CHIRP Cover Reveal (and a poem)

My next novel for young readers comes out early next year, and I’m excited to share the cover with you today! But first, a little about the book. Here’s the publisher’s description…

From acclaimed author Kate Messner comes the powerful story of a young girl with the courage to make her voice heard, set against the backdrop of a summertime mystery.

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget.

Mia’s change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram’s thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram’s farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she’s been hiding—and find courage she never knew she had?

In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

Some amazing people read a very early copy of Chirp and said lovely things about it, which made me cry in the best possible way…

Kate Messner strikes the perfect balance of joy, pain, and strength in this deftly-layered mystery about family, friendship, and the struggle to speak up.”

—Laurie Halse Anderson, Bestselling author of Speak and Shout

“CHIRP is so many things: a mystery, a family story, and a story of the power of friendship. It’s about learning to speak out when it seems the whole world would rather you shut up. Sure to be passed from kid to kid to kid.” 

—Laura Ruby, National Book Award Finalist and author of the YORK Trilogy

“Once again, Kate Messner has written a book that will be a dear and important friend to her readers. A loving and compelling ode to the joy of friendship, the many kinds of strength, and the everyday bravery of girls.”

—Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl

“Messner’s fantastic book will resonate with readers across generations, who will appreciate Mia’s steady determination. Her story will inspire others to chirp. Loudly.”               

–Sara Hines, Eight Cousins Bookstore

Chirp is the book that will pass student to student, with whispered recommendations, and barely take up any space on my library shelves. Chirp is the book I wish I had had as a kid.”

—Katherine Sokolowski, Grade 7 Teacher, Central Illinois

“Kate Messner has written a timely, honest, heart-filled story that will invite courageous conversations and empower young readers to use their voices about boundaries, consent, harassment, and gender equality.”

—Melissa Guerrette, Grade 5 Teacher, Oxford, ME

“I wish I had this book when I was a young girl. I wish I had a book that would have let me know that I wasn’t alone, that I shouldn’t be ashamed, that I should be brave. This was an amazing read.”

—Vera Ahiyya, The Tutu Teacher

Illustrator Christopher Silas Neal is responsible for Chirp’s amazing cover art. Here it is…

And here is a poem that I wrote about this book that I wrote. It’s for anyone who doesn’t think we should talk about tough subjects in fun books for kids. But even more than that, it’s for the teachers & librarians who do the essential work of putting the books kids need in their hands every single day.

by Kate Messner

Why have you written a fun summer mystery about a girl with a secret?
Why that kind of secret?
Who would put that in a book for kids?
Why do people have to keep talking about this stuff?
It just happens, you know.
We didn’t used to talk about it. We just dealt with it.
That’s just how boys are how men are how things are.
You don’t have to go talking about it.
Can’t people just move on?

Actually, no.

We need to talk about it.
It might be how things were,
How you thought they’d always be
When you figured it was best to let it go.
But just because you did
Doesn’t mean we should.
Just because it could have been worse
Doesn’t mean it’s okay.
Just because you’d like us to be quiet
Doesn’t mean we will.

We won’t.

Now that we’ve established that,
It’s a fun summer mystery about a girl with a secret
Because girls can do both.
Girls who are struggling and grieving,
Girls who are trying to forget but still remembering,
Girls who wonder what they could have should have done differently,
Girls who are learning to be enraged,
Rejecting old ideas,
Getting ready to speak up.
Those girls?
They get up every morning, tuck their secrets away and get dressed.
They got to school and camp and soccer games.
They kick goals and write code, and solve problems.
They love their friends fiercely.
They jump off rocks into clear, cold lakes
And they laugh.
They notice what the world takes from girls
And they’re getting ready to take it back.
So yeah…
It’s a funny summer mystery about a girl with a secret
Because girls can do both.