Browsing the blog archives for August, 2010.

  • From the Mixed-Up Files... > 2010 > August
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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:
    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 ...

    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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Our Sixth Summer Giveaway winner is…


Congratulations, Kathryn! Please send an email to msfishby at fromthemixedupfiles dot com with your mailing address, and we’ll send the books straight to you.

Summer is winding down, and so are our summer giveaways.  In fact, our last one starts today.  One lucky reader will receive the following 4 titles:

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton

Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder

Hot Issues, Cool Choices by Sandy Humphrey

Poop Happened! by Sarah Albee

In addition, Kerry Madden has offered to send one of her titles to the winner.

To enter, simply leave a comment below. Earn extra entries by blogging, tweeting, or facebooking this giveaway (don’t forget to share a link to your blog or tweet).  This giveaway is for US/CAN residents only (sorry, we can’t ship these internationally).  The winner will be chosen Tuesday, September 14, 2010.

Thanks to all who have donated books.  We couldn’t have had these great summer giveaways without you!


Out Loud by Tricia Springstubb


When I was a children’s librarian, no question got me more excited than, “Do you know a book I can read aloud with my ten-year-old?”

It took all my meager impulse control not to bust out the dance of joy.  Then to babble about how much I’d loved reading aloud to my own kids at that age, and then how hard it was going to be to choose from all the amazing possibilities, and then…

Still working on that self-control issue.

Some parents were looking to build their kids’ reading skills.  Others longed for the cozy delights of reading together, even though their child now read independently.   None of them was going to be disappointed.

My own childhood reading was completely anarchic–I more or less leaped from Nancy Drew to Jane Eyre.  Equally amazing women, but a lot of classics got left out in between.  With my daughters I discovered Narnia, the wild horses of Chincoteague, and the land of Half Magic. When I came to the end of Where the Red Fern Grows, Zoe had to take the book and carry on, since I got too choked up to read.  The same thing happened, a year or two later, with My Antonia.  

Telling stories aloud has always been a deeply human pleasure.  And since humans are pleasure-seeking beings, there’s no better way to convey the joy and power of reading. Many studies bear out the value of reading aloud for language and grammar acquisition.  Kids can enjoy stories far more sophisticated than they’re capable of reading on their own. 

Our guru here is Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook.  Oral reading, he says, has never been more needed than now, when school curriculums are dictated by standardized testing, causing too many students to associate reading with “dry-boned textbooks, boredom, pain, and the threat of failure”. 

The list of books just begging to be shared aloud is endless.  Below, a few tried and true classics.

Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters and The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural,  both by Patricia McKissack

Collections of original tales, these are perfect for when you want something short.  Both draw on African American oral tradition, mixing humor, spine-tingling creepiness, and a word to the wise. McKissack is a master of idiom, and her voice leaps off the page. “Some folk believe the story; some don’t. You decide for yourself.”  Pour the lemonade and grab a rocker.

Jim Ugly and Bandit’s Moon, both by Sid Fleischman

These exciting Westerns define “page turner”.  Part mystery, part adventure, and bone-tickling funny, both books read fast, but their underlying themes of injustice and discrimination make them discussion worthy. Anyone who’s ever longed to saddle up will love reading the dialogue aloud.  

A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder, both by Richard Peck

These rollicking books tell their stories in linked, stand-alone chapters.  Anybody any age will alternately belly laugh and tear up over the doings of the irascible Grandma Dowdel. Peck is that rare thing—a born storyteller.  Even if you’re sitting all alone, read these books out loud!

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert O’Brien

“There’s something very strange about the rats living under the rosebush at the Fitzgibbon farm.”  Who’s going to solve the mystery, avert the danger, and lead everyone to utopia?  Mom, of course!  Full of suspense, this one will make everyone squeal, “Don’t stop!” when it’s time for bed.  Again, besides a terrific story, families will find plenty  to discuss and debate.    

Two more recent books deserve mention for their compelling voices:

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly

Here’s one to take your time over.  With its old-fashioned but accessible cadence, the language deserves to linger on the air.  It’s about a girl, but Calpurnia’s sly sense of humor and her hunger to understand the natural world should appeal to boys, too.

Keeper, by Kathi Appelt

Reading this enchanted, coming-of-age story aloud will bring out the actor in young and old alike.  Some chapters are only one sentence long, so everyone can chime in.

 Sure, you can listen on CD or iPod—that’s fun, too.  But nothing beats snuggling in as  someone you know and love begins, “Chapter One…”

Tricia has a renewed respect for reading aloud, after taping a podcast for her newly released MG novel, What Happened on Fox Street.  You can listen to it here.


We interrupt for an important message…


The fates have spoken and the winner of the WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET give-away is the very foxy

Wendy S.

Please send your contact info to so I can speed that book along to you.  And thankyou thankyou thankyou to everyone who commented.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

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