Books by Pat Schmatz

The Key to Everything
The Key to Everything cover

For eleven-year-old Tash, Cap’n Jackie isn’t just the elderly next-door neighbor — she’s family. When she disappears, only Tash holds the key that might bring her back. In a heartfelt and stunningly written story, Pat Schmatz introduces readers to a tenacious, fiercely loyal kid struggling to let go of the fantasies and fears of her childhood… and say yes to everything that lies ahead.

  * Minnesota Book Award for Middle-Grade Fiction

  * A Junior Library Guild Selection

  * To read the starred review from Booklist, click here.

Purchase from independent bookseller Moon Palace Bookstore link to Moon Palace Books for purchase

Lizard Radio
Lizard Radio Coming from Candlewick in Fall 2015

Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. She was abandoned as a baby wearing a t-shirt with a lizard on the front, and nonconformist artist Sheila raised her with stories of being dropped by the mysterious saurians. What are you? people ask, and Kivali isn't sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither?

  * Winner of the 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award
    An annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our
    understanding of gender,

  * To read starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, CLICK HERE.

  * Lizard Radio is available from your local independent bookstore:

  * To see the books that influenced the writing of Lizard Radio, CLICK HERE.

Bluefish Coming from Candlewick in Fall 2010
BLUEFISH. Text copyright © 2011 by
Pat Schmatz. Front cover illustration copyright © 2011 by Mamoru Ohtake. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press,
Somerville, MA.

Travis Roberts secretly can't read. Velveeta Wojciehowski is outrageous, loud and lonely. Travis is as diffident as Velveeta is chatty. He's the new kid, and Velveeta has been around forever. When they find each other, the same-old starts to look very different.

  * 2010 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship
  * Josette Frank Award (Bank Street College of Education)
  * ALA Notable Children's Book
  * Junior Library Guild Selection
  * Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
    (National Council of Teachers of English)
  * The Horn Book - Best of 2011
  * Crystal Kite Award (SCBWI Midwest)
  * Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award (Wisc Library Association)
  * Top 10 Indie NEXT List

Starred Reviews:
  * The Horn Book
  * School Library Journal
  * Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Bluefish is available from your local independent bookstore:

For a teacher's guide for Bluefish (created by Walker Books Australia),
click here:


I headed over to my locker, spun the combination, lifted the handle, and –


It was a snapped mousetrap. The old-fashioned wooden kind. A folded piece of paper lay in its grip. I reached in, lifted the trap's spring, and pulled the paper loose. My heart punched at my ribs like it was trying to get out.

I unfolded the paper. It was the picture I'd drawn of Rick.

Maxie's a cartoonist. Rick's a design genius. Back in grade school, they used to come up with crazy inventions, like mousetraps with a zillion parts. But high school is nothing like child's play. The traps Maxie and Rick encounter now are a lot more complicated – and a lot more dangerous…

Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the
LGBT children/young adult category, 2008
Winner of the Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award
from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, 2008

Mousetraps reviews

Circle the Truth
Circle the Truth

First a spiral staircase replaces the regular stairs. The new stairs lead to a living room that isn't his, a cat that isn't his either, and a strange old man whose words are cryptic riddles.

Or are they? Rith's never been into religion. But he realizes those words have a spiritual source - and an uncanny ring of truth. Is he just dreaming? Is the old man God? As Rith tries to circle closer to the truth, the line between reality and unreality blurs…

This rhapsody on faith, acceptance, patience and the relationship between "truth" and "reality" is an unusual and valuable addition to the pantheon of literature for youth, particularly since faith is so seldom addressed with such neutrality in books for younger readers.
- Kirkus Reviews

Chosen by the WI Library Association as one of the Outstanding Books for Children by a Wisconsin Author in 2008.

Named in the 2008 Edition of The Best Children's Books of the Year from the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education

Where did the idea for Circle the Truth come from?

Mrs. Estronsky and the UFO
Mrs. Estronsky and the UFO

Trust your own experience , Jackie," says Mrs. Estronsky.

"It's the only truth that you'll ever know."

Jackie Riley thinks that six months' worth of piano lessons is a terrible idea for a birthday present. But those lessons lead her to an extraordinary experience one October night when she and her piano teacher, Mrs. Estronsky, see something that will change them both forever.

Available from the author,

Was there ever really a UFO?