Superheros, Spirits, and Wildfire: A Conversation About Middle-Grade Fiction

Join us for a Crowdcast Conversation with Chicago-based authors Lindsay Currie (Scritch Scratch) Keir Graff (The Tiny Mansion) and Kate Hannigan (Mask) as they talk about writing, contemporary kid-lit, and their new books. Moderated by Events Coordinator Robert McDonald, this fast-paced conversation will introduce kids, parents, and educators to our panelists' new books, and give everyone advice from the experts on the art and craft of making stories. This event is free and open to the public. We ask that you support us by buying these books from The Book Stall.  Big box stores and online retail giants don't need your help in the current climate. They also don't create cool free panel events for you. We need your support, and we DO continue to provide fun, free and educational programs for our community! Register HERE.

Meet Our Panelists:

Linday Currie lives in Chicago with her husband and three kids. She's loves coffee, Halloween, Disney World and things that go bump in the night! She is also the author of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street. Visit her online at Her new book is Scritch Scratch, a ghost story baseed on real Chicago history. R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series, says,  "This is a teeth-chattering, eyes bulging, shuddering-and-shaking, chills-at-the-back-of-your-neck ghost story. I loved it!" 

Keir Graff is the author of the middle grade novels The Phantom Tower, The Matchstick Castle, and The Other Felix, and a handful of books for grown-ups. Keir lives in Chicago with his wife, Marya, his sons, Felix and Cosmo, and two cats, Toothless and Totoro. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @keirgraff. His new book is The Tiny Mansion. Booklist calls it "A compelling coming-of-age journey--sometimes carefree, sometimes emotional--of family, reconciliation, and finding yourself."

Kate Hannigan has a special passion for stories that empower girls and women. Her picture book biography, A Lady Has the Floor, received four starred reviews and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection. In addition to the 2016 Golden Kite Award for Middle Grade Fiction, The Detective's Assistant also received two starred reviews and was a Booklist Editor's Choice, among many other accolades. Kate is an involved, vocal, and respected member of the kid lit community. Visit her online at or on social; media @KateChicago. Her new book, Mask, is the second in a series of about  three young women who are superheros during World War Two.

More About the Books:

Scritch Scratch, by Lindsay Currie is a chilling ghost story based on real Chicago history, and features a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She's a scientist, which is why she can't think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she's made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There's something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour...he's gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad's ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something...and Claire needs to find out what before it's too late.

The Mask (League of Secret Heroes #2) by Kate Hannigan, is an action-packed, comics-inspired adventure about a trio of young superheroes who try to thwart a spy. Think Hidden Figures meets Wonder Woman!

After defeating The Hisser--and discovering their power as a team--Infinity Trinity is ready for its next adventure. When Akiko, Mae, and Josie learn that a spy has been betraying secrets to the Japanese military, they join Room Twelve in San Francisco for important work with other code-cracking experts.

But soon there is personal code to crack: Akiko spots her mom walking with the suspected spy through San Francisco, which had been her family's home until Executive Order No. 9066 sent Akiko and all Japanese Americans on the West Coast into internment camps.

Teaming up with brilliant members of The League of Secret Heroes--like real-life World War II code-crackers Genevieve Grotjan and Elizebeth Friedman--Akiko, Mae, and Josie search for answers as they battle the evil clown Side-Splitter, who's bent on destroying not only the city, but the Infinity Trinity, too. As clues begin to pile up that her mother has become entangled with Side-Splitter's sinister plot, can Akiko solve the most important puzzle of all?

The Tiny Mansion, by Keir Graff, features twelve-year-old Dagmar, who  must endure a summer living off-the-grid with her family in a tiny home. The last thng she wants is to spend her summer vacation squished into a tiny house with her dad, her stepmom, and her annoying five-year-old half brother. But after a sudden financial setback, her family is evicted from their Oakland apartment, and that's just where they end up, parked among the towering redwoods of Northern California.

As Dagmar explores the forest around their new and (hopefully) temporary home, she discovers they are living next door to an eccentric tech billionaire and his very unusual extended family. There's his brother, a woodsman who sets dangerous booby traps all over the place, and his sister, a New Age animal lover who meditates to whale songs in an isolation tank. And then there's the billionaire's son, Blake, who has everything he could ever wish for--except maybe a friend.

But when a wildfire engulfs the forest, everyone--rich and poor, kid and adult--will have to work together to escape. And with both families at risk of losing everything, it turns out it's not the size of the home but the people you share it with that matters.


Event date: 

Sunday, October 25, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Event address: 

Online Crowdcast event!
The Tiny Mansion Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984813855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 8th, 2020

In this pitch-perfect middle grade adventure, twelve-year-old Dagmar must endure a summer living off-the-grid with her family in a tiny home.

Scritch Scratch Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728209722
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: Sourcebooks Young Readers - September 1st, 2020

"This is a teeth-chattering, eyes bulging, shuddering-and-shaking, chills-at-the-back-of-your-neck ghost story. I loved it "--R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series

Mask (The League of Secret Heroes #2) Cover Image
By Kate Hannigan, Patrick Spaziante (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534439146
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: Aladdin - August 18th, 2020

A trio of young superheroes try to thwart a spy in this second book in the action-packed, comics-inspired adventure series that’s Hidden Figures meets Wonder Woman!

After defeating The Hisser—and discovering their power as a team—Infinity Trinity is ready for its next adventure.