Magical Middle Grade

Thursday, October 15th, 11:30 am

Myths, magic, and mystical happenings—unbelievable things can occur when you least expect them and turn your world upside down! Three mysterious middle grade authors discuss their new books about how magic can change the world and how stories that may seem old shape our world today. Featuring Chantel Acevedo (Muse Squad: The Casandra Curse), Victoria Bond (Zora and Me: The Summoner), and David A. Robertson (The Barren Grounds). Moderated by Donell Clauser.

Replay of this event is available throughout 2020!

Purchase books by these authors from Red Balloon Bookshop!

photo by Belkis Lora

Called “a master storyteller” by Kirkus Reviews, Chantel Acevedo is the author of Love and Ghost Letters, winner of the Latino International Book Award; A Falling Star, winner of the Doris Bakwin Award, The Distant Marvels, which was a finalist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and The Living Infinite, hailed by Booklist as a “vivid and enthralling tale of love and redemption.” Her essays have appeared in Vogue and Real Simple, among others. Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse (Balzer + Bray), Acevedo’s new middle grade novel (called “riveting and suspenseful” by School Library Journal), was just published in July 2020. She is Professor of English at the University of Miami, where she directs the MFA program.

Victoria Bond is the coauthor, with T. R. Simon, of the John Steptoe New Talent Author Award winner Zora and Me. Zora and Me: The Summoner (Candlewick),the much-anticipated final installment to the Zora and Me trilogy, will be published in October 2020. In a starred review of the novel, Kirkus wrote, in: “Both fans of and newcomers to the award-winning Zora and Me series will thoroughly enjoy this thrilling conclusion . . . A sweet, lyrical, finely crafted mystery and a testament to the deep bonds of friendship.” Bond holds an MFA in creative writing and is a lecturer at the City University of New York. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Learn more at

photo by Amber Green

David A. Robertson has received many of Canada’s top prizes, including the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Beatrice Mosionier Indigenous Writer of the Year Award, and the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. His books include When We Were Alone, Will I See?, Strangers (winner of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction); and Monsters (a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People). Through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, Robertson educates as well as entertains, reflecting Indigenous cultures, histories and communities while illuminating many contemporary issues. 2020 has seen two new books from Robertson: The Barren Grounds (Penguin Random House), the first book of a new fantasy series for Middle Grade readers, and Black Water (HarperCollins), a memoir. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation, and he lives in Winnipeg. Learn more at

Donell Clauser is a youth librarian at Wentworth Public Library in Dakota County. She has master’s degrees in library science from Kent State University and in English from Central Michigan University. Donell loves fairy tales, young people, animals, and reading aloud.