents that it’s okay to take a step back. To take time to grieve Rayne’s hearing loss. Because it is a loss. And with grief, the thing is, there is no time frame for it. So give yourself permission to deal how you need to deal. And while you’re doing that, find your people. Find the ones who support you, who don’t forget about your disability, who make small efforts to help you however you need. They are out there. I’ve found online support groups to be awesome, too. People there share daily wins, but we also use it as a place to vent. It’s a safe space where you know you’re not alone, and that you’re completely okay just as you are. Sometimes we all need that reminder—disability or not.

Yes! We all need to know that we’re not alone, and we’re okay as we are. Thanks for the reminder. 

What is the universal truth in Hear Me, that makes it so relatable?

This goes well with your above question, actually. I think there are two universal truths in Hear Me, so even if someone doesn’t know what it’s like to have hearing loss, I hope they’ll still connect to Rayne’s story on some level.

First, Rayne wants to feel heard. It seems so simple, but she feels like her voice, her feelings, her wishes don’t matter. She has no say in one of the biggest decisions of her life. I’m guessing most everyone at some point has felt unheard, so I think they’ll relate to Rayne’s utter frustration.

But also, Rayne wants to feel like she’s okay just as she is. This goes along with your question about brokenness above, but it might not necessarily be such a big dramatic feeling for everyone. Still, I think we all have some insecurities that keep us from feeling whole. Maybe someone doesn’t feel smart enough, or pretty enough, or popular enough, or liked at all. Maybe they struggle with mental health, or with sports, or making friends. No matter how big or small, it can lead to one feeling broken—or not enough—in some way. So they’ll identify with Rayne on that. Overcoming that feeling is her biggest arc in the story, and all that angst and worry is right there on the page.

I put a lot of time into getting that emotion on the page authentically so that all readers could connect and feel for Rayne—knowing full well they might feel it within their own lives, too.


What surprised you while writing and revising Hear Me?

I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but the ending took me by complete surprise. I was 100% sure how the book would wrap up as soon as I wrote chapter 1, but something happened along the way that changed it entirely. I’m so glad for that and how it came to be because I think the ending is powerful. Sorry to be so vague. 🙂


Everyone can read your amazing book to find out what surprised you. 😊

I love how you use *** for missed words. At first, I found myself reading those parts slower, but then realized most of the methods I use to fill in words I miss hearing help fill in the blanks in your book. It might not be exactly what was said, but I’m pretty sure I catch the gist of it. It truly gives people a tiny glimpse of what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone who is hard of hearing or deaf. What tips do you use while trying to hear people that can help readers fill in those blanks? Can teachers modify this into a writing exercise with their students? 

On the page, readers will have an overall sense of the conversation, so that alone will help them figure out the general idea of what’s being said—even if they don’t know the actual words that are missing. This is true even as the conversations change in single scenes, but that’s not the case for me, at all, in real life. It’s incredibly frustrating when people switch topics. I have to work even harder to figure out what’s being talked about all over again. As you well know, this makes group settings uncomfortable and exhausting. But I don’t think the reader will have nearly as much trouble while reading this.

Mindy, I think your activity suggestion is fantastic! I’d love for teachers to have students take a page from the book and try to fill in the missing words. It would be so interesting to compare the assignments. Brilliant! 

Ooh, I love this, Kerry. I hope some teachers will share the results!

Do you have suggestions for people who meet someone who is hard of hearing or deaf? What can they do to communicate with them better? 

I want to note that I can’t speak for everyone when it comes to these answers. There is no one way to handle deafness. No right or wrong way to handle hearing loss. Some people are way more comfortable with their situation than others. But here are some general good practices to follow that I think will work for many. Always start by getting the attention of the person you want to speak to—so they’re aware and can pay attention. Don’t yell. Goodness, this is so offensive. For many of us, volume isn’t the issue. It’s clarity. Just because someone is hard of hearing or deaf doesn’t mean they’re dumb. They just need a little extra help. Face the person you’re talking to so they can read your lips. If you’re in a loud environment, know that this is exponentially more difficult, so be patient. Try not to forget about the person’s disability. It’s not one that is seen, yet it can be uncomfortable for some of us to have to constantly remind others of our need. These things really make me feel included and can sometimes be the difference for me continuing to socialize or go home, so I hope they are good tips for others with hearing loss or deafness, too.


Those are fantastic tips! They help me a lot, too.

What are you working on now?

I have another book, Make a Little Wave, coming out in 2024. It’s about a girl who’s trying to change shark fishing laws in Florida. And because the world still needs many more stories with disability representation, that character wears cochlear implants. Right now, I’m doing edits for that and a revision of a nonfiction picture book. I can’t talk about that one yet, but I hope to have good news on it very soon.

Also, I work as a high school media specialist. These days, that role feels extra charged politically, so it keeps me very busy.

Thanks so much for having me here, Mindy. I’m glad you loved Rayne’s story!

You’re welcome, Kerry. Thanks so much for joining us again. And wahoooo! I’m happy dancing about your upcoming MG. It sounds amazing! I hope you get an offer on your nonfiction picture book soon.

Giveaway time!

Kerry generously has TWO giveaways. Enter one or both of them on the Rafflecopters below. Winners will be shouted out on this post and e-mailed on October 14. 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Hear Me

The winner is…

Joy Jones

A year after her hearing loss diagnosis, twelve-year-old Rayne’s doing her best to live a “normal” life and act like nothing’s changed. But her hearing keeps failing her. Even with hearing aids, she has trouble following conversations and hanging out with her friends the way she used to. Her grades are slipping, surfing is a bust, and she can’t understand the lyrics to her favorite singer’s new songs. Rayne’s parents are pushing for her to get cochlear implants, which could restore her hearing—though she would hear sounds differently. 

Rayne isn’t convinced the surgery for CIs is worth the risk and challenges. In fact, she’s terrified of it. She begs her parents to consider other options, but they’re not budging. 

With the surgery looming, Rayne sets off on a search for alternatives. Along the way, she discovers that “normal” can have many meanings—and that even though her ears may be broken, she is not.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter below to win a critique of up to 10 pages of your novel…(or one PB). 

The winner is:

Jaymie Patricia Heilman
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by the Mixed-Up Files! Good luck with the awesome giveaways. 🙂

You Don’t Have to Be Age 8 – 12 to Love Middle Grade Novels

I admit it—I LOVE middle grade novels, and I’m not afraid to show it. Years ago, I was reading a middle grade novel on an airplane with my daughter. She fell asleep and I kept reading…until someone tapped my shoulder. The woman across the aisle said, “She’s sleeping. You don’t have to read her book anymore.” I smiled and said, “Thanks, but this is actually my book.” Her mouth opened wide, but she didn’t say another word to me the entire flight.

Another time, I was reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate in public and couldn’t stop smiling. The woman next to me couldn’t wait to find out what book I was reading. When I showed her the cover and she saw a giant gorilla, she didn’t know what to say. But I gushed about how amazing Ivan’s voice is (I even read her the first few pages) and told her that it says so much about humans in such a unique way…she decided to borrow a copy from the library.

Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.

Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.


And now I’ll make another confession…I can’t remember the last time I read an adult book. There are so many incredible middle grade novels on my must-read list, I just can’t pry myself away from them. I love the heart, humor, unique viewpoints, and amazing characters. Here are some of my favorite books. I hope you’ll love them, too.

I love meeting all kinds of inspiring characters, like Auggie in Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Everyone needs to read this book! I instantly fell in love with Auggie and love how it shows the story from different viewpoints in addition to his. And yes, I still highly suggest reading it even if you’ve seen the movie—I think it’s even more powerful.

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid–but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

WONDER begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.


Speaking of inspiring—have you read Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart yet? It’s easy to see the heart in this book from the second you glance at the cover which says: Be brave. Be bold. Be you. How inspiring, encouraging, and validating. The back says: Sometimes our hearts see things our eyes can’t. Did this get your attention yet? Things have changed so much since I was in high school—and luckily, more and more people are realizing that nobody should have to hide who they are.

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade. Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.


Feel like laughing? There’s so much humor and heart in This is Not the Abby Show by Debbie Reed Fischer. It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite movies—The Breakfast Club. I loved this book from the very first chapter heading: Pretty much everything I do is inappropriate. I totally relate to that, and rooted for spunky, impulsive Abby through her hilarious journey.

Abby is twice exceptional–she is gifted in math and science, and she has ADHD. Normally, she has everything pretty much under control. But when Abby makes one HUGE mistake that leads to “The Night That Ruined My Life,” or “TNTRML,” she lands in summer school.

Abby thinks the other summer-school kids are going to be total weirdos. And what with her parents’ new rules, plus all the fuss over her brother’s bar mitzvah, her life is turning into a complete disaster. But as Abby learns to communicate better and finds friends who love her for who she is, she discovers that her biggest weaknesses could be her greatest assets.


Have you ever gone on a vacation that’s so amazing, you don’t ever want it to end? Then you’ll love The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone. This book is full of heart, mystery, friendship, art, and really made me look closer at things I’ve wished for and choices I’ve had to make. It reminds me a bit of the movie Groundhog Day.

What if you could get a do-over–a chance to relive a day in your life over and over again until you got it right? Would you?

After finding a mysterious set of paints in her backpack, eleven-year-old Haleigh Adams paints a picture of her last day at the New Jersey shore. When she wakes up the next morning, Haleigh finds that her wish for an endless summer with her new friend Kevin has come true. At first, she’s thrilled, but Haliegh soon learns that staying in one place–and time–comes with a price.

And when Haleigh realizes her parents have been keeping a secret, she is faced with a choice: do nothing and miss out on the good things that come with growing up or find the secret of the time loop she’s trapped in and face the inevitable realities of moving on. As she and Kevin set out to find the source of the magic paints, Haleigh worries it might be too late. Will she be able to restart time? And if she does, will it be the biggest mistake of her life?


Are you in the mood for something that’s both laugh-out-loud funny and scary? Read Night of The Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosen. This action-packed book has the hottest holiday toy come to life (and the live version is far from cuddly), hilarious dialogue, water guns, bubble wrap…and a quirky new neighbor who might be a warlock.

Twelve-year-old Devin Dexter has a problem. Well, actually, many of them. His cousin, Tommy, sees conspiracies behind every corner. And Tommy thinks Devin’s new neighbor, Herb, is a warlock . . . but nobody believes him. Even Devin’s skeptical. But soon strange things start happening. Things like the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life.

That would be great, because, after all, who doesn’t love a cute bunny? But these aren’t the kind of bunnies you can cuddle with. These bunnies are dangerous. Devin and Tommy set out to prove Herb is a warlock and to stop the mob of bunnies, but will they have enough time before the whole town of Gravesend is overrun by the cutest little monsters ever? This is a very funny “scary” book for kids, in the same vein as the My Teacher books or Goosebumps.


Do you remember how you felt on 9-11? What about soon after that? I never looked at the world the same way again. Can you imagine what it would be like if you were a child then…and classmates turned on your best friend just because he was an Arab Muslim? Read Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra to experience this poignant world.

Ever since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a soldier and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, he just wants to outsmart–and outrun–the rival cross country team, the Palmetto Bugs. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens. It’s quickly discovered that one of the hijackers lived nearby, making Jake’s Florida town an FBI hot spot. Two days later, the tragedy becomes even more personal when Jake’s best friend, Sam Madina, is pummeled for being an Arab Muslim by their bully classmate, Bobby.

According to Jake’s personal code of conduct, anyone who beats up your best friend is due for a butt kicking, and so Jake goes after Bobby. But soon after, Sam’s father is detained by the FBI, and Jake’s mom doubts the innocence of Sam’s family, forcing Jake to choose between his best friend and his parents. When Jake finds out that Sam’s been keeping secrets, too, he doesn’t know who his allies are anymore. In the end, Jake must decide: either walk away from Sam and the revenge that Bobby has planned, or become the hero he’s always aspired to be.


I hope you’ll proudly read middle grade novels everywhere you go, no matter what age you are!  And if you’re looking for more great ones to read, check out our New Releases and Unique Book Lists. They’ll keep you busy for at least the next few years.

What do you love about middle grade novels and what are some of your favorite books that you think everyone should read?

International Day of Peace: Middle-Grade Books that Promote World Harmony

The International Day of Peace, established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, is now celebrated worldwide every September 21.

international_peace_day_logoTo commemorate the message of the day, I’ve chosen to shine a light on a few middle-grade books that share themes of nonviolence, empathy, and dignity for all.

These books not only promote peace by highlighting the challenges of fighting against war, racism, poverty, etc., but they also underscore the importance of large and small acts of courage by individuals to create change and move toward a more harmonious world.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’d love to hear about your favorite books on the subject in the comments section.

9780062377012Pax by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Pennypacker’s novel, Pax (literally “peace” in Latin) was recently longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s literature. The story highlights peace by portraying the costs of war through the eyes of a boy and his beloved fox, Pax. Time magazine writes: “Pennypacker’s elegant language and insight into human nature spin a fable extolling empathy above all. By the novel’s poignant ending, Pennypacker has gently made the case that all of us should aspire to that view—children and adults alike.”

9781442485068Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Baskin’s novel tracks the stories of four children of different backgrounds before and after the tragedy of 9/11. While the characters have their own individual stories, they all share the fact that their lives were impacted by the event. The ending (spoiler alert) shows the characters, one year after the tragedy, at the memorial service in New York City. It’s a powerful scene demonstrating the courage of coming together in love and peace. Publishers Weekly writes: “Baskin focuses on how her characters emerge wiser, worldlier, and more sensitive to others’ pain after surviving a profound and tragic piece of history.”

9781629146133Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

In Cerra’s book, also about 9/11, Jake’s life is turned upside down when the father of his best friend Sam is detained by the FBI after the attacks. Jake’s mom doubts the innocence of Sam’s family, who is Muslim, forcing Jake to choose between his best friend and his parents. When Jake finds out that Sam’s been keeping secrets, too, he doesn’t know who his allies are anymore. In the end, Jake must decide: walk away from Sam and the revenge that a racist classmate has planned or become the hero he’s always aspired to be.

9780316043069Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Ten-year-old Sugar lives on the River Road sugar plantation along the banks of the Mississippi. Slavery is over, but laboring in the fields all day doesn’t make her feel very free. Thankfully, Sugar has a knack for finding her own fun, especially when she joins forces with forbidden friend Billy, the white plantation owner’s son. When Chinese workers are brought in to help harvest the cane, the older River Road folks feel threatened. But as Sugar befriends young Beau and elder Master Liu, they introduce her to the traditions of their culture, and she, in turn, shares the ways of plantation life. Sugar soon realizes that she must be the one to bridge the cultural gap and bring the community together.

9780888999597The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis

This volume contains Ellis’s three novels, The Breadwinner, Parvana’s Journey, and Mud City. The Breadwinner is set in Afghanistan, where 11-year-old Parvana lives with her family in a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul. When her father is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education, the family is left with no money or resources. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy and become the breadwinner. In Parvana’s Journey, her father has died and the family has scattered. Parvana, now 13 years old, is determined to find them. Again masquerading as a boy, she joins a group of wandering children, all refugees from war, who exist mainly on courage. In Mud City, the focus shifts to 14-year-old Shauzia, who lives in the Widows’ Compound in Pakistan and dreams of escaping to a new life in France. Ellis’s look at the human cost of war is also a story of hope and survival.

9780547577098Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family. Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.

9780545464406Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine

Red has just lost his father to a fatal attack, and everything is different in his life. And when Red comes to realize the racial injustices connected to his Virginia family and community, he’s faced with some hard challenges. Publishers Weekly writes: “(Erskine) frankly explores the difficulty in fighting a corrupt system, but also stresses the difference one individual—even a child—can make, providing hope that justice can prevail.”

9780547577319A Long Walk to Water (Based on a True Story )by Linda Sue Park

 A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

9781600606571Poems to Dream Together/Poemas Para So by Francisco X. Alarcon, illus. Paula Barragan

A young boy dreams that “all humans / and all living / beings / come together / as one big family / of the Earth.” As we travel through the boy’s colorful universe, we learn about his family and community working together and caring for each other and the world in which they live. Neighbors help repair adobe homes. The boy and his family share old photographs, tend their garden, and pamper Mama who “works day and night.” Tribute is paid to those who toil in the fields, and to Cesar Chavez. Most of all, we see how dreams can take many forms, from the fantastic imaginary ones that occur while we sleep to the realistic ones that guide our lives and give us inspiration for the endless possibilities of the future.

9780805089967Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines

Illustrated with handmade quilts, these poems explore various notions of peace. Some, written from a child’s point of view, explore themes of fighting with a sibling and bullying on the playground. Other poems, using personification, are narrated by a house in turmoil and peace itself. The collection compels the reader to act with compassion, respect, and hope. Back matter highlights famous peacemakers such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and Jimmy Carter, as well as a few lesser-known advocates.

9780525477341Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World by Jane Breskin Zalben

Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Nobel Prize winner, Dr.Wangari Maathai, are some of the people Zalbren chose to represent different eras and parts of the globe. Many started down their path to peace during childhood, and all challenge us to think about improving the lives of others. Also included are art notes, a glossary, a bibliography, further reading, and an index, making it an excellent resource for teachers and students.

What are your favorite books that promote peace?

Dorian Cirrone is the co-regional advisor for the Florida Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has written several books for children and teens. Her most recent middle-grade novel, The First Last Day (Simon and Schuster/Aladdin), is available wherever books are sold. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as @DorianCirrone. She gives writing tips and does occasional giveaways on her blog at: