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Alan
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Thrillers for Young Readers
Travels from: Portland, OR

“This dude does his history homework and then hides it in a total page-turner.” – Tablet Magazine

Alan Gratz is the bestselling author of nineteen novels and graphic novels for young readers. His 2017 novel Refugee has spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list, and is the winner of 14 state awards. Its other accolades include the Sydney Taylor Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Award, a Charlotte Huck Award Honor, and a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights Honor. Refugee was also a Global Read Aloud Book for 2018 and has spent more than four years on the NYT list.

Alan’s 2022 novel Two Degrees and his 2021 novel Ground Zero were both instant #1 New York Times bestsellers, and were also ABA Indie, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. His 2019 novel Allies debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and received four starred reviews, and 2018’s Grenade debuted at #3. His other books include Prisoner B-3087, which was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Readers pick and winner of eight state awards; Projekt 1065, a Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2016 and winner of five state awards; Code of Honor, a YALSA Quick Pick for Young Readers; and Ban This Book, which was featured by Whoopi Goldberg on The View.

Alan has traveled extensively to talk about his books, appearing at schools and book festivals in 39 states and a half-dozen countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Switzerland, and has been a Writer in Residence at Tokyo’s American School in Japan, the James Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, and the Jakarta Intercultural School in Indonesia.

Alan was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the 1982 World’s Fair. After a carefree but humid childhood, Alan attended the University of Tennessee, where he earned a College Scholars degree with a specialization in creative writing, and, later, a Master’s degree in English education. A member of the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame, Alan now lives with his wife Wendi and his daughter Jo in Asheville, North Carolina, where he enjoys playing games, eating pizza, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, reading books.
Alan’s Authors Unbound Profile:

Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor

Scholastic Press |
Children’s/Middle Grade

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Refugee, Ground Zero, and Two Degrees comes this heart-pounding, inventive, and powerful new novel about the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor… as only Alan Gratz can tell it!

December 6, 1941: Best friends Frank and Stanley have it good. With their dads stationed at the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, the boys get to soak up the sunshine while writing and drawing their own comic books. World War II might be raging overseas, but so far America has stayed out of the fight. There’s nothing to fear, right?

December 7th, 1941: Everything implodes.

Frank and Stanley are touring a battleship when Japanese planes zoom overhead, dropping bomb after bomb. As explosions roar and sailors screa, Frank and Stanley realize the unthinkable is happening: Japan is attacking America! The war has come to them.

Frantically, the boys struggle to find safety. But disaster and danger are everywhere–from torpedoes underwater to bullets on the beach… to the shocking cruelty that their friends and neightbors show Stanely. Because his mom is Japanese-American, Stanely is suddenly seen as the “enemy.” And Frank, who is white, cannot begin to understand what his friend is now facing.

If the boys make it through this infamous day, can their friendship–and their dreams–survive? Or has everything they know been destroyed?

Told with the immediacy, high-stakes action, and inventive storytelling that make Alan Gratz (Refugee, Ground Zero) one of today’s biggest authors, this riveting look at the attack on Pearl Harbor explores themes of prejudice, power, and what it truly means to be a hero.

Plus: The book ends with an all-original, 10-page black & white comic that brings to life the comic book idea that Frank and Stanley brainstorm in the novel. The comic is written by Alan Gratz and illustrated by Judit Tondora.

Captain America: The Ghost Army

Graphix |
Middle Grade Graphic Novel
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alan Gratz (Refugee, Ground Zero) comes an all-new, original Captain America graphic novel!In this thrilling historical adventure set during World War II, Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America) and his young sidekick, Bucky Barnes, encounter threat like none they’ve ever seen — a Ghost Army. The dead of this war and wars past are coming back to life, impervious to bullets, flames, or anything else the Allies can throw at them. The armies rise from the ground in the night and seem to disappear without a trace.

How can Cap and Buck fight something that’s already dead? And just what does the mysterious Baron Mordo—sitting in his castle atop nearby Wundagore Mountain—have to do with this?

Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Alan Gratz merges the worlds of historical fiction and super hero comics in this one-of-a-kind graphic novel that is sure to be met with major enthusiasm from fans of all ages.

Two Degrees

Scholastic Press |
Middle Grade Fiction

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller!

#1 New York Times bestselling author Alan Gratz (Refugee; Ground Zero) is back, tackling the urgent topic of climate change in this breathtaking, action-packed novel that will keep readers turning pages while making their own plans to better the world.

Fire. Ice. Flood. Three climate disasters.

Four kids fighting for their lives.

Akira is riding her horse in the California woods when a wildfire sparks–and grows scarily fast. How can she make it to safety when there are flames everywhere?

Owen and his best friend, George, are used to seeing polar bears on the snowy Canadian tundra. But when one bear gets way too close for comfort, do the boys have any chance of surviving?

Natalie hunkers down at home as a massive hurricane barrels toward Miami. When the floodwaters crash into her house, Natalie is dragged out into the storm–with nowhere to hide.

Akira, Owen, George, and Natalie are all swept up in the devastating effects of climate change. They are also connected in ways that will shock them–and could alter their destinies forever.

Bestselling author Alan Gratz is at the top of his game, shining a light on our increasingly urgent climate crisis while spinning an action-packed story that will keep readers hooked–and inspire them to take action.

Ground Zero

Scholastic Press |
Historical Fiction

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

In time for the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, master storyteller Alan Gratz (Refugee) delivers a pulse-pounding and unforgettable take on history and hope, revenge and fear — and the stunning links between the past and present.

September 11, 2001, New York City: Brandon is visiting his dad at work, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Out of nowhere, an airplane slams into the tower, creating a fiery nightmare of terror and confusion. And Brandon is in the middle of it all. Can he survive — and escape?

September 11, 2019, Afghanistan: Reshmina has grown up in the shadow of war, but she dreams of peace and progress. When a battle erupts in her village, Reshmina stumbles upon a wounded American soldier named Taz. Should she help Taz — and put herself and her family in mortal danger?

Two kids. One devastating day. Nothing will ever be the same.

Allies

Scholastic Press |
Historical Fiction

A New York Times bestseller! Alan Gratz, bestselling author of Refugee, weaves a stunning array of voices and stories into an epic tale of teamwork in the face of tyranny — and how just one day can change the world.

June 6, 1944: The Nazis are terrorizing Europe, on their evil quest to conquer the world. The only way to stop them? The biggest, most top-secret operation ever, with the Allied nations coming together to storm German-occupied France.Welcome to D-Day.Dee, a young U.S. soldier, is on a boat racing toward the French coast. And Dee — along with his brothers-in-arms — is terrified. He feels the weight of World War II on his shoulders.But Dee is not alone. Behind enemy lines in France, a girl named Samira works as a spy, trying to sabotage the German army. Meanwhile, paratrooper James leaps from his plane to join a daring midnight raid. And in the thick of battle, Henry, a medic, searches for lives to save.In a breathtaking race against time, they all must fight to complete their high-stakes missions. But with betrayals and deadly risks at every turn, can the Allies do what it takes to win?

Grenade

Scholastic Press |
Historical Fiction

Here it is! The hugely anticipated follow-up to Gratz’s NYT bestselling, critically acclaimed phenomenon REFUGEE. This is another searing and heart-pounding look at kids making their way through war.

A New York Times bestseller! It’s 1945, and the world is in the grip of war.Hideki lives on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When WWII crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed a grenade and a set of instructions: Don’t come back until you’ve killed an American soldier.Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa. He doesn’t know what to expect — or if he’ll make it out alive. He just knows that the enemy is everywhere.Hideki and Ray each fight their way across the island, surviving heart-pounding ambushes and dangerous traps. But when the two of them collide in the middle of the battle, the choices they make in that instant will change everything.From the acclaimed author of Refugee comes this high-octane story of how fear can tear us apart, and how hope can tie us back together.

Ban This Book: A Novel

Starscape |
Middle Grade Fiction

You’re Never Too Young to Fight Censorship!

In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, a fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.

Ban This Book is a stirring defense against censorship that’s perfect for middle grade readers. Let kids know that they can make a difference in their schools, communities, and lives!

Refugee

Scholastic Press |
Historical Fiction

A tour de force from acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), this timely — and timeless — novel tells the powerful story of three different children seeking refuge.

A New York Times bestseller!JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.

Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II

Scholastic Press |
Historical Fiction

Award-winning, critically acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) returns with another gripping World War II story, this time about a spy in the Hitler Youth.

Infiltrate. Befriend. Sabotage.World War II is raging. Michael O’Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth.But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies. Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth’s horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge. When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs — even if it means risking everything he cares about.Including… his own life.From acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) comes a pulse-pounding novel about facing fears and fighting for what matters most.

The Monster War: A League of Seven Novel (The League of Seven #3)

Starscape |
Middle Grade Fiction

The Monster War is the third book in the action-packed, steampunk League of Seven series by acclaimed author Alan Gratz.

Having discovered the monstrous secret of his origins, Archie Dent is no longer certain that he is worthy to be a member of the League of Seven. But with new enemies to face, he realizes that he may not have the luxury of questioning his destiny.

Wielding the Dragon Lantern, the maniacal Philomena Moffett has turned her back on the Septemberist Society, creating her own Shadow League and unleashing a monster army on the American continent. Archie and his friends must race to find the last two members of their league in time to thwart Moffett’s plan and rescue humanity once more.

“A fitting capstone to an epic adventure replete with monsters, huge explosions, clever twists, and just deserts.” – Kirkus Reviews

Code of Honor

Scholastic Press |
Historical Fiction

From the acclaimed of author of Prisoner B-3087, a timely, heart-racing action-adventure about the War on Terror — and the bond between brothers.

Kamran Smith has it all. He’s the star of the football team, dates the most popular girl in school, and can’t wait to join the Army like his big brother, Darius. Although Kamran’s family hails from Iran, Kamran has always felt 100% American. Accepted. And then everything implodes.Darius is accused of being a terrorist. Kamran refuses to believe it, but the evidence is there — Darius has been filmed making threats against his country, hinting at an upcoming deadly attack. Kamran’s friends turn on him — suddenly, in their eyes, he’s a terrorist, too.Kamran knows it’s up to him to clear his brother’s name. In a race against time, Kamran must piece together a series of clues and codes that will lead him to Darius — and the truth.But is it a truth Kamran is ready to face? And is he putting his own life at risk?

The Dragon Lantern: A League of Seven Novel (The League of Seven #2)

Starscape |
Middle Grade Fiction

The Dragon Lantern is the second action-packed, steampunk adventure in the League of Seven series by the acclaimed author of Samurai Shortstop, Alan Gratz.

Archie Dent is convinced that he and his friends Hachi and Fergus are the first three members of a new League of Seven: a group of heroes who come together to fight the Mangleborn whenever the monsters arise to destroy humanity. His belief is put to the test when they are forced to undertake separate missions. Archie and his faithful Tik-Tok servant Mr. Rivets pursue a shapeshifting girl who has stolen the Dragon Lantern, an ancient artifact with mysterious powers. And Hachi and Fergus travel to New Orleans to find Madame Blavatsky, the only person who knows the circumstances surrounding the death of Hachi’s father.

In the course of their adventures the three heroes meet potential candidates to join their League. At the same time, they learn deep-rooted secrets that could destroy the League forever….

The League of Seven

Starscape |
Middle Grade Fiction

The League of Seven is the first book in an action-packed, steampunk series by the acclaimed author of Samurai Shortstop, Alan Gratz.

In an alternate 1875 America electricity is forbidden, Native Americans and Yankees are united, and eldritch evil lurks in the shadows. Young Archie Dent knows there really are monsters in the world. His parents are members of the Septemberist Society, whose job it is to protect humanity from hideous giants called the Mangleborn. Trapped in underground prisons for a thousand years, the giant monsters have been all but forgotten—but now they are rising again as the steam-driven America of 1875 rediscovers electricity, the lifeblood of the Mangleborn. When his parents and the rest of the Septemberists are brainwashed by one of the evil creatures, Archie must assemble a team of seven young heroes to save the world.

Prisoner B-3087

schol |
Historical Fiction

Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps. 10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. It’s something no one could imagine surviving. But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face. As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside? Based on an astonishing true story.

Fantasy Baseball

Puffin Books |
Middle Grade Fiction

The Wizard of Oz meets America’s favorite pastime!

Alex Metcalf must be dreaming. What else would explain why he’s playing baseball for the Oz Cyclones, with Dorothy as his captain, in the Ever After Baseball Tournament? But Alex isn’t dreaming; he’s just from the real world. And winning the tournament might be his only chance to get back there, because the champions get a wish granted by the Wizard. Too bad Ever After’s most notorious criminal, the Big Bad Wolf, is also after the wishes. And anyone who gets in his way gets eaten!

From beloved baseball author Alan Gratz comes a novel in which classic literary characters are baseball crazy, and one real-world boy must face his fears and discover the surprising truth about himself.

The Brooklyn Nine

Puffin Books |
Middle Grade Fiction

Baseball is in the Schneider family blood. Each member of this family, from family founder Felix Schneider in the 1800s to Snider Flint in the present day, has a strong tie to the game and to Brooklyn. Through the years this family has dodged bullets on a battlefield, pitched perfect games, and dealt with the devastating loss of family and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Nine innings–nine generations. One game–one family. Through it all, one thing remains true: the bonds of family are as strong as a love of the game.

Samurai Shortstop

Speak |
Young Adult

Tokyo, 1890. Toyo is caught up in the competitive world of boarding school, and must prove himself to make the team in a new sport called besuboru. But he grieves for his uncle, a samurai who sacrificed himself for his beliefs, at a time when most of Japan is eager to shed ancient traditions. It’s only when his father decides to teach him the way of the samurai that Toyo grows to better understand his uncle and father. And to his surprise, the warrior training guides him to excel at baseball, a sport his father despises as yet another modern Western menace. Toyo searches desperately for a way to prove there is a place for his family’s samurai values in modern Japan. Baseball might just be the answer, but will his father ever accept a Western game that stands for everything he despises?

Keynote: Social Thrillers (In-Person or Virtual)

Bestselling middle grade author Alan Gratz discusses the inspiration behind some of his books like Ground Zero, Two Degrees, and Refugee, and offers some deep thoughts about writing “social thrillers” for young readers. The remaining time will be spent answering audience questions.

Keynote: The Sequel is You (In-Person or Virtual)

How do we change the world? How do we not only help the people who need it most, but change the hearts and minds of those people who aren’t helping—or worse, who are actively working against us? The answer, Alan believes, is in books. In this talk he’ll give examples of how his books and others have inspired empathy, compassion, and activism in readers young and old, past and present. The remaining time will be spent answering audience questions.

School, Library, and Reading Conferences: Black, White, and Read All Over (In-Person or Virtual)

In this breakout session, bestselling middle grade author Alan Gratz discusses the inspiration behind some of his recent “Black, White, and Red” books, like Ground Zero, Two Degrees, Refugee, and Captain America: The Ghost Army. The remaining time will be spent answering audience questions.

Writers Conferences: What's Your Origin Story? (In-Person or Virtual)

What do Spider-man, Batman, an Iron Man all have in common? Besides having “Man” for a last name, they all have compelling origin stories. In this talk for both novice and experienced writers, Alan discusses the ways that origin stories explain who our characters are and why they do the things they do. Alan demonstrates how to create powerful backstories for the characters we’re writing, and along the way challenges his audience to create origin stories for themselves as writers–even if they have to do a little “retconning” along the way. The remaining time will be spent answering audience questions.

The Hero's Journey (In-Person or Virtual)

From the Ramayana to Star Wars and beyond, “The Hero’s Journey” is a universal story structure that can be found in many of the world’s most lasting and entertaining stories. Alan pulls back the curtain on this hidden framework underlying much of western storytelling, and explains how you can use the Hero’s Journey to strengthen your own writing. The remaining time will be spent answering audience questions.

In-Person School Visits

Sorry, Alan is unavailable for in-person school visits.

Literary and Book Festivals (In-Person or Virtual)

Alan loves appearing on panels, in conversation, and solo at literary festivals and book festivals, as well as signing books for festival-goers.

One Book, One Community Events: (In-Person or Virtual)

Reading one of Alan’s books as the featured title in a One Book, One School or One Book, One Community event? Put an exclamation mark on your community event by having Alan visit at the end to answer questions, sign books, and talk about his inspiration, research, and writing process for the novel! Alan can also record an intro video for your One Book event, introducing the book to your audience and getting them hyped up for the community read.
Alan has specific book talks prepared for Two Degrees, Ground Zero, Allies, Ban This Book, and Refugee. If you’re interested in a visit associated with a book not in the list, ask about availability.

Specific Book Talks (In-Person or Virtual)

Alan is also available to give book talks on selected novels like Refugee, Ban This Book, Allies, Ground Zero, and Two Degrees. Each of these presentations runs 20-25 minutes, and covers Alan’s inspiration for the book, a general introduction to the story, and the novel’s historical or contemporary context. The remaining time will be spent answering audience questions.

Master of Ceremonies (In-Person or Virtual)

Looking for a host for your special event? Alan enjoys playing emcee! For many years, he and his wife ran a local, weekly pub trivia game, and he is very comfortable behind a mic. Alan can even write up a fun night of trivia for you, on literature or any other theme.

Alan’s Books

Alan’s Upcoming Events

Frequently Asked Questions

Alan’s Graphic Novels

Alan’s Media Kit

Alan’s Short Fiction Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times bestseller
ABA Indie Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
Junior Library Guild Selection
Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year
Amazon Best Book of the Month
Amazon Best Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Best Book of the Year
Texas Bluebonnet Master List selection
Golden Sower Award, 2014-2015 Winner Nebraska
Isinglass Teen Read Award, 2014-2015 Winner New Hampshire
Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award, 2014-2015 Winner
Junior Book Award, 2015-2016 Winner South Carolina
Grand Canyon Reader Award, 2015-2016 Winner Arizona
Truman Readers Award, 2015-2016 Winner Missouri
Reader’s Choice Awards, Winner 2015-2016 Virginia
Volunteer State Book Award Winner, 2015-2016 Tennessee

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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