PODCAST

Episode 297: Best Books Middle Grade

BY MEGAN LABRISE • December 6, 2022

Our Best Books coverage continues with author L.D. Lapinski and Kirkus' YRL editors.

On this special episode—brought to you by Soho Teen and Francesca Padilla’s What’s Coming to Me, one of Kirkus’ Best YA Books of 2022—we’re celebrating the Best Middle-Grade Books of 2022. First, we’re joined by author L.D. Lapinski to discuss The Secrets of the Stormforest (Aladdin, Sept. 13), the third and final installment in their remarkable Strangeworlds Travel Agency fantasy series, in which adventurer Felicity “Flick” Hudson and best friend Jonathan Mercator confront some of the most dastardly characters in the multiverse.

Here’s a bit from Kirkus’ starred review of The Secrets of the Stormforest: “Flick’s life since she first entered the Strangeworlds Travel Agency has been a series of adventures in different worlds, where her unusual magic is needed to shore up the multiverse. Now she and best friend Jonathan have discovered that all of the mysteries they’ve encountered in previous adventures were due to the magic-devouring Seren, who will destroy the multiverse if they aren’t stopped.…A moving conclusion to a delightful trilogy” (starred review).

Lapinski and host Megan Labrise discuss whether Stormforest is, indeed, the conclusion to the Strangeworlds trilogy; World Book Day; where we find Flick at the beginning of Book Three; building multiple words in one series, and how each one needs its own distinctive vibe; Lapinski’s favorite world to write about; Flick’s possession of a powerful magic she can’t yet control; how possessing magic can be a blessing or a curse (or both); Lapinski’s year in reading; and much more.

Then young readers’ editors Laura Simeon and Mahnaz Dar highlight some of their favorite books from the middle-grade list.

And in a sponsored interview, Megan talks with Jeff Smulyan, author of Never Ride a Roller Coaster Upside Down: The Ups, Downs, and Reinvention of an Entrepreneur (BenBella, Dec. 6). Smulyan is the founder and chief executive officer of Emmis Communications—credited with pioneering the all-sports radio format—a former owner Seattle Mariners, U.S. Ambassador, and director of the National Association of Broadcasters. In a candid memoir Kirkus calls “a nicely balanced personal and practical book of corporate reflections and hard-won business lessons,” he shares a lifetime of wit and wisdom.

Lauras picks:

Storm by Nicola Skinner (Harper/HarperCollins)

Brand New Boy by David Almond, illus. by Marta Altés (Candlewick)

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (Scholastic)

Our Own Little Paradise by Marianne Kaurin, trans. by Olivia Lasky (Arctis Books)

Mahnazs picks:

How To Build a Human by Pamela S. Turner, illus. by John Gurche (Charlesbridge)

Gigi and Ojiji by Melissa Iwai (HarperCollins)

Aviva vs. the Dybbuk by Mari Lowe (Levine Querido)

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi (Dutton)

Little Monarchs by Jonathan Case (Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House)

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

Dove: A Redemption Story by Kevin Greer

Becoming Guise-Wise by Michael Waters

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

 

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