SPARTA. Young fans of "The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade" got to imagine themselves in the zombie apocalypse when their favorite author pulled up to Sparta Books with "Big Mamma" to kick off his nationwide book tour.

23 Sep 2019 | 06:21

The zombie apocalypse came to Sparta Books on Tuesday, Sept. 17, as best-selling young adult author Max Brallier visited with young fans to mark the debut of the fifth book in his wildly popular "The Last Kids on Earth" series.

The release of “The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade,” coincided with the premiere of the Netflix show based on the series.

Accompanying Brallier to the event was a special character from the books, a custom Jeep Wrangler named "Big Mama." Brallier and Big Mama will travel nationwide to meet with readers. The tour kicked off at Sparta Books as Brallier read from the new book, played Zombie MadLibs, invited fans to touch ‘zombie parts,' took selfies.

Brallier was also slated for Wednesday visits to Sparta’s Mohawk Avenue School and the Arthur Stanlick Elementary School in Jefferson.

AJ Medina is Big Mama’s driver, and said that he and Brallier are looking forward to spreading the word about the newest installment in the book series and the debut of the Netflix show.

“We’ll be starting in New York City, driving all the way down the East Coast, through the south to Texas, and end the tour in Oklahoma,” Medina said. “We’re really excited about it, and people can show their support by using the social media hashtag:spotbigmama whenever they see us.”

Some of the youth gathered were concerned that watching the Netflix show would ruin the new book for them, but Brallier explained that each book will be its own season.

“The show that premiered today is just about the first book, and it’s more like a movie," he said. "The second season will be several episodes based on the second book, and so on. I promise it’s okay to watch.”

The Last Kids on Earth series is written for a late pre-teen/early teenage audience, but Sparta Books events manager Kristine Simmons said the humorous, fast-paced take on the end of the world appeals to readers well into adulthood.

“We sell a lot of these, and other YA books, to people of all ages,” she said. “Sometimes, we just need to read something not-so-serious and entertaining.”

For more information on the books and the upcoming book tour, visit To learn more about upcoming events from Sparta Books, including book club meetings, storytimes for children, and author visits, information can be found at