From Magic to STEM: The Family Dynamic in Middle-Grade Fiction

with H. M. Bouwman, J. E. Thomas, and Patrica C. Wrede

Saturday, October 14, 2023
Youth Stage, 1:30-2:15pm

In this exciting middle-grade fiction panel, authors H. M. Bouwman, J.E. Thomas, and Patricia C. Wrede present guided tours through their fictional worlds! In Bouwman’s Gossamer Summer, four sisters find their summer vacation taking a magical turn, and in Wrede’s The Dark Lord’s Daughter, an ordinary girl must wrestle with an evil inheritance to find her place in the world. Thomas’s Control Freaks takes a more realistic angle: a seventh grader who aspires to be The World’s Greatest Inventor tries to win a school STEM competition so that he doesn’t have to go to sports camp with his stepbrother. Come hear these three novel writers talk about how the dynamics of family can affect outcomes for kids, no matter how near or far their adventures take them. Ages 8-12.

About the Authors

H. M. Bouwman grew up as the second of four sisters, and together they put on plays and magic shows (and once, a circus), ran a hospital for animals, climbed trees, played made-up games, and roamed the neighborhood. She now has two children who grew up creating wild stories, collecting fossils of dead animals, and building fairy gardens. H. M. Bouwman lives in Minnesota and teaches at the University of St. Thomas. She is the author of several novels for young readers including A Crack in the Sea and Gossamer Summer.

J.E. Thomas grew up near Colorado’s Front Range mountains. She spent her early summers stuffing grocery bags with books at the local library, reading feverishly, then repeating the process week after week. J.E. has Bachelor’s degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Communications. She wrote Control Freaks while working as an administrator at the same independent school she attended as a child.

For over twenty years, Patricia C. Wrede has expanded the boundaries of young-adult fantasy writing. Her first novel, Shadow Magic (1982), introduced Lyra, a magical world in which she set four more novels. Her other series include the Enchanted Forest Chronicles; the Cecelia and Kate novels, co-written with Caroline Stevermer; the Mairelon books, which take place in Regency England; and the Old-West Frontier Magic series. Wrede lives and works in Minnesota.