Middle-Grade Panel

Event date: 
10/28/2018 - 4:00pm

Kids, parents, and fans of middle-grade books, get ready for a fascinating afternoon at Middle-Grade Years: How Books Help Readers Discover Who They Are and Where They Fit, featuring:


Elly Swartz
I grew up in Yardley, a small town in Pennsylvania. At the time, there were many cornfields and cows. Boredom was a popular sport. I lived in a red, brick house on Queens Drive with my mom, dad, two older brothers who picked on me regularly as a kid (less so as a grown-up) and dogs (first Missy and later Sam). My childhood was a happy one with many laughs, family dinners and crooked birthday cakes.

I love writing for children, but I didn’t take a direct path to that career. I weaved and bobbed through many unique opportunities on my way to becoming a writer. I studied psychology at Boston University and got my JD at Georgetown University School of Law. I was a ride operator at Sesame Place, spent time working in a furniture store, was a messenger, law library assistant, legal author, litigator, legal research and writing professor and college essay adviser.


Sarah Jean Horwitz
Sarah Jean Horwitz was raised in suburban New Jersey, where her love of storytelling grew from listening to her mother’s original “fractured fairy tales,” a childhood spent in community theater, and an only slightly worrying phase as a
pathological liar. Thankfully, she’s over the last bit.

​Sarah was a film production student at Emerson College when she took her first screenwriting class and realized that making up a movie’s story was a lot more fun than actually making it happen, and also that cameras are really heavy. More writing, including a semester in the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) online mentorship program, followed. She graduated with a B.A. in Visual & Media Arts and a concentration in writing for film and television in 2012.
Naturally, the first project she decided to write after graduating film school was a book. A few years, a handful of continental U.S. states, and many odd jobs later, that book became THE WINGSNATCHERS, the first book in the Carmer and Grit series. The second book in the series, THE CROOKED CASTLE, was released in April 2018. She hopes more stories – in all forms – will follow.
Sarah's other interests include feminism, circus arts, extensive thematic playlists, improvisational movement, tattoos, and making people eat their vegetables. She currently works as an executive assistant and lives with her partner near Cambridge, MA. 


Lauren Magaziner
Lauren Magaziner grew up in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where she spent her childhood with her nose in a book and her fingers curled over a keyboard.

Lauren studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at Hamilton College. She wrote her debut novel, The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, while studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland her Junior year. In addition to writing a book in Scotland, Lauren also herded sheep, attended a royal wedding, witnessed a waddling parade of penguins, rode the real Hogwarts express, spotted the Loch Ness monster, and stuck her face in a fairy river of eternal youth. (All of those things are true, and Lauren has the pictures to prove it.)

After college, Lauren worked on two delightful Scholastic magazines: writing for the issues and creating online teaching resources. She currently resides in Brooklyn, where she now writes full-time.

WizardmatchPilfer Academy, and The Only Thing Worse Than Witches are available now. Her next project is a "pick your path" mystery series called Case ClosedThe first book in that series, Mystery in the Mansion, comes out on August 14, 2018 from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.


Susan Tan
I’ve wanted to be a children’s author since eighth grade when I was named “most likely to be a children’s book writer” in the middle school yearbook. In high school, I worked in the Children’s Room of my local public library, and in college I sketched picturebook outlines in the margins of my school notes. 

But I didn’t really start writing books of my own until after college, when I was earning my PhD at the University of Cambridge in Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature (sense a pattern?). I began writing funny stories from my childhood while I rode the bus in the mornings, and in bed before I fell asleep at night. These stories gradually came together into my first book, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire.

Cilla is based on my own family and deals with the questions, challenges, and many joys that navigating different racial and cultural identities can bring. A second book in the Cilla series, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book is A Classic will be released this March, with a third Cilla book coming in 2019.

More about me: I was the 2015 Gish Jen Emerging Writers Fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston, and when I’m not writing, crocheting, or reading, you can find me teaching at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Follow me on Twitter (@susansmtan), or write me a message on the “Contact” page. I’d love to hear from you!


Jarrett Lerner
Jarrett Lerner is the author of EngiNerdsand its forthcoming sequel, Revenge of the EngiNerds (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He cofounded and helps run the MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects. He can be found at jarrettlerner.com, on Twitter at @Jarrett_Lerner, and on Instragram at @jarrettlerner. He lives in Medford, Massachusetts, with his wife, his daughter, and a cat.




Event address: 
Wellesley Books
82 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02482