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Sep 15 / Michael

Don’t Turn Out the Lights (read these spooky stories instead)!

Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the two followup collections have scared the wits out of whole generations of kids and campers (and, OK fine, adults too). They are some of the most enduring and beloved American children’s books ever written. So it was both a thrill and a chill to be asked to contribute a spooky story of my own to Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Like the title says, it is the first official tribute to the classic stories, published by HarperCollins and the Horror Writers Association.

There are 35 stories, all good, scary fun. Mine is titled “In Stitches,” and like many of Schwartz’s originals, it was inspired by an old American folktale. This one was told to me by my Yankee granddad, about what happens to little kids who talk too much on lazy summer days. (Come to think of it, I was a little kid who talked too much. Hmmm…) I had a ton of fun writing it, so if you’re looking for a spooky story for a stormy night, you can pick the book up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookstore or wherever books are sold. (True story: I was going to title this post Scary Stories to Sell Like a Dork!) Happy reading—and, of course, BOO!

Jun 2 / Michael

New Edition: ROTTEN in paperback!

It took seven years and one professional dog model on the cover, but ROTTEN, my YA tale of a tough teen and a rescued Rottweiler, is finally available in paperback. Just look at this good boy!

My mom had a big heart (and a sufficient backyard), so I grew up surrounded by rescue dogs. Writing one realistically as a main character was a labor of love, and ROTTEN is one of my favorite books. And it appears I am not alone! The hardcover came out so long ago that I forgot how much people really liked this book. (OK, almost forgot 😄)

Here are some of the nice things people have said about it:

“A sure bet for any reader who loves an underdog, human or canine.”—Publishers Weekly

“A fine portrayal of a boy, a dog and the ties of friends.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A laugh-out-loud book, with so many things to love.”—Christian Science Monitor

“Northrop knows just how to get into the male mind, blending subtle humor with convincing dialogue. But above all, the author knows that nothing gets between a guy and his dog.”—BookPage

ROTTEN was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Bank Street College of Education, a Junior Library Guild selection, and a Keystone to Reading Award finalist in Pennsylvania.

Anyway, I love this book, and I am very excited that more people will get a chance to meet Jimmer “JD” Dobbs and his cooly drooly friend Johnny Rotten. You can pick up the shiny new paperback edition at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookstore, or wherever books are sold!

Dec 23 / Michael

Dear Justice League makes the cut!


At this time of year, a certain red-suited gentleman is known to make a list and check it twice. Well, Dear Justice League has made a list too. In fact, it’s made several! My first graphic novel has been named:

One of the Today Show’s 26 Best Children’s Books of 2019!

One of Polygon’s 50 Best Comics for Kids!

One of Comicon’s 7 Best Original Graphic Novels of 2019!

A unanimous selection for the Texas Library Association’s Little Maverick graphic novel reading list! Yeehaw!

No need to check this list twice. I’ve already double-checked to make sure it’s not all some sort of Nutcracker-esque dream. (No Rat Kings in sight, thankfully!) Thanks so much to everyone—critic and kid alike—who’s taken the time to read and review and recommend this colorful, earnest little joy ball of a book this year. This fantastic flight wouldn’t have been possible without you. Happy Holidays!

Aug 10 / Michael

Up, up, and away for Dear Justice League!

Talk about a warm welcome! Dear Justice League was the #6 graphic novel in comic book shops for the month of July. It came out in comic shops July 31st! 🔥 It came out in bookstores and online six days later, and if anything, that warm welcome has only gotten hotter. Here are just some of the fantastic, kind, and humbling things people have been saying about my first graphic novel with the brilliant Brazilian artist Gustavo Duarte:

“The best kids’ comic I’ve read all year… Charming from cover to cover.”—Polygon

“Heartwarming, hilarious, and endearing to no end.”—AiPT! Comics

“A near-perfect all-ages introduction to the Justice League’s most popular characters.”—GeekDad

“A perfect welcome for young comic fans.”—ScreenRant

“Fun for all ages… An adorable introduction to the members of the Justice League.”—The Geekiary

“A lot of fun… A story I can see fans of all ages enjoying.”—The Good Men Project

“Humorous, action-packed and entertaining from cover to cover.”—Superman Homepage

“Positively delightful from beginning to end, Dear Justice League is a great comic for readers of all ages.”—Batman News

And, well, you get the idea 😃 It has been a heck of a week and a half! I love this book so much. For months, I couldn’t wait for launch day to arrive. The whole time I was hoping that once people saw this colorful, earnest joy-ball of a book, they would love it too. Well, it’s here—and they do! ❤️ More news soon, but for now, thanks so much to everyone who has opened this book’s canary yellow covers and taken flight with its heroes.

Aug 6 / Michael

Justice is served!

 

At long last! My first graphic novel, Dear Justice League, is available in comic book shops, bookstores, onlineand everywhere else books are sold! The world’s greatest heroes, the Justice League, answer questions from their biggest fans—kids! I am so proud of this gorgeous, funny, big-hearted book and so thankful for Gustavo Duarte’s brilliant art, Marcelo Maiolo’s vibrant colors, Wes Abbott’s A+ lettering, and everyone else at DC Comics who helped me do this idea justice! More news soon!

Jul 30 / Michael

On Thin Ice is here: 6 years in the making and yours for the taking!

My new middle-grade novel is finally here! On Thin Ice is my 12th book with Scholastic and maybe my best. There’s a lot going on inside that beautiful blue cover. It’s a modern response to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, a small-town underdog story about daring to build something new out of broken pieces, and a 6-year labor of love.

It’s already been named a Junior Library Guild “Gold Standard” Selection, and here are some of the other nice things people are saying about it: 

“A brilliant, powerful story of one boy who courageously faces life’s obstacles and is determined to overcome them, On Thin Ice is a must-read.”—the nationally syndicated column Books to Borrow, Books to Buy

“A sharp, sympathetic insight into poverty, family, friendship, and forgiveness.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An engaging coming-of-age story.”—School Library Journal

I spent years building and rebuilding this story. There were countless drafts, a half dozen titles, two editors, lots of phone calls and brainstorming and thinking and rethinking, and, well, it’s finally here. I love this book so much, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it. On Thin Ice is available online, on audio, and in bookstores nationwide. I hope you will consider giving this determined little book a chance!

Jul 12 / Michael

It’s a Star for Dear Justice League!

I have some stellar news to share: Dear Justice League got a starred review (the blue ribbon of publishing!) in the July issue of School Library Journal. Woohoo! I am over the moon! Just a few more weeks until my first graphic novel is out in the world, and I cannot wait!

May 23 / Michael

On Thin Ice gets its first (glowing!) reviews

The first review of On Thin Ice is in, and (drumroll, please) . . . it’s fantastic! Kirkus Reviews has a reputation as the toughest of the major trade reviewers, but those ol’ grumpy gusses just couldn’t help themselves: They loved this big-hearted underdog tale! You can read the full review here, but in the meantime, here’s the wonderful final line:

“A sharp, sympathetic insight into poverty, family, friendship, and forgiveness.”—Kirkus Reviews

And there’s another nice review on the way! In their June/July issue, School Library Journal calls On Thin Ice “an engaging coming-of-age story.” I’ll share the full review as soon as it’s published, and hopefully there will be more good news soon. It’s beginning to look like On Thin Ice is all it’s cracked up to be! 🙂

May 1 / Michael

Dear Justice League book trailer + a blast of a podcast!

Here it is, the official book trailer for Dear Justice League! I love this quick, colorful intro to the book so much. It conveys the theme right away (heroes answer funny/direct questions from kids!) and gives readers a fun preview of Gustavo’s gorgeous artwork. Check it out. So cool, right?

I also had a blast last night talking comic books, Free Comic Book Day, and just about everything else (Endgame! Shazam!) with the great guys from Comic Book Club. Here’s a link to the podcast. I’m the one with a voice like Mickey Mouse had too much coffee!

Apr 26 / Michael

On Thin Ice is a Junior Library Guild selection!

Woohoo! My upcoming middle grade novel On Thin Ice is officially a Junior Library Guild selection! The JLG has been around since 1929 and has a reputation for picking good books—award winners, enduring favorites, that sort of thing. Even better, it has a reputation for picking them early. I’m still eagerly (OK, anxiously) awaiting the first reviews of my book, so this early boost means a ton to me.

On Thin Ice was not an easy book to write. It’s a modern response to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and a contemporary middle grade about daring to create something new from broken pieces. In other words: It’s complicated. It took me six years and umpteen (technical term) drafts to finish. That’s not the kind of process you go through and think: Now it’s perfect! It’s more like building a plane out of spare parts and thinking, Man, I hope this thing flies, as you rumble down the runway. What this selection means to me is: It flies. It comes out July 30 and is available now for preorder. Let’s see where it lands!