More About Keep It Together, Keiko Carter…

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is my middle grade debut and available for purchase now!

This is where you’ll find links to news, reviews, and interviews. Keep coming back as I’ll update often. Thank you so much for all your support!

You can order the book from my local independent bookstore and get a personalized signed copy mailed to you (free in the US).

Check out this fun book trailer for Scholastic Book Fairs.

Publisher’s Weekly Pandemic Missed Connections featuring Keep It Together, Keiko Carter and other wonderful books.

Virtual Book Launch: Chocolate Quiz w Christina Soontornvat and Supriya Kelkar

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is a New England Book Award finalist for Middle Grade (NEIBA)

Book Riot: 10 Fantastically Sweet Middle Grade Romance Books

French edition release – Les coups de coeur de Keiko Carter (Michel Lafon)

“Keep It Together Keiko Carter” Earns Mystic author award nomination article in The Day

Romanian edition release – Tine-te bine Keiko Carter (Editura Trei)

An interview with me on Lupine Seeds

An interview with me on delphreads

My essay and cover reveal on Nerdy Book Club

My video clip from Scholastic’s Spring 2020 Online Preview (see middle grade)

A sneak peek! Read chapter 1 of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter!

An exclusive excerpt on The Nerd Daily: Read chapter 2 of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter 

Interview with The Nerd Daily: Q&A w Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

Book Review: Imaginary Elevators

Book Review: 24hryabookblog

Book Review: CeCeLibrarian’s Book Blog 

Book Review: Beagles and Books

Kid Book Review: Elena Reads

Book Review: Afoma Umesi

Book Review: Onigireads

Video Kid Book Review: Read with Val


What people are saying:

“In her middle-grade debut, Florence creates a fun, accessible story, touching on the realities of middle school, such as friendships, fallouts, misunderstandings, first crushes, and fitting in. The highs and lows of the girls’ friendship highlight toxic relationships versus true friendship. Sweet and smart.” – Kirkus Review

“Tween and teen relationships are explored in this charming middle-grade story by Florence. This book would be a solid recommendation for young readers looking for lighthearted romance but not ready for more mature YA content.” – Booklist

“The moment I saw the cover, my heart soared: an Asian American main character who is every bit the All-American girl. This is the book I wish I could take back in time and give to my tween self. I am so thrilled that today’s readers get to have Keiko Carter.” –Christina Soontornvat, Newbery  Honor author of A Wish in the Dark

“Keep It Together, Keiko Carter navigates friendships, crushes, and self-discovery with such heart – my seventh grade self would have adored this book!” –Mae Respicio, award-winning author of The House That Lou Built and Any Day with You

“I loved how relatable (the story) was, being in a group of three friends and dealing with their conflicts.” – Novalee, age 12

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter takes an honest look at friendship fallouts and changing family dynamics with sweetness and sincerity that will make you cheer for Keiko as she learns to manage it all without losing herself.” –Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

“A beautiful coming of age story. Keep It Together Keiko Carter shines with friendship changes, first crushes, and a perfect, heartwarming ending.” – Julie Abe, author of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch

“In this deft, empathetic, and humorous narrative, Debbi Michiko Florence has expertly captured the joy and heartbreak of middle school.” – Andrea Wang, Newbery honor, Caldecott award, and APALA award winning author of Watercress

“I want every preteen girl to read (this book), because it feels so true to the experience of being a middle-school girl and navigating the tough social waters of female friendship, cliques and crushes.” – Elissa Sweet, book-seller

Scholastic Spring Preview for Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

I was invited to the studio at Scholastic to record a video for their Online Spring Preview for my debut middle grade novel, Keep It Together, Keiko Carter. Curious to hear more about what this book is about? You can check out my video here.

Early next year, stay tuned for details on a preorder campaign through my local independent bookstore. You’ll get a personalized signed copy, swag, and be entered in a grand prize drawing! I’m super excited!

Thank you for your support as always!

An ARC Review for Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

It’s scary when after years (for me over a decade) of writing and revising a manuscript, it becomes a real book and suddenly the story is no longer mine. It belongs to readers. Always the hope is that readers will connect with the characters, love the story, want to share the book.

Yesterday, I saw my first educator review of my debut middle grade novel and was filled with joy and relief that it was a good one! WHEW!

Check it out here: CeCe Librarian’s Book Blog 

Buttons the Kitten, A Reader Review

Buttons the Kitten is part of the My Furry Foster Family chapter book series (Picture Window Books/2019). I was thrilled to learn of this young reader’s review of the book.

In part, Cooper says: “I think kids will like this because it is about pets. It is about saving animals and has a girl who gets to take care of them.”

Check out the entire review.

Announcement and Cover Reveal of My Middle Grade Debut

I am thrilled to announce that my middle grade debut, Keep It Together, Keiko Carter will be published by Scholastic on May 5, 2020! I’m eternally grateful to my amazing agent, Tricia Lawrence of EMLA, and my brilliant editor Jenne Abramowitz! Check out this gorgeous cover:

Huge props to cover designer Stephanie Yang! I love this cover so much! For more about how I came to write this novel, check out my essay on the Nerdy Book Club blog.

Stay tuned for a fun pre-order campaign! Thank YOU as always for all your amazing support!

Catching Up!

It’s been a busy few weeks and I hope to have my quarterly newsletter out on time next month. In the meantime here are a few things I’ve been up to.

As part of the #KidsNeedMentors program, I partnered with teacher Jane Chalifoux and her third grade students at Mills Pond Elementary. After a year of correspondence and book donations (from me to them), I visited their class in May. I spoke to them about books and writing Jasmine Toguchi, and then led them in a few writing exercises. They were an enthusiastic and creative group and it was a joy partnering with them.

In July, I flew to Jackson Hole, WY where I taught a kid’s writing camp to a group of very talented young writers. It was my first time to Jackson Hole and I thought it was gorgeous! I hope to return in the near future to check out the sights.

I also traveled to Minnesota where I had the opportunity to finally meet my Capstone editor, Jill Katz. We have worked on two series together (Dorothy & Toto and My Furry Foster Family). It was wonderful to chat with her face-to-face. She’s every bit as lovely as I knew she’d be.

I ended July with a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit with my parents and my daughter. I spent a day at the Nisei Week Baby Show, signing Jasmine Toguchi for young readers. I had a lovely time! I look forward to returning next summer for Nisei Week festivities.

In August, it was a dream come true for me to be on the faculty of the SCBWI Los Angeles annual conference. I led a workshop on crafting chapter book series, and participated in a panel on creating memorable main characters. It was memorable for me to share the stage with awesome senior editor and moderator Matt Ringler and authors/illustrators I’ve long admired, Ben Clanton, Bruce Hale, and Lisa Yee.

Most recently (just last week), Savoy Bookshop & Cafe hosted my newest chapter book series launch – My Furry Foster Family. I was joined by Save One Soul Animal Rescue who brought a Truman the Dog look-alike! It was a lot of fun! You can buy signed books from Savoy Bookshop.

I love hearing from readers, via snail mail and email. Thank you for all your support! I hope to see you an an upcoming event!

School Visits!

I love doing school visits and meeting amazing students, teachers, librarians, and staff! In the past couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with students in New York, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. These young readers are the reason I write books!

Jumping for joy in Castleton, NY for their Read Over Sleep Over event with the third graders!

Speaking with enthusiastic first graders visiting The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, NY. 

Fabulous second graders in Brooklyn NY!

A wonderful group of book-lovers from third to fifth grade in Madison WI!

Looking forward to meeting more students and readers across the country this year! Thank you to all the fabulous schools and libraries for hosting me!

Crabby? Hooray!

Wowee zowee! I’m so excited to learn that Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl won the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award for Transitional Fiction! A big thank you to Blue Crab committee and the Maryland Librarian Association for this wonderful honor!

Singapore American School Visit

In January, I had the fabulous experience of spending a week visiting the Singapore American School where Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen won the student-voted Big Splash Award!

There, I spoke to 1,800 K-5th graders about Jasmine Toguchi, and I ran writing workshops on character development for 2nd-4th graders. I had a blast!

The kindergarteners, with the help of parent volunteers, made mochi!

The last day of my visit was Dress Like a Character Day, and I was touched and surprised by the many Jasmine Toguchis on campus, including the wonderful librarians, Ali, Mary, and Kate!

It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I have so much gratitude for the Singapore American School for being amazing hosts! Thank you, all!

Readers are the best!