Between The Lines: The Sweet Sixteens Back To School Bookshelf Blog Tour – Day Two

Between The Lines is a sporadic feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which authors and other industry professionals provide further insight into the writing and publishing process in the form of interviews, guest posts, etc. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy as we read between the lines.

Happy Friday, friends! As promised, today I’m hosting day two of The Sweet Sixteens‘ Back To School Bookshelf Tour. In this post, I welcome Kathleen Burkinshaw, Mike Grosso, Jennie Brown and Sarah Reida to Pop! Goes The Reader as we once again explore the question “If you could give one piece of advice to your middle grade self, what would it be?” As excited as I am to host these four, wonderful authors on the blog, the experience is also a little bittersweet as this concludes the Back To School Bookshelf Tour on Pop! Goes The Reader. The fun doesn’t have to stop here, however! Be sure to explore each of the titles published (or soon-to-be published) by the eight authors responsible for this tour for countless hours of adventure and creativity.

As an extra special bonus, the participating authors have also been generous enough to offer one lucky winner the chance to win signed editions of all eight of their novels! This giveaway can be found at the conclusion of today’s post and is absolutely one you won’t want to miss!


About Kathleen Burkinshaw

Kathleen Burkinshaw lives in Charlotte, NC. She’s a wife, mom to a daughter in college (dreading the reality of being an empty nester-most of the time), and has a dog who is a kitchen ninja. Writing gives her an outlet in her daily struggle with chronic pain. She has carried her mother’s story for most of her life and feels privileged to now share it with the world. Writing historical fiction also satisfies her obsessive love of researching anything and everything.

Find Kathleen on: WebsiteTwitterGoodreads

Listen to your inner voice. Your opinions matter and don’t let the teasing about your nationality get to you. Continue to be proud of your heritage; it is one worth holding onto and should be remembered. All the time spent in your room writing and reading will pay off someday. Oh, when your mom suggests you get a perm – RUN!

Title The Last Cherry Blossom
Author Kathleen Burkinshaw
Pages 240 pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Historical Fiction
Published August 2nd, 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan’s fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden fom its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.



About Mike Grosso

Mike Grosso is a musician and a fourth-grade teacher who always keeps a guitar in his classroom. His father gave him his first lesson, and his mom taught him how to keep a steady rhythm. Mike continues to write and record music at his home in Oak Park, Illinois, where he lives with his wife, son, and a drum set he plays much too loud. I Am Drums is his first novel.

Find Mike on: WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

I would tell myself to try new things, and to never let others define failure on my behalf. I missed out on a lot of cool experiences in middle school because I was worried I’d look silly trying things like theater, chorus, or dance. If something intrigues you, give it a shot and see what happens. You might uncover a new talent.

Title I Am Drums
Author Mike Grosso
Pages 256 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Music
Published September 6th, 2016 by Clarion Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Sam knows she wants to be a drummer. But she doesn’t know how to afford a drum kit, or why budget cuts end her school’s music program, or why her parents argue so much, or even how to explain her dream to other people.

But drums sound all the time in Sam’s head, and she’d do just about anything to play them out loud — even lie to her family if she has to. Will the cost of chasing her dream be too high?



About Jennie K. Brown

Jennie K. Brown is an award-winning high school English teacher, freelance magazine writer, and author of children’s books. Jennie lives in Hershey, PA with her husband, son and two dogs. (And yes, it does smell like chocolate!)

Find Jennie on: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Jennie, there were times in middle school that you thought so much about what others thought of you, that you would feel down and beat yourself up. It’s okay to not have the most expensive, brand-name clothing. It’s okay to hang out with your family over your friends. It’s okay to eat that cookie or extra piece of pizza. It’s okay to be single and not get so caught up in boy drama. And it’s absolutely awesome to just rock what you have and be the best thing you can be – which is you!

Title Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
Author Jennie K. Brown
Pages 214 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Fantasy
To Be Published September 13th, 2016 by Tantrum Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not – Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.



About Sarah Reida

Sarah Schauerte Reida is an attorney for veterans, champion for unwanted animals, and middle grade writer. She lives in the Atlanta area but hails from the Midwest.

Find Sarah on: WebsiteTwitterGoodreads

I’d say don’t be afraid to do what makes you happy. Writing has made me happy since I was ten and Mrs. Story of Millstadt Consolidated School picked me as the representative from the fourth grade to write a story (yeah, I know – Mrs. Story picked me to write a story). But since the dream of being a writer seemed out of reach, I didn’t pursue it like I should have. Maybe you could say I rejected it before it could reject me. (Then, of course, I started writing seriously and received a hundred rejections from agents and publishers before Monsterville got picked up).

There are levels to achievements – even if you don’t become an Olympic gymnast, you’ll always regret it if you don’t show the world what you’ve got. And you’ll regret giving up the journey, or making it not as great as it could have been. You owe it to yourself to go full throttle and see what happens.

Title Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production
Author Sarah S. Reida
Pages 364 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Fantasy, Horror, Adventure
To Be Published September 20th, 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Thirteen-year-old Lissa Black is miserable when her parents force her to move from New York City (the perfect home for an aspiring writer/director/actress) to Freeburg, Pennsylvania, nowhere capital of the world. There’s nothing to do there, except play her little sister Haylie’s favorite new game, Monsterville, and hang out with her new neighbor Adam.

But when a walk in the woods lands her face-to-face with a swamp monster hungry for brains and then a Sasquatch that moos, even Lissa can’t call her new home totally boring. With Adam’s help, she catches the culprit behind the drama: a shape-shifting goblin who’s fled from the monster world of Down Below.

And what do you do with a creature that can be literally anything? Make monster movies, of course! Lissa is convinced that Blue will be the secret to her big break.

But when Haylie goes missing on Halloween, Lissa, Adam, and the monster must venture Down Below to stage a rescue — and face the real Monsterville, which is anything but a game.

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