July 15, 2015
 New Title with Author Note, Book Giveaway, and More



Dear Readers,     


In this issue of KidsBookClubbing, you'll meet Serafina. She's daring, brave, and prowling into kids' imaginations in the #1 Goodreads middle grade novel, SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK by Robert Beatty.  


Warm wishes,             


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp




Ages 8 - 12 / Middle Grade Historical Fiction / Disney Hyperion 


Win a set of SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK by Robert Beatty for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (please write "KidsBookClubbing" in the subject line).


Dear Reader:

ooking for the next page turner for your kids? Here's a clue: Meet Serafina. A new heroine who mixes mystery and history.

SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK grew out of my love of writing stories about unusual and heroic young girls for my three daughters. A strange, cat-like girl lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate while the fancy folk live above. It's a spooky, historical thriller filled with mystery and dark magic, but rooted in our experience living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, exploring the nearby Biltmore Estate, walking through old Southern graveyards, and hiking the forest trails. I love making historical times and the natural world exciting for young readers, and framing the novel in a mystery seemed ideal.


One night, Serafina encounters a terrifying man in a black cloak. When children start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. Following her own harrowing escape, she risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.


In doing so, she must not only face her darkest enemy, but the secrets of her own past.


I can't wait for you to meet Serafina.


Happy reading,


Robert Beatty


Book reviews:  


#1 Goodreads 2015 Middle Grade Novel


"Enchanting...Children will eagerly follow Serafina into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new friendships."

- Kirkus Reviews


"The story drips with suspense...mystery fans will enjoy this book."

- School Library Journal


"Serafina narrates with an engaging voice that draws the reader into her world. The setting is just as engaging. ...Serafina has enough mystery and fantasy (with a fair amount of creepiness) to satisfy young readers."

- Historical Novels Society


Discussion questions:   

  • In the story, Serafina knows she is a "creature of the night." Later, she overhears one of the other characters say that all creatures of the night are evil. It's true that she sneaks around, hides in the Vanderbilts' basement, and listens to other people's conversations. Do you think Serafina is evil? What does evil mean to you?
  • When she's in the graveyard, Serafina reads the inscription on the angel statue: "Our character isn't defined by the battles we win or lose, but by the battles we dare to fight." What do you think this means? How does it apply to Serafina? How might it apply to you? Have you ever had to face a challenging decision that required courage?
  • At the beginning of the story, Serafina struggles to define what a friend is. What is your definition of a true friend?
  • The Black Cloak allows a person to gather incredible knowledge and skills. Would you wear and use the Black Cloak? Is wearing and using the Black Cloak right or wrong? Or does it depend on how you use it?
  • What does this mean? "She was beginning to see how difficult it was to determine who was good and who was bad, who she could trust and who she had to watch out for. Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive, but no one thought they were evil."

To learn more about author Robert Beatty, watch the book trailer, read an excerpt and reader's guide, find out about giveaways and how to connect with him and more, visit his website.


Author call-in information: Robert Beatty is happy to visit with your group via Skype or phone. Email Robert to submit your request.



  • A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.
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