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SANDBOX for Middle School Library: Author Visits

A testing ground for the MS Library page for learning and new design ideas. NOT a public space guide!

About our Author Visits program

Author Visits at Catlin Gabel Middle School

The 2017 event is part of the Catlin Gabel Speaker Series.

About These Authors

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is crazy. About stories. He is a New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. His debut novel was When I Was the Greatest and was followed by Boy in the Black Suit and All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely); As Brave As You; and the first two books in the Track series, Ghost and Patina

This information is from his publisher's author page. You  can learn more about him on his websiteor his author page in NoveList Plus (requires a Catlin username and password). For discussion ideas, go to the Reading Group Guide by Simon & Schuster.

Here is a video of Mr. Reynolds reading from Ghost.

Brendan Kiely

Brendan Kiely

Brendan Kiely received his MFA from the City College of New York. He is the author, with Jason Reynolds, of the Coretta Scott King Author Honor book All American Boys. His debut novel, The Gospel of Winter, has been published in ten languages, was selected as one of the American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults 2015, and was a Kirkus Reviews selection for the Best of 2014. He is also the author of The Last True Love Story. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in Greenwich Village.

This information is from his publisher's author pageYou can learn more about Brendan Kiely on his website.

Here is a video with both Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Kiely talking about All American Boys.

2017 Author Visit

This fall, Catlin Gabel was honored to host Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, authors of All American Boys, which all Catlin Gabel eighth grade students read over the summer. Both authors worked with our eighth graders in English classes. 

Additionally, all Catlin Gabel Middle School students read Mr. Reynolds' Ghost this past summer break. Based on this shared reading, Mr. Reynolds presented to the entire Middle School during our November 6th assembly at 12:30 pm. Parents and other visitors joined us for the assembly.

Author Visit Gallery

Books by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All American Boys

When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints.


Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team. He has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But he  has been causing problems and running away from them. He meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life.


Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons--to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she's been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she's not able to live with her "real" mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom's legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty's also running for her mom, who can't. As her stress builds up, it's building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won't tolerate bad attitude. And now he wants Patty to run relay...where you have to depend on other people? How's she going to do THAT?

As Brave As You

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires--literally. Genie's summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia--in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and--being a curious kid--Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well.

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he's ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house--as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into--a room so full of songbirds and plants that it's almost as if it's been pulled inside-out--he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.

The Boy in the Black Suit

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can't handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who's dealt with a lot more--and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down.

She's tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he's drawn to her, and definitely why he can't seem to shake her. Because there's nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness--and who can maybe even help take it away.

When I Was the Greatest

A lot of the stuff that gives Ali's neighborhood a bad name, he don't really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really his thing. Ali's got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there's a dude looking for trouble--and, somehow, it's always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy's gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it's all small potatoes; it's not like anyone's getting hurt.

Long Way Down

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this fiercely stunning novel takes place in sixty potent seconds--the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he's going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

Told in short, fierce narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.

MS Librarian

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Dan Woytek
Middle School Library (503) 284-1894 x3516