Waiting On… Front Desk, The House That Lou Built and Property Of The Rebel Librarian

Waiting On Wednesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I highlight forthcoming titles which I’m particularly excited about and looking forward to. This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.


Publication Date May 29th 2018 by Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine
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Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?





Publication Date June 12th 2018 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She’s going to build her own “tiny house,” 100 square feet all her own. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house, and longs for a place where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. Lou enjoys her woodshop class and creating projects, and she plans to build the house on land she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer.

Lou discovers it’s not easy to save her land, or to build a house. But she won’t give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family.





Publication Date September 18th 2018 by Random House Books For Young Readers
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When twelve-year-old June Harper’s parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval.

But June can’t give up books…and she realizes she doesn’t have to when she spies a Little Free Library on her walk to school. As the rules become stricter at school and at home, June keeps turning the pages of the banned books that continue to appear in the little library. It’s a delicious secret…and one she can’t keep to herself. June starts a banned book library of her own in an abandoned locker at school. The risks grow alongside her library’s popularity, and a movement begins at Dogwood Middle – a movement that, if exposed, could destroy her. But if it’s powerful enough, maybe it can save Ms. Bradshaw and all that she represents: the freedom to read.

Equal parts fun and empowering, this novel explores censorship, freedom of speech, and activism. For any kid who doesn’t believe one person can effect change…and for all the kids who already know they can!




Now it’s YOUR turn! Which books are you most looking forward to this week? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

New Kids On The Block 2018 with Laurie Morrison

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com. I would love to collaborate with you!


About Laurie Morrison

Laurie Morrison taught middle school English for ten years and writes books for middle-school- aged readers. She loves iced coffee, the ocean, just-out-of-the-oven pastries, and being outside, even when it’s cold or rainy. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she lives with her family in Philadelphia

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads


Things I Learned From Every Shiny Thing

Hooray, it’s April 17th! Tax day, release day for my debut middle grade novel, and the 17th day of National Poetry Month, which is quite fitting since half of Every Shiny Thing is written in poetry! In honor of this special day, I’m here to share a special celebratory poem with all of you!

First a disclaimer, though: I am not a poet.

Luckily for me (and everyone who picks up Every Shiny Thing), my co-author Cordelia Jensen is. Our book is written in alternating points of view — one in prose and one in verse — and Cordelia wrote the verse.

But I taught middle school English for ten years, and even though I don’t really write poetry, I absolutely loved teaching poetry. Although I have to admit, I didn’t love it right away. When I took my first teaching job and found out I was expected to spend the whole month of April immersing my students in a poetry study that would culminate in a big event with all of their families attending, I felt completely out of my element.

But eventually, I found a way to make the poetry unit work for my students and me. I found some great, playful poem anthologies and exercises, and we examined poets’ craft choices and had fun writing our own poems that used some of the same structures and styles as the model poems. Pretty soon, the poetry unit was one of my favorite things to teach.

The process of writing Every Shiny Thing was similar to the process of figuring out how to teach poetry. When Cordelia and I began discussing this book, I started off thinking, “I’m way out of my element here. There’s no way I can write a book like this.” I didn’t know if I could write a character who would break rules, make some really bad decisions, and feel a whole lot of anger.

But soon, I realized I could identify with my character’s love for her brother; her quick, deep bond with a new friend; and her confusion in recognizing the discrepancy between the ideals she’s taught to value — like simplicity and equality — and the materialism and inequality she sees around her. Ultimately, I found a way to approach this story that worked for me. My point-of-view character, Lauren, has become one of my favorite characters I’ve ever created, and this book is one of my proudest accomplishments.

So in honor of Every Shiny Thing’s release, I thought it would be appropriate to share a list poem—one of the most popular types of poems my students and I wrote together. This one is loosely inspired by one of the list poems my students and I examined: “Things I Learned Last Week” by William Stafford. If you want to check out more list poems my students and I liked, also look for Bruce Lansky’s “What Bugs Me” and “My Noisy Brother,” and James Arlington Wright’s “Lying on a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota.” They are random, silly, profound, and completely unintimidating, so they’re perfect for non-poets like me to attempt. I hope you enjoy my poem, and I hope you enjoy Every Shiny Thing if you check it out. Thanks for helping Cordelia and me celebrate its release!

People say to write what you know.
I now say to figure out what you know
about the story you want to write.

Just because a character’s behavior stresses me out
doesn’t mean I can’t dive deep inside her mind,
understand her,
adore her.

Some other people will adore her too!
Some of them will tell me that!
That will feel amazing!

Other people will not adore her so much.
I may find out about that.
It will feel devastating.

But I have to find ways to care deeply about this book,
promote it,
celebrate it,
while also letting it go.
Meditating helps. Exercise, too.
And creating new characters.
New stories.

If you use the word “like” when you mean “as if,”
a copy editor might suggest you change it every single time.
But then another kind of editor might say you can “stet, stet, stet”
and keep all of the “likes” you’d like!

It’s possible I overuse the word “like.”
Also “just.”
And, strangely, “giant.”

It takes a whole team of talented people to edit,
design,
proofread,
and market
a book.
It takes a whole lot of steps
(and a whole lot of time)
from acquisition to launch day.
It’s overwhelming in the very best way
to know all these people are behind something
you made up!
Out of your own private, idiosyncratic brain!

Covers printed on shiny metallic paper look truly spectacular.
When you take the jacket off a hardcover book,
what’s left is called the case cover.
Foil stamped case covers are pretty extraordinary, too!

If a friend you admire and love
asks if you’d like to write a book together,
JUMP at the chance.
It may be the most rewarding,
challenging,
energizing,
magical
creative experience
you’ve ever had.

Title Every Shiny Thing
Author Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison
Pages 368 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Poetry
Publication Date April 17th 2018 by Abrams/Amulet Books
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In this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong. Lauren must learn that having good intentions isn’t all that matters when you battle injustice, and Sierra needs to realize that sometimes, the person you need to take care of is yourself.

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 89: Middle Grade (Part 23)

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s feature Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time. The idea is being used with her gracious permission.

Some of my favourite covers this week include The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee, Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner, Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older, 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser, Monstrous Devices by Damien Love, The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis, The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes, Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood, Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor and The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond.

Please Note: I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the beautiful covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.

01. The House In Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee (Cover design by Amelia Mack, Cover art by The Brothers Hilts)
02. Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner (Cover design and artwork by Whitney Gardner)

03. Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older (Cover art by Nilah Magruder)
04. 24 Hours In Nowhere by Dusti Bowling (Cover design by Ryan Thomann, Cover art by João Neves)

05. Nate Expectations by Tim Federle
06. Stu Truly by Dan Richards

07. The Adventures Of A Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss
08. Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll (Cover art by David Litchfield)

09. The Owls Have Come To Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith
10. The Vanderbeekers and The Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

11. Monstrous Devices by Damien Love (Cover design by Jim Hoover, Cover art by Abel Gray)
12. The Hotel Between by Sean Easley (Cover design by Chloe Foglia, Cover art by Petur Antonsson)

13. My Life As A Diamond by Jenny Manzer (Cover design by Teresa Bubela, Cover art by Julie McLaughlin)
14. The Girl With The Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis (Cover art by Freya Hartas)

15. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes (Cover art by Irvin Rodriguez)
16. Time Castaways: The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

17. From Sunset Till Sunrise by Jonathan Rosen (Cover design by Kate Gardner, Cover art by Xavier Bonet)
18. Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

19. Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood (Cover art by Vashti Harrison)
20. Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor

21. The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond (Cover art by Alex T. Smith)
22. The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair by Amy Makechnie

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Middle Grade covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 88: Literary Fiction (Part 8)

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s feature Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time. The idea is being used with her gracious permission.

Some of my favourite covers this week include The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne, The Château by Paul Goldberg, The Way Back To Us by Kay Langdale, The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce, A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma, The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman, The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi, Still Lives by Maria Hummel, A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor, The Friendly Ones by Philip Hensher, The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler and The Emissary by Yōko Tawada.

Please Note: I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the beautiful covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.

01. The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne
02. The Château by Paul Goldberg (Designed by Steven Seighman, Art by David Curtis Studio)

03. The Way Back To Us by Kay Langdale
04. The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak

05. The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce (Design by Gretchen Achilles)
06. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

07. A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma (Design by Alex Kirby)
08. The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman (Design by Jaya Miceli)

09. The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi (Design by Jamie Keenan)
10. Hollow by Owen Egerton (Design by Matt Dorfman)

11. Still Lives by Maria Hummel
12. The Word For Woman Is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

13. A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor
14. The World Is A Narrow Bridge by Aaron Thier

15. The Friendly Ones by Philip Hensher
16. The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler (Design by Allison Saltzman)

17. The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
18. The Emissary by Yōko Tawada

19. My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci (Design by Oliver Munday)
20. We All Love The Beautiful Girls by Joanne Proulx (Design by Jennifer Griffiths, Cover image by Ian Ross Pettigrew)

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Literary Fiction covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

New Kids On The Block 2018 with Emma Berquist

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com. I would love to collaborate with you!


About Emma Berquist

Emma Berquist grew up in Austin, Texas and sunburns easily. She currently lives in New Zealand and avoids the beach. Devils Unto Dust is her first novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads






Five Interesting Facts I Learned While Doing Book Research That I Shall Now Impart To You

1. The first person to ever survive rabies without the vaccine was a fifteen-year-old girl in Wisconsin who was bitten by a bat in 2004. Doctors put her into a drug-induced coma so they could regulate her breathing and swallowing while her immune system attacked the virus. The girl recovered and the treatment is now called the “Milwaukee protocol,” although of the 25 times it’s been used since, only 4 other people have survived. Bottom line: if you think you might have rabies, get the vaccine ASAP.

2. Variolation was the first method used to immunize people against smallpox. Doctors would take smallpox scabs, dry them and grind them into a powder, then introduce them to a patient’s skin through a small scratch. Yes, history is disgusting.

3. Ulysses S. Grant smoked around 20 cigars a day and got kicked out of the army for drinking too much because he was bored and depressed. (Historical figures! They’re just like us!) He also said one of the happiest days of his life was the day he left the presidency.

4. Thanks to Hollywood, when many people think “cowboy” they picture someone like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. In reality, the old west was a lot more diverse than the movies make it out to be. By the late 19th century, roughly one in three cowboys was Mexican, as many as 20% were black, and about 20,000 Chinese immigrants were instrumental in constructing the railroads.

5. John Wayne’s real name is Marion Robert Morrison. I just think it’s important people know this.

Title Devils Unto Dust
Author Emma Berquist
Pages 496 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Western, Horror
Publication Date April 10th 2018 by Greenwillow
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Keep together. Keep your eyes open. Keep your wits about you.

The desert is unkind in the best of times. And the decade since the Civil War has been anything but the best of times for Daisy Wilcox — call her Willie — and her family. This tense, heart-pounding alternate history about a young woman fighting to survive the unthinkable will keep fans of Westworld and The Walking Dead reading late into the night.

A horrifying sickness has spread across the West Texas desert. Infected people — shakes — attack the living, and the surviving towns are only as safe as their perimeter walls are strong. The state is all but quarantined from the rest of the country. Glory, Texas, is a near ghost town. Still, seventeen-year-old Willie has managed to keep her siblings safe, even after the sickness took their mother. But then her good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most merciless shake hunters in town, and Willie is left on the hook for his debt. With two young hunters as guides, Willie sets out across the desert to find her father. And the desert holds more dangers than just shakes.