The Mississippi Book Festival, held on the grounds of the Capitol in Jackson, hosts book panels, author signings, book sellers, and much more bookish fun. I was super excited to get to go this year, and had a blast. My favorite part was discovering a new author. One panel I heard was given by Middle Grade authors, a genre aimed at 8-12 year olds. I love this range of fiction, and it was so fun to listen to the writers discuss their work, their process, and writing for children. I especially enjoyed Cassie Beasley, who was there promoting her second book, Tumble & Blue (which will be on the blog later). She was such a delight to listen to; her enthusiasm and love for stories was contagious. She was such an engaging speaker, and her stories sounded right in my comfort zone, that I bought both of her novels that day.
Circus Mirandus, Beasley’s first novel, is a wonderful story of magic and friendship. Micah Tuttle was raised by his grandfather, Ephraim. They love orange soda, tying knots, and especially stories about Circus Mirandus, the magical circus Ephraim visited as a boy. Now Ephraim is dying and Micah’s only hope to save him is to get the Man Who Bends Light from Circus Mirandus to fulfill the miracle he once promised to Ephraim. It’s a really imaginative story about faith – not a wishful, blind hope, but holding fast to belief in things you can’t see but know to be true. It is also a sweet story of friendship and family, growing up and facing the difficulties of life. The story and style reminded me of Roald Dahl, a favorite author of mine. I look forward to reading her next novel and hope she comes out with more.