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News & Upcoming Events

I have a few fun events coming up:

I’ll be at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival on September 24. Over sixty fantastic authors will be there–it should be a very delightful day.

And the next day, Sunday, September 25, I’ll be doing a panel at the Neshaminy Falls Barnes & Noble in Bensalem, PA. Author friends Lauren Magaziner and Erin Entrada Kelly and I will be talking about middle grade–come say hi!

More info about those events and others is available on my Events page.

Also, I heard the good news recently that Summer of Lost and Found went into a second printing over the summer. Hooray! Thanks to all the readers who have joined Nell, Ambrose, and Lila (and Sir Walter Raleigh) on their adventures.

And for my next book adventure: I found out The Last Grand Adventure is tentatively set to release in March 2018. I can’t wait for Bea and Pidge to be out in the world–but I do need the next few months to edit their story. :)

End-of-Summer Adventures

Today it doesn’t feel like summer is over–it’s sunny, 87 degrees, and super humid. (Although, if you go by the calendar, we do have a couple of weeks left of the season.) But some of the leaves are starting to crisp, and kids and teachers are back in school. Believe it or not, even as a slightly fanatical summer-lover I’m glad. Fall is the time for fresh starts, and I’m ready to tackle The Last Grand Adventure edits with fresh eyes. I have a nightstand full of books to help me research a new project, too.

But I will miss my favorite time of year, especially:

Outdoor movies! I saw INSIDE OUT in the park, and it was delightful.

Outdoor movies! I saw INSIDE OUT in the park, and it was delightful.

Fire Island sunsets. The hazier and moodier, the better.

Fire Island sunsets. The hazier and moodier, the better.

Lake life in my hometown, Madison, WI.

Lake life in my hometown, Madison, WI.

In the middle of all my summer adventures, I managed to read eighteen books. I love summer reading–I try to make it all about discovery and pleasure, making sure that the books I pick from May-September I pulled from the shelf purely because of fun and curiosity. That makes reading a vacation itself. I look forward to this kind of reading all year–in fact, I’ve already started my book list for next year.

What adventures did you have this summer, on and off the page?

MG Palooza at The Voracious Reader

Last Thursday, author-friends Tara Dairman (the All Four Stars series), Lauren Magaziner (The Only Thing Worse Than Witches and Pilfer Academy), Michelle Schusterman (the I Heart Band and Kat Sinclair series) and I had a great time meeting readers at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY. The delightful bookstore is only 30 minutes north of Grand Central, in a charming suburb. There’s an ice-cream shop on the same block. Does it get any better than that?

We each did a brief reading from our latest books, and then opened up for questions. The enthusiastic readers and writers had some great ones for us, and it was so much fun to spend the evening with them. This was our second “palooza” at The Voracious Reader–we were all there in 2014 when our first books came out–and we can’t wait to go back.

The ad Michelle and I stumbled on in a neighboring Starbucks, which got us even more excited about the event.

The ad Michelle and I stumbled on in a neighboring Starbucks, which got us even more excited about the event.

Our beautiful books on display

Our beautiful books on display

Authors in their happy place :)

Authors in their happy place :)

The wonderful readers who came out to see us!

The wonderful readers who came out to see us!


MG fun at One More Page

Last Thursday, author-friends Tara Dairman (the All Four Stars series) and Jen Swann Downey (The Ninja Librarians series) and I had a great time meeting readers at One More Page in Arlington, VA. I love that bookstore–not only does it have a wonderful selection of books–with lots of notes from the booksellers to help you pick the perfect read–but it also sells delicious chocolate and wine. Basically, it’s my happy place.

Jen had the great idea to do a different spin on a reading: a “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me–Bluff the Listener”-style game. We all read three short passages from our latest books, but only one of the three passages was really in our books. The other two? Carefully crafted fakes. A volunteer from the audience guessed which was the real selection–and won a bag of delicious donuts from Jen’s store (Carpe Donut in Charlottesville).

The enthusiastic readers and writers and educators had great questions for us, and it was so much fun to spend the evening with them.


Tara Rebecca Jen Kicking off Bluff the Listener

Tara Rebecca and Jen Signing books July

Tara Rebecca and Jen July 2016

My Summer Island

The earliest drafts of Summer of Lost and Found had the book start with Nell anticipating summer fun on a New York barrier island–but those Fire Island sections were cut because “killing your darlings” is a task us authors really have to do. Can you blame me for wanting to sneak a few darlings about my favorite summer place into the book, though? Fire Island is just an hour and change from Manhattan, but a world away. No cars, no chain stores, no tall buildings: just a necklace of friendly communities strung along miles of white sand. I was lucky enough to spend some time on the island earlier this month.

Fire Island architecture

Fire Island architecture

Welcome to the Atlantic

Welcome to the Atlantic

The iconic lighthouse

The iconic lighthouse

Stunning sunset

Stunning sunset

All winter I dream about being back on the beach, where I can dig my toes in the sand while digging into a good book.

What’s your favorite place to read when the days are long and hot?



Summer of Lost and Found is out in the world, so I’ve started catching up on some of my favorite summer activities. Like chasing the ice cream truck. They’re not hard to chase in NYC because Mister Softee is ubiquitous, but an old-fashioned Good Humor truck is harder to find.


And sneaking out to the country, where I can read and write in a backyard cottage. Tiny house = big word count. Who knew?


In other news, I signed the contracts for The Last Grand Adventure; hooray! I’m excited to dig into this story.



Coming up in July: I have two bookstore panels scheduled. On July 21, I’ll be in Arlington, VA, at One More Page with author friends Tara Dairman and Jen Swann Downey. Then on July 28, I’ll be in Larchmont, NY, at The Voracious Reader with a bunch of fantastic MG authors: Tara Dairman, Laura Marx Fitzgerald, Lauren Magaziner, and Michelle Schusterman. Check out my Events page for updated info.

Happy summer!



Celebrating SUMMER at Mystery to Me

I grew up visiting a wonderful children’s bookstore, Pooh Corner, in my hometown, Madison, WI. So I was delighted a few years ago when a new independent bookstore, Mystery to Me, opened on the same block where Pooh Corner once had a home. I try to stop by every time I’m back in town, and last week I got to launch Summer of Lost and Found there. (I wonder if kid-me would believe that adult-me was back on Monroe Street as an author!)

It was so much fun to meet up with family, old friends, former teachers and librarians, and new readers to talk about writing the book–and to sample some scuppernong grape juice and Duck Donuts. Here are a few pictures:


“Event Today” signs make me happy :)

What would a book party be without snacks?

It was a great crowd--so many good questions.

It was a great crowd–so many thoughtful questions.

Signing a book for children's librarian (and friend) Nancy!

Signing a book for children’s librarian (and friend) Nancy!

Probably double-checking the spelling of a name--I've learned that lesson!

Probably double-checking the spelling of a name–I’ve learned that lesson!

Thanks to Joanne Berg and the staff for having me! It was a fantastic day.


WI State Journal interview

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to chat with Jeanne Kolker of the Wisconsin State Journal about Summer of Lost and Found and my career as an author. I grew up reading the State Journal–starting with the funny pages and eventually cover-to-cover–so it’s pretty exciting to have a chance to talk about my work in its pages! You can read the full interview online here: “Behrens digs into 16th-century mystery in new book for young readers.” Thanks for a great conversation, Jeanne!

And I’ll be in Madison for an event at Mystery to Me this weekend–Saturday at 1:00 p.m. There will be Duck Donuts, scuppernong juice, and plenty of bookmarks and stickers for young readers to take home. Stop by and say hi!



SUMMER’s launch at Books of Wonder

I had a fabulous time celebrating Summer of Lost and Found at Books of Wonder on Tuesday night. Here are some pictures of the festivities:


It’s always exciting to get to the store and see your cover on the “Event Today!” sign.



Snacks! Real scuppernong juice from Roanoke Island, custom-printed fancy Rice Krispy treats, chocolate artifacts, and more.



With the wonderful Kim Liggett



Books of Wonder has an incredible collection of kidlit art



The crowd while I read one of my favorite passages


Theories attendees submitted about what really happened to the Lost Colonists



Signing time!



With author friend Alison Cherry



Still signing!


Taking a bite out of my main character :)

If you missed it–you can still purchase a signed copy from Books of Wonder. And I’ll be in Madison, WI, on June 11 for another launch event at Mystery to Me!



On Saturday, May 21, I got to join a bunch of amazing kidlit authors on Long Island for the inaugural #Kidlitpalooza. And it was a blast.


We started out by introducing our books to the fantastic group of kids, parents, and educators, then split off into two breakout sessions. I was part of the Book Love group with Sarah Darer Littman (also an Aladdin author with a new book out in September!) and Kat Yeh (author of The Truth About Twinkie Pie). We had a great time talking about the books we love and how they can help us create great stories of our own. The kids in our sessions were so talented!


The closing ceremonies featured Gae Polisner‘s super fun 60-second reads: one of the first 60 seconds of our titles, and one of our favorite 60 seconds. I almost made it through my favorite 60 seconds, but I got dinged out by the bell with one sentence left. I’ll keep practicing!


It was a really fun day of learning and book love. If you want the full story–check out Two Writing Teachers’ blog for a Live from #Kidlitpalooza post.