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Books and the Beach

If you’ve ever read this blog or met me in person, you know two things to be true:

1) I love independent bookstores

2) I love the beach

So combining the two is my dream, right?

Last week it came true: I drove down the East Coast to lovely Bethany Beach for a visit to its fabulous independent bookstore, Bethany Beach Books. On a somewhat chilly (for June) night, I got to meet its beach readers and chat with the friendly staff. It’s really a delightful shop, with an amazing lineup of author events, so if you’re ever in coastal Delaware, you must stop in.

The bookstore!

Ready to chat and sign–and give out historical candy, of course.

The beach and boardwalk

Look at the amazing collection of books for upcoming author events!

My next adventure will be at the Amelia Earhart festival in Atchison, Kansas, on July 21. Can’t wait!

Grand Adventure in the State Journal

 
 
I had a chance to chat with Jeanne Kolker at the Wisconsin State Journal last week about The Last Grand Adventure and Amelia Earhart. It’s always a treat to see my book in my hometown paper! You can read the full article (and find out more Madison book news) here.

ADVENTURE on the road

A picture is worth a thousand words–but unfortunately, I was having so much fun sharing The Last Grand Adventure with readers that I barely took any (other than of books) during my events!

If you missed the AASL webinar I did with school librarian extraordinaire Eileen Makoff and dynamite authors Sara Holbrook and Jo Hackl, you can still listen to it here, on the AASL website: Author Ideas on Integrating Fiction into the Middle-Grade and Middle-School Curriculum.

I had a great time with author friends Michelle Schusterman and Kirsten Hubbard (aka Fox & Coats) at the Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY–their new series Secrets of Topsea is sweet and zany and so creative.

Later that weekend, I headed down to DC to the awesome Arlington indie One More Page, where Lauren Magaziner, Jonathan Roth, and I had a fun panel:

Lauren also spotted Audrey hanging out at the Amazon bookstore in DC:

The following weekend was nErDcampNJ, which was full of engaging and inspiring talks and workshops. It’s also a super fun chance to meet up with other kidlit authors in real life:

I’m back at home now, working on a new project and resting up for some of the events I have planned this summer–hope to see you there!

Books of Wonder MG panel: May 19

Bethany Beach Books: June 11

Amelia Earhart Festival: July 21

(For more info and updates, check the Events page of my site.)

Launching The Last Grand Adventure

Time flies when you’re having fun, and when you’re launching a new book. I can’t believe The Last Grand Adventure has already been out for three weeks! It’s been a lot of fun traveling around and talking about Bea and Pidge and Amelia’s adventures. Here’s where I’ve been so far:

I got to share The Last Grand Adventure a little early with readers at Barnes & Noble Neshaminy in Bensalem, PA. Lauren Magaziner, Tae Keller, Jessica Lawson, and I had a lot of fun answering questions and tackling truth-or-dares.

 

On Saturday, March 24, I officially launched The Last Grand Adventure with the help of the fantastic Claire Legrand, at Books of Wonder’s new Uptown store. We had a great talk about writing quietly adventurous MG characters and our own travel experiences. And I turned my book into Rice Krispie treats, because of course.

Airplane dress!

I wonder why we were laughing so hard?

Next I hopped a plane home to Madison, WI, where I met some fantastic young readers at EAGLE School and Thoreau Elementary, my alma mater.

Then celebrated the book’s release with a reading at my hometown indie, Mystery to Me. I forgot to take any pictures at this event other than this “After” one of my book cake. It was the most delicious map I have ever eaten.

You can check out my Instagram for some photos and reposts of Bea and Pidge in the wild. And if you’d still like a chance to have a book signed or meet me in person, I’ll be at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont as well as One More Page in Arlington, VA, this weekend. Check out my Events page for all the details!

 

Adventure around the Web

I’ve been busy talking up Bea and Pidge’s grand adventure with fellow book lovers and Amelia enthusiasts online. Here are a few interviews to check out if you’d like to know more about the story and why I wrote it:

Episode 34 of the “Chasing Earhart” Podcast

Interview with MG Book Village

Interview and Fun Facts with YAYOMG!

Straight from the Source: A conversation with Caroline Starr Rose

And here are a few reviews from early and speedy readers! 

“Rebecca Behrens writes a touching and heartwarming story chronicling Bea and Pidge’s journey to not only find “Meelie” but also find themselves.”Beagles and Books

The Loud Library Lady

“This is just one of those stories that I did not want to end.  The messages it delivers will fill readers with hope – hope for family, believing in the impossible, and finding our true adventurous spirit.  The story and characters will stay with readers long after the book is done.”Zone 114: The Next Chapter

The Last Grand Adventure transports family drama into an interesting and vibrant time period and shows us that while fashions, types of travel, and acceptable breakfasts (sugar sandwiches!) have changed over the last 50 years, family ties have not.” –Ms. Yingling, YA Books Central

Thanks for reading!

THE LAST GRAND ADVENTURE begins!

The Last Grand Adventure is on shelves today–hip hip hooray!

I have fond memories of the trips I took as a kid and teen, so it surprised me when, a few years ago, I unearthed my childhood travel journal and found it full of worries. From ghosts in New Orleans to grizzlies in Denali National Park, to spiders in New Mexico and seaweed on Coronado Beach. Yes, I was even afraid of seaweed.

Like me, Bea (the protagonist of The Last Grand Adventure) is more of a natural worrier than a natural adventurer. As she heads off on a planes-trains-and-automobiles journey with her strong-willed and eccentric grandmother, Pidge, Bea is constantly faced with the dilemma of whether or not to yield to her fears. Of course, there’s a pretty tantalizing reason for them to keep going, all the way to Atchison, Kansas: the promise of finding Pidge’s long-lost sister, Amelia Earhart.

Travel opened my eyes to the world beyond my quiet neighborhood, showing me about people and places different than those I had known. As Bea’s journey takes her far across the country, she also experiences that feeling of discovery. The best souvenir, though, is the unexpected bravery she finds inside herself.

At its heart, this story is about the power of both an open mind and an open road. I hope readers will enjoy riding along on Bea and Pidge’s adventure.

Thanks to everyone who helped get this book into the world, especially: my agent, Suzie Townsend, and her assistants, Sara Stricker and Cassandra Baim; and my editors, Alyson Heller and Tricia Lin, publicist, Samantha Benson, and the whole team at Aladdin.

If you’d like a signed copy of Adventure and you can’t make one of my events, you can order one from Books of Wonder–or send me an email, and I’ll pop a personalized bookplate for you in the mail.

Bon voyage!

 

 

In Case of Emergency

So you might have seen some news in Publishers Weekly:

This is why I’ve been neglecting my blog so far in 2018–I wrote another MG novel! In Case of Emergency will be in bookstores in Fall 2019. This book is a little different than the three I’ve published–it’s not a historical story. But it is a bit of an adventure, and one packed full of research (this infamous article in particular was inspiration), a fascinating setting, and kids with lots of moxie. Growing up, my favorite types of books to read were historical fiction and survival stories, like Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain. Plus The Baby-Sitters Club–which sometimes turned into survival stories (remember the super specials?). In fact, I initially pitched this idea to my agent as “Hatchet meets The Baby-Sitters Club“! I had a lot of fun writing this book, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I’m excited to work with the fantastic team at Sourcebooks again, too! Many thanks to Annie Berger for giving this book a home, to Suzie Townsend for being such a great advocate for my writing, to Cassandra Baim for all her help and encouragement–and especially to readers, who keep us all going.

The Last Grand Adventure news & events!

It’s been a busy couple of months–more on that soon! But I’m belatedly excited to share a few more snippets from trade reviews for The Last Grand Adventure:

“Informed by history, Behrens’s narrative treasures family relationships and celebrates courage.” Booklist

“Normally unadventurous twelve-year-old Bea (“I left my adventure journal empty and my worry journal full”) is a sympathetic narrator as she frets about her place in her newly blended family and her grandmother’s wavering memory. The tantalizing thread of possibility about Amelia Earhart and the letters she—or somebody—has been writing to Pidge adds alluring mystery.” BCCB

Historical fiction lovers are in for a treat with this heartfelt tale of discovery and hope. . . . This story has much to love, from the touching development of Bea and Pidge’s relationship to Bea conquering her fears and discovering the appeal of adventure. . . . VERDICT An excellent purchase for readers who enjoy a strong dose of adventure and solid character development in their historical fiction.”Darla Salva Cruz, School Library Journal

I’m blushing, SLJ! It’s always a great feeling when a reviewer seems to really get the story you were trying to tell. I’m grateful to these reviewers for their thoughtful and insightful reviews.

The Last Grand Adventure will be out next week, and it’s only fitting that I hit the road to share Bea and Pidge’s story with readers. Here are the places I’ll be in March and April:

More events for the summer are in the works: I’ll be at Bethany Beach Bookstore in June and I’m thrilled to share that I’ll be at the Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison, Kansas, this July! I’ll keep the Events page of my site updated with all the details. 

Pre-order giveaway for THE LAST GRAND ADVENTURE

The Last Grand Adventure will be out in a month, and I can’t wait!

But did you know that you can buy a copy today? Pre-ordering books is a great way to support both authors and booksellers. Author Lisa Schroeder tells all the reasons why in this helpful post, but in short:
–Pre-orders can help a bookstore decide whether to stock a book
–Pre-orders can help the author get more marketing support from a publisher
–Pre-orders can help a publisher decide whether to sign up more books from an author

Basically, readers who pre-order books are helping out all the people who make and sell books! As a thank-you, everyone who pre-orders a copy will receive The Last Grand Adventure swag:

–a signed and personalized bookplate
–stickers featuring both the beautiful cover art and the adventure map
–a bookmark
–a super shiny postcard
–bonus pieces of When Audrey Met Alice and Summer of Lost and Found swag 
How to pre-order and get your swag:

1. Order The Last Grand Adventure from the retailer of your choice. Here are links to major retailers:

If you’d like to purchase from your local indie, that is extra great! Just ask a friendly bookseller to order you a copy. In case you need it, the book’s ISBN is: 9781481496926.

2. Email me before March 20, 2018 with the following info: Name, mailing address, instructions on how to personalize your bookplate, and proof-of-purchase (e.g., screenshot of an order confirmation or receipt, or forward the order in your email). Feel free to delete or blur any personal info, but I promise I will not use or save any info you send me.

Also let me know if you’d like to be added to my mailing list. I send out a newsletter about 4 times a year, and I will never share your email.

3. That’s it! I will email you to confirm once I’ve put your pre-order swag in the mail.

Thank you for your support, and happy reading!

2017 in Books

Every year, I keep a reading log in my planner–and on Goodreads, mainly because that way I can easily collect images of the covers and get a tabulation of my pages read (and other fun stats) at the end of the year, such as:

Fewer pages than in previous years, which surprised me–until I remembered that this is the first year I haven’t had a commute in a long time. Public transportation is a great opportunity to read a book! Here are the titles that I enjoyed in 2017:

(Look at those covers. Can you tell that I’m drawn to stories that involve the sea?)

By my count, 30 adult fiction titles, 17 MG, 4 YA, and 7 nonfiction–I traded some YA for nonfiction apparently. 

In 2018, I’m going to try to stay away from reading goals and challenges–other than to make sure I’m reading books by and about people whose life experiences are different than mine and that I’m supporting authors from marginalized communities. So I guess you could say my goal for the new reading year is to focus on the books and the pleasure of time spent reading. 🙂