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    April 11, 2014:
    Fall 2014 Children's Sneak Peek
    A peek at forthcoming middle grade books (as well as picture books and YA books) in a round-up from Publisher's Weekly. First printed in the February 22 issue, but now available online. Time to add to your to-read list. Read more ...

    April 9, 2014:
    How many Newbery winners have you read?
    You could make a traditional list of all the Newbery Medal Award-winning Children's Books you've read, but there's something so satisfying when you check them off and get a final tally on this BuzzFeed quiz. Read more ...

    March 28, 2014:
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    For the second year in a row, publishers are clamoring for middle-grade, reporters Publishers Weekly. "I’ve been coming [to Bologna] for 12 to 15 years, and I’ve never had as many European publishers asking for middle-grade," said Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. Read more ...

    February 14, 2014:
    Cybils Awards announced
    Ultra by David Carroll (Scholastic Canada) wins the Cybil for middle grade fiction; Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Hyperion) wins for Speculative Fiction. Read more.

    January 27, 2014: And the Newbery Medal goes to ...
    Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal for "Flora & Ulysses"; Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Author award for "P.S. Be Eleven." Newbery Honor awards to authors Vince Vawter, Amy Timberlake, Kevin Henkes and Holly Black. For all the exciting ALA Youth Media Award News ... READ MORE

    November 12, 2013:
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    Readers' votes have narrowed the middle-grade semifinals down to 20 titles. Log in to your GoodReads account and vote for your favorite middle-grade (and in other categories, of course). Read more ...

    November 9, 2013:
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    Middle-grade and young adult titles selected by the editors of Publishers Weekly as their top picks of the year. Let the season of "top ten books" begin! Read more ...

    October 14, 2013:
    Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids debuts January 2014

    Shelf Media Group, publisher of Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine, will launch a new free digital-only publication for middle-grade readers. The debut issue features interviews with such notable authors as Margaret Peterson Haddix and Chris Grabenstein as well as reviews, excerpts, and more. Middle Shelf will be published bi-monthly beginning in January 2014.
    Read more ...

    September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

    Dream of time and space to focus on your own writing project? Applications now being accepted (11/1/2013 deadline) for The Thurber House Residency in Children's Literature, a month-long retreat in the furnished third-floor apartment of Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Read more ...

    September 18, 2013: Vermont College of Fine Arts Scholarship opportunity

    Barry Goldblatt Literary launches The Angela Johnson Scholarship, a talent-based grant for writers of color attending the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at VCFA. Up to two $5,000 grants will be awarded each year. Read more ....

    September 16, 2013:
    National Book Awards longlist for youth literature

    For the first time, the NBA is presenting lists of 10 books/authors on the longlist in each category. The 2013 young adult literature list includes five middle grade novels and five YA. Read more ...

    Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
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    August 21, 2013:
    Want to be a Cybils Award Judge?

    Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31! Read more ...

    August 19, 2013:
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    August 6, 2013:
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    July 2, 2013:
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    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

     This year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the focus has shifted to middle-grade.  “A lot of foreign publishers are cutting back on YA and are looking for middle-grade,” said agent Laura Langlie, according to Publisher's Weekly.  Lighly illustrated or stand-alone contemporary middle-grade fiction is getting the most attention.  Read more...


    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

    Check out these titles releasing in March...


    March 5, 2013: Catch the BEA Buzz

    Titles for BEA's Editor Buzz panels have been announced.  The middle-grade titles selected are:

    A Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

    Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward

    Nick and Tesla's High-Voltages Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

    The Tie Fetch by Amy Herrick

    For more Buzz books in other categories,


    February 20, 2013: Lunching at the MG Roundtable 

    Earlier this month, MG authors Jeanne Birdsall, Rebecca Stead, and N.D. Wilson shared insight about writing for the middle grades at an informal luncheon with librarians held in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon "Middle Grade: Surviving the Onslaught."

    Read about their thoughts...


    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

    Check out these new titles releasing in February...


    January 28, 2013: Ivan Tops List of Winners

    The American Library Association today honored the best of the best from 2012, announcing the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, along with a host of other prestigious youth media awards, at their annual winter meeting in Seattle.

    The Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Honor books were: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

    The Coretta Scott King Book Award went to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

    The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award,which honors an author for his or her long-standing contributions to children’s literature, was presented to Katherine Paterson.

    The Pura Belpre Author Award, which honors a Latino author, went to Benjamin Alire Saenz for his novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was also named a Printz Honor book and won the Stonewall Book Award for its portrayal of the GLBT experience.

    For a complete list of winners…


    January 22, 2013: Biography Wins Sydney Taylor

    Louise Borden's His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, a verse biography of the Swedish humanitarian, has won the Sydney Taylor Award in the middle-grade category. The award is given annually to books of the highest literary merit that highlight the Jewish experience. Aimee Lurie, chair of the awards committee, writes, "Louise Borden's well-researched biography will, without a doubt, inspire children to perform acts of kindness and speak out against oppression."

    For more...


    January 17, 2013: Erdrich Wins Second O'Dell

    Louise Erdrich is recipient of the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for her historical novel Chickadee, the fourth book in herBirchbark House series. Roger Sutton,Horn Book editor and chair of the awards committee, says of Chickadee,"The book has humor and suspense (and disarmingly simple pencil illustrations by the author), providing a picture of 1860s Anishinabe life that is never didactic or exotic and is briskly detailed with the kind of information young readers enjoy." Erdrich also won the O'Dell Award in 2006 for The Game of Silence, the second book in theBirchbark series. 

    For more...


    January 15, 2013: After the Call

    Past Newbery winners Jack Gantos, Clare Vanderpool, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Stead, and Laura Amy Schlitz talk about how winning the Newbery changed (or didn't change) their lives in this piece from Publishers Weekly...


    January 2, 2013: On the Big Screen

    One of our Mixed-up Files members may be headed to the movies! Jennifer Nielsen's fantasy adventure novel The False Prince is being adapted for Paramount Pictures by Bryan Cogman, story editor for HBO's Game of Thrones. For more...


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Audiobooks: Great sounding middle-grade books

Audiobooks, Book Lists

Heard any great middle-grade books lately?

If not, you’re in for a treat. With long road trips to vacation destinations looming ahead, or just endless days filled with proclamations of “I’m BORED!”, summer is the perfect time to get hooked on great middle-grade audiobooks.

High angle view of a boy listening to music on headphones

Content © 2010 Newscom All rights reserved.

Listening on the road: Audiobooks are a great alternative for kids who feel carsick while reading. They also make a nice change from DVD’s and endless games of “Bumper Stumpers”.  You can listen to audiobooks on your car CD player or they can be uploaded as playlists on your middle grader’s MP3 player.

image from http://www.playaway.com/

Listening at home: Audiobooks can help augment your middle grader’s everyday book-reading too. Listening to the first book in a series, for instance, can encourage kids to check out later volumes in print form too. Audiobooks can also encourage kids to try books at a higher reading level. Once they’ve heard a book read out loud, it may encourage them to seek out other books by the same author.

Listening at the library: Check out your local library’s audiobook selection. Often, popular titles are more readily available in audio than in print form. Some libraries allow users to download the sound file directly from the Internet. It really doesn’t get any easier than that!

Oh, wait a sec. Yes, it does…

Listening on the go: Ask your school or local librarian whether they have PLAYAWAYS. These self-contained MP3 players are pre-loaded with an audiobook. Great to grab-and-go.

Everything old is new again: Even old favorites seem new-to-you when read by a great narrator.  The HARRY POTTER series by JK Rowling, read by Jim Dale, A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle, read by the author and A SINGLE SHARD by Linda Sue Park, read by Graeme Malcolm, are all oldies but goodies. (Click on the image to hyperlink to a sound sample.)


Newer titles like WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, read by Cynthia Holloway, OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes, read by Jessica Almasy and GOOD MASTERS!  SWEET LADIES!: VOICES FROM A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE by Laura Amy Schlitz, read by Christina Moore and a full cast, are also great bets.


A few more top picks from our Mixed-Up authors:

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN by Gertrude Chandler Warner, read by Phyllis Newman

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson, read by Robert Sean Leonard

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl, read by Eric Idle

THE GET RICH QUICK CLUB by Dan Gutman, read by Angela Goethals

THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo, read by Graeme Malcolm

THE RED BLAZER GIRLS series by by Michael D. Beil, read by Tai Alexandra Ricci

NORY RYAN’S SONG by Patricia Reilly Giff, read by Susan Lynch, and the sequel, MAGGIE’S DOOR read by Fionnula Flanagan

BUD, NOT BUDDY by Christopher Paul Curtis, read by James Avery

And there’s more!: Here are a few more lists to get you started…

The Booksource

Renaissance Reading


WHAT ABOUT YOU?  Have you listened to any great middle-grade audiobooks lately? Care to share?

**Oh, and don’t forget to enter our second summer giveaway – one lucky reader will win three amazing middle-grade books!

Hélène Boudreau listened to the whole HARRY POTTER series (close to 100 hours worth!) while training for her latest half marathon walk, and appreciated Jim Dale’s company and fabulous narration through it all. You can visit her at www.heleneboudreau.com



  1. Karen B. Schwartz  •  Jun 25, 2010 @8:04 am

    I’ve never listened to an audiobook version of a MG book. That is a great idea for long car rides. Thanks for the list!

  2. Deb  •  Jun 25, 2010 @8:28 am

    Thanks for this, Helene! I love audio books. A recommend from me would be SCAT by Carl Hiaasen-read by Ed Asner. Fantastic book, great voice…I can _still_ hear him reading it. It was a perfect match, imo.

  3. Laura Pauling  •  Jun 25, 2010 @8:29 am

    I listened to Holes in a carride and was spellbound.

    My daughter read When You Reach Me and has listened to the audio twice so far!

  4. Kris  •  Jun 25, 2010 @8:52 am

    Audiobooks are also fabulous for early elementary kids who have a middle grade attention-span without the reading level yet. I’ve listened to the Sisters Grimm, Harry Potter, Spiderwick Chronicles, and the Lightning Thief and much more with my seven-year-old. Thanks Helene!

  5. Robyn Gioia  •  Jun 25, 2010 @10:08 am

    A good audio book is like going to the movies when you have a narrator as talented as Jim Dale in the Harry Potter series.

  6. Helene Boudreau  •  Jun 25, 2010 @11:05 am

    Robyn, I totally agree re: Jim Dale. He is a master!

    Kris, great point about the early elementary kids. I remember my girls following along with the Disney Princess stories and Winnie the Pooh. They had the book anthology along with the CD. Now, they REALLY love ALLIE FINKLE’S RULES FOR GIRLS. I can’t believe I didn’t mention that one! Ooops!

    Laura, I loved both HOLES and WHEN YOU REACH ME. Just perfect in every way.

    Karen, we don’t have a DVD player in the car and travel quite a bit so audiobooks have been great for long and short trips alike.

    Deb, I’m definitely going to put SCAT on my TBLT list. I’m going on a 21-hour car ride next week so thanks for the rec!

  7. Sherrie Petersen  •  Jun 25, 2010 @12:44 pm

    Our entire family loved listening to The Indian in the Cupboard, read by the author, Lynn Reid Banks. By far my favorite book to listen to EVER.

  8. Tracy Abell  •  Jun 25, 2010 @2:01 pm

    We did this a lot when the kids were younger. Thank goodness for audiobooks and libraries! This is a great list, one I’m sure lots of families will appreciate since I don’t know any parent who doesn’t dread those looong car rides.

  9. Parker P  •  Jun 25, 2010 @4:05 pm

    Many libraries subscribe to services that allow you to download audiobooks. Great if you’ve got an MP3 player or something like a Nook.

  10. Melina  •  Jun 25, 2010 @4:10 pm

    Audio books are great. I download them from the library. I listen with my ipod and headphones in the car and when I use the treadmill.

    I see The Red Blazer Girls on the list. I just did a review a few days ago. What a great book!

  11. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Jun 25, 2010 @5:15 pm

    I recently listened to “When the Swallows Came Early” on CD and I really enjoyed the voice of the girl narrator. She seemed so perfect for the main character.

    Great article!

  12. Cathe Olson  •  Jun 25, 2010 @7:04 pm

    I am not much for audiobooks . . . my mind drifts off and suddenly I’ve missed 3 paragraphs! But my daughters love them and it’s a great way to get them to clean their rooms. They are absolutely crazy over Sharon Creech’s audio books-especially the ones with Italian accents like The Unfinished Angel, Granny Torrelli’s Soup, and Bloomability. Other audiobooks that have been hits are Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, Penderwicks, Anne of Green Gables, and Harry Potter.

  13. Natalie Aguirre  •  Jun 25, 2010 @7:14 pm

    I love audiobooks. I listen when I walk and garden. So a lot when the weather is nice. Last year I listened to the whole Charlie Bone series. Loved them. Lately I’ve been listening to more YA. But your choices are really good. I listened to a Wrinkle in Time and some of the Harry Potter books. I really enjoyed them.

  14. Laurie Beth Schneider  •  Jun 25, 2010 @9:21 pm

    MG audiobooks are great because you can finish them on a relatively short trip. I recently listened to Sahara Special and just started Esperanza Rising. James Howe’s The Misfits is fun, too, because of the full-cast audio.

  15. Carina  •  Jun 25, 2010 @10:44 pm

    I haven’t listened to any middle-grade audiobooks yet, but I think I’m going to try sometime soon! I definitely want to find some good ones to use in my classroom.

  16. Jennifer Duddy Gill  •  Jun 26, 2010 @6:43 pm

    My kids and I have been listening to Neil Gaiman read his stories from his Audio Collection. The stories sound completely different when he reads them. Another favorite is E.B. White reading The Trumpet of the Swan. Hearing it in his voice helped me catch some of the humor I missed when I read it to myself.

  17. Madelyn  •  Jun 26, 2010 @9:16 pm

    We recently listened to Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater (read by Daniel Pinkwater), downloaded free from his site. And now my son wants to own a copy of the book (just in case you think giving it away doesn’t result in sales.) We also like the Henry Huggins book, read by Neil Patrick Harris.

  18. Sheela Chari  •  Jun 26, 2010 @9:45 pm

    For anyone who has to spend a lot of time in the car driving their kids around, audio books is a great way to “read.” There is also the pleasure of hearing a story out loud. Audio books are a delight. Thanks for the list, Helene. I want to try some of these out.

  19. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Jun 27, 2010 @10:29 am

    Thank you for this great article, Helene. I actually haven’t listened to an audiobook yet, but think it’s a fantastic idea. I often read to my girls during long car rides, but it would be nice to sit back and enjoy the story along with them (my throat usually hurts after a few chapters from talking loud enough for them to hear me).

  20. Paula McLaughlin  •  Jun 27, 2010 @4:34 pm

    Not sure it’s considered MG or YA or somewhere in between, but THE GRAVEYARD BOOK was a great one to listen to. My kids and I also loved CLEMENTINE.

  21. Eileen  •  Jun 27, 2010 @5:38 pm

    This is a great idea, plus it gives me new books to add to my to-be-read list!

  22. Aimee Bartis  •  Jun 28, 2010 @9:18 am

    I also love THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis is ready by Levar Burton (from Reading Rainbow and ROOTS). It’s a great historical fiction. Wonderful for the family to listen to in the car. The history aspect kept my husband interested.

  23. Helene Boudreau  •  Jun 28, 2010 @9:34 am

    So many great additional recs! Thanks for contributing, everyone. :-)

  24. Vivian Mahoney  •  Jun 28, 2010 @12:49 pm

    We’re huge fans of audiobooks in the car! Here are some of our family favorites:

    The PERCY JACKSON series by Rick Riordan
    GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series by Suzanne Collins
    ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine
    ALLIE FINKEL series by Meg Cabot

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  25. Natalie Hyde  •  Jun 29, 2010 @8:16 am

    Audiobooks are a great way for me to keep up with my MG reading list. Following Helene’s great suggestion, I download them to my iPod and listen while I take my daily walk.

    It’s a two fer!

  26. Nora MacFarlane  •  Jun 29, 2010 @7:41 pm

    Great idea! My 12-year-old daughter will love this.

  27. Heart Bracelet  •  Nov 22, 2010 @3:12 am

    i love to listen on audiobooks while travelling on a bus, i could learn a lot from it while travelling .’*