Event Report: Middle Grade Mayhem

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Wow! This weekend’s highlight was Middle Grade Mayhem, a joint launch event featuring authors Varian Johnson (The Great Greene Heist (Arthur A. Levine Books)), Greg Leitich Smith (Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook)), and Jennifer (“Jenny”) Ziegler (Revenge of the Flower Girls (Scholastic)) at BookPeople in Austin!

What worked about this event?

  • Three authors are better — and more dynamic — than one!
  • With the unifying “middle grade” age category, hello crossover fans!
  • Delicious (healthy and special treat) refreshments!
  • Lots of photo ops (photo booth & readers’ theater with props)!
  • A charming M.C. (Tim Crow) and helpers too numerous to list here (it takes a village, people)!
  • Three fun and funny readers’ theaters to offer the audience sneak peeks!
  • Keeping it short–the whole program ran only 40 minutes, including Q&A!
  • Signing with giveaway bling (GGH bookmarks, glow-in-the-dark LGM wrist bands and mini figurines, bubble formula & wands, plus patriotic temporary tattoos)!
  • A children’s book loving community and world class independent bookstore!

The new releases are loaded on the cart and ready for the signing.
Catering by Whole Foods, wedding cake provided by Jenny & chocolate chip cookies by Nikki Loftin
Varian, Greg & Jenny pose in the LGM/dance photo booth, ready for mayhem.
Austin librarian Michelle Beebower serves herself a cup of–what else?–Tang!
Pro photographer Dave Wilson; see his (much better) pics on GregLSBlog.
San Antonio author Peni R. Griffin hands out LGM glow-in-the-dark wrist bands
Austin SCBWI RA Samantha Clark (with Bethany Hegedus) scheduled a local chapter meet-and-greet on the third floor BookPeople to end right before the second-floor event.
The refreshments table (complete with flower girls’ wedding cake!) is popular.
Author-librarian Julie Lake, author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell pose with writer Meredith Davis in the photo booth.
Dallas writer Stephanie Parsley Ledyard poses with LGM and Greg.
Author-illustrator Yangsook Choi meets Cynthia Levinson
Introducing M.C. & Educator Tim Crow
The crowd gathers in anticipation.
Varian, Greg and Jenny take the stage.
Readers’ theater of The Great Greene Heist (Arthur A. Levine)
Readers’ theater of Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook)
Readers’ theater of Revenge of the Flower Girls (Scholastic)
Jenny steps to the mic during the Q&A session.
Authors Sara Kocek & Nikki get to know soon-to-debut Chandler Baker in the signing line.
Book signing & bling giveaway (GGH bookmarks, ROTFG temporary tattoos & glow-in-the-dark LGMs)
Me with three little green men (well, sort of)

 Cynsational Notes

Author Interview & Giveaway: Greg Leitich Smith on Writing Realistic vs. Speculative Fiction from Cynsations. See also Middle Grade Mayhem Event Report from GregLSBlog.

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