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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.

SUMMER is here!

SUMMER_map_StickerFINALSummer of Lost and Found is on shelves today! Hip hip hooray!

I hope readers will have as much fun discovering the past and present Roanoke Island as I did while writing it. Thanks to everyone who helped get this book into the world, especially: my agent, Suzie Townsend, and her assistant Sara Stricker; and my editor, Alyson Heller, publicist, Faye Bi, and the whole team at Aladdin.

If you’d like a signed copy of Summer 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.

If you’d like to read a little more about the book and my experiences writing it, here are some interviews, reviews, and guest posts to check out:

A conversation with author Caroline Starr Rose

An interview with author Nikki Loftin

An interview in the InkSplat newsletter

A review from Bookshelf Fantasies

A review from Word Spelunking

Interview with YA Reads

Interview with Pop! Goes the Reader

And last but not least–it’s time to announce the winner of the pre-order giveaway! Annette Burns won the beautiful bag of blurber books and school/library donation. Thanks to all who entered.

Happy Reading!



The Last Grand Adventure

So you might have seen some news in Publishers Weekly this afternoon:




That’s right–I wrote another MG book! The Last Grand Adventure will be in bookstores sometime between January-April 2018. Like When Audrey Met Alice, I created a character based on a real, fascinating woman (in this case, Amelia Earhart, whom I’ve been obsessed with since childhood) and like Summer of Lost and Found, my MG protagonist unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a history mystery. But for the first time, the whole book is historical fiction. It’s an adventure-ful road trip, a love letter to sisters, and a celebration of spunky grandmas. I loved writing this story, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I’m thrilled to keep working with Alyson Heller and the Aladdin/Simon & Schuster team again, too! Many thanks to them for giving my books a home, to Suzie Townsend for being such a great advocate for my writing, to Sara Stricker for all her help and encouragement–and especially to readers, who keep us all going!


Pre-order Giveaway for SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND

Summer of Lost and Found will be out in six weeks, 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 to those who pre-order Summer of Lost and Found, I’m doing a giveaway.


Everyone who pre-orders a copy will receive Summer of Lost and Found swag:
–a signed and personalized bookplate
–stickers featuring both the beautiful cover art and the Roanoke map
–a bookmark
–a super shiny postcard
–a bonus piece of When Audrey Met Alice swag

But I know that some readers will get Summer of Lost and Found from the library (I love libraries!) or a friend (sharing books is the best!). I want to thank them, too, so one randomly selected reader* will receive a special prize:

-A beautiful bookish tote bag designed by Jen at Pop Goes the Reader, filled with books from the authors who blurbed Summer of Lost and Found, including: Blue Birds and May B. by Caroline Starr Rose and My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson.
-A free Skype author visit with the school or library of your choice, along with five signed hardcover copies of Summer sent to that school/library.

*Just to be super clear: This raffle is not limited to those who pre-order. No purchase is necessary, and anyone in the US or Canada can enter. If you are pre-ordering, I will enter your name when I send your swag. If you’re not pre-ordering, use the contact form at the end of this post to enter the raffle.

How to pre-order and get your thank-you swag:

1. Before 11:59 p.m. EST on May 23, order Summer of Lost and Found 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: 9781481458962.

2. Email me 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 don’t currently have a newsletter, but I might start one!

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!


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