Podcast Interview with Joshua S. Levy, Author of Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy

By Libby Stille, Publicist

Our second episode of The Lerner Podcast features author Joshua S. Levy, whose middle-grade debut novel Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy came out in March. We talk about hamsters in space, Supreme Court cases, and more.

Joshua S. Levy, author of Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy
Joshua S. Levy

Below you’ll find links to listen to the podcast as well as TV shows, movies, and more that make great pairings with Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy.

The Lerner Podcast with Joshua S. Levy

Listen on Google Play.

Listen on iTunes.

Listen on Spotify.

Listen on Stitcher.

Read a transcript of the interview.

Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy Read- and Watch-Alikes compiled by Joshua S. Levy

Star Wars

Okay, okay. I know that, in a lot of ways, Star Wars and Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy aren’t a lot a like. They might both be set in space, but Star Wars is fantasy, and Seventh Grade is science fiction.

But I’m listing it here because Star Wars is unquestionably, fundamentally responsible for Seventh Grade. I fell in love with stories because of Star Wars. The scale of the storytelling. The breathless fun. I certainly tried to infuse at least a little of that into Seventh Grade. (More than just Ari being a giant Star Wars fan too, I mean.)

And there’s no question that Star Wars and fun middle grade are natural pairings (as the Jeffrey Brown/Jarrett Krosoczka Jedi Academy books make crystal clear).

Hey Arnold! and Recess

I’m cheating here, because neither pick is a book or a movie. Instead, Hey Arnold! and Recess are cartoons, from the 90s. I loved them both when I was a kid, although I’m not sure I can remember the details of any single episode. Still, the feel of the schools in both shows really stuck with me. How kids’ friendships were EVERYTHING. How navigating school life can be maddening and challenging and a blast all at the same time. I hope the PSS 118 feels as real (and as wacky) as the schools from those old shows.

See You in the CosmosThe Countdown Conspiracy, Bounders, The Jupiter Pirates, and Space Case

I think that I mentioned on the podcast that I’m occasionally asked this question: Do you have to like “space” to enjoy Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy? I genuinely believe that the answer is: Absolutely not. But . . . it probably doesn’t hurt. So, if you are (or you know) a middle grade reader who loves stories about or set in space, there are some incredible books out there across the storytelling spectrum. Here are just a few: Jack Cheng’s See You in the Cosmos. Katie Slivensky’s The Countdown Conspiracy. And incredible series like Monica Tesler’s Bounders, Jason Fry’s The Jupiter Pirates, and Stuart Gibbs’s Space Case books.


While I’m on the subject of space stories, if you haven’t seen this Disney/Pixar movie from 2008, run to see it. (That, and all the other Pixar movies, of course.) To explain all the connections between Wall-E and Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy would probably be a bit too spoilerish. But it’s excellent.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

I just finished reading this book, which came out on the same day as Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy. And wow. Sal and Gabi is so fun, so funny, and so sweet. If you like bonkers middle-grade sci-fi, this one is for you.


Here’s the poster of the time machine terms and conditions that Josh references in the podcast.

Check out episode 1 of The Lerner Podcast.

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