The Weekly 411 (7/7/23)


© Mackinzie Rekers

July 7, 2023 vol. 27

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 Mackinzie Rekers.

Early Middle Grade Giveaway

We are excited to feature a giveaway of the early middle grade book, Samara Rubin and the Utility Belt, by Sharon Giltrow, illustrated by Thu Vu (Clear Fork Publishing 2023). Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below. 

About the Book: Samara Rubin’s life is about to change. 
Samara knows wishes don’t come true. But if they did, her wish would be to have the courage to stand up to Toby King, the meanest boy at school.

On her eleventh birthday Samara is given a mysterious utility belt. A belt with magical tools. But the belt comes with a catch, there are rules and a deadline.  All tools must be used within seven days. Otherwise…

What will Samara do with her utility belt? Will she face her biggest fear? Or will she run out of time? Join Samara and her sidekick, Madi the gecko, as she learns what it is to be brave. With magical tools, cute sidekicks, a ‘super’ family, and adventure the brand-new series “The Utility Belt” has something for everyone.

About the Author:  Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, and two children. Sharon is a children’s author who writes humorous and heartfelt picture books. As well as speculative, adventure filled middle grade books. Since 2020 Sharon has built a collection of literary work including Bedtime, Daddy! Get Ready, Mama! with EK Books and the soon to be released early middle grade series,  The Utility Belt.

About the Illustrator: Thu is a Vietnamese-American illustrator based in New Jersey with a love for bright colors and all things whimsical. She has a passion for illustrating stories that center around diversity, family, and acceptance. She has a background in art education and when she’s not drawing or crafting you can most likely find her attempting new baking recipes with her two daughters.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Middle Grade Giveaway 


We are pleased to host a giveaway of the debut middle grade novel, The Star that Always Stays, by Anna Rose Johnson (Holiday House), coming out on July 12. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!

cover art by Stephanie Son; designed by Nicole Gruel

About the Book: When fourteen-year-old Norvia moves from Beaver Island to Boyne City in 1914, she has to contend with a new school, a first crush, and a blended family, but she also must keep secret her parents' divorce and her Ojibwe heritage.

About the Author: Storytelling has always been a part of Anna Rose Johnson’s life—especially timeless tales tinged with vintage charm. She grew up fascinated by the early 20th century and now writes historical middle grade novels that reflect her love of classic children’s literature. A member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Anna Rose enjoys exploring her heritage through her stories, including her debut middle grade novel The Star That Always Stays (Holiday House), which was named an NPR Best Book of 2022, a New-York Historical Society Children’s Book Prize Finalist, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and a 2023 Michigan Notable Book. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contests & Awards

  July 1-July 30 SCBWI Emerging Voices Award
  • What: chance to win free tuition to SCBWI Summer Conference plus manuscript shown to agents and editors
  • Who: un-agented writer or writer-illustrator from an underrepresented community
  • Prize: see above
July 31 Volemos Grant
  • Who: SCBWI members and authors of Hispanic/Latinx/Ibero-American heritage early in their career (1-3 books) or unpublished
  • Prize:  $500, free one-year SCBWI membership, and career coaching session

  • What: apply for one of 15 one-year mentorships with award-winning book creators (PB text, illustration, MG, YA)
  • Who is eligible: children's writers or illustrators from diverse backgrounds
  • When to apply: Aug. 15-Sept. 15


  1. Love the cover of THE STAR THAT ALWAYS STAYS! Can't wait to read this book!!

  2. Just discovered this site--how fun!

  3. Samara sounds like a relatable character and I'm excited to find out if she can use her magical tools in time. I'm going to love The Star that Always Stays as it's set in my home state and a place I've visited.

    1. Thanks Danielle, I hope readers love Samara as much as I do and you'll have to read the whole book to see if she uses her tools in time :-).

  4. I can't wait to see what is in that utility belt and how she is going to use everything in seven days.

    1. Samara has some pretty cool tools in her belt :-) and an amazing side-kick too.

  5. Thanks for the links. I think The Star that Always Stays sounds terrific. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the post.

  6. I'd love to read both of these new titles. They sound fantastic!

  7. These all sound wonderful! Samara Rubin looks fun. :)

  8. Wonderful book covers! Congrats to all the authors.

  9. Both of these look amazing! Great covers!


Post a Comment