Friday, May 10, 2019

Middle Grade Ninja Episodes 21: Author Jessica Lawson

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Jessica Lawson and I chat about writing and the strange quirks of being a writer. We discuss each of her books, where she gets her ideas, and her best writing practices. She doesn't sing a song about lost socks, alas, but she does talk about her editorial process and her best tips for successful school visits. Jessica and I have been online friends for years and it was a pleasure to finally have a conversation in person. I learned a lot and you will as well.

Click here to see Jessica Lawson face the 7 Questions.




Jessica Lawson enjoys living in Pennsylvania, where she and her family spend weekend hours hanging at the local orchard, pretending to be on Top Chef Junior, building with magnet blocks, making up new holidays, and reading plenty of books. She likes pizza. A lot.

She is the author of The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, a book that Publishers Weekly called “a delightfully clever debut” in a starred review, and Nooks and Crannies, a Junior Library Guild Selection and recipient of three starred reviews. Her 3rd book, Waiting for Augusta, won the Colorado Book Award for Juvenile Fiction, and was also a Junior Library Guild Selection. Of her latest book, Under the Bottle Bridge, School Library Journal says: "Beautifully written, with vivid characters, this exploration of family and friendship shines from the first page."

She fell in love with storytelling at an early age, and is a sucker for Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, Linda Sue Park, RL LaFevers, Charles Dickens, Karen Cushman, Barbara Park, Amy Tan, Maryrose Wood, Barbara Cooney, Anne Ursu, Christopher Paul Curtis, Gail Carson Levine, Rita Williams-Garcia, Arnold Lobel, Isabel Allende, Sharon Creech, Eva Ibbotson, Shannon Hale, Maeve Binchy and many, many, many other wonderful authors and illustrators.

She writes middle grade fiction, lots of to-do lists, and songs about lost socks.



"Beautifully written, with vivid characters, this exploration of family and friendship shines from the first page."
- School Library Journal

"Lawson creates an engaging cast of characters."
- Kirkus Reviews

"Minna’s coming-of-age story is as solid and well-crafted as the furniture made by her uncle, and the bottle-message mystery is engrossing…truly poignant. Hand this to fans of Turnage’s Three Times Lucky.”
- Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her?

Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.


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