Read on to learn more about the middle grade authors that will be coming to Book Fest!

Brooks Benjamin is the author of My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights, which is his first novel.

He formed a New Kids on the Block tribute dance crew called the New Kidz when he was in sixth grade. He wasn’t that good at dancing back then. But now he’s got a new crew—his wife, Jackie, and their dog. They live in Tennessee, where he teaches reading and writing and occasionally busts out a few dance moves. He’s still not that good at it.

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All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.
At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?
Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.



Deron Hicks is the author of the Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave, the first book in a new mystery series entitled the Letterford Mysteries.

He lives in Warm Springs, Georgia with his wife Angela, daughter Meg, and son Parker. He is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia, where he obtained a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting. Having obtained a degree in painting, he took the next logical step in life — Law school (more specifically, Mercer Law School, which he loved).

The Van Gogh Deception: When a young boy is discovered in Washington DC’s National Gallery without any recollection of who he is, so begins a high-stakes race to unravel the greatest mystery of all: his identity. As the stakes continue to rise, the boy must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins while using his limited knowledge to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted.
Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave: Twelve-year-old Colophon Letterford has a serious mystery on her hands. Will she discover the link between her family’s literary legacy and Shakespeare’s tomb before it’s too late? Antique paintings, secret passages, locked mausoleums, a four-hundred-year-old treasure, and a cast of quirky (and some ignoble) characters all add up to a fun original adventure. Readers will revel in a whirlwind journey through literary time and space in real-world locales from Mont St. Michel to Stratford-Upon-Avon to Central Park!
Tower of the Five Orders: Colophon Letterford’s life changed overnight when she uncovered Shakespeare’s lost manuscripts. Now the authenticity of those manuscripts is in question and the family publishing business is in danger. In this exciting mystery, thirteen-year-old Colophon travels from Oxford’s lofty Tower of the Five Orders to the dank depths of London’s sewers in her pursuit of truth and honor. But the stakes are high. Budding cryptologists, Shakespeare fans, and mystery lovers alike will revel in the twists and turns of this fascinating middle grade sequel to Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave .


Monika Schröder is the author of several books, and her newest is Be Light Like a Bird.

She grew up in Germany and worked as an elementary school teacher and librarian in American international schools in Egypt, Chile, Oman and India. After living in India for eight years, she and her husband returned to the U.S. in the summer of 2011. They now live in North Carolina.

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After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t seem to deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.




Kristina Springer is the author of Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker (Sterling Children’s/April 19, 2016), My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours (Macmillan/FSG), a Scholastic Bestseller and 2012 YALSA Quick Pick book; The Espressologist (Macmillan,/FSG), a 2010 Society of School Librarians International Honor Book and 2014 Illinois Reads Book that has been purchased for film by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru; and Just Your Average Princess (Macmillan/FSG).

She has a Masters in Writing from DePaul University and resides in a suburb of Chicago with her husband and children.

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Middle school is a test, but Cici Reno has all the answers. She’s the go-to girl for advice. She’s cool, she’s funny, and she’s enlightened (thanks to yoga classes at her mom’s studio). So when her pretty BFF, Aggie, is too shy to speak to the boy she’s crushing on, Cici goes online and does the talking for her. The only problem is, Cici starts to fall for the guy herself! For the first time in her life. she doesn’t have a clue.





Munson W. Steed is the CEO of Steed Media Group and publisher of Rolling Out and several other media properties. This is his first children’s book inspired by his goddaughter, Skye.

Along with being a newly self-published author and established entrepreneur, Steed is also an artist and community leader. He lives in Atlanta and Chicago with his wife, Christina.

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Little Professor Skye is just like every other young lady who has a robot as a pal and experiences all her favorite activities in one day. From a school visit by the White House’s First Family to tea parties, to rocking out with her friends in her band, Skye’s day demonstrates how cool it is to be smart and learn new things. Cutie Pie, Pilar, Chase, and several other friends join her on her experiences as she learns about science, math, music, and athletics, all the while, making her Daddy proud along the way.
Little Professor Skye is a book for all children that shows the possibilities of imagination and learning. Skye’s adventures in an awesomely long, fun-filled day show the various interests and curious thoughts children her age have and when allowed to run free, expose the beauty of creativity from the mind of a child.




Lisa Lewis Tyre grew up in a small town in Tennessee surrounded by her crazy family and neighbors. She learned early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad that ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor that was so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. What else could she do but write?

Last In A Long Line of Rebels is her first book, and was chosen by the Ga. Center for the Book as a “Book All Young Georgians Should Read.”

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Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.





Alana White is the author of Come Next Spring, a middle grade novel set in 1940’s Tennessee, and Sacagawea: Westward with Lewis and Clark. She also writes adult fiction set in Renaissance Italy.

She has published several short stories, one story was a finalist for the Macavity Award given by Mystery Readers International, and is a member of the Historical Novel Society (serving in the past as Agent/​Editor Liaison and as Secretary for the North American conferences), the Authors Guild, and the Women’s National Book Association. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband.

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It’s 1949 in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and everything in twelve-year-old Salina’s life seems different. This evocative novel for young people captures the spirit of the mountains and a girl’s struggle to accept the inevitability of change.




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