Back-To-School Book Series: Catherine Newman's 'One Mixed-Up Night'

Aug 31, 2017

Amherst, Massachusetts, author Catherine Newman set her first middle-grade novel, "One Mixed-Up Night", in an unlikely setting -- the giant Swedish furniture store Ikea. 

Here's the opening passage, in the voice of the narrator, a spunky six-grader named Frankie:

The funny thing is this: people think that dorky geeks who read all the time are the kinds of kids who don't get into trouble. But they're wrong. We Do. And I'm telling you this from experience. I'm telling you this because there was a moment when Walter and I were scrunched into a pair of hanging chairs in the Ikea showroom at four in the morning, thrilled and terrified, hiding from the security guard with her walkie-talkie, and I thought, We wouldn't even be here if we hadn't read the books we've read.

The main characters were inspired by a 1960s children's book called "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." In it, two kids in New York spend a week secretly living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As part of our back-to-school book series, Newman tells us that plot appealed to her own childhood imagination.