Middle Grade Madness | Back to School Bookshelf Tour (Interview + #Giveaway)

Middle Grade Madness | Back to School Bookshelf Tour (Interview + #Giveaway)


Middle Grade Madness will be a new feature here at Lilybloombooks, that showcases Middle Grade books! Reviews, Interviews, Guest posts and Giveaways.

Join the Madness!


I’m excited to share a stop on the Back to School Bookshelf Tour! All authors have middle-grade books publishing in August and September!

For today’s post, we went with a Round Robin, where one question is asked to one author and it continues down the line. I started off with Kathleen, author of The Last Cherry Blossom! But before we get to that, here’s more about their books!

The Books


The Last Cherry Blossom
by Kathleen Burkinshaw

Amazon || Goodreads

Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

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.



I Am Drums

by Mike Grosso

Amazon || Goodreads

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?


Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
by Jennie K. Brown

Amazon || Goodreads

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.


Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production
by Sarah S. Reida

Amazon || Goodreads

Thirteen-year-old film-obsessed Lissa discovers a shape-shifting monster in her woods and decides to film the greatest horror movie of all time…until her little sister is kidnapped to the monster homeland of Down Below and she needs her star’s help to rescue her.

Hi Kathleen! Thanks for coming on the blog today!

Thanks so much for having us 🙂

Tell me about your inspiration behind writing THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM, and what you hope readers will take from it?

I had always felt my mother’s story needed to be told. But the catalyst was when my daughter came home from school and told me that the class would be covering the end of WWII. She overheard some students say they couldn’t wait to see the mushroom cloud pictures. She asked me to tell the story of the people under those clouds, like her Grandma. I felt that to truly express what my mom lost that day, readers would need to know about who and what was important in her life. My hope is what my mom wished, that nuclear weapons will never be used again.

Kathleen’s question for Mike Grosso:

Do you hope that by having I AM DRUMS read in schools that it would be a catalyst to fight to keep music programs in school-Was this an issue when you were in middle school?

I’d like to hope so. Unfortunately, the people who decide whether or not to slash a music or arts program are rarely the ones working directly with kids. They don’t have to look band kids in the eyes when they make cuts. I’m thankful that my local school district was mostly supportive of music and art programs when I was growing up, but I still see music teachers holding on to their jobs for dear life every time there’s a referendum. I hope I AM DRUMS at least makes the case that our kids did not cause our country’s financial woes. We did, and we need to consider that before balancing budgets on the backs of young artists.

Mike’s question to Jennie K Brown:

The characters in your book all have powers that relate to a day of the week. What day and accompanying power would you pick for yourself, and why?

I love this question, Mike! I would have to say a teleporting Tuesday. I just like the idea of being one place one moment, and then with the snap of a finger being in another entirely different place. There are many times when I’d like to immediately be transported to a beach with a good book in hand!

Jennie question to Sarah Schauerte:

I love all things monsters and ghosts, and you clearly were inspired to write Monsterville. So, when you were a child, did you have any encounters with ghosts and/or monsters?

Ooh, how cool would that be? (Or how fortunate – I’ve seen/read King’s It! Yikes). I can’t say there’s a childhood experience where I thought I was in the presence of a monster or a ghost, but I think that made them more fascinating. When something’s completely unknown, your imagination runs away with you! This meant that during every camping trip, and every tent adventure in our six-acre backyard, I was telling/hearing ghost stories, the scarier the better because it was all just fun. And it helped me read every single R.L. Stine book without flinching.
I think Halloween’s been the bigger inspiration. Growing up in a rural area, I always felt cheated that there was no point to decorating our house. I made up for that when I got married – we had a Halloween-themed wedding where each table was themed (Pennywise the Clown, zombie, haunted forest, spider. . .), and we gave out scary books as party favors. And now we’re set on Halloween decorations for life!

Thanks to all the authors participating in the Round Robin!! Be sure to add their books to your TBR ASAP! And wait! Before you go, enter the amazing prize pack giveaway!


Click here to enter!

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18 thoughts on “Middle Grade Madness | Back to School Bookshelf Tour (Interview + #Giveaway)

  1. Penny Olson

    I love YA fantasy, sci-fi and dystopian books for myself. I’m looking forward to reading some early chapter books with my daughter.

  2. Andi

    Middle Grade books always remind of of days when I would get the Scholastic order form. My mom would groan and I would be so happy. These definitely would have been on my ‘to buy’ list. Okay, my mom’s to buy for me list. 🙂

  3. Nereyda Gonzalez

    My daughter is really getting into MG so thanks for this post since I have no clue about MG. Bookmarking these. I couldn’t load the giveaway 🙁

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

  4. Middle Grade Madness | Second Stop / Back to School Bookshelf Tour

    […] to School Bookshelf Tour! Check out the first post for another interview (and their books too!!) by visiting this tour page. Remember, all authors have middle-grade books publishing in August and […]

  5. Lily M.

    I have so much YA Fantasy to read, I also want to catch up with my Netgalley books, I’m so behind. Thank you so much for this opportunity 😊😊

  6. Carolyn Menke

    I am so excited about all of the books featured here ! Just finished HOWARD WALLACE, PI, which is fantastic and next up is MONSTERVILLE !

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