THE MATCHSTICK CASTLE Is an Official 2018 Illinois Reads Selection!

Exciting news!

From the press release:

“A statewide project promoting reading for Illinois citizens, ILLINOIS READS annually selects six books in each of six different age categories ranging from read-to books for infants to adult readers. A variety of topics and themes are chosen for each age group, with an emphasis on selections written by authors with ties to Illinois . . .

“The Southern ILLINOIS READS Book Festival will be a celebration of the 2018 ILLINOIS READS campaign. Readers from all over the state of Illinois are invited to this free event in DuQuoin at the DuQuoin High School on Saturday, March 10.”

I’ll be there—will you? Looking forward to it!

Illinois Reads Selections, Grades 3–5

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, by Robert Burleigh

Penelope March is Melting, by Jeffrey Michael

Ruby Red, by Liesl Shurtliff

Margaret and the Moon, by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Lucy Knisley

Fresh Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market, by Michelle Schaub

The Matchstick Castle, by Keir Graff

Click here for the full list of titles. And for more information about the program, visit the Illinois Reads website.


Tomorrow morning, I’ll be rolling out of bed before dawn and making my way to O’Hare for the first of two flights that will eventually land me in Great Falls, Montana, where I’ll be meeting up with James Grady, Jamie Ford, David Abrams, Gwen Florio, Eric Heidle, and Yvonne Seng for Day Two of the Montana Noir tour. In various combinations, we’ll be criss-crossing the state until we reach my hometown of Missoula, Montana, to wrap things up with a gala reading including no fewer than NINE contributors at the Montana Book Festival.

This book has been a real labor of love and I’m so excited to finally present it to the readers of Montana. If you live in Montana, I hope you can catch us at one of the tour stops below. If you don’t live in Montana, order the book and join us in spirit!


Saturday, September 23, 2017
5:30–7 p.m.
This House of Books, 224 N Broadway, Billings, MT
With Gwen Florio and Carrie La Seur

Sunday, September 24, 2017
7 p.m.
Cassiopeia Books, 721 Central Ave, Great Falls, MT
With David Abrams, Gwen Florio, Jamie Ford, James Grady, Keir Graff, Eric Heidle, Yvonne Seng

Monday, September 25
7 p.m.
Country Bookshelf, 28 W Main St, Bozeman, MT
With David Abrams, James Grady, Keir Graff, Walter Kirn, Yvonne Seng

Tuesday, September 26
12 p.m.
Butte-Silver Bow Public Library, 226 W Broadway St, Butte, MT
With David Abrams, James Grady, Keir Graff, Yvonne Seng

7 p.m.
Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery, 321 W Broadway St, Butte, MT
With David Abrams, James Grady, Keir Graff, Eric Heidle, Caroline Patterson, Yvonne Seng
Book sales by Books & Books

Wednesday, September 27
6 p.m.
Reception at Blackfoot River Brewing Company, 66 S Park Ave, Helena, MT
7 p.m.
Lewis & Clark Library, 120 S Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT
With David Abrams, Gwen Florio, James Grady, Keir Graff, Eric Heidle, Caroline Patterson, Yvonne Seng
Book sales by Montana Book & Toy Co.

Friday, September 29
4 p.m.
Montana Book Festival: Panel and Q&A
Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore, 103 S 3rd St W, Missoula, MT
With David Abrams, Gwen Florio, James Grady, Keir Graff, Eric Heidle, Sidner Larson, Carrie La Seur, Caroline Patterson, Yvonne Seng

Saturday, September 30
6 p.m.
Montana Book Festival: Noir at the Bar
Union Club, 208 E Main St, Missoula, MT
With David Abrams, Gwen Florio, James Grady, Keir Graff, Eric Heidle, Sidner Larson, Carrie La Seur, Caroline Patterson, Yvonne Seng
Featuring music by Russ Nasset and the Revelators!

Tour Dates! Am I Coming to Your Town?

Tonight I’m boarding a plane for Portland, Oregon, and my first shows with this year’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. The Matchstick Castle has only been out for a month and I’ve already been fortunate to meet so many young readers—but there are many more events to come! In addition to visiting Portland, Tacoma, Oakland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Manhattan, and Brooklyn, I’ll be visiting schools and libraries here in Chicago throughout the year. Please visit my Appearances page for the full list of places, dates, and times, and stay tuned, as more events will be added throughout the year.

If you’d like me to visit your school, library, or bookstore, please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do!

I hope to see you on the road.

I Answered Questions for an Hour – and Survived!


Yesterday, it was my honor and privilege to do a LIVE CHAT with JoAnn Jonas as part of the Penguin Young Readers Author Program on EarlyWord. The questions were good, the audience engaged, and my fingers were flying! If you missed it and you’d like to see what all the typing was about, the archived discussion is embedded below. I’m sure you’ll be able to read it in a lot less time than the hour it lasted.

Live Blog Live Chat with Keir Graff, THE MATCHSTICK CASTLE

This Sunday! Tricks (and Treats) for Writing for Young Readers

Do you live in the Chicago area? Are you interested in learning more about writing for middle-grade readers? Join me this Sunday, where I’ll be taking part in “Tricks (and Treats) for Writing for Young Readers” with Kate Hannigan (The Detective’s Assistant), Michelle Falkoff (Pushing Perfect), Amy Cattapan (Seven Riddles to Nowhere), and Natasha Tarpley (The Harlem Charade). The event is FREE and so is the parking! Just leave your jalopy in Lot 1, at the corner of Augusta and Monroe.

Where: Room 200, Christopher Center, Concordia University Chicago’s Center for Literacy (River Forest, IL)

When: Sunday, October 23, from 1–3 p.m.

Want the full, gory details? Click here!

Or download and share this flyer—writers and readers of all ages are welcome.

Tricks (and Treats) for Writing for Young Readers

Big Publishing News!

I’m very pleased to share some Big Publishing News! (Well, it’s big to me, anyway.) The Matchstick Castle will be followed by . . . The Phantom Tower!

Here’s the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Children’s: Middle grade

Booklist Executive Editor and author of The Other Felix and the upcoming The Matchstick Castle Keir Graff’s THE PHANTOM TOWER, where a prewar apartment building in Chicago turns out to be a portal—for an hour a day—to its ghostly, never-built twin; when a couple of kids stumble upon the tower—whose residents may be alive, dead, or something… different—they’ve got to find their way back to Reality, again to Katherine Perkins at Putnam Children’s, by Josh Getzler at Hannigan Salky Getzler (World).