The Weekly 411 (7/21/23)


© Mirka Hokkanen

July 21, 2023 vol 29

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updatesAre you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations and camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Mirka Hokkanen.

Middle Grade Giveaway

We are pleased to host a giveaway of the middle-grade novel, The Many Masks of Andy Zhou, by Jack Cheng (Dial Books 2023). Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!  

cover art @2023 Yuta Onoda, design by Maria Fazio

About the Book: Creative and brave sixth grader Andy Zhou faces big changes at school and at home in this new novel by the award-winning author of See You in the Cosmos.

Andy Zhou is used to being what people need him to be: the good kid for his parents and now grandparents visiting from Shanghai, or the helpful sidekick to his best friend Cindy’s rebellious plans and schemes. So when Cindy decides they should try out for Movement at school on the first day of sixth grade, how can Andy say no? But between feeling out of place with the dancers, being hassled by his new science partner Jameel, and sensing tension between his dad and grandfather, Andy feels all kinds of weird. Then, over anime, Hi-Chews, and Andy’s lizard-inspired artwork, things shift between him and Jameel, opening up new doors—and also new complications. No matter how much Andy cares about his friends and family, it’s hard not to feel pulled between all the ways he's meant to be, all the different faces he wears, and harder still to figure out if any of these masks is the real him.


About the Author: Jack Cheng is a Shanghai-born, Detroit-based author of critically acclaimed fiction for young readers. His debut middle grade novel, See You in the Cosmos, won the Golden Kite and Great Lakes, Great Reads awards. Jack has visited schools across the globe speaking with students about finding their paths as writers and artists. He is a 2019 Kresge Artist Fellow.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Picture Book Giveaway

We are pleased to host a giveaway of the picture book, A River of Dust: The Life-Giving Link Between North Africa and the Amazon, by Jilanne Hoffman, illustrated by Eugenia Mello (Chronicle Books 2023). Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!


About the Book: In A River of Dust, dust takes readers on a journey as it soars above the broad landscapes of North Africa, spills over the Atlantic, and settles in the Amazon rainforest. Its tiny particles deliver precious cargo that is key to the health of the Amazon, the Atlantic, and our planet. Dust’s story is a lyrical ode to the vital roles that even the smallest among us can play, and as a story of separation and reconnection, it is STEM with a beating heart.

About the Author: Jilanne Hoffmann is the author of A River of Dust and two board books for young explorers, Happy Camper and The Honey Bear Hive. As a former engineer, she's a fan of all things STEM, and writes and reviews children’s books from her home office in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband, son, and rescue dog. Find links to her books and more info here: 


About the Illustrator:  Eugenia Mello is an illustrator and graphic designer from Buenos Aires. When she was seven years old, she moved to Costa Rica and was deeply impacted by the majestic scenery there. It showed her how everything on this planet is connected, bound together by invisible ties we might not see, but that are there, keeping everything alive in a delicate but ever-so-strong balance. She has an MFA in Illustration and lives in New York City.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 For Writers

Boring Characters

Dramatic Structure and Plot

My Best Writing Advice

The 8 Essential Elements of a Story

Word Counts for Children's Books 

Writing Courses

July 26, 7:30-8:45pm ET Picture Book Beginnings and Endings, with Lisa Katzenberger When a story isn’t ending quite right, the answer is often in the beginning. In this 75-minute webinar, we’ll discuss how to set up the beginning of your manuscript to serve up a satisfying ending. You’ll learn how to engage your reader from the get-go so they will be invested in your story all the way through the finish line. 


Submissions: Agents & Editors

Submit Your Children's Book Without An Agent! New List of 100 Open Publishers (June 2023)

How to Research a Literary Agent


  1. I was so excited after reading about the middle grade book at top of the post that I immediately entered the giveaway! I usually have issues with computer technology and it’s too difficult, but I’m so excited to read this book and I had to enter this one!

  2. Both of these books are high on my must read list, especially Jilanne's because of following her blog and seeing her announce and then promote her beautiful book.

  3. I'd love to win The Many Masks of Andy Zhou by Jack Cheng! It looks like a fantastic middle grade book with so many important topics broached. My 14 year old would love it too!

  4. Love seeing all the buzz about Jilanne's new #PB. Can't wait to read it!

  5. Looking forward to both of the books featured this week. And thanks for all of the great resources!

  6. Looking forward to these!

  7. Fingers crossed I win a copy! Would love to share with my students! Rachael K

  8. These both sound great! I think The Many Masks of Andy Zhou would resonate with some of my school's readers. My third grade nonfiction fans would find A River of Dust fascinating, too.

  9. So excited to read both these titles! Congrats to both Jilanne and Jack.

  10. I am so excited to read Jilanne's book! Love the cover so much.

  11. Would love to win a copy of Julianne’s new book. Gayle C Krause.

  12. Both of these sound great! Thanks for sharing these books. :)

  13. I can't wait to read A RIVER OF DUST! Looks and sounds fascinating!!


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