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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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  • A List of Love

    Uncategorized

    Flickr image by @sahxic < twitter

    In honor of Valentine’s Day, a list of middle-grade books with L-O-V-E in them seemed appropriate.   But what kind of love is found in a middle-grade book?

    All kinds, I say.

    There are books about family love, some about crushes, others with love for pets and animals.  I’ve even found some funny ones, and others where the love of the written word shines bright.

    I’ve separated them into categories for easy reference.  I hope you find a title you heart as much as I do.

    SIBLING/FAMILY LOVE:

    The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

    Description from Indiebound:

    THE PENDERWICK SISTERS are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating–and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan–a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.

    The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

    Description from Indiebound:

    Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She’s ready to rule the school as a sixth grader and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother’s sister, is coming to visit for several months — and is staying in Lucy’s room. Lucy’s vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, and Chinese school with the awful Talent Chang.

    Her plans are ruined — or are they? Like the Chinese saying goes: Events that appear to be good or bad luck often turn out to be quite the opposite, and Lucy finds that while she may not get the “perfect” year she had in mind, she can create something even better.

    More titles to love:

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    Gentle’s Holler by Kerry Madden

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


    CRUSHES AND FIRST LOVES:

    Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe by Bette Greene

    Description from Indiebound:

    Philip Hall is the cutest, smartest boy in the sixth grade, and Beth Lambert loves him. The fact that he beats her in classwork, sports, and almost everything else doesn’t bother Beth at first. Then she realizes that Philip might be best because she’s letting him beat her. Beth knows that she deserves to be number one–and she’s going to prove it!

    Shug by Jenny Han

    Description from Indiebound:

    Annemarie Wilcox, or Shug as her family calls her, is beginning to think there’s nothing worse than being twelve. She’s too tall, too freckled, and way too flat-chested. Shug is sure that there’s not one good or amazing thing about her. And now she has to start junior high, where the friends she counts most dear aren’t acting so dear anymore — especially Mark…

    More titles to love:

    Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blume

    Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

    Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis

    And a few with love as a subplot:

    Savvy by Ingrid Law

    Heat by Mike Lupica

    Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head by Nancy Viau


    ANIMAL/PET LOVE:

    Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan

    Description from Indiebound:

    The Walkers are moving to a new town, and staying with an aunt who’s allergic to dogs. Too bad for Andi and her brother Bruce, who love dogs — and happen to meet a stray that needs help. Soon, Andi hatches a plan, turning the abandoned house down the block into a hotel for dogs. But as more and more tenants move in, the secret gets too big to keep. Can the kids save their canine castle? Or will the hotel have to close?

    Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

    Description from Indiebound:

    Unfortunately, Roy’s first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn’t been sinking his thumbs into Roy’s temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and–here’s the odd part–wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy’s trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.

    And a few more titles to love:

    Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

    Diamond Willow by Helen Frost

    Old Yeller by Fred Gipson


    FUNNY LOVE:

    The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

    Description from Indiebound:

    In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.

    Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

    Description by Indiebound:

    MILO is the funny and poignant story, told through text and cartoons, of a 13-year-old boy’s struggle to come to terms with the loss that hit the reset button on his life. Loveable geek Milo Cruikshank finds reasons for frustration at every turn, like people who carve Halloween pumpkins way too soon (the pumpkins just rot and get lopsided) or the fact that the girl of his dreams, Summer, barely acknowledges his existence while next-door neighbor Hilary won’t leave him alone. The truth is – ever since Milo’s mother died nothing has gone right. Now, instead of the kitchen being full of music, his whole house has been filled with Fog. Nothing’s the same. Not his Dad. Not his sister. And definitely not him. In love with the girl he sneezed on the first day of school and best pals with Marshall, the “One Eyed Jack” of friends, Milo copes with being the new kid (again) as he struggles to survive a school year that is filled with reminders of what his life “used to be.

    More titles to love:

    Gossip from the Girls’ Room by Rose Cooper

    Raymond and Graham: Dancing Dudes by Mike Knudsen

    Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald


    And last but not least, LOVE OF WORDS:

    Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal

    Description from Indiebound:

    Harper Lee Morgan is an aspiring poet, which isn’t surprising, seeing as how she’s named after her mama’s favorite writer, Harper Lee. And life is giving her a lot to write about just now. Daddy up and walked out, leaving them broke. Then Harper’s family gets evicted.

    With Mama scrambling to find work, Harper has to skip school to care for her little brother, Hemingway. Their lives have been turned upside down, which Harper could just about handle—if it wasn’t for the writing contest at school. If only she could get up on that stage and read her poems out loud . . .

    Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

    Description by Indiebound:

    Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.

    Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.

    More titles to love:

    Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

    Scumble by Ingrid Law

    Word After Word After Word by Patricia Maclachlan


    Do you know more titles where love can be found inside its pages?  Please share them with me in the comments below.  Let’s spread the love!

    Elissa Cruz writes books for boys, but she’s not afraid of a little romance, either.  She is represented by Josh Getzler of Russell and Volkening, Inc.  If you’d love to learn more about her and her writing life, you can find her on her blog at elissacruz.blogspot.com.

    5 Comments

    5 Comments

    1. Laurie Schneider  •  Feb 14, 2011 @12:44 am

      And I…LOVE this list!

    2. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Feb 14, 2011 @11:45 am

      I love this list, too! It’s great how you broke it down into different types of love. The two funny love books have been on my must-read list for a while–I can’t wait to dig into them.

    3. Margaret Nevinski  •  Feb 14, 2011 @5:40 pm

      I “love” this post about love in middle-grade books. Too often we associate love with YA or adult novels, but love is a big part of a middle-grader’s life, too–whether it’s for a person or an animal. Great list.

    4. Pragmatic Mom  •  Feb 14, 2011 @9:52 pm

      What a great list. I love so many books on your list and now I’m going to try to read the ones that I haven’t. Love this. Thank you!

    5. Sayantani DasGupta  •  Feb 15, 2011 @8:56 am

      Great list! Absolutely love it!!!