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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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Middle-grade Book-to-Movie Picks

Book Lists, Giveaways

“The book was better than the movie.”     

“They totally changed that part!”     

It’s hard to translate fully realised worlds and characters of entire novels within 90 minutes of screen time, but there are plenty of great middle-grade book-to-movie adaptations worthy of a couple of bowls of popcorn.     

Here are some of my favorites!      

Buy @ indiebound.org

 HOLES by Louis Sachar: the book!     

Stanley Yelnats and his family are cursed with a long history of bad luck. A miscarriage of justice sends Stanley to a strange desert camp for troubled teens where the ‘campers’ spend their days digging holes in the sand. To what end? The mysterious reason behind the holes is a closely guarded secret by the warden and her posse. Hilarity ensues.     

4/4 Bookmarks!   

View trailer

 The movie!     

Sigourney Weaver is awesome as the lipstick wielding Warden Walker. The rest of the cast (from Caveman, Zero, Squid and Armpit) is pitch-perfect. A great book-to-movie adaptation with great scenery, music and as close to the book as you can get.     

4/4 Bowls of Popcorn!    


Buy @indiebound.org

 NIM’S ISLAND by Wendy Orr: the book!    

 Nim is an adventurous girl with a great imagination. When her scientist father disappears from their idyllic island home, Nim is left with only a pet iguana, an adventure novel and an e-mail link to her favourite author. A modern day, pint-sized Robinson Crusoe. 

4/4 Bookmarks!   

View trailer

 The movie!

 Adventure, a touch of danger and well-trained animals make for a highly watchable movie. Nim’s character, played by Abigail Breslin , outshines Jodi Foster’s role as reclusive author, Alex Rover, but both are still very entertaining.    

3.5/4 Bowls of Popcorn!     



Buy @indiebound.org

 THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo: the book!     

“Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish.”  What’s not to love?    

4/4 Bookmarks!        

View trailer

The movie!    

Great as an animated adaptation because, well, the main character is a MOUSE but more than that, the animation is gorgeous, moody and evocative.  Dungeon scenes are a bit dark but, conversely, Mig’s storyline is less harsh than in the book.     

3.5/4 Bowls of Popcorn!     


Here are a few more suggestions from Mixed Up Files authors and my bibliovideophile friends (please add your picks in the comments!):     

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (book/movie)
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (book/movie)
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling (book/movie)
How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (book/movie)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (book/movie)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (book/movie)
Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key (book/movie)
Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan (book/movie)
Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman (book/movie)
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (book/movie)
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (book/movie)
The Borrowers by Mary Norton (book/movie)
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (book/movie)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (book/movie)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (book/movie)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (book/movie)
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (book/movie)
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell (book/movie)
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks (book/movie)
Stuart Little by E. B. White (book/movie)
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (book/movie)
Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary (book/movie)
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Raold Dahl (book/movie)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (book/movie)

Remember, leave a comment HERE to be eligible to win a signed copy of What Happened on Fox Street.

Happy reading and viewing! 
Hélène Boudreau loves to read middle-grade books, listen to middle-grade books and watch middle-grade book-to-movie adaptations. Her own upper middle-grade book, REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky) will be released Dec.1/2010 in book and audiobook format, though she can’t resist casting the characters in her head. You can visit her at www.heleneboudreau.com



  1. deniz  •  Aug 25, 2010 @7:08 am

    Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH!

  2. Caroline Starr Rose  •  Aug 25, 2010 @7:57 am

    Deniz, so funny you mention NIMH. It was my first book to movie experience, and it wasn’t pleasant. The changes were to much for me. That experience has always made me wary of book movies.

  3. Lois Peterson  •  Aug 25, 2010 @8:17 am

    Glad to see The Borrowers on this list. Haven’t seen the movie, but I can still recall many of the B books from childhood – aeons ago – ans this is a great reminder to track the movie version down at the video store. Great article, Helene.

  4. Tricia Springstubb  •  Aug 25, 2010 @8:33 am

    Wow–I am recommending NIMH as a read-aloud in my next blog entry. Must be something in the air.

  5. Sherrie Petersen  •  Aug 25, 2010 @8:48 am

    My favorite book to movie (though it might not be strictly middle grade) is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They did a brilliant job with that translation.

    Michelle Isenhoff Reply:

    @Sherrie Petersen, I agree, Sherrie. I enjoyed the adaptation of Dawn Treader, as well.

  6. Deb  •  Aug 25, 2010 @9:57 am

    Fantastic list, Helene! A couple to add:

    Series of Unfortunate Events
    Spiderwick Chronicles

    Hmmm, this gives me an idea for my book club, thanks!!

  7. Deb  •  Aug 25, 2010 @10:00 am

    Okay, lol, a few more,

    Because of Winn Dixie

    Anne of Green Gables

    Girl of the Limberlost (not sure if the movie is still about, but a great classic)

  8. angela ackerman  •  Aug 25, 2010 @10:22 am

    All I can say is poor, poor Rick Riordan. They really butchered his fabulous book when they made the movie. I hope people who have only seen the movie will not be put off and will still go out and get the book, because it really is a stunning piece of MG fiction that everyone should experience.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. Jemi Fraser  •  Aug 25, 2010 @1:21 pm

    I was nervous about Holes the movie version but I thought they did a great job :)

  10. Wendy Orr  •  Aug 25, 2010 @11:48 pm

    How nice to be mentioned here with some of my own favourites!

  11. Mike Jung  •  Aug 26, 2010 @12:29 am

    One of my all-time favorite film adaptations is Alfonse Cuaron’s superb version of A LITTLE PRINCESS. That movie, as much as any other, creates a mesmerizing sense of how children can, even under severe duress, summon up and enmesh themselves in a world that springs entirely from imagination and belief in the possibility of wondrous, magical events.

  12. Cathe Olson  •  Aug 26, 2010 @7:37 am

    I just saw the new movie Flipped based on the novel by Wendelin Van Draanen. It was a great adaption (though I still like the book better).

  13. Heather Kephart  •  Aug 26, 2010 @5:08 pm

    What a great list! I can’t wait until my kids are older so I have an (official!) excuse to immerse myself in these movies.

  14. Michelle Holt  •  Aug 27, 2010 @1:55 pm

    As a big fan of The Tale of Desperaux was so sad to see the story butchered by the movie. The Lightning Thief is another example of great book/bad movie. A Series of Unfortunate Events was good and many of the Roald Dahl books to movies worked. We love Matilda at our house! I didn’t know they made a movie of The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. either-I’ll have to hunt it down.