The Bookish Society Podcast
By Jennifer Naughton
As a lifelong reader and autodidact, one of my favorite past times is geeking out over books and all the people that create them for us.
I hope you enjoy listening as much as I love recording it for my fellow bookworms.
The Bookish Society PodcastFeb 18, 2023
The Bookish Society with Esme Symes Smith
Jenn interviews Esme about her favorite tea, writing fast, and, most importantly, her amazing middle-grade novel: Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston.
Bookish Radio: Norse Mythology Edition
Join us in our Readers Theatre as we explore Norse Mythology a little differently in Vali: Private Avenger.
Play and materials by Creative English Teacher
Register now for our World Mythology Readers Theater class from September 2022- to May 2023.
Your kids will love learning mythology this way- and even if they are back in school, this group meets in the evening!
Sometimes you need a quiet book to really make you think about things. The Ice House is one of those. I'm still thinking about different aspects of the plot weeks later. I hope you enjoy listening in as I chat with the author, Monica Sherwood.
Are you a picky eater? How about your kids? Imagine a world where your eating habits determine your educational trajectory- I would not do well there. Pre-order now and read The League of Picky Eaters on November 2, 2021.
Laura Ojeda Melchor
Missing Okalee is a book that you need to get now. I know adults tend to shy away from handing "sad" books to kids. Try and resist that urge to protect and shelter your middle-grade kids. Bad things happen throughout life and if they luckily have no experience with death yet- they will and reading about other kids will give their brains a peg of understanding to fall back on.
Bookish Live- SG Wilson
Listen in as our Tween group peppers one of the many SG Wilson's of the multiverse about his amazing book.
Bookish Live: Sarah Jean Horwitz
Listen in as our Advanced Kids Class Ages 6-9 absolutely inundates Sarah with questions!
The Cryptid Catcher is the best. I went a little overboard in my enthusiasm for all cryptids- Lija ironically pulled me back from the edge of full fangirling. But, seriously, if you've got a kid who heads straight for the shelf of mysteries like Nessie, Bigfoot, and the like, this is the book series/podcast for you.
Jessica and I talk about her new book BFF or NRF (NOT REALLY FRIENDS) - A GIRLS GUIDE TO HAPPY FRIENDSHIPS
I highly recommend it to all girls and their parents! We can break that mean-girl atmosphere if we work together.
Lisa Frenkel Riddiough
This podcast was a joy to record. Lisa is awesome and her book intertwines what is a sweet animal story with the more serious backdrop of 9/11 seamlessly. Elvis and the World as it Stands is available now!
Merriam Sarcia Saunders
Merriam and I talked all about Trouble with a Tiny T, world-building, and other bookish magic.
I'd call this story a mix between Toy Story and Indian in the Cupboard- when Westin finds a magic bag that brings toys to life, he uses it, and hilarity ensues.
Rebecca is the author of Race to the Bottom of the Earth, our first (of I hope many) nonfiction authors. Rebecca tells us about two races in Antarctica many years apart, and although Human advancement improved the tech in 2018, the conditions and isolation were the same in 1918. It was super interesting, and we'll be reading it at our nonfiction round table this year.
Ghost Girl is our kick-off book in our newest RoundTable for Middle-Grade readers who adore a good scare. So I thought it would be fitting to feature Ally and her book on her actual Book Birthday!!
Please enjoy our chat about all the scary books and excuse a bit of audio irregularity for a few seconds in the middle- I blame the ghosts in my house. :)
YA!! It's our first YA author visit to the blanket tent where the Bookish Society Secrets is recorded in plush secrecy.
Glitter Gets Everywhere sort of like grief. This Middle-Grade Novel is one of the best stories I read this year.
Bookish Society Live-Chrystal Giles
This is a new special kind of episode for us. The Bookish Society kids have a recorded Q and A with author Chrystal Giles, and they put her through the wringer.
Chris Baron, the author of The Magical Imperfect and All of Me joins us and we covered a lot of Bookish ground.
ES Christison and I talk again- the first time we had technical difficulties and it turned out okay because the time we felt like old friends.
Ursula Murray Husted: Part 2
In this second half, we manage to talk about Cat Story and more about comics/ graphic novels
Ursula Murray Husted: Part One
I guess you could say that Ursula and I hit it off- we talked for so long that I cut this one into two parts.
When two Jennie's get together, we're gonna talk, bond over everything from doughnuts to storytelling. We hit it off, and so I hope you enjoy our crazy chat.
Jennie's book Taylor Before and After is available now.
Today I’m chatting with Dusti Bowling, the author of The Canyons Edge, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus, 24 hours in Nowhere, Aven Green Sleuthing Machine, and the upcoming Across the Desert.
Whew. That’s a lot of stories. And trust me, they are all fantastic. I spent a couple of years living in Arizona when I was a kid, and Dusti’s books bring it all back to me. Her words convey the beauty and danger of the desert.
Listen in and hear all about writing, Arizona, and rattle snakes!
What a treat to talk to Alysa Wishingrad about her suspense-filled mystery: The Verdigris Pawn. Which will be released on July 13, 2021- so get your pre-orders in now!
This is a twisty old-fashioned fantasy that kids of today will gobble up. Listen in as I practically grill Alysa for the details of her world-building.
Join me today as I talk with Jo Knowles, the author of Where the Heart Is, which is available now!
Jo and I agree that kids can handle more and handle more than people give them credit for. Reading, especially in the middle-grade years, builds empathy.
Today I’m chatting with Kerelyn Smith, the author of Mulrox and the Malcognitos, Which is out now!
If you missed this book due to the pandemic, never fear, so did I. The beauty of books is that they are always waiting to be discovered, and you are in for a treat with this story. It’s a perfect laugh-out-loud bedtime story or a book to hand to reluctant readers ages 8-12.
Get ready to talk spooky books. I was thrilled to finally catch up with Lindsay for a conversation about Chicago, books, and what makes a good amount of scare for kids. Lindsay has three books in print: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, Scritch Scratch, and What Lives in the Woods, which will be available on September 14, 2021.
Today I'm talking to Cliff Burke, the author of An Occasionally Happy Family, which releases on May 18, 2021- which is today!!
This story is told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy whose family goes on a week-long vacation to Big Bend National Park in West Texas. It’s the first vacation since his mother has passed away, and soon after they leave, his father announces that he has a surprise for them at the end of the trip.
Most everyone has experience with a car trip/family vacation and will relate the ups and downs of the endeavor. Parents and kids get frustrated with each other, and chaos ensues.
Hello and welcome to another podcast of Bookish Society Secrets. Today I am joined by Reem Faruqi (also, why do I drag her name out so long? I think it's the vowels). It was a little bit like that Get Ready to Rumble guy. This is not at all what this convo was like. Her semi-autobiographical novel is wonderful. Also, another novel in verse!!
Reem is just super nice, and we bonded over my long-ago wish to live in Peachtree City, GA.
You can learn more about her on her website.
Novels in verse- I am obsessed.
Such a great way to say more with fewer words. Lisa and I hit it off right away and chit-chatted about not only her story- but fat-phobia and how it affects all humans. Starfish is a book you'll be thinking about long after you turn the last page.
Bookish Society kids will also be reading this book next Fall- we'll read 22 books next school year!!
Finally!!! This is the 6th episode I recorded, and I had to hold onto it -ALL THIS TIME. Torture, I tell you. Sam and I talk about Norse Myths and how they relate to his new book- The Last Shadow Warrior, which premiers in just 2 days!!
He is really the closest I'll ever get to talking with Neil Gaiman, and I totally fangirl about his story, which is full of the girl power and adventure that all kids love to read about!
Truly this is one book you won't want to miss. Bookish Society kids should note we'll be reading it this Fall in class.
Join me as I chat with Megan Freeman about her novel in prose: Alone.
In this story: Maddie is left behind after an area-wide evacuation and survives on her own for years. Wow, she’s a tough girl. Smart, resourceful, and normal. Things that scare you or me would scare her too. This is a very accurate portrayal of what living alone in an abandoned civilization would be like.
We talked about Poetry. Megan is a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet as well as an author and teacher!
I asked her if she minded me comparing her story to Hatchet. Also, why is that still my go-to example of smart, resourceful kids?
Alone is available now wherever you buy books and is an upcoming Bookish Society Round Table selection.
Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls is an epic adventure through Mexican mythology. Kids who love Riordan’s books and fantasy will gobble this up. Listen in as I chat with the author, Kaela Rivera, about world-building, mythology, and more!
Sarah Jean Horwitz
I know lots of kids who will love Clementine! Her story is dark (of course, as an evil warlord) but also caring. That’s why I invited Sarah on the podcast to chat about it.
The Dark Lord Clementine has everything you need in a modern fairy tale:
A bird made out of a book lays eggs that turn into spells.
Hair that changes color according to your mood- handy for avoiding cranky people.
Unicorns and Night Mares
Hedge Witches (my second encounter with them this year!)
It would make a solid read-aloud/bedtime story. I read it in 2019 and then again before writing this review for the paperback edition. I want to slide it into next year’s Kid Bookish Academy Roundtable line-up because I think we could have some interesting discussions about familial expectations and how hard it can be to try and “fix” big problems as a kid.
We had such fun talking about all sorts of Bookish things.
Happy Book Birthday to Jennifer Adam and her book- The Last Windwitch.
Brida spends her days being a sort of apprentice/ adopted daughter to Magdi, the town’s forest witch. Little by little, she discovers more about her own powers, past, and with the help of friends, settles into a future she never imagined.
If you or your kids love a story full of magic, this one is for you. It'll be one of our Tween Bookish Society selections in December!
Listen in as we chat about life on a Horse Ranch and what Storycakes might taste like.
Jennifer suggested these book-
I am currently reading A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON by Kate Albus, which is about 3 orphaned siblings sent to live in the country during WWII in search of a permanent home. Although the story's circumstances are sad, it has such a core of compassion and kindness that it really feels like a comfortable read. I am also reading SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK by Richard Beatty because my book has been compared to his, and I’ve never read it before! I’m not very far in, but I’m enjoying it immensely so far.
Listen in while Chrystal and I chat about her new book- Take Back the Block, and how it’s not too early to introduce middle-grade kids to concepts like gentrification that they may not encounter in their everyday lives.
Here’s my elevator pitch: Wes would rather play video games than attend a protest march with his parents until one day when it’s his neighborhood being threatened by developers.
This story makes it easy to see how it affects someone their age and how gentrification is pricing people out of their neighborhoods all over the US.
Join me as I chat with Alyssa about her new book: The Gilded Girl.
In this world, magic is real, and Emma arrives at a school to kindle her magic only this world isn't perfect. Any child can spark magic, but only the elite are allowed to kindle it. Those denied access to the secrets of the kindling ritual will see their magic snuffed out before their thirteenth birthday.
Also, house dragons!!
This is the longest pod on record for us at Society Secrets. I'm talking with Cathy Carr, the author of 365 Days to Alaska- Which is out now! So you can order it from anywhere you get books or hit up your local library.
I was drawn in by the premise of an 11yo girl moving from the backcountry of Alaska to suburban Connecticut, and I'm so glad I read this book.
It's like Hatchet in reverse- starting over in a totally foreign environment isn't easy, and Rigel not only doesn't want to be there, she is tactically planning on surviving for the year, and that's all. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that plans are in flux, and it was great to see her growth and ability to accept reality for what it is.
Summer Rachel Short
How do you say Ophiocordyceps? Cause I love when real science pushes into fiction. Learn how by listening to this episode of Society Secrets.
Summer and I chat about her book The Mutant Mushroom Takeover. Spoiler: There is a sequel!
I haven’t laughed so hard in a very long time.
Here’s the deal with this book: After he gets a note from someone in his own handwriting on an origami octopus
Meade finds out that there is a multiverse, and in each one, there is a different version of himself. Another “me” and they meet up for a “Me Con” - where everyone gets your obscure references. This story is just so funny and educational all at once. Highly recommend!
In this episode, SG and I talk to ourselves and you of this Earth and compare notes on all sorts of things. Enjoy!
This week I’m talking with Payal Doshi about her wonderful new book: Rea and the Blood of the Nectar (The Chronicles of Astranthia #1)
If you are looking for a new Middle-Grade Fantasy Series this Summer, you’ll want to pre-order this story now.
The night that Rea and her twin brother turn twelve, everything changes for them. They live in Darjeeling, India, near a tea plantation, and when Rohan goes missing on their 12th birthday. But he isn't in Darjeeling; he is held captive in the land beyond the banyan tree, Astranthia. It is up to Rea and her best friend Leela to find and save Rohan and maybe find out the secrets Amma has kept hidden from her.
I could not have loved this story more. I chose it to close out our first year of The Bookish Society this Summer. (it'll be a two-book month)
Other reviewers have called it whimsical, and that is such a perfect description I have to use it.
I can't wait to get it into the hands of kids- I know it will become one of their favorites.
Kate and I had a lovely conversation about books, kids, and reading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Think Black Mirror for kids. Adam Perry is my guest today, and his new book, The Thieving Collectors of Fine Children's Books, is one that you will want to pre-order if you are listening now, or purchase after March 2, 2021.
This story within a story may be hard to explain, and that is just what makes it one of the most creative books I've read in the Middle-Grade realm.
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders. His books The Eye of Ra and Sol Invictus take kids on adventures through time.
In The Eye of Ra, John and his sister Sarah explore a cave in the mountains behind their home and mysteriously time travel to Egypt. In Sol Invictus, they are surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier. They must fulfill their quest to unite the Roman Emporer or risk being stuck in time forever.