Kirkus reviews the MVP series

The first review for my new chapter book series from Random House is in, and it’s good! Kirkus reviewed the first book of my Most Valuable Players series, THE GOLD MEDAL MESS, in their March 15th edition.

The book, set at an elementary school, features five friends who are getting ready for their school’s Olympics field day. There will be relay races, archery contests, and more! But not everyone wants to play fair—someone is trying to ruin the events! Can the kids in the Most Valuable Player club solve the mystery, save the Olympics, and take home the gold?

THE GOLD MEDAL MESS by David A. Kelly
MVP #1 – The Gold Medal Mess

You’ll have to read the book to find out if the kids win a medal, but from the Kirkus review of THE GOLD MEDAL MESS, it looks like the book takes home the gold! Kirkus declares:

“This series opener is a promising venture into early Matt Christopher territory.”

“Along with plenty of sports action and sterling detective work to appreciate, Kelly offers readers a chance to ponder the contrast between the priorities of the culprit, a multimedalist from the previous year jealously unwilling to be upstaged, and Nico, who abruptly quits a race he’s about to win when he spots the saboteur at work. A quick set of facts and photos from the official Olympic Games cap this series opener.”

Stay tuned for more. The GOLD MEDAL MESS comes out May 24th, 2016.

The Rangers Rustlers!

Woo-hoo! Giddy up! Head to Texas with Mike and Kate in my latest Ballpark Mysteries book (#12) THE RANGERS RUSTLERS! Like the rest of the Ballpark Mysteries series, THE RANGERS RUSTLERS is great for reluctant readers, baseball fans, or Texas Rangers fans. The book is set at the Texas Rangers stadium. Mike and Kate have to track down a gang of rustlers stealing Texas Rangers merchandise. Hop on your horse and gallop off to Texas with them to help solve the mystery!

(PS – want a signed or personalized copy? Visit the Ballpark Mysteries online store – www.mkt.com/davidakelly )

Ballpark Mysteries #12 - The Rangers Rustlers
Ballpark Mysteries #12 – The Rangers Rustlers

Baseball Mud

While Mr. David A. Kelly has helped me and Kate write the Ballpark Mysteries books, he also does some books on his own, including a really cool picture book called Miracle Mud: The Secret Mud that Changed Baseball. The book tells the story of this mud, that comes from a secret place (in New Jersey!) that is used by ALL major league baseball teams. Who knew? It’s a really neat picture book, so consider checking it out if you want to get muddy. If you want more info, check out this review of Miracle Mud that I just came across.

Miracle Mud

Black and Blue Magic from Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Zilpha Keatley Snyder isn’t a name that rolls off your tongue when someone asks you to name a children’s book author, but she’s one of the authors that I loved as a kid, particularly a book of hers called Black and Blue Magic, which tells the story of a boy named Harry, stuck at home in San Francisco over a long, boring summer. It was a book about magic that sparked magic in me–fostering a love of reading, and eventually opening me up to the pleasures of writing children’s books.

Last week, Zilpha Keatley Snyder passed away at the age of 87, after having published many, many books, and garnering Newbery Honors for some of them. One of the most famous books, The Egypt Game, sits in my pile of to-be-read books.

To honor her memory, I’ve pulled out some passages from an essay (A Summer Full or Reading) that I wrote for the Nerdy Book Club last year about the books that influenced me and the Ballpark Mysteries books:

But Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder was one book I returned to again and again. I remember reading it for the first time in early summer, lying on the floor of my two-level tree house. The book tells the story of Harry Houdini Marco, stuck at home in San Francisco with his mother during a long, boring summer vacation when his friends are all going off to do something interesting. What starts out as a dull summer quickly turns into a series of nighttime adventures after the mysterious Mr. Mazeeck gives Harry some magic ointment that enables him to grow wings and fly. That summer, reading  Black and Blue Magic enabled me to fly over the hills and streets and bay of San Francisco, into Golden Gate Park and beyond.

 Black and Blue Magic is the book I had in mind when I started writing book 7 of my Ballpark Mysteries chapter book series. The San Francisco Splash (obviously set in San Francisco) covers much of the same geographic ground, including San Francisco’s famous hills and its beautiful bay. Initially I hoped to pay homage to Black and Blue Magic by having a magic ointment be part of the mystery or by naming one of my main characters Harry. But as the plot developed, it was clear the story was going in a different direction.

 In the end, while I wasn’t able to work in a reference to Ms. Keatley Snyder’s work, I was able to pick her book back up when I finished with mine. This time, I didn’t lie out in my tree house to read it, but I did sit back and let her book transport me once more to a summer full of mystery, adventure, and surprise.

Stolen Turtles?

Okay, this is too weird. This spring Random House Children’s Books released Ballpark Mysteries book #8 – The Missing Marlin.

Book #8 in the Ballpark Mysteries series.
Book #8 in the Ballpark Mysteries series.

The book is set in Miami, and features the really cool fish tanks in the Miami Marlin’s baseball stadium. An important part of the plot relates to a character who is stealing and trafficking in stolen fish and turtles. But my character is no match for this guy in Detroit, who tried to cross the border with 50 (yes, 50!) turtles strapped to his body….

Stolen Turtles?

Why would anyone want to steal turtles? Kate and I never thought about stolen turtles until we took a trip to the Miami Marlin’s neat baseball stadium with huge fish tanks. You can read about it in our book The Missing Marlin.

Book #8 in the Ballpark Mysteries series is set in Miami, Florida.
Book #8 in the Ballpark Mysteries series is set in Miami, Florida.

But we couldn’t believe it when we read a news story recently about a guy who tried to cross the boarder into Canada with more than 50 stolen turtles strapped to his body! Hopefully, they weren’t SNAPPING turtles!

The San Francisco Splash

The latest Ballpark Mystery is out! It”s called The San Francisco Splash:

BPM-7-Cover-The SF Splash-Large

In it, Mike and Kate You can sign up for ObamaCare’s marketplaces by finding your State’s health affordable-health.info marketplace or going directly to healthcare. go to San Francisco to see a baseball game with Kate”s father, but soon they”re searching for a missing World Series ring and chasing a thief across San Francisco!