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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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  • I just want her to read something!

    Activities, Book Lists, Miscellaneous

    inside spread from Beastology bookMy niece has three children, all of them super smart, A students and strong readers. The eldest, a girl, and the youngest, a boy, are voracious readers. The middle child, another girl, would rather do anything else. Unlike the often cited reluctant reader, she doesn’t avoid reading because it is difficult or she doesn’t enjoy it, but because there are a myriad other things vying for her attention. The TV, the DS, the Wii, her baby cousin or her grandmother’s dog all do their best to pull her away from the printed word.

    Her mother says, “I don’t care what she reads, as long as she reads something!”

    So what kind of books can attract a reader who is intellectually able to read, but has a short attention span or is emotionally or temperamentally uninterested in books?

    I’m talking about the ‘ology’ and ‘opolis’ books. Young readers can learn about dragons or vampires. Or they can find out how to be a fairy godmother, a princess or a wizard. In other volumes, they learn how to spot fairies or capture mythical beast.

    These books have field guides, training manuals, books with notes and tabs and sound. Sort of like a diary of a natural scientist or a mad wizard. Books about the mystical, magical and supernatural bridge a place between picture book and scientific chronicle. They invite the reader to participate and explore in a way other books don’t do.

    What makes these books so unique is the stuff glued, flapped, inserted or punched out from the pages. Some have stickers or trading cards. One volume I came across also had sound recordings of the animals it portrayed. (See the opening picture for an inside peek.) Secret codes, web sites to play games on, these volumes are more than mere leaves between their fantastical covers.

    Active and distracted children will be able to take in the book in small bites, and because of the format, they can include other interests and activities at the same time. The scientific-like format also encourages investigation into other interests, maybe music or the planets and outer space. Perhaps the Dragonology book can lead to a study of lizards and other reptiles.

    As my niece’s plea to me went, at least they’re reading something!

    ——-

    “…the long-lost research of renowned nineteenth century dragonologist Dr. Ernest Drake is presented in all its eccentric glory, happily bridging the gap between dragon legend and fact.The meticulous Dr. Drake assigns Latin names to various dragon species, ruminates on why dragons are able to speak, speculates on how they could fly, and explains the true purpose of their notorious hoarding habits. Here are just a few of DRAGONOLOGY’S fascinating features:

    — Novelty item on every spread, including tactile samples of dragon wings, dragon scales, and dragon skin
    — Booklet of dragon riddles (indispensable to the burgeoning dragonologist)
    — Sealed envelope containing a powerful dragon-calling spell
    — Embossed faux leather cover with silver foil, encrusted with three dragon gems…”

    ——-

    “…Follow the fascinating journey of Captain Nemo and explore the ocean’s wonders, both real and imagined … or are they?

    What if a sixteen-year-old assistant traveled aboard the storied Nautilus, the narwhal-shaped submarine of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? And what if he were the sole survivor of the ill-fated voyage and went on to relay his adventures to a certain . . . Jules Verne? Find this brave young man’s own account in the lavishly illustrated Oceanology, a tale of an 866 voyage of discovery that investigates diving bells and shipwrecks; coral reefs and ice canyons; sharks, giant octopi, and luminous sea monsters; underwater volcanoes, and even the legendary island of Atlantis…”

    ***

    Wendy Martin spends her days drawing fantastical worlds. In the evenings she writes about them, then she visits them at night during her dreams.

    7 Comments

    5 Comments

    1. gaylene  •  Jan 14, 2011 @2:44 pm

      I have one of these readers. He reads above grade level, he enjoys stories, but there are too many other things to do. We put cool info books (like the ology books, or the weird facts sort of book) in the car and he loves to read them whenever we take a drive. he also loves being red TO at night.

    2. Kim  •  Jan 14, 2011 @3:11 pm

      Sounds like my three kids! Seriously, my middle child can read just as well as her older sister–but doesn’t want to. I find graphic novels, like the Babymouse and the Amelia Rules series, work really well. They have the volcabulary I want her to exercise, and the pictures give her something else to focus on.

    3. gaylene  •  Jan 14, 2011 @3:42 pm

      sorry…I meant being “read” to at night–not red…

    4. Amie Borst  •  Jan 14, 2011 @4:04 pm

      i LOVE this post, wendy! my 10 year old wouldn’t read a book if her life depended on it. not until i convinced her to read The Hunger Games trilogy. and now i can’t pry her away from books! but a series like this would have saved us a lot of heart ache when we were searching for books she might enjoy. looks like i’ve got some future gifts planned for her, now!

    5. Laurie Schneider  •  Jan 14, 2011 @10:20 pm

      You’re so right. Both of my kids, the reader and the non-reader, enjoy books like these. Now if someone could just publish a hockey-ology book for my son….

      Wendy Reply:

      @Laurie Schneider, I guess you’ll have to write one! It’ll be fun, you can pretend to be some ancient, old archeologist.

      Laurie Schneider Reply:

      Too funny, Wendy. I’m already old, so all I’d need to fake was the archeologist part.