Middle Grade Summer Reading Bingo!

Are you up for a fun summer reading game? Join me (Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, the author of the Book Scavenger series) for a round of Middle Grade Summer Reading Bingo!

How to play is simple: Pick the books you want to read, and read them! Score a traditional bingo by reading a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of books. Or maybe you want to go for the “four corners” or “outside edge” bingo. Or, for the very ambitious, go for a “full house” and read them all!

 

Middle Grade Summer Reading Bingo is not just for kids; grownups can play too! Even if middle grade literature isn’t typically your thing, you might be surprised at how much you enjoy reading these stories. If you have kids in your life, this can be a great activity for bonding over books.

 

All titles are published in the United States, so they might not be as easy to find if you’re in another country, but everyone is welcome to participate no matter where you live.

 

Teachers, librarians, booksellers, book groups, kid lit enthusiasts, anyone looking for a community activity—feel free to share this activity with the readers in your life. To print out the Bingo board, you can find the PDF file here.

 

If you’d like a prize when you get a bingo, email me through my website with your bingo titles and a mailing address, and I will send you an assortment of bookmarks and stickers, while supplies last.

 

I’ve linked to all the titles on Bookshop, where you can learn more about each one. Purchasing books through Bookshop supports independent bookstores, but of course you don’t need to buy the books to participate in Book Cover Bingo. All titles should be available at your local library, and if one isn’t, consider asking your library to add it to their collection. (Many libraries have a form for requesting new titles, and will be happy to add books they know their patrons want to read.) Another idea is to form a group that will share the books with one another.

 

If you’re on social media, share your Bingo progess as you go along. Let people know about the books you love! Use the hashtag #MiddleGradeSummerReadingBingo so others can find the posts. Let’s make this a summer of celebrating reading, middle grade literature, and having fun with books!

 

New, from the author of the Book Scavenger series!

Hooray!!! Sisterhood of Sleuths is now available in paperback! I love this story, I love these characters, and I’m so excited it’s now in paperback and hoping that helps it reach more readers.

Sisterhood of Sleuths is a funny mystery about friendship, family, and was inspired by my love of Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a young, as well as the fascinating history behind the series and how it has endured for nearly 100 years. Yes, did you know that the iconic teenage sleuth is nearly 100 years old?!

The main character is Maizy, an aspiring film-maker who is working on a class project with her best friend, Izzy. For the class project, Maizy has written a screenplay called Shellfish Holmes about a lobster detective. But she and Izzy are having . . . creative differences, let’s say. And in general, Maizy is feeling like their friendship has been different—more strained—and she’s not really sure why. While she’s trying to navigate these things, she comes across a box of old Nancy Drew books and gets pulled into a mystery involving them that introduces her to the iconic teen sleuth and the history behind the Nancy Drew series.

It was a personal goal to write a “funny mystery” since I had just finished writing the first three Book Scavenger books, which do have funny moments and some quirky humor, but those are more intense mysteries with elements of danger and peril. The peril in Sisterhood of Sleuths is along the lines of being embarrassed in front of your classmates, or having a friend stop talking to you. So more realistic and relatable peril to the average young reader.

In the Sisterhood of Sleuths paperback, you’ll find the same wonderful interior illustrations by Vesper Stamper and author note and list of resources that are in the hardback, but you’ll also find a Reading Group Guide and a super special sneak peek at my next middle-grade novel, Back to Wonder. (Yes! I have a new book coming soon! It’s a mystery adventure set in 1985 about 3 children who come together to investigate something mysterious that arrives in their town, and then they go missing. Read the first four chapters at the end of Sisterhood of Sleuths!)

If you are a teacher or librarian and are reading Sisterhood of Sleuths with your class, or if your book group has chosen it as your next pick, I’m happy to do free virtual QA chats! Contact me through my website and we can set something up.

To celebrate the launch I was able to visit a number of independent bookstores to sign copies. There still might be some available at Linden Tree, Kepler’s, Books Inc., Hicklebee’s, The Reading Bug, Tattered Cover, A Second Star to the Right, or the Boulder Bookstore. Or order an unsigned copy through Bookshop.org or anywhere books are sold!

Gifting the Book Scavenger series? Here are some fun gift pairing ideas!

If you’re gifting the Book Scavenger series to someone for the holidays (or any time of year!) I’m always happy to send along a signed bookplate, bookmark, and stickers to include with your gift. Email me your request for a bookplate through the contact page on my website with your address and how you would like the bookplate personalized, and I will get it in the mail for you ASAP!

In my December 2023 newsletter, I pulled together a collection of ideas for gifts that would make a great pairing with the Book Scavenger series, as well as my other middle-grade novel, Sisterhood of Sleuths, and my picture book A Good Deed Can Grow. For descriptions and links to the items shared, you can read that newsletter here.

 

 

 

Book Scavenger Website Update!

You may have noticed the Book Scavenger website has a new look! I can hardly believe it, but it’s been over six years since I launched this website and the game for the publication of Book Scavenger in 2015. Six years!!!

At the Book Scavenger launch party at Linden Tree bookstore.

Back then, I had no idea if anyone would read Book Scavenger, let alone want to play a version of the game in the book. But I kept thinking about how if I had read Book Scavenger when I was a kid, I would have wanted the game to be real. And the first thing I would have done after finishing the book would have been to look it up and see if it was. So I wanted something to exist for other readers like me.

To launch the game, I asked my publisher if they’d be willing to give me 50 advance copies of Book Scavenger with the plan to giveaway one copy to a reader in each of the 50 states, with the hope that the recipient would read the book, like the book, hide the book, and then post a clue on the website for others to find. My publisher loved the idea, and so we did the giveaway. A book went to each state, and I waited. Soon enough–copies were hidden! And then found! And more were hidden and found, and so on and so forth until now nearly 20,000 tracking numbers have been requested and books have been scavenged in Iran, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain, China, France, Chile . . . so many different places around the world!

I am so grateful to all of you–the young readers, the teachers, the librarians, the parents, the booksellers, everyone who has embraced my books and continues to recommend them to others. There have been times I’ve thought maybe I should retire the website and game because it does take a bit to maintain, and I often feel like I’m falling short there, but then I get a nice message from one of you, or see a new hidden book post, and I’m reminded of my kid self, the one I wrote Book Scavenger for and the one I had in mind when I launched the game, and I think, I can’t stop now. As long as you are out there enjoying my books and wanting to play the game, then I want to try and keep it going for you the best that I can.

 

So after six years, I decided it was time for a refresh. Take a look around–there’s some new content and a few fun surprises for you to find as well . . . A huge thank you to Websy Daisy for designing the website for me!

 

I hope you like it!

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

How Well Do You Know Book Scavenger?

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, author of the Book Scavenger series, competes against a big fan of the series in this 25th episode of Author Fan Face-Off, hosted by author Steve Sheinkin and school librarian Stacey Rattner. How well would you have done with these Book Scavenger trivia questions?

September Book Love and Giveaway Game

Hi Readers! This is Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, the author of the Book Scavenger series. In an effort to support independent booksellers and spread some book love, I’ve decided to do a fun, new giveaway for my newsletter subscribers. Each month, my newsletter will feature a different independent bookstore and a few books I think Book Scavenger readers might enjoy. There will be a simple challenge to complete (the challenge for September is making up a caption for a funny photo of one of my cats), and everyone who participates is entered to win a book of their choice from my selection. (I’ll order the book for the winner from the featured bookstore and have it shipped direct to you. At this time, only United States addresses will be eligible to win as shipping costs are currently too high outside the US. I’m sorry!)

 

This month, the bookstore I’m spotlighting is Book People in Austin, TX. Book People is an amazing multistoried store, the kind of space I could easily spend hours browsing. I was lucky enough to visit Book People twice on my book tours. (That’s me in the photo below–they had those cutouts for an event for The Legend of Rock, Paper, and Scissors by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex, a book that my son and I love reading aloud, so I had to take a picture for him.)

Here are the books I’m recommending this month (click on the titles to learn more about them or purchase through Book People):

 

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat. I was blown away by this book! My favorite read of the year. Just read it. It’s amazing.

 

Keep it Together, Keiko Carter! by Debbi Michiko Florence. This one is next up on my To Read pile and I can’t wait! Three friends are starting 7th grade with big goals for themselves, but some drama comes into play and soon Keiko’s best friends aren’t talking and she’s caught in the middle.

 

The Vanderbeekers: Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser. The fourth Vanderbeekers is here!! I love this family and their many pets and reading about their adventures living in Harlem.

 

The Artifact Hunters by Janet Fox. This one is great for readers who like their stories a little scary. It’s suspenseful and beautifully blends fantasy into a realistic World War II setting. This is also a follow-up to the novel Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, but I don’t feel like you need to read the books in order. (But definitely read Charmed Children, too, if you like spooky stories. It’s goooood.)

 

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone.  If you like the way my Book Scavenger series incorporates historical nuggets into an adventurous story, then I’d definitely check this one out. Funny moments, fast-paced–a great read.

 

Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur Bradley. A very fun, well-paced mystery that reminded me a lot of my favorite board game Clue! Loved it.

 

Sound like fun? I hope so! If you are not already a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up here and look for my next newsletter to arrive in October.

 

Of course you don’t have to enter the giveaway or subscribe to my newsletter, but I do hope you’ll check out these wonderful books by borrowing them from your library or purchasing them from Book People or anywhere books are sold.

 

Thanks for reading the Book Scavenger series, and thanks for playing the game!

 

Book Scavenger T-shirt?

Hello readers! This is Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, the author of the Book Scavenger series. Question . . . If I were to make Book Scavenger t-shirts available for sale for a short period of time, would you be interested? They would look like this (possibly a slightly different blue for youth sizes).

UPDATE! T-SHIRTS ON SALE October 22-November 4!  Visit this page to place your order. Shipping within United States only. (Postage would be twice the cost of the shirt to ship internationally, which I’m guessing would be a dealbreaker for most, so limiting to the US this time is simpler for me as I’m handling all the logistics myself.)

 

(FOUND) A book is now hiding in Richburg, South Carolina United States

Hidden on: 05/29/2019

Title: The Ugly Duckling

Author: Unkown

Tracking Number: G615

Location: BP Gas Station, Richburg SC, Exit 65, Richburg, South Carolina/ / United States

Clue:

go bbehind thee gash puimp annd thed bootk whil theere. Dthe boouk ism therep. Sso gratb ite and rrun.

Note: This not is not part of the clue, but give the book to the gas station owner after it is found. PLEASE!

 

(FOUND) A book is now hiding in Archie, Missouri United States

Hidden on: 05/29/2019

Title: Projekt 1065

Author: Alan Gratz

Tracking Number: 8376

Location: Archie Library, Archie, Missouri United States

Clue:

Behind the flusher is where it is located. But be careful or you will miss it. Good luck.