• From the Mixed-Up Files... > Book Lists > Audiobooks > REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS Interview & Giveaway!
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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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Audiobooks, Giveaways, Interviews, New Releases

It’s book launch and give-away time!  Today, we’re celebrating the launch of Mixed-Up Author, Hélène Boudreau’s, new novel for tweens, Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings.

A bit about the author: Hélène Boudreau writes fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults from her land-locked home in Ontario, Canada, though she grew up on an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. She has never spotted a mermaid in the wild but believes they are just as plausible as sea horses, flying fish, or electric eels. 

A bit about the book:

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But this revelation raises a serious question: if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. But how does a plus-sized, aqua-phobic, mer-girl go about doing that, exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend Cori, and her crush, Luke?

*Read to the end to find out how YOU CAN WIN A COPY!

Hi, Hélène! Now is the time to get the story behind the story. What was your inspiration for your main character, Jade, in Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings? 

Jade’s not so different from other girls her age. She’s wondering about boys, trying to figure out friendships, and seeing changes in her body. Though, in Jade’s case, make that BIG changes!

My own daughter is almost ten and just at the precipice of entering those uncertain years of raging hormones and topsy-turvy emotions. I really wanted to write a fun story for her (and girls like her) to help ease her into the land of zits, training bras and smelly armpits. The upside being that—no matter how hard puberty might get—at least she doesn’t have a TAIL!

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings is available in paperback and has also been released in audiobook form. How has that been?

Well, I’m a HUGE fan of audiobooks (I blogged about my fave picks here a few months ago!) so it was a big thrill for me to be able to listen to Jen Taylor narrate Jade’s voice. You can listen to the first chapter right here!

Dreamscape Media produced the audiobook and is offering three chances to win a copy HERE.  (Contest closes December 20th, 2010)

You’ll be signing books at the book’s launch at your local library TONIGHT! How can someone get a signed copy of Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings for their favorite teen or tween, otherwise?

Well, I don’t have a fancy stamp signature like Suzanne Collins or a remote-control signing robot like Margaret Atwood but in a fun promotion for the holidays my publisher, Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, is offering signed RMDWTR bookplates with proof of purchase for anyone who’d like a ‘signed’ copy. More info HERE.

Cool! Now, Jade is quite a whiz with the microwave. Care to share her Microwaveable Chocolate Mug Cake recipe?

Sure! But I’ll let Jade do the honors…

Hi guys!

When Wigwags are in short supply, this is the quickest way I’ve found to chocolate bliss. First, get yourself the biggest microwaveable mug in the cupboard. In it put:

- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix it well. Then add:

- 1 egg

Mix. Then add:

- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons oil

Mix. Then add:

- 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (NOT optional—at least as far as I’m concerned)
- 1 capful of vanilla extract

And…wait for it…MIX!

Cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will look like it’s going to overflow but don’t freak out! Let it cool for a bit, unless you want to burn your lips off, then ENJOY!

Notes & Tips:

-Some say this can serve 2 but, yeah right; whatever.

-TAKE OUT THE SPOON before you microwave the mug. Don’t ask me why I know this…

Can you believe it? With this recipe, you are only ever 5 minutes away from chocolate bliss! You’re going to make this RIGHT NOW, aren’t you?

-Jade  O<~~{

Thanks, Hélène! Best of luck with the release of Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings. 

Readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Hélène’s new book, leave a comment below, and our random generator will choose a lucky winner on Thursday.  You’ll get extra entries for sharing a link on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter (please mention each link in a new comment).

You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook and on her Website.



  1. Andrea M  •  Dec 14, 2010 @7:00 am

    Sounds like a great book. I especially love the recipe and am going to try it out later!!!

  2. Deb  •  Dec 14, 2010 @7:20 am

    Great interview, LOVE the trailer…and Jen Taylor as a reader, ROCKS! Congrats Helene!

  3. Amie Borst  •  Dec 14, 2010 @8:07 am

    fun interview! i especially like the chocolate cake recipe….yum….!

  4. Lisa DeWolf  •  Dec 14, 2010 @8:09 am

    My daughter and I are huge fans of Hélène Boudreau, and we will probably be fighting over who will be the first to read the sole copy of ‘RMDWTR’ currently under the Christmas tree (wrapped and in waiting). A second copy will certainly make our Christmas morning more pleasant and peaceful! Congrats Hélène.

    Joyeux Noël!

  5. Aimee Brown  •  Dec 14, 2010 @8:35 am

    I’d love to read and review this book! It sounds like a lot of fun and since my daughter loves mermaid anything, she’s going to love this book too!

  6. Aimee Brown  •  Dec 14, 2010 @8:37 am

    I shared link on facebook!

  7. Char Bohnett  •  Dec 14, 2010 @9:09 am

    I link to this post on Dreamscape’s Facebook page:

  8. SasMan  •  Dec 14, 2010 @9:41 am

    Aqua-phobic mermaid! Simply awesome. My daughter is a couple years away from the hormones and emotions (can’t wait) and it sounds like this book would be a good read for her. I really enjoyed the trailer…well done!

  9. colleen kosinski  •  Dec 14, 2010 @10:04 am

    Love the trailer. Very cute!

  10. Rose Green  •  Dec 14, 2010 @10:33 am

    Congrats on your release! Sounds like an awesome book. :)

  11. Jeanne R.  •  Dec 14, 2010 @10:39 am

    Oh, I love mermaids! Sounds like a fun book.

  12. Jeff Chen  •  Dec 14, 2010 @11:31 am

    Fun trailer!

  13. Kaethe  •  Dec 14, 2010 @12:24 pm

    I’m enchanted.

  14. pragmaticmom  •  Dec 14, 2010 @12:39 pm

    Love this! Desperate to win it!

  15. Diana Greenwood  •  Dec 14, 2010 @1:26 pm

    Congrats!!!! You are swimming to the top!

  16. jpetroroy  •  Dec 14, 2010 @1:45 pm

    This books sounds adorable!

  17. Laurie Schneider  •  Dec 14, 2010 @2:55 pm

    This looks so fun, Helene, and perfect for my soon-to-be-twelve mer-girl. Bet she’ll love the chocolate bliss, too.

  18. Aurora m.  •  Dec 14, 2010 @4:12 pm

    Bliss in a mug! Thanks for sharing. I would love to get a chance at this book please enter me.

  19. Cindy  •  Dec 14, 2010 @5:30 pm

    It’s already on my Kindle, but would love a hard copy to donate to our school…
    congratulations to you, Helene!

  20. Deena  •  Dec 14, 2010 @5:55 pm

    My TBR list is huge right now but I’m adding this book!

  21. Cathe Olson  •  Dec 14, 2010 @6:06 pm

    My daughters and I can’t wait to read Henele’s new book!

  22. Llehn  •  Dec 14, 2010 @7:47 pm

    Mermaids rock!

  23. Mariska  •  Dec 14, 2010 @7:49 pm

    Interesting. i would want to Win tHis !!

  24. Cathio  •  Dec 14, 2010 @8:28 pm

    Thanks for introducing us to Jade. Looking forward to reading more!

  25. Kaylie  •  Dec 15, 2010 @12:18 am

    Enter me, please! I would love to read this one.

  26. deniz  •  Dec 15, 2010 @6:38 am

    Love this book!
    Hope you had a great time at the book signing Helene! Seriously, I’d rather a bookplate than something signed by a robot [g]

  27. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Dec 15, 2010 @8:22 am

    Congratulations, Helene! SO happy for you and the book looks terrific. It’s on my “to-buy” list for my nieces – well, after I get finished reading it, of course!

  28. Heather  •  Dec 15, 2010 @9:23 am

    Sounds like a great book, I like Ms. Boudreau’s description of her inspiration!

  29. Deirdre  •  Dec 15, 2010 @7:21 pm

    Sounds like a great book. Love the blog and Helene’s website too!

  30. MyLibraryCardWoreOut  •  Dec 15, 2010 @8:13 pm

    Looks like a really interesting book!!!

  31. Ruth  •  Dec 15, 2010 @10:40 pm

    Can’t wait to read it–please enter me! I posted on my blog here: http://readatouille.blogspot.com/2010/12/cool-author-interview-on-mixed-up-files.html

  32. Helene Boudreau  •  Dec 16, 2010 @7:17 pm


    Thanks so much for all the kind comments, everyone! The winner of a copy of REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS: Cathio! from 8:28 pm

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