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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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  • Ingrid Law interview and Scumble giveaway

    Uncategorized

    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.

    36 Comments

    36 Comments

    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!

      jlansky(at)comcast(dot)net

    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

      booyaa\