This is the blog of children's book author and elementary school teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Monday, July 31, 2017

#IMWAYR July 31, 2017

Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

Summer is half over and I'm feeling pretty accomplished. Those of you who read my blog know that I'm starting a new position in the fall, teaching 2 - 5th grade advanced learners ELA. During this past week I planned the first 15 days of third grade and I'm almost done organizing the first 15 days of 4th. I joined a new Facebook group called Passionate Readers Book Club and they've helped me out with some great recommendations to enrich my plans. My work has also guided some of my summer reading, as you will see below.

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade

The Secret Garden was the recommended class novel for my new 4th grade curriculum. Since it's been years since I read it, I revisited it this week. You can never be sure what you will think when you go back and read a childhood favorite. This book didn't disappoint. I loved the overall message that positive thinking and kindness contain magic. I did find the language difficult to follow at times so I have decided to use it as a read aloud and have my students read other books where the character goes through dramatic character change. In the book the main character, Mary, starts off contrary, disagreeable, and selfish and learns to be thoughtful, kind, and caring. If you have other recommendations of characters who go through significant internal change, please let me know. Some books I have so far are Fish in a Tree, Because of Winn Dixie, Restart, Pilfer AcademyEsperanza Rising, and Ghost.

Harry Potter fans will enjoy this series about a boy named Max who didn't know he had magical powers until he finds himself in a secret room of an art museum with a tapestry that comes to life. As soon as he arrives home he receives his invitation to go to Rowan Academy, a school for magical people. While it is hard to describe this book in a way that doesn't sound like Harry Potter, this book has enough differences that it will feel new.

Florian Bates has moved so many times that he developed a way to learn about people quickly. He calls it TOAST, the Theory Of All Small Things. By looking at small details instead of the big picture, he is able to learn information very quickly. So quickly in fact that along with his new best friend Margaret, he is able to solve crimes faster than the FBI, which is why they put him on their payroll. I loved this book and need to find a way to add it as a read aloud at some point. All of my students should be practicing TOAST.

Young Adult

This may be my favorite of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter Books, and that's saying a lot because I love this series. What I find remarkable is that among the shadowhunters, demons, faeries, vampires, action, adventure, etc, there are also serious issues addressed such as prejudice, racism, and LGBTQ acceptance. I am looking forward to the next one.


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below and stop by the blog on Thursday for a new author interview. This week I'll be talking with Holly McGhee. 

It's Monday, what are you reading? 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Interview with #MG and #YA Author Shari Green

It’s Thursday so it is time for another author interview! Today I talk with Shari Green. Shari writes middle grade and young adult fiction. She's in love with stories and the sea, and can often be found curled up with a good book and a cup of tea, or wandering the beaches near her home on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. In her non-writing life, Shari works as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She's married to her high school sweetheart and has four children. 

When did you decide to become an author?
I first wrote novel-length fiction during NaMoWriMo 2005. I'd dabbled in writing non-fiction for many years, but once I finished a first draft of my first novel during that crazy November challenge, I was hooked. 

Tell us about your journey. How did you get your first book published?
My first book was a YA novel called Following Chelsea. It was my third completed manuscript. After revising based on feedback from critique partners, I researched agents and started querying. I signed with an agent and worked with her on more (and more!) revisions. However, we parted ways before going on submission, so I ended up subbing the manuscript myself to Evernight Teen. I was thrilled when they offered! Following Chelsea was published as an e-book in 2014.

Was there ever a point when you felt like giving up?
There were times when I was seriously discouraged and when I wondered if all the work and trying and rejection was worth it. I still get discouraged some days. It can be a difficult journey, for sure! But I've never wanted to give up.

Is there anything about being a published author that has surprised you?
I think I had fairly realistic expectations -- perhaps a perk of taking a long while to break in to publishing, and of having many writer-friends! But maybe I was struck a bit with the truth of "it doesn't get easier" -- there are still days when everything I write is garbage, when my work is rejected, when I wrestle with doubts or imposter syndrome. And yet, I appreciate the journey I'm on. I know I'm lucky to have my books out in the world, and I'm so grateful to have the support of friends, family, fellow writers, and especially readers. 

Any advice you would give to a writer just starting out?
Read widely. Find your tribe (other writers who "get it", who can offer honest but kind feedback on your work, and who can be part of a mutual support and encouragement team). And don't lose sight of the joy -- remember what you love about writing, so when the publishing journey is hard, it won't overwhelm you. 

Is there anything else about you or your books you would like to tell us?
My most recent books are both middle grade novels in verse -- ROOT BEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES came out in 2016, and MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS in 2017. I hadn't planned to write in verse when I began working on RBCAOM, nor had I planned on the story being middle grade, but that's how it came out, and it felt like the most true-to-me writing I'd ever done. I learned from that experience the importance of both trusting my gut and following my heart (which is advice I probably should've included above!). 

Thank you so much, Stacy! 

Thank you, Shari!

For more about Shari Green and her books visit her online at her website and on twitter. Don't forget to leave a comment below and check back next week for a new author interview.

Monday, July 24, 2017

#IMWAYR July 24, 2017

Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's hard to believe half of my summer vacation is over. We visited my son at sleep away camp yesterday and my daughter leaves for her month at camp tomorrow. I'm sad to see her go but she can't wait to see her friends and I'm looking forward to the time it will give me for learning new curriculum for the upcoming school year and having more time for reading and writing. 

Here's what I read this week:

Graphic Novel

A note: I still meet adults who turn their noses up when they hear about a popular graphic novels or when they see kids choosing graphic novels exclusively. Before discounting this book format, I would urge adults to read them. While some are just cute and fun, more are complex, thoughtful stories. That is true of the two I read this week.

I picked up this ARC at Book Expo America and it was immediately the most popular book on my shelves since many had read Sunny Side Up. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I loved the book for its cultural references. Among old tv shows is a family drama as Sunny has to find a way to cope with change when her older brother is sent to military school. Sunny misses him and wants him home, but his anger towards his parents makes his time at home disappointing. Fortunately Sunny has some good friends and Gramps to help her through this difficult time. The book comes out in September.

I was expecting this story to be funny or silly since it's about a girl whose parents work at Renaissance Faire and wants to be a squire. But when Imogene also decides to leave home schooling and go to a public middle school, the book becomes very serious. Learning to fit in at Imogene's middle school is no easy task and Imogene quickly starts to change herself to be accepted by her peers. The book takes on family relationships, friendship, bullies, and self-discovery. It also brings up crushes and thoughts about relationships, so I would recommend it for a more mature middle reader. This book also comes out in September.

Young Adult

High-fantasy lovers will enjoy The Bone Witch. When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from his grave, she becomes one of the most feared and revered people in the kingdom. She must immediately leave her family and be trained for her new position, a training that is difficult physically and mentally as Tea needs to navigate a completely new world of social  and political challenge. Told in flashbacks, the only thing I disliked about The Bone Witch is you never find out the reason that Tea has been exiled and is raising an army. That will hopefully come in book 2.


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Interview with #YA author Carrie Ann DiRisio

Today I talk with Carrie Ann DiRisio. Carrie Ann is a YA writer and creator of @BroodingYAHero. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with one large fluffy cat, and is currently pursuing her masters in Digital Marketing, although her true dream is to become a Disney Villainess, complete with a really snazzy gown. In addition to writing and plans for world domination, she also enjoys running, coffee, Krav Maga, and knitting. I met Carrie Ann at the New England SCBWI conference last April. 

Your book, Brooding YA Hero, started as a twitter account. What motivated you to start @broodingyahero?
I mainly started it to make my friends laugh. I had no idea it would be so popular!

Before you started @broodingyahero, did you know that you wanted to become an author?
Absolutely! I've been writing since I was in first grade. My first story focused on me and Han Solo celebrating Christmas together. As he's pretty much the broodiest smuggler in the galaxy, I'm proud to say I've always been on brand.

How did a twitter account become a book?
Through magic and luck and lots of hard work. ;)  In more boring terms, I wrote the book, sent it to my awesome agent, and we shopped it to publishers. Then I ate a lot of Nutella as I waited to hear back. I was really lucky to have an amazing editor, Alison Weiss, who helped me shape the Broody character into the protagonist of his own novel.

Tell us about the book. 
in it, you'll get to know Broody, the archetype character behind all those tweets.  as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a "self-help" guide (with activities like mazes and word searches) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love. His book is going pretty well, until his evil ex, Blondie DeMeani shows up!

You were introduced to me as a social media expert. What is one piece of advice about social media that you would give a writer who is just starting out? 
To not get overwhelmed by social media! Twitter is fun, but it's no replacement for working hard on your writing craft. Consider it a water cooler where you can take a break, not a place to live. Also, follow @broodingYAhero ;) I kid!

Is there anything else about you or your books you would like to tell us?
It's illustrated by the amazing Linnea Gear (linneart.tumblr.com)

Thanks so much for the interview. To learn more about Carrie Ann and her books, visit her online:

I hope you enjoyed this interview. My hope is to have an interview with a different author or illustrator every Thursday from now until the end of the summer. If you are an author or illustrator who would like to be interviewed, please contact me using my contact page. Please leave a comment below to let us know that you visited and read Carrie Ann's interview today.

Monday, July 17, 2017

#IMWAYR July 17, 2017

Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! 

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade

Three kids from three different locations and time periods are forced to leave their homes. They each seek a better life but the journey to find that life is full of perils that no kids in any time period, from any background, should have to endure. I picked up an advance reader copy of this book at Book Expo. It releases next week.

This book has been on my TBR list for a while and I was so glad to finally read it. Crow has grown up on an island in Massachusetts with her caregiver Osh and his friend Miss Maggie. She arrived as a baby on a small boat and Osh adopted her as his own, but twelve-year-old Crow knows there is more to her story and her past and when a she sees a man on another island light a fire, she knows it is time to get some answers. That journey will take her to buried treasure and more questions. This book is about family relationships and self-discovery. I hope there is a part two.

Emmiline has the gift of being able to weave shadows into any form. But her gift scares people, including her parents. When her parents decide to force her to give up her gift by sending her away, Emmiline decides to leave. With only her shadow Dar for a friend, Emmiline thinks she will always be alone. When she meets a boy who has the gift of light whose family is more than willing to hide her, Emmiline needs to decide who to trust, her shadow who has always been there for her, or her new friend and family.

Young Adult

When Mia Corvere sees her father killed as a traitor and her mother and baby brother arrested, she barely escapes with her life. But the god of death claims her for another purpose, allowing Mia to use shadows as tools of destruction. The shadows lead her to a retired killer and a very different future. Now sixteen, Mia is competing to join a group of assassins. Once a member she will finally be able to take her vengeance on those who killed her family - if she lives that long.

I read this book when it first came out but had to read it again as I was bing watching the series on Netflix. The book focuses on a boy named Clay who has received audio tapes from a girl named Hannah who recently committed suicide. In the tapes, she explains the role thirteen people had in her death. The series takes this a step further. Through flashbacks of the events narrated by Hannah, as well as scenes from the present when the high schoolers responsible deal with the realizations the tapes share, the series puts faces and voices to the book, making it so much more real. Some schools have warned parents to have their teens avoid this book and series. I disagree. The series may be hard to watch but it brings up important issues that need to be discussed for the protection of our teens and those who spend time with them. 


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?

Monday, July 10, 2017

#IMWAYR July 10, 2017

Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! I just got back from Seattle, which inspired one of my reads for this past week. 

Here's what I read this week:

Picture Book

I loved this creative picture book mystery based on the joke. This book is going to be a big hit with elementary schoolers.

Cute story about the origin of the rock, paper, scissors game.

Middle Grade

Kirby "Zig" Zigonski is a normal kid leading a normal life with a single working mom and a dad who is mostly out of the picture. But when his dad stops being able to send money, his mother's salary isn't enough to keep them in their home. This book will be a window book for many readers and will open many eyes. 


This historical fiction novel is considered adult, but I think it's a must read for upper middle grade readers. Henry Lee is a Chinese American man who lives in Seattle's Chinatown in 1986. When he learns that the belongings of many Japanese American families has been uncovered at the local Panama Hotel, he thinks back to his past and to a girl he knew when he was a boy living in Seattle in the 1940s. He was a scholarship kid at a private white school, which was challenging, especially since his father made him wear a large button that said, "I am Chinese." As a scholarship kid, Henry had to work in the school's cafeteria. There he met Japanese student, Keiko Okabe. Keiko lived in Seattle's Japanesetown. The two formed a friendship in spite of the distrust of Japanese people by Henry's father and the American government. When Keiko's community was forced to leave their homes because of the Japanese interment, Henry followed her until their lives moved too far apart to stay in touch. But he never forgot his first love and the findings at the Panama Hotel bring it all back. Told in flashbacks, this book is based on the real belongings found at the Panama Hotel which I was fortunate to visit during my trip to Seattle last week. Reading the book after seeing the "museum" of items left by the actual Japanese families forced to go to the interment camp made the book even more powerful. This is a piece of America's history that we all should take the time to remember.


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?