Browsing the blog archives for December, 2010.

  • From the Mixed-Up Files... > 2010 > December
  • OhMG! News


    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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Poetry That Makes You Laugh


Flickr photo by dororai

Around my house, we love to laugh.  We also love to rhyme, and we particularly like to put the two together.   It’s a little known fact that both of these things, rhyming and laughing, were the inspiration behind my very first attempt at creating a children’s picture book.  That picture book will never be published (trust me on this), but it started me on the path to writing for children.  So I am rather fond of and grateful for fun rhymes.

Laughing over a silly poem is something my middle-grade kids and I have in common, too.  It’s a great way for us to bond, especially when it comes to my reluctant readers, because sharing a short, silly poem together seems less threatening than sitting down with a thick novel at bedtime.

So, yes, we take funny poetry very seriously around my house.  My kids memorize these poems religiously.  (Someday you should hear my oldest recite A Tragic Story by William Makepeace Thackeray.  Hil-arious.) Occasionally I recite a few I still remember from my own middle-grade years.  (Eletelephony by Laura Richards is my favorite, in case you were wondering.)  We also make up our own silly rhymes, which might not be complete works of poetry, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Luckily for us, there are plenty of great but wacky poetry collections available in bookstores or on library shelves.  We turn to these for inspiration or in desperation, depending upon whether or not we need something to get us into a rhyming rhythm or something to get us out of a very bad mood. Here is a short list of some poetry collections that tickle our funny bone:

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Arguably the most well-known children’s poetry collection in the world (according to me, anyway), this book has been entertaining children for decades. Other well-known titles by Shel Silverstein include A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, and Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook.  Check out his website for a complete list of his titles.

(Not that you asked, but my favorite poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends is Peanut-Butter Sandwich.)

A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky

We’ve been fans of Jack Prelutsky for years.  Though some of his books are listed for the younger crowd of 4- to 8-year-olds, older elementary students will still enjoy his wacky worldplay in this and his many other poetry collections.  You can find a complete list of his titles on his website.

Vile Verses by Roald Dahl

Who doesn’t love Roald Dahl?!  And now you can love him all over again when you pick up one of his poetry collections.  This one compiles some of the poems published in his other books, such as the The Centipede’s Song from James and the Giant Peach, with new and deliciously vile verses kids in particular are sure to love.  And some adults might like it, too.  (Okay, plenty of adults already do.)  Other collections you might also enjoy are Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts.

Exploding Gravy by X. J. Kennedy

We found this book purely by accident, when my grandmother decided to send it as a birthday gift for one of my children.  It’s a perennial favorite now.  Unfortunately, it’s out of print, but hopefully you can still find it online or at your local library.  If not, I’m sorry.  I’d let you borrow mine, but my kids won’t put it down long enough for me to sneak it out of the house.

If I Were In Charge of the World and Other Worries by Judith Viorst

A friend of mine highly recommended this collection, and I think I do remember reading it once when I was a kid.  I haven’t shared it with my own kids yet, though.  It’s on our TBR list now.  From Booklist: “Viorst takes everyday situations that frustrate, bewilder, or bemuse and turns them into fodder for her audience’s personal laugh tracks. . . . (She) succeeds in bringing out the fun in human foibles and her poems that twist traditional fairy-tale endings are positively inspired.”

Do you have a favorite not on this list?  If you do, please share the title below in the comments.  My kids and I are always looking for more poems to love.  Even though we prefer the ones that rhyme, we’d settle for some funny free verse, too.  Thanks for laughing along with us!

Elissa Cruz loves wacky poetry enough that she writes it herself when she isn’t busy working on one of her novels.  She is represented by Josh Getzler of Russell and Volkening, Inc., and her debut humorous middle-grade mystery is currently on submission.  It doesn’t have any funny poetry in it, though.  But it should.

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