Don’t Check Out This Book! Spotlight

Get to the Bottom of Appleton’s Juiciest Scandal.

Praise for Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise’s Three Ring Rascal Series:

“The Klise sisters are no newcomers to the world of children’s fiction. Their work is cute and fun with a great message”

-New Orleans Advocate (The Show Must Go On!)

Entertaining [and] ‘smafunderful’ (smart + fun + wonderful).”

Kirkus Reviews (The Show Must Go On!)

“True to form, sisters Kate Klise (author) and M. Sarah Klise (illustrator) use clever jokes, wordplay, and adorable illustrations to guide their readers.”

-BookPage (The Show Must Go On!)

In the fully illustrated epistolary novel Don’t Check Out This Book!, fifth-grade reporters follow a trail of phone messages, emails, articles, texts, letters, reports, receipts, and more to clear the name of their beloved librarian and clear the local school board of bad apples with criminal intentions. Behind text and images ripe with laugh-out-loud humor and abundant wordplay, including too many puns to count, lies an important message about censorship and readers’ rights to choose their own books. Sisters and collaborators Kate Klise (writer) and M. Sarah Klise (illustrator) have been publishing visual novels for middle-grade readers since long before the current graphic novel explosion. Together, they’ve created more than twenty award-winning books for young readers, including Regarding the Fountain, the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, and most recently the Three-Ring Rascals series. 

In Don’t Check Out This Book!, Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian, Rita B Danjerous. Not everyone in Appleton likes her unconventional methods or her infamous Green Dot Collection, which allows students to borrow books discreetly, without actually checking them out. Under Rita’s influence, students like Reid Durr and Ben Thinken, and even the absent-minded principal, Noah Memree, are staying up way too late reading. While Rita inspires the students and faculty alike, the new school board president and impeccably mannered shop owner Ivana Beprawpa is busy working to shut down the library and force students into uniforms available only at Beprawpa Attire. But what’s behind Ivana’s school uniform policy? A team of fifth-grade sleuths is determined to get to the bottom of Appleton’s juiciest scandal ever. 

Author Kate Klise’s books are “fresh, funny, and a delight to read” (School Library Journal). Here she uses her skill and wit to introduce kids to serious topics, such as censorship and abuse of power. “I was really motivated to cook up a book-banning character who could embody all the pettiness and corruption we see in the world today,” Klise says. “I also wanted to create some book-loving characters who could prevail in the end.” 

Beneath Appleton’s mystery, there is a pure, unabashed celebration of words, and the rights of all readers to choose their own books. Hilarious, empowering, and exciting, Don’t Check Out This Book! is filled with clever winks to the audience, as if to say “You’re a reader. You get it.” And by the end, we do. 


Kate Klise is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young readers, many of which are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. On her way to becoming an author, Kate Klise worked as a babysitter, waitress, ice-skating instructor, and rosebush pruner. She was also a journalist and spent 15 years reporting for People magazine. When she’s not working on a new book, she enjoys traveling around the country, sharing her best writing tips and tricks with aspiring authors of all ages.

M. Sarah Klise has always had a fondness for creating colorful book reports, which began in elementary school with yarn-bound volumes on states and countries. In college, she enjoyed writing heavily illustrated letters home to her mother. Years later, she still does variations of all that when she illustrates books for young readers. She also teaches art classes in Berkley, CA.

Published by Booked All Night

A podcast & blog about the young adult books that keep us up all night.

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