Posted in Meet the authors

Jennifer Swanson

Twitter and Instagram — @JenSwanBooks


When you were my age (10), did you like to read? I loved to read mysteries. I read every single Nancy Drew book that was written at that time, and also the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden series. I also gobbled up nonfiction books like crazy. I was very interested in learning about the world around me.

What is a book that made an impact on you? This is a tough one. There are so many. I have to say the one book that really showed me that I could tackle tougher physics and engineering topics for kids is a book called A Black Hole is NOT a Hole by Carolyn DeCristofano. It’s so well-written and deals with the very complex topic of black holes in an interesting and easy to read manner.

Is it hard to come up with book ideas? You write about real things so where do your ideas come from? (Lil Bro – why write about car safety for kids? I like it but most kids are not interested.) I am a very curious person. I started a science club in my garage when I was 7 years old. I wanted to learn more about how things worked in our world. My intense curiosity has followed me my whole life. I come up with ideas, just by wondering… “how does that work?”

As for why I wrote about cars, I actually do believe that kids are interested in cars. I remember playing with Hot Wheels with my brothers as a kid and then watching my own kids do it. This book was inspired by my interest in the self-driving car. I would really like to drive one some day, but most of all, I think it is amazing how much techonolgy and engineering must come together to get this to work. Wow!

In researching your books, what is coolest thing you have done or encountered? I am very lucky in that I get to cool places and meet amazing people in my research. I have been to NASA, Brookhaven Laboratory — where they have a small particle collider, the Field Museum in Chicago, and most recently to CERN the home of the large hadron collider in Geneva, Switzerland. That was the coolest thing I have done, so far.

Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?
There are alot of great authors out there. If you like science and technology, I encourage them to go into the library and spend some time in that section. Find books that are engaging and exciting. There are tons of them there! If you want to find some great books about STEM, I encourage you to check out a blog that I run: STEM Tuesday. It is split up into different topics so you can search it. There are even some fun activities to do on your own or with your class, too.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read a lot of books. And also try to keep a journal. I did that as a child. I wrote down my thoughts and ideas. It’s fun to look back on that now. Just have fun with writing.

As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?I do hear from my readers and that is one of my favorite parts about being an author. I get pictures and letters from them. A lot of the time they tell me about their favorite part of the book. They ask me questions and sometimes tell me how they were inspired and now want to become a scientist or engineer. That is awesome!

If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be? Harry Potter without a doubt. I mean who wouldn’t want to live in that creative, exciting world with magic?

Book trailer:

Posted in Book Review

My seventh grade life in tights

By Brooks Benjamin

Book source: purchased

Book status: available

I started to read this book this summer after meeting Brooks but it didn’t click. I picked it up this week now that I am track cycling training. It made a lot more sense because like the main character I am doing something not normal for kids my age.

1. It’s about a boy who’s dancing.

2. It’s about a friendship thing that happens in real life.

3. It’s about how the boy, Dillon, has to keep his dancing with his friends a secret, because of his dancing with a different person, with a different style.

4. It’s about a person controlling his life to make him a better candidate for the dance competition.

5. It’s just a really good story for kids who have a desire to do something that isn’t popular to follow their heart. Be who you are, not who someone else thinks you should be .

Posted in Book Review


By Elisha Cooper

Book Source: provided for review

Book Status: Available

1. This book’s illustrations are perfectly beautiful!!

2. It’s a poem-like book that is really cool.

3. It shows how, when you’re traveling down the Hudson River, what can and probably will happen.

4. It has maps in the front and back, that show the Hudson River, and her stops along the river.

5. It’s just a really pretty book!

Posted in Book Review

Kiki & Jax: the life-changing magic of friendship

By Marie Kondo

Co-written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

Book Source: purchased

book status: available

1. If you like Salina Yoon, get this book! RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!

2. If you’re a messy kid, this book doesn’t just give you ways to clean, it gives you reasons!

3. It’s just a really cute story!

4. This book is short, so if little kids read it, it gives them the lesson at an early age. ( Well, now I sound like a doctor……)

5. You learn about friendship and about being tidy. So two lessons in one book.

6. If you know Salina, you know there are lots of things hidden in the illustrations. Penguin, Floppy, Bear, Dino and Pinecone all make appearances. An interview with Marie Kondo also revealed Salina even hid her daughter’s items.

Posted in Middle Grade Mondays


By Kate Hannigan

Book Source: library

Book Status: available

I don’t remember who but one of my author friends was talking about how good this book was. When we saw it on library shelf, we grabbed it.

1. Superheroes are real. Oh and the girls are the superheroes.

2. It has graphic novel images mixed through out the book.

3. You learn about WW2 and the secret home jobs people held.

4. You learn about how people were discriminated based on where they were from. Kind of sad we still act this way.

5. There is a lot of adventure.

6. Their super powers are so cool. I don’t know which one I would want to be

7. A very diverse base of characters

8. If you like puzzles they are mixed into the book.

9. And Kate Hannigan has said she turned in book 2, so there is more to come.

10. This is the longest list I have written about a book. There is something in this book for everyone

Posted in Book Review

Books about real people

Book source: provided by Media Masters Publicity for review purposes

Book Status: Queens Nov 12;. Kings Nov 12; American Indians Nov 12

These three books are all about real people. One is about Queens, which is really women who succeeded at things. Kings is about men who have been successful. You learn about people like The Rock, John Cena, The Queen of England and Beyonce. It explains what they did to be successful.

The book covers well known people but also the hidden people who have changed our world. This would be very interesting to kids.

The Encyclopedia of Americans Indians goes into details about each tribe. There is a page for each tribe and it explains about who they are and what made their tribe unique. It was interesting to see how many tribes there are. You don’t hear about the different tribes so kids think all Americans Indians are the same. They are not.

My great-great-great grandmother was from the Micmac tribe. I read that page first and want to read more.

All three books would be good additions for kids to learn more about real people. These are great starts to help kids find out there is more than just what you hear about. These help point them in the right direction to find details.

Posted in Meet the authors

Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo


When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

Great question! Not only did I LOVE to read, I still have many of my old paperbacks. (My mom saves everything!!) I loved both realistic fiction and fantasy. A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorites, but I was also really fascinated by Harriet the Spy and her misunderstood friend Beth Ellen. What I loved best about these stories is that I felt like I knew the characters so well—they became like friends.  

What is a book that made an impact on you?

I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time, and that story having a big impact on me. The main character, Meg Murry, had thick glasses and braces and felt misunderstood—just like I did! It was the first time I really connected with a character. That feeling has stayed with me and continues to help me remember how powerful it is for kids to find themselves in stories.

Is it hard to come up with book ideas?

Stories are everywhere and every now and then—especially when I am hiking with my dog, Meadow—characters pop into my head. I’ve found that if I listen really hard to these characters, they will lead me to a good story!

What author or book have you read recently that impacted you?

I love to read biographies—especially about women who have done amazing things but never got recognized for their achievements. Recently, I discovered Marie Tharp who was the first person to scientifically map the world’s oceans. I read two books about her. One is a picture book called Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea, by Robert Burleigh. The other is Soundings, The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who mapped the Ocean Floor by Hali Felt. I loved Marie Tharp’s story so much that she became an important part of my most recent novel, A Galaxy of Sea Stars, which comes out in February 2020.

Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of? 

I loved Jess Redman’s book, The Miraculous. I adore her writing and the way her stories make my heart feel. She has another book coming out next year called Quintessence that looks amazing too!! 

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

Write every day and read, read, read! My seventh grade English teacher had us write in a journal every single day. At first I thought, this is too hard, I can’t do this every day. But when I got into the habit of writing every day, I realized how much I loved it. I could write about anything – my day, my family, my friends – no one was judging what I wrote about and that helped the words flow. It was also a way to get through challenges and helped me put things in perspective. I still have all of my journals and they are such a treasure. They are a window into 10-year-old Jeanne and help me remember how it was really hard to be a kid some days.

As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

Yes! I LOVE hearing from my readers. I’ve received some awesome emails and some beautiful art from kids who have read Ruby in the Sky. I love hearing how readers have connected with Ruby and Ahmad, that they’ve found meaning in the story, or simply that they thought it was good book.

If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

A Wrinkle in Time again!!! (Best book of all time!) I love how Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who, teach Meg about tesseracts, which are a “wrinkle in time” that allows them to travel to other planets. I would love to tesser along with Meg and Calvin and Charles Wallace to Uriel, the two-dimension planet, as well as Ixchel to spend time with Aunt Beast. Even tessering to the dark planet of Camazotz where IT is holding Meg’s father prisoner would be a thrilling adventure!