The Warwick Children’s Book Festival was a great day! This was my first(!) in-person event since the start of the pandemic–and the only in-person event I’ve done since Alone in the Woods was released last fall. It was so great to be back with a fantastic group of children’s authors and to have a chance to meet and chat with readers. Here are a few favorite pictures from the day:
I’m excited to share that the Children’s Book Award Committee of the Wisconsin Library Association’s Youth Services Section selected ten outstanding children’s and young adult books for 2021, and Alone in the Woods was one!
You can read more about the awards and the other wonderful books being honored here.
The Disaster Days releases in trade paperback today!
Now all five of my books are available in that format–my personal favorite to read, because it’s perfect to stash in a beach/pool bag, a backpack, or hold onto while you’re standing on the subway. (I’ll never forget the time I tried to read Anna Karenina in hardcover on my commute . . .)
It’s great timing, too, because I recently found out that The Disaster Days has been selected for a few state reading lists:
the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Book (Grades 3-5) for 2021-2022!
the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award list (Grades 6-9) for 2021-2022!
the 2022 Land of Enchantment Book Award!
And Alone in the Woods is on a couple of lists, too:
the 2021 Kansas National Education Association Reading Circle Recommended List!
the 2021/2022 Maine Student Book Award List
It’s really exciting to know that my stories will be on so many school and library shelves this next year.
Happy summertime, and happy reading!
Here’s a roundup of some more news and reviews for Alone in the Woods!
The book received great reviews from BCCB and the Midwest Book Review:
Behrens plays fair with both the friendship drama and the survival story, and each protagonist’s voice is astute and true to her own perspective. . . . In the northwoods or the school hallway, most readers will feel they’ve been there.”
—Elizabeth Bush, BCCB, Recommended
A deftly crafted, suspense laden, inherently entertaining, and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ novel by an author with a remarkable talent for the kind of narrative driven storytelling skills that will keep a young reader’s riveted attention from beginning to cliffhanger ending. . . . [A]n extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library . . . collections.”
—Midwest Book Review
And Alone in the Woods was featured as one of “40 New Books for Holiday Gifts in 2020” recommended by Jim Higgins of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
I’m also thrilled to share that Alone in the Woods is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and in the new year, Alone in the Woods will be a Literati Club Phoenix pick! It’s great news that the book will be finding an audience thanks to both of these fantastic curation services.
Earlier this year, my friend Caroline Starr Rose (who is the fantastic author of May B, Blue Birds, Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine, and several fascinating picture books) was kind enough to invite me onto her blog for an interview:
Check it out to hear about how being the world’s oldest living tween has helped me write authentic MG fiction, as well as my research and inspiration for the book!
I really love the book blog Pop! Goes the Reader. It’s beautifully designed and illustrated, and Jen’s coverage of MG/YA books is so inclusive, thoughtful, and creative. So I was thrilled to partner with her to discuss Alone in the Woods. Check out our conversation to learn more about the inspiration behind the book, including my love for Wisconsin wildlife, and how my personal experiences with a fractured friendship helped me write this story–along with my advice for any readers going through something similar.
And earlier this fall, Jen compiled a fantastic list of 25 MG and YA survival stories to give young readers hope. If you enjoyed Alone in the Woods and The Disaster Days, check out the list to find other adventurous books!
To say 2020 has been a challenging year for us all is definitely an understatement. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write an article for Karen Jensen’s SLJ blog, Teen Librarian Toolbox, about resilience–one of the themes of my latest MG novel, Alone in the Woods:
Check it out to learn more about real-life sisters who survived being lost in the woods, as well as tips to encourage resilience, preparation, and community engagement in your own family!
It took me years, and four other books, to find the right story, but now I can finally answer: Yes!
My latest middle-grade novel, Alone in the Woods—which releases today!—is a thrilling survival story about Jocelyn and Alex, two former best friends who must work together to stay alive after getting lost in the Nicolet National Forest. But in some ways, it’s a love letter to my beautiful and ecologically rich home state. Set in both Madison—where I was born and raised, and still spend much of my time—and the Northwoods, I hope I captured the magic of a Wisconsin summer in its pages. From tubing on a river (my family used to go up to Twelve Foot Falls on the Pike River in Marinette County), to hiking in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (the Cathedral Pines is one of my favorite spots—the old-growth trees are mesmerizing), to enjoying a buttermilk doughnut at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty—those cherished experiences all helped inspire the book’s setting.
However, the girls’ harrowing adventure—in which after a tubing mishap, they wander off a trail and find themselves hopelessly lost, wearing only swimsuits and water shoes and with just the contents of their backpacks to help them survive the elements for days and nights—is thankfully not inspired by my own experiences exploring Wisconsin’s wild places. Well, except for all the bug bites. Those mosquitoes and deer flies can be vicious!
I was thrilled to read Booklist‘s review of Alone in the Woods–especially because they highlighted the “moments of peril and bodily danger,” but felt that “but the most tender wounds here are the emotional ones nursed by the two girls.” That’s exactly what I was going for! It’s really special to read a review that “gets” what you were going for as the author. 🙂