Three questions with author Cat Patrick about her middle grade book, Tornado Brain
Not only is Cat Patrick a great author, but she’s also the person who stole my favorite sweaters in middle school and makes me laugh my hardest. Yup, she’s my sister! Her latest book, Tornado Brain, is out May 5, 2020. It has starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and me!
Here are three questions with author Cat Patrick:
1. What’s Tornado Brain about and what do you hope readers take away from it?
Tornado Brain is the story of a tornado-obsessed, neurodivergent middle schooler named Frankie whose former best friend, Colette, has just disappeared. Frankie feels she’s the only one who’s seeing clues about Colette’s disappearance—so she sets out to figure out what happened before it’s too late. It’s a mystery—and a story about sibling and friend relationships, but ultimately, it’s about using our uniqueness and resiliency to get through hard things in life.
I hope readers close the book with a smile, despite the fact that there are tough themes in the book. I hope neurodivergent readers can identify with and be inspired by Frankie, and all readers can remember that truly, we have no idea what the next person is going through inside. It’s critical to lead with kindness, more so now than ever.
2. Is there any of your real-life former middle grade self in Frankie?
Though I’ve not been diagnosed with autism spectrum, attention deficit, or sensory processing disorders like Frankie has, my real-life former middle grade self can certainly identify with her. Making and keeping friends is tough for Frankie as she struggles with social skills. Making and keeping friends was tough for me, too. I remember being afraid to go to school sometimes because of bullies or simply feeling alone or awkward. I managed to find my way through with various supports and Frankie does, too. It’s important to ask for help when you feel you need it.
3. There’s a sister relationship in the book. Were you inspired by your relationship with your own totally amazing sister?
Not everything can be about you, you know. Haha, just kidding! Of course! I’m very lucky to have a sister who has loved and supported me my whole life, so I drew from that, as well as watching my twin girls grow up together. Sister dynamics are fascinating, and I hope I accurately captured that on the pages of Tornado Brain.
If you’re interested in ordering a copy of Tornado Brain, you can buy it in hardcover or as an e-book or audiobook from your local indie bookstore, which needs support during this pandemic, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.
When my teacher brain read Tornado Brain, I knew I wanted every middle grade reader to learn about friendship, personal strengths, problem solving, and so much more from Frankie. But most of all, I love the book’s message of resilience. And resilience is definitely a skill we can all use right now!
To celebrate the launch of Tornado Brain, I created a set of free printables focused on the theme of resilience. They’re great for home or school, grades 4-8. Click here to download!