We have a stellar middle-grade double-header you won't want to miss! Ann Braden and Jarrett Lerner have written middle-grade novels focusing on fitting in, being yourself, and the struggles balancing both. It’s sure to be a thought-provoking conversation with two crazy-talented authors, followed by an audience Q & A and book-signing.
ABOUT OPOSSUMS AND OPINIONS:
Agnes has been raised to keep her opinions to herself, but how do you keep silent when you’re full of burning questions? Agnes has been encouraged not to question authority by her mom—but that’s especially hard in religion class, where it bugs her that so much gets blamed on Eve and that God’s always pictured one way. Fortunately, Agnes’ anthropologist neighbor, Gracy, gets Agnes thinking after they rescue an opossum together. Playing dead didn’t serve the opossum well, so maybe it’s time for Agnes to start thinking for herself. And when Agnes learns that some cultures picture God as a female, she feels freed to think—and write—about things from new perspectives. As she and her best friend, Mo, encourage each other to get out of their comfort zone at school as the quiet kids, they quickly find it’s sorta cool seeing people react when they learn you are very much full of thought-provoking opinions. Ann Braden has written a fast-paced, funny novel that will resonate with anyone who’s ever been afraid to say what they think or question the status quo.
ABOUT ANN BRADEN:
Ann Braden (annbradenbooks.com) is also the author of Flight of the Puffin. She writes books about kids trying to stand up for themselves even when things are tough. Her debut middle grade novel, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, was an NPR Best Book and has appeared on numerous state lists. Ann founded the Local Love Brigade, which sends love postcards to those who are facing hate. She also founded GunSenseVT, a grassroots group that helped pass landmark gun violence prevention legislation. Ann has been a middle school teacher, the co-host of the children’s book podcast Lifelines: Books That Bridge the Divide, and co-organizer of #KidsNeedMentors. Ann lives in southern Vermont with her husband, two children, and two insatiable cats.
ABOUT A WORK IN PROGRESS:
A young boy struggles with body image in this poignant middle grade journey to self-acceptance told through prose, verse, and illustration.
Will is the only round kid in a school full of string beans. So he hides…in baggy jeans and oversized hoodies, in the back row during class, and anywhere but the cafeteria during lunch. But shame isn’t the only feeling that dominates Will’s life. He’s also got a crush on a girl named Jules who knows he doesn’t have a chance with—string beans only date string beans—but he can’t help wondering what if?
Will’s best shot at attracting Jules’s attention is by slaying the Will Monster inside him by changing his eating habits and getting more exercise. But the results are either frustratingly slow or infuriatingly unsuccessful, and Will’s shame begins to morph into self-loathing.
As he resorts to increasingly drastic measures to transform his appearance, Will meets skateboarder Markus, who helps him see his body and all it contains as an ever-evolving work in progress.
ABOUT JARRETT LERNER:
Jarrett Lerner is the award-winning creator of more than a dozen books for kids, including the EngiNerds series of middle grade novels, the Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, the Hunger Heroes series of graphic novel chapter books, two activity books, the illustrated novel in verse A Work in Progress, and the Nat the Cat series of early readers. You can find him online at JarrettLerner.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his wife and daughters in Massachusetts.