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Don’t Forget the Chapter Books! #KidLitCon2019 Panel

Don’t Forget the Chapter Books! #KidLitCon2019 Panel

Don’t Forget the Chapter Books!

Early chapter books fall in between picture books and middle grade, and they are usually the books that do the heavy lifting to get kids reading independently. The burden is on these authors to get kids to decide that they like to read!  This panel explores the unique challenges of writing to this audience, what makes their readers unique, and how they reach and engage their readers.

Debbi Michiko Florence


She will do Speed Critiques for fiction chapter books or novels (no picture books or nonfiction).

Debbi Michiko Florence, a third generation Japanese American, is a former classroom teacher and zoo educator. Her debut chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi is about a spunky 8-year-old Japanese American girl. The four books are: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen; Jasmine Toguchi, Super SleuthJasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl; and Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper. A native Californian, she now lives in Connecticut with her husband, rescue dog, bunny, and two ducks.

Kara LaReau

Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. She is the author of picture books such as UGLY FISH, illustrated by Scott Magoon, and Good Night Little Monsters, illustrated by Brian Won; an award-winning chapter book series called The Infamous Ratsos, illustrated by Matt Myers; and a middle-grade trilogy called The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, illustrated by Jen Hill. Kara lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and son and their cat.

Kara LaReau

Megan Frazer Blakemore


She will do Speed Critiques for manuscripts.

Megan Frazer Blakemore is an award-winning author for children and young adults. She is a school librarian whose work in her school’s makerspace inspired her new chapter book series: Frankie Sparks, Third Grade Inventor. The series will launch this spring. You can find her online at, on Twitter @meganbfrazer, and on Instagram @megbmore

Megan Frazer Blakemore

David A. Kelly is the author of the Ballpark Mysteries series from Random House, in which cousins Kate and Mike solve mysteries at different major league ballparks, and the Most Valuable Players (MVP) series from Random House, in which a group of elementary school kids have adventures playing different sports. Mr. Kelly is also the author of Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse and the picture book Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and Secret Mud that Changed Baseball. In addition, he has written about travel and technology for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun Times, and many other publications. For more information or a free Skype session, visit

Moderator: Jarrett Lerner


He will do Speed Critiques for manuscripts.

Jarrett Lerner is the author of EngiNerds and Revenge of the EngiNerds (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He confounded and helps run the MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects. He can be found at, on Twitter at @Jarrett_Lerner, and on Instagram at @jarrettlerner. He lives in Medford, Massachusetts, with his wife, his daughter, and a cat.

Join us March 22-23 for KidLitCon 2019!

Don’t Forget the Chapter Books! #KidLitCon2019 Panel