Credit Burns Maxey / NEPR

You’ve heard from local authors about their new books for NEPM’s Summer Fiction series. In the Fall, we’re turning the page to find out what’s being offered for younger readers. Listen to interviews with New England authors who are writing books for teens and tweens and early readers during Morning Edition and below.

Kate Messner's novel "Chirp" is set on a cricket farm. Messner said she visited cricket farms in Vermont and Texas for research.

“Chirp” by Kate Messner is a story about friendship, the joys of summer — and how to make yourself heard if an adult acts in a way that makes you uncomfortable. 

Author Crystal Maldonado.

"Fat Chance, Charlie Vega" is the first novel by Crystal Maldonado. It's a young adult rom-com about a smart high school girl named Charlie who struggles with her body image. She's long lived in the shadow of her beautiful best friend — that is, until Charlie gets the chance to be the star of her own love story.

"Survivor Tree," a new book from Marcie Colleen and Aaron Becker, tells a story of the 9/11 attacks through the lens of a tree planted at ground zero.

"Survivor Tree" is a children's book written by Marcie Colleen and illustrator Aaron Becker of Amherst, Massachusetts. It tells the story of a growing pear tree found beneath the ruins of the Twin Towers. Today, the tree thrives and is planted at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. 

From "The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come" by Sue Macy.
Stacy Innerst / Simon and Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books 2019

The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an illustrated children's book. 

Northampton, Massachusetts, author Tiffany Jewell wrote "This Book Is Anti-Racist."
James Azar Salam / Submitted Photo

Northampton, Massachusetts, author Tiffany Jewell’s activity-driven book, "This Book Is Anti-Racist," lays out the work kids need to do before a lifetime of bias is instilled in them.

About 15 years ago, Zee Johnson opened what is one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in Massachusetts. She still does outreach work in the city for Springfield's Department of Elder Affairs.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Walking into Olive Tree Books-n-Voices on Hancock Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is like walking into someone’s home. It's one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in the state.

From "How To Be A Person" by Catherine Newman.
Karen Brown / NEPM

"How to Be A Person" takes readers through dozens of basic skills they should learn before they’re grown up – from doing the laundry and tying knots, to writing thank-you notes and managing money. 

Southborough, Massachusetts, author Jennifer De Leon.
Submitted Photo

The next selection in our Books For Young People series is "Don't Ask Me Where I'm From," a novel that is for and about high-schoolers. 

A children's book by Shirley Jackson Whitaker focuses on building confidence in girls who are Black.
Shirley Jackson Whitaker / Courtesy

Shirley Jackson Whitaker says her recent children's book, "I Did Not Ask To Be Born Black. I Just Got Lucky," is a way to help little girls who are Black have positive self-images. And it's a way to celebrate their beauty. 

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, author Christina Uss, and her debut novel.
Joyce Skowyra / New England Public Radio

Our back-to-school-book series continues with "The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle." This middle grade book is about a 12-year-old girl's quest to make a friend. But it's not quite as simple as that. 

Lynda Mullaly Hunt writes novels for middle schoolers. Her most recent book, "Shouting at the Rain," is part of New England Public Radio's back-to-school book series.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

The young adult novel "Shouting at the Rain" deals with some dark issues, like addiction and being abandoned by a parent. 

Author and illustrator Mike Curato created the "Little Elliot" book series.
Sam Hudzik / NEPR

A new "Sesame Street" book out this fall celebrates the show's theme song — and includes author and illustrator Mike Curato's collage inspired by the "Sunny Days" lyrics.

'You Are Light,' A Colorful Board Book For All Ages

Aug 30, 2019
Aaron Becker with his book, "You Are Light."
James Szkobel-Wolff / NEPR

Inspiration can come from places you'd least expect. That's what happened for author Aaron Becker. 

Author Scott Brown.
Danielle Tait / Courtesy Scott Brown

Two of author Scott Brown’s colleagues had an idea for a story, but no time to write it, so they offered him the project. He’s usually a television writer and producer.

Children's book author Jane Yolen.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Writing novels about the Holocaust for young readers has only been done by a few. Hatfield, Massachusetts, author Jane Yolen has written three on the topic of Jewish teenagers experiencing World War II.

A great white shark off Mexico.
Brook Ward / Creative Commons /

Many kids are fascinated by sharks, but most shark books are pitched to younger readers. So Karen Romano Young decided to write a comprehensive book on sharks for older kids.

Author Natasha Lowe says she wrote "Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle" in her kitchen in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Our back-to-school book series continues with the story of nine-year-old Lucy Castor, who starts fourth grade at the beginning of the book, "Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle." 

A monkey bakes a cake for a contest, and every possible thing goes wrong. This same monkey is invited to perform a trick at a school, but he has to battle crazy weather and ends up juggling cows.

These stories make up the first two books in the Mr. Monkey series by Northampton, Massachusetts, author and illustrator Jeff Mack. 

The Penderwicks At Last
Courtesy of Jeanne Birdsall /

Our back-to-school book series for younger readers begins with Northampton, Massachusetts, writer Jeanne Birdsall and her book, "The Penderwicks At Last."

Writer Tochi Onyebuchi of New Haven in 2017.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

We wrap up our back-to-school book series with a tale of good versus evil.

A kitchen showroom in an Ikea store.
David (randomwire) / Creative Commons

Amherst, Massachusetts, author Catherine Newman set her first middle-grade novel, "One Mixed-Up Night", in an unlikely setting -- the giant Swedish furniture store Ikea. 

Author and poet Rich Michelson owns an art gallery in Northampton, Mass.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hampshire Gazette

By the late 19th Century, Hebrew was a language spoken only in prayer. But one man in Jerusalem, Ben Yehuda, went to great lengths to bring it back into common use among Jews around the world.

Author Crystal Senter-Brown of Chicopee, Mass.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

We continue our back-to-school book series today with "A.J. and the Magic Kite," a picture book about the contributions of African-American inventors.

Author David Hyde Costello with the clay models he referenced while illustrating his book "Little Pig Saves The Ship."
Carrie Healy / NEPR

"Little Pig Saves the Ship" is the next pick in our annual back-to-school book series.

Northampton, Mass., author Lisa Papademetriou.
Ellen Augarten

Callie is a seventh-grade grader in New York who spends a week cutting school, visiting museums and uncovering family secrets about the death of her gay uncle.

She's the main character in "Apartment 1986," a new young adult novel by Northampton, Massachusetts, writer Lisa Papademtriou.

To kick off this year's back-to-school book series, we sat down with Papademtriou. She started by reading from the book's first section, when we meet the exuberant narrator.