June 26, 2013

Peers honor Plattsburgh author with Crystal Kite Award

By ROBIN CAUDELL Press Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — The 2012 Crystal Kite Award lifted Kate Messner professionally.

Presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the award was given to the Plattsburgh resident for “Capture the Flag,” the first in her Silver Jaguar Society Mystery series, published by Scholastic Paperbacks.

The September award ceremony will be held at a regional conference in the Hudson Valley.

“It’s the same day I’m at the Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid (for a book signing),” said Messner, an award-winning author whose books were selections for New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound and Bank Street College of Education Best Books.

“My agent will accept the award on my behalf. Essentially, it’s special to me because it comes from my fellow children’s authors and illustrators. It’s an award voted on by the members in our region. 

“These are people who know how much work goes into a book and how much time it takes to revise and craft a story.”

The region represented by the award is all of New York state, including New York City.


Messner’s novels include “Sugar and Ice,” “The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.” and “Eye of the Storm.” 

Her chapter books are ‘Marty McGuire,” “Marty McGuire Digs Worms” and “Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!”

Inspired by Lake Champlain are her historical works, “Spitfire” and “Champlain & The Silent One.”

She also wrote “Real Revision: Authors’ Strategies to Share with Student Writers” for educators. For 15 years, Messner was a middle-school teacher; she earned National Board Certification in 2006.

“Hide and Seek,” the sequel to “Capture the Flag,” was released in April.

“The third one comes out May 2014,” Messner said. “I just emailed the final revision to my editor last week. That one is called ‘Manhunt.’”


Two upcoming books will be released this summer and later in the fall. The first is “Sea Monster and Bossy Fish,” a picture book with Chronicle Books, due out July 9.

The book shows children how to deal with different peers’ personalities and how to handle a “Bossy Fish.”

“It’s a companion to a title I had come out with a few years ago called ‘Sea Monster’s First Day,” which was a Champy-inspired story about a sea monster’s first day with a new school of fish. That book did really well. 

“Chronicle said, ‘We want another book about this sea monster.’”

Her newest Walker Children’s offering is “Wake Up Missing.”

“It’s about four kids who have concussions and are sent to an elite head-injury clinic in the Florida Everglades for treatment. 

Once they get there, they discover they’re not only being treated for their concussions; they seem to become the subjects in an experiment that could threaten who they are. So they have to try to escape through the swamp.”


A mother of two, Messner is married to WPTZ Chief Meteorologist Tom Messner.

“Every once in a while, my husband says, ‘It must be such a scary place in your head,’” she said. 

“I have a bunch of stuff planned and more picture books with Chronicle,” she continued. “I have a number of new projects in the works.”

A Silver Jaguar Society Mystery installment whisked her to Paris to research the Louvre, one of the targets of an international heist. 

“I’m kind of living my dream job right now,” she said. “It’s been really amazing to get to do what I love. 

“When this Crystal Kite Award happened, it’s an incredible honor. It’s a huge honor that comes from people who know the craft, so it means an awful lot to me.”

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