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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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Have you met N.E. Bode?


N.E. Bode is an amazing and mysterious author, the creator of the Anybodies, as well as many other superawesome titles.  He graduated from  the prestigious Alton School for the Remarkably Giftless and has been fired, with only a tiny bit of warrant, from every job he’s ever had. He is alone in the world, and having offended the fine tastes of his writing professor – an extremely well-honored writer – he now lives in fear of being chased down and harmed by the crazed man.

But even more amazing than all of that is the simple fact that N.E. Bode is actually Julianna Baggott, a woman every bit as incredible as Mr. Bode.  Today, we’re sitting down with Ms. Baggott, to pick her enormous (and wildly prolific) mind.

Mixed Up Files:  Julianna, we’re curious about your decision to juggle personalities.  Can we ask why you’ve chosen that path?
JB: I didn’t set out to be a personality juggler. I had one personality, my own, which seemed plenty. But then I was writing a bit too much — novels for adults at that point — and my agent asked me if I wanted to hide under a pen name for a while and write thrillers. The problem was that I’m easily terrified. I don’t like playing the board game Clue — I developed a fear of candlestick holders from that game! Anyway, I started out loving magical realism so why not go back to that. N.E. Bode was born. I liked being someone else so much that I decided to be Bridget Asher too. But at a certain point, you have to stop. So I’m trying to be Baggott again.

Mixed Up Files:  Well, we like Baggott plenty!  Your most recent middle grade book is under your own name. Why the shift?
JB: It was my editor’s idea. The Prince of Fenway Park is my voice — Baggott-esque — not Bode-ish. And so it worked for me too!

Mixed Up Files:  So, can we ask–why is Bode a man?
JB: This is odd, but when I was writing in Bode’s voice for the first book, it was simply Bode — not Bode the man or Bode the woman. Just Bode. Then marketing came along and said, “How are you going to write this bio? He or she?” And I had to answer. Neither seemed right and so I said the one that seemed the least wrong, “He.” And that was that. It’s been a little challenging ever since. I kind of regret having to have to decide.

Mixed Up Files:  How does writing for adults differ from writing for children?
JB: Well, kids are smarter readers. They don’t need as much hand-holding. If something wild happens, they go with it. Adult readers need a lot of preparation. They have to kind of see it coming without knowing they’re seeing it, which is trying, frankly. But kids don’t need to see it coming. They go along for the wild ride. So I get to be wilder.

Mixed Up Files: You run an amazing non-profit for this age group. Can you tell us about that?
JB: Kids in Need – Books in Deed gets free books to underprivileged kids in the state of Florida. We mostly do book drives. One group of kids unloads the books they’ve already read and we get them to kids who need books in their houses. We move books around. The site is: www.booksindeed.org. (We also take cash donations.)

Mixed Up Files:  As a teacher,  do  you teach writing for children?  Is it different from teaching adult fiction or poetry?
JB: I teach fiction for adults mostly. But if a students writes for a younger audience, that’s fine as well. I teach a little poetry, but not much. A story for adults told through a child’s eyes is very different from a story for kids told through a child’s eyes. Basically, what ever age you are, you’re drawn to stories in which the person close to you in age has a real shot at making a difference. We’re just kind of like that. And it makes a difference in the way you approach a story and the way you approach teaching how to write a story.

Mixed Up Files: You’ve recently become very involved as an Op-Ed writer, addressing political issues that often touch on children’s literature. Why do you do that?
JB: I used to simply get frustrated and fuss around the house at the people around me. This wasn’t really helping anyone, and it was a burden to the people around me — even the dogs. So I started writing down my thoughts and notions and sent them out into the world. Some are about real things that have happened to me — like the time a Zombie and a Zombie-slayer both showed up in my workshop on the same day — to my opinions of larger matters that affect us all.

Mixed Up Files: Can you share some of your own favorite books?
JB: Can I shout to some Laurel Snyder? (at which point the interviewer blushes) Hoot, hoot and shout! I like the very terrifying Mr. Punch stuff done by Gaiman. I just read My Life with the Lincolns, middle grade realism set during the Civil Rights Movement.

Mixed Up Files:  One last thing– how do you do it all? You have 4 kids, a full time teaching job, and a publishing career that seems nearly impossible.
JB: Messily.


  1. Melina  •  Aug 9, 2010 @2:58 pm

    Yep, us kids are more open minded about silly things in stories.

  2. Baggott & Bode  •  Aug 9, 2010 @3:12 pm

    Awww. That’s my scared cellist author photo!

  3. Sherrie Petersen  •  Aug 9, 2010 @4:40 pm

    Great interview! My son turned me on to The Anybodies so I knew it had to be good. He doesn’t usually pick up a book with a girl on the cover :)

  4. Laura Marcella  •  Aug 10, 2010 @10:27 am

    Wow, she sure does have a full life! That’s amazing she can handle it all, though I’m not surprised. Writers are extraordinary for doing what they love and taking care of who they love at the same time!

  5. Jill  •  Aug 11, 2010 @9:42 am

    I’ve wanted to read this one for a while, and now I want to read it even more! Thanks for this interview.

  6. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Aug 15, 2010 @9:17 pm

    Thanks for the great interview! I haven’t read the Anybodies yet, but will definitely add it to my reading list. :)