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    April 11, 2014:
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    April 9, 2014:
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    March 28, 2014:
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    February 14, 2014:
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    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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    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:
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    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.
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    September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

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    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:
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    Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
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    August 21, 2013:
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    Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31! Read more ...

    August 19, 2013:
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    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

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    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."

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    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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Ingrid Law interview and Scumble giveaway


Congratulations to Savvy author, Ingrid Law, on the release of her new book, Scumble. I met with Ingrid last week and got some of the fun inside scoop on her writing journey, plus she gave me a signed Advanced Reading Copy of Scumble to giveaway here on From The Mixed Up Files! Read more at the end of the interview about how you can win.

Here’s the jacket flap description of Scumble:

It’s been nine years since his cousin Mibs had her extraordinary savvy journey, and Ledger Kale has just turned thirteen. This birthday should have meant he’d inherit an amazing power — instead he can break little things apart. But when the Kales decide to attend a family wedding in Wyoming, Ledge’s savvy grows to monumental porportions. Worse, his savvy disaster has a witness: Sarah Jane Cabot, eagle-eyed reporter and daughter of the local businessman. Now Ledge must stop Sarah Jane from turning savvies into headlines, stop her father from foreclosing on Uncle Autry’s ranch, and start scumbling his savvy into control . . . so that, someday, he can go home.

Savvy was your first book and it became a New York Times Bestseller, plus it won gobs of amazing awards including the Newbery Honor. Wow! That must have been life changing!

The unexpected success with Savvy certainly was life changing: I quit a job I’d held for sixteen years, I moved, and I traveled more in two years than I’d done in my entire life. But there are highs and lows in any aspect of life, even a successful one. For instance, I’ve met many new and wonderful people, but I’ve also lost touch with people I used to see and talk to nearly every day. As with any major life change, it takes a little while to find a renewed sense of equilibrium. Now that my second book, Scumble, is finally finished and in bookstores, I’m hoping to find that balance and hold on to it until the next new thing sends me wobbling on the high wire.

Which of the two books was easier to write? Why?

For some of us, it can be easier to do things when no one is watching. So, in that regard, writing the first draft of Savvy was easier: only about ten people on the planet knew I was writing anything at all, whereas many, many, many people were watching and waiting as I wrote Scumble. Second books, I’ve been told, are known for being harder. There is more pressure and more expectation. The Newbery Honor, while fantastic and astonishing and wondrous, did have the side effect of adding to that pressure. I like to think of my two books as siblings. Savvy is the older sister and Scumble the younger brother. They both want to stand on their own, but the younger brother will always follow in his sister’s footsteps and be compared to her on some level. Heh… can you tell I had a brilliant older sister who went through school a few years ahead of me?

In Savvy, there were several references to The Wizard of Oz. Do you use similar references to another story in Scumble?

Oh, yes—Peter Pan! I liked using Peter Pan allusions in Scumble because, while Savvy is a journey story, Scumble is more fixed. The main character, Ledge, leaves home and ends up someplace else for a while, someplace a bit more magical and remote. Plus, the concept of growing up is such a big part of the book.

Like Savvy, there are many different allusions in Scumble. Readers may catch references to fairytales and folk tales, tall tales, and even to the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind—the book takes place thirty miles from Devil’s Tower in Wyoming… I couldn’t resist!

What kind of research did you do for Scumble?

All sorts! My daughter and I drove up to Wyoming twice, I went to a motorcycle and chopper show, and I was allowed a behind the scenes tour of a real insect zoo. I did a ton of research online: anything from looking up the history of peanut butter jars and of Wyoming outlaws, to reading about the world’s largest butterflies and half marathons. I downloaded Ford F-1 truck manuals and toaster diagrams, and learned old cowboy slang. I even ordered a bumper from an old VW bug, and an 18-pound circus-tent sledgehammer head off eBay, just so that I could see what they were really like to pick up and hold instead of simply looking at pictures and using my imagination.

What do we have to look forward to from you next?

After taking a bit of time off, I am starting to work on something new. And, while I would love to return to the Savvy world again sometime in the future, the new work is taking me in a different direction for the moment. But the new story is still too young and fragile to talk about. I’m the sort of writer who can’t talk too much about what I’m working on while I’m working on it. If I do, the fuel of the story—the excitement that feeds the flames—gets burned up and I lose my motivation. But I hope that Scumble will satisfy readers for a time, while I continue to work.

Thanks for the great questions!

That was fun! Thank you, Ingrid! And for those of you who want to read more about Ingrid, visit her at her colorful blog: http://straightfromthejar.blogspot.com/ Also, leave a post in the comment section below and you’ll be entered in the drawing for an Advanced Reading Copy of Scumble. The winner will be announced on August 21st, so don’t forget to check back!

Jennifer Duddy Gill has the privilege of working with truly amazing kids in an elementary school. She also writes humorous middle-grade novels and is represented by Wendy Schmalz.



  1. Keri Lewis  •  Aug 18, 2010 @11:13 am

    Loved Savvy and this great interview! It’s always fun to get a peek at a writer’s process. Thanks!

  2. Melina  •  Aug 18, 2010 @11:27 am

    Your books sound fun. I like that Scumble has references to all sorts of other tales. I would love to read these.

  3. Laura Pauling  •  Aug 18, 2010 @11:45 am

    I absolutely love the covers of Savvy and Scumble – they just make you want to read them!

  4. Becky Levine  •  Aug 18, 2010 @12:05 pm

    Please enter me. I loved Savvy and can’t wait to read Scumble!

  5. Beth S.  •  Aug 18, 2010 @12:38 pm

    Savvy has been on my bookshelf way too long. I need to add it to the top of my “to-read” list.

  6. Cheri Williams  •  Aug 18, 2010 @12:56 pm

    *raises hand* Ooh! Pick me, pick me!

  7. Kim  •  Aug 18, 2010 @1:03 pm

    I can’t wait to read the new book!

  8. JenP  •  Aug 18, 2010 @1:20 pm

    This sounds great. I’d love to enter!

  9. Sherrie Petersen  •  Aug 18, 2010 @1:53 pm

    Great interview! Ingrid Law was one of my favorite keynote speakers last year at SCBWI-LA. I’m looking forward to reading Scumble.

    P.S. I already have the ARC so don’t enter me.

  10. Laurie Schneider  •  Aug 18, 2010 @2:10 pm

    Great interview! The question remains, though: What is Ms. Law going to do with her circus hammer and VW bumper now that the book is out?

  11. KatherineR  •  Aug 18, 2010 @3:06 pm

    Can’t wait to read Scumble!

  12. julie  •  Aug 18, 2010 @3:35 pm

    My 5th grade students are eagerly awaiting the release of Scumble. I would love an advanced copy!

  13. Eric  •  Aug 18, 2010 @5:15 pm

    Great interview! Enjoyed Savvy and can’t wait for Scumble.

  14. Donna Gephart  •  Aug 18, 2010 @5:37 pm

    Ingrid Law gave such a creative, moving talk at last year’s SCBWI conference. What a talented woman! And I LOVE the description of the MG novel that Jennifer is working on. Right up my alley!

  15. Jennifer@5 Minutes for Books  •  Aug 18, 2010 @8:16 pm

    How did I not know this was out? My daughter and I both LOVED Savvy (well before all the Newbery hype, so I feel like I “discovered” her on my own).

    We’d love to get this book.

  16. Llehn  •  Aug 18, 2010 @8:21 pm

    I’d love to play please!

  17. Mezzowriter  •  Aug 18, 2010 @8:41 pm

    Always looking for hot new titles! :)

    Sign me up!

  18. Joyce Lansky  •  Aug 18, 2010 @8:57 pm

    I would love to win a copy of Scumble. My fifth grade class is reading Savvy and loving it! Scumble would be a welcome addition to my class library . . . but I get to read it first!


  19. Jill  •  Aug 18, 2010 @9:54 pm

    I LOVED Savvy. Loved loved loved it!!! I was so very excited to see this book come out. Please enter me!

  20. Peggy Eddleman  •  Aug 19, 2010 @9:29 am

    Your research sounded like a blast!

  21. Becca S.  •  Aug 19, 2010 @12:04 pm

    Always looking for great books for my 9 year old son! He’s reading us out of house and home :)

  22. Sarah Mullen Gilbert  •  Aug 19, 2010 @12:26 pm

    I loved Savvy and can’t wait for Scumble! Thanks for the great interview.

  23. abby  •  Aug 19, 2010 @2:15 pm

    Savvy was such a delight. I can’t wait to get my hands on Scumble.

    And thanks for the peek into the mind of Ingrid Law. Fascinating.

  24. Natalie Aguirre  •  Aug 19, 2010 @6:43 pm

    I’d love to win. I loved Savvy.

    Ingrid, congrats on all your success. It sounds like it really changed your life.

  25. Liz Straw  •  Aug 19, 2010 @8:10 pm

    Loved the interview. I like to see the process that authors go through to write their books. (So far I have not been to an insect zoo, I may pass on that one!)

    I will continue to enter until I win or until I can no longer type…

    I’ll mention the interview on my blog, but I only have three followers. sigh.

  26. Mariska  •  Aug 19, 2010 @10:30 pm

    Oh, i’d love to to read this ! count me in :)

  27. Ingrid Law  •  Aug 20, 2010 @7:25 am

    Thanks, everyone, for all the support and for your interest in the new book!

    And to answer Laurie’s question: The bumper and sledgehammer head are resting on our ‘mantle’ (if one can call the large shelf-thing over our fireplace that). And, actually, we have a sword sticking out of the hole in the sledgehammer head at the moment… very industrial-Arthurian looking. And a plastic rabbit is perched on the middle of the chrome bumper where it stretches across the shelf propped up on either end by yellow bricks we bought (hey… it was for charity) at the Wizard of Oz museum when my daughter and I were on the road researching Kansas and Nebraska for Savvy. I call it my bumper bunny-bridge. This serves as yet another example of how and why our kids begin to ridicule us when we turn 40–just like in today’s blog post here. (I’m 40 now too) My daughter recently told me that I’m a nerd about my own books. Gotta love her, because I know it’s true. :)

    Thanks again, all! Nice to see some folks from last year’s SCBWI here as well.

    I hope you enjoy Scumble!

  28. Tracy Abell  •  Aug 20, 2010 @9:50 am

    Hooray for Ingrid the Awesome! Can’t wait to read SCUMBLE!

    Thanks for the wonderful interview, Jennifer!

  29. Tracy Edward Wymer  •  Aug 20, 2010 @2:58 pm

    Great interview. I was fortunate enough to hear Ingrid speak last year at SCBWI-LA. Looking forward to Scumble….

  30. Tricia Springstubb  •  Aug 20, 2010 @3:27 pm

    I’m working on a sequel to my middle grade book WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET. Much as you love your characters, and as thoroughly as you know them and their milieu, writing a follow-up book is far trickier than it looks! I really appreciate Ingrid’s honesty and insights.

  31. brian_ohio  •  Aug 20, 2010 @7:43 pm

    Wow! How funny is this, I just picked up Scumble today and when I check the site, Jennifer is interviewing one of my favorite new authors. How cool! I can’t wait to get started reading, I loved Savvy. Nice job, Jennifer! And Ingrid!

  32. Jana  •  Aug 20, 2010 @7:51 pm

    I loved Saavy and look forward to reading Scumble! Great interview.

  33. Tamara  •  Aug 21, 2010 @11:54 am

    Scumble has just gone on my bookstore list. I loved Savvy and Peter Pan is an all-time favorite, so I can’t wait to get my hands on Scumble!

  34. Karen  •  Aug 22, 2010 @4:07 pm

    I would love to win this for my classroom library.

  35. Anonymous  •  Sep 4, 2010 @12:45 pm

    Scumble sounds REALLY good!

  36. hiiii  •  Nov 9, 2010 @5:21 pm