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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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  • Have you met N.E. Bode?

    Uncategorized

    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.
    6 Comments

    6 Comments

    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. :)