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    July 11, 2014: Apply for a Thurber House residency!

    Thurber House has a Children’s Writer-in-Residence program for middle-grade authors each year and  guidelines and application form for the 2015 residency were just released.

    This unique residency has been in existence since 2001, offering  an opportunity for authors to have time to work on their writing in a fully furnished apartment, in the historic boyhood home of author and humorist, James Thurber. Deadline is October 31, 2014. For details, go to READ MORE

    July 10, 2014:

    Spread MG books in unexpected places 7/19
    Drop a copy of your own book or of another middle-grade favorite in a public place on July 19 -- and some lucky reader will stumble upon it.
    Ginger Lee Malacko is spearheading this Middle Grade Bookbomb (use the hashtag #mgbookbomb in social media) -- much in the spirit of Operation Teen Book Drop.  Read more ...

June 16, 2014:
Fizz, Boom, Read: Summer reading 2014

Hundreds of public libraries across the U.S. are celebrating reading this summer with  the theme Fizz, Boom, Read! Find out more about this year's collaborative summer reading program and check out suggested booklists and activities. Read more ...
 

April 30, 2014:
Join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and help change the world

The conversation on diversity in children's books has grown beyond book creators and gate keepers to readers and book buyers. What can you do? Take part in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign May 1 though 3 on Tumblr and Twitter and in whatever creative ways you can help spread the word to take action. Read more ….

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:
Middle Grade fiction is hot at 2014 Bologna Children's Book Fair

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:
Vote in the GoodReads semifinal round

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:
Publishers Weekly Top Children's Books of 2013

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
Check out Publishers Weekly roundup of upcoming children's books to be published in spring 2014. Read more...

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:
S&S and BN reach a deal
Readers will soon be able to find books from Simon & Schuster at Barnes & Noble. The bookstore chain was locked in a disagreement with the publisher over how much it was willing to pay for books. Read more ...

August 6, 2013:
NPR's 100 Must-Reads for Kids
NPR's Backseat Book Club asked listeners to nominate their favorite books for readers ages 9 to 14. More than 2,000 people nominated titles, and a panel of Newbery authors brought the list to 100. Most are middle grade books. Read more ...

 
July 2, 2013:
Penguin & Random House Merger

The new company, Penguin Random House, will control more than 25 percent of the trade book market in the United States. On Monday, the newly formed company began to take shape, only hours after a middle-of-the-night announcement that the long-planned merger had been completed. Read more ...

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  • Should-a-Could-a-Won-an-Award Awards

    Uncategorized

    I don’t know about you but I’ve participated in a few Mock Newbery Discussion Programs and each time, I’m just sure I know who will win the real one. But then, January rolls around and I hear the announcements and I am almost always surprised. Not so much by which books won but more so by which wonderful books didn’t win. I want to tell people about these books – these wonderful gems that somehow escaped the fame and fortune I feel they deserve!!! And lucky me, it’s my turn to blog. So, here you go – past books that, IMHO, deserve(d) something gold and shiny on their covers:

    Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O’Connor

    “When she reluctantly places a For Sale ad in the newspaper, Aggie doesn’t know that Kirby and his mom will need a room when their car breaks down on the way to Kirby’s new reform school. Or that Loretta and her parents will arrive in her dad’s plumbing company van on a trip meant to honor the memory of Loretta’s birth mother. Or that Clyde Dover will answer the For Sale ad in such a hurry and move in with his daughter, Willow, looking for a brand-new life to replace the one that was fractured when Willow’s mom left. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that Aggie and her guests find just the friends they need at the shabby motel in the middle of nowhere…”

    I am still scratching my head over how Ms. O’Connor, using such clean and simple prose, was able to make me feel and care so deeply about these characters. I don’t usually find myself in tears while reading a MG book, but this was an exception. Touching and true without being maudlin or dramatic.

    Shackleton’s Stowaway by Victoria McKernan

    This fictionalized account of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 Antarctic expedition follows steward Perce Blackborow from the time he stows away on the Endurance through his harrowing experiences in the Antarctic (including the amputation of his toes). Sprinkled throughout the narrative are selections from Blackborow’s pseudo-journal record that chronicles ongoing shipboard routines and the camaraderie among crew, in spite of fractious personalities and grim conditions…”  Booklist

    People, people! Where were your heads when you were handing out awards in 2006?I have never read a more gripping, unbelievable tale and it is based on a true story! This book should be a requirement in every Social Studies Explorer unit as well as on every Free reading list (especially for boys) in the U.S. I am not kidding. Masterfully written and incredibly researched. This coming from a person who HATED history class, so you know it’s gotta be good.

    Wolf Story by William McCleery

    “A young father tells his five-year-old son humorous variations on the theme of a hen escaping the clutches of a wily wolf.”

    Hysterical.

    That’s all I’m gonna say.

    Oh, except that, DARN, it’s out of print. But available online, used, or in fabulous, hilarious audio format.

    Elephant Run by Roland Smith

    “…as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in this remote Burmese elephant village. Japanese soldiers invade, and Nick’s father is taken prisoner. Nick is stranded on the plantation, forced to work as a servant to the new rulers. As life in the village grows more dangerous for Nick and his young friend, Mya, they plan their daring escape. Setting off on elephant back, they will risk their lives to save Nick’s father and Mya’s brother from a Japanese POW camp…”

    Okay, another historical fiction book, I know – and I don’t even consider myself a HF fan (except for the crazy fact that I’ve written two, but, whatever) – this book had it all. Cool setting, gripping tale, great kid-animal relationship, a missing father, war and hostages and characters that leap off the page. Again, where are the award-givers when you need ‘em?

    One book that writer friend, Esther Hershenhorn felt was worthy of something shiny:

    LITTLE AUDREY by Ruth White

    “Based on incidents from her own life and told in the voice of her older sister, Audrey, White offers a heartfelt story of what it’s like to be poor, hungry, and sometimes happy. It’s 1948, and Audrey lives in a Virginia coal-mining camp with her father, who drinks; her mother, who drifts away, if not physically, emotionally; and her sisters, “the three little pigs…” Booklist, starred review

    Esther calls it simply “a gem.”

    And believe me, Esther knows children’s books.

    Finally, a super MG recommended by agent Michael Stearns in this post:

    JENNIFER MURDLEY’S TOAD by Bruce Colville

    Michael Stearns says, “Though it brims over with heart and serious concerns, Jennifer Murdley’s Toad is a comedy—the kind of book that actually could be described as “madcap,” if that word hadn’t been hollowed out and made hokey through overuse by bad Hollywood copywriters.”

    Mr. Stearns, being hilarious himself, can spot good comedy faster than you can kiss a frog and turn into a frog…which is just one of the funny twists that occur in JENNIFER MURDLEY’S TOAD. If I were you, I’d take his word for it.

    So there you are – a start to what I’m hoping will be a long list of Should-a-Could-a-Won-an-Award books.

    Nominate your own! Vote early and vote often! (Hey, I’m from Chicago, whaddya expect?)

    Beverly Patt’s recent MG release, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK is actually on this year’s Allen County Mock Newbery AND Mock Sibert Awards lists. She is hoping that her 2009 novel, HAVEN, will one day be considered for a Should-a-Could-a Award. Learn more about Bev and her books at www.beverlypatt.com

    11 Comments

    11 Comments

    1. Paula McLaughlin  •  Jul 28, 2010 @6:30 am

      Great book suggestions. I am SO excited to get a few of them for my son (a reluctant reader). Thanks.

    2. Karen B. Schwartz  •  Jul 28, 2010 @7:14 am

      I think often comedic books are overlooked for awards, but I thought Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis had it all: comedy and heart. I laughed, I cried, I read it again.

    3. Laura Marcella  •  Jul 28, 2010 @9:35 am

      These sound terrific! Thanks for the suggestions. :)

    4. Cathe Olson  •  Jul 28, 2010 @7:56 pm

      Thanks so much for these suggestions. I’ll be putting together a book order for my elementary school library and really want to find books that the kids will love . . . and am always looking for good historical fiction to supplement curriculum.

    5. Laurie Schneider  •  Jul 28, 2010 @8:01 pm

      What a great idea. I loved Greetings from Nowhere.

      Never understood why Deborah Wiles’ Each Little Bird That Sings didn’t get some Newbery love (though it was a finalist for the National Book Award). I could see a sticker on Jordan Sonnenblick’s Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, too.

    6. Mike Jung  •  Jul 28, 2010 @9:36 pm

      The Newbery committee got it right last year, IMHO, but I did want to see some love for Nan Marino’s NEIL ARMSTRONG IS MY UNCLE & OTHER LIES MUSCLE MAN McGINTY TOLD ME (which admittedly did get a Golden Kite Honor nod) and Nova Ren Suma’s DANI NOIR. Both of those are serious contenders for my favorite book of 2009.

    7. Wendy S  •  Jul 29, 2010 @8:38 am

      I’ll second Mike’s nod to NEIL ARMSTRONG IS MY UNCLE. And on a longer horizon, can we talk a minute about Judy Blume who, incredibly, has never won a Newbery? Sure, she has the humor thing working against her (unfairly), but Blubber, Are You There God, and Deenie (to name a few) tackled serious subjects that mattered to kids.

    8. Tracy Abell  •  Jul 29, 2010 @12:50 pm

      I read LITTLE AUDREY and thought it was beautifully written. I’ll have to check out these other recommendations. Thanks for the heads-up!

    9. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Jul 29, 2010 @11:50 pm

      What a great list, Bev! There are so many books that deserve to win awards. I’m a huge Bruce Coville fan and can’t wait to read the rest of the books on your list.

    10. Bev  •  Jul 31, 2010 @2:40 am

      Thanks to all of YOU for adding to this list! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few new books to buy…
      ;)

    11. Gertrud Abshear  •  Sep 14, 2010 @4:29 am

      woot woot