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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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  • All Aboard the Fantasy Train!

    Book Lists

    Have you already read the Harry Potter series backward and forward? Then climb aboard the fantasy train for more great fantasy adventures. Okay, take one more ride on the Hogwarts Express first. We’ll wait.

    Photo credit: Karen B. Schwartz, taken at Universal Studios

    All good? Then check out these great fantasy adventures!

    THE BOGGART by Susan Cooper

    From IndieBound:  When Emily and Jess Volnik’s family inherits a remote, crumbling Scottish castle, they also inherit the Boggart — an invisible, mischievous spirit who’s been playing tricks on residents of Castle Keep for generations. Then the Boggart is trapped in a rolltop desk and inadvertently shipped to the Volniks’ home in Toronto, where nothing will ever be the same — for the Volniks or the Boggart.

    In a world that doesn’t believe in magic, the Boggart’s pranks wreak havoc. And even the newfound joys of peanut butter and pizza and fudge sauce eventually wear thin for the Boggart. He wants to go home — but his only hope lies in a risky and daring blend of modern technology and ancient magic.

    THE WARRIORS series by Erin Hunter

    From IndieBound:  Fire alone can save our Clan…

    For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by the powerful ancestors. But the warrior code is threatened, and the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger. The sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying — and some deaths are more mysterious than others.

    In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary housecat named Rusty . . . Who may yet turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

    THE HOUND OF ROWAN: Book One of the Tapestry by Henry H. Neff

    From IndieBound: Max McDaniels lives a quiet life in the suburbs of Chicago, until the day he stumbles upon a mysterious Celtic tapestry. Many strange people are interested in Max and his tapestry. His discovery leads him to Rowan Academy, a secret school where great things await him.

    But dark things are waiting, too. When Max learns that priceless artworks and gifted children are disappearing, he finds himself in the crossfire of an ancient struggle between good and evil. To survive, he’ll have to rely on a network of agents and mystics, the genius of his roommate, and the frightening power awakening within him.

    THE STEPS ACROSS THE WATER by Adam Gopnik

    From IndieBound:  Ten-year-old Rose lives in New York, the city of bright lights and excitement, and a seemingly endless variety of people, architecture, and food–where extraordinary things happen every day on every block. But Rose wasn’t born in New York; she was adopted as an infant from a far-away country. Though Rose loves her home and her adopted family, sometimes she can’t help but feel different, like she’s meant to be somewhere else. Then one day in Central Park, Rose sees something truly extraordinary: a crystal staircase rising out of the lake, and two small figures climbing the shimmering steps before vanishing like a mirage. Only it’s wasn’t a mirage. Rose is being watched–recruited–by representatives of U Nork, a hidden city far more spectacular than its sister city New York. In U Nork, Dirigibles and zeppelins skirt dazzling skyscrapers that would dwarf the Crysler building. Impeccably dressed U Norkers glide along the sidewalks in roller skates. Rose can hardly take it all in. Then she learns the most astonishing thing about U Nork. Its citizens are in danger, and they need Rose’s help, and hers alone.

    UNDER THE GREEN HILL by Laura L. Sullivan

    From IndieBound:  Meg and her siblings have been sent to the English countryside for the summer to stay with elderly relatives. The children are looking forward to exploring the ancient mansion and perhaps discovering a musty old attic or two filled with treasure, but never in their wildest dreams did they expect to find themselves in the middle of a fairy war.

    When Rowan pledges to fight for the beautiful fairy queen, Meg is desperate to save her brother. But the Midsummer War is far more than a battle between mythic creatures: Everything that lives depends on it. How can Meg choose between family and the fate of the very land itself?

    And don’t forget the classics:

    THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster

    A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle

    THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien

    THE ENCHANTED CASTLE by Edith Nesbit

    HALF MAGIC by Edward Eager

    Tell us your favorites in the comments!

    Karen B. Schwartz had the good fortune to visit Harry Potter land at Universal Studios with a bunch of other Muggles. She’s got the magic wand and screaming yo-yo to show for it.

    8 Comments

    6 Comments

    1. Laura Marcella  •  Feb 28, 2011 @11:26 am

      These all sound great! And of course I’ve read all those classics. :)

      Other suggestions:
      The Hounds of the Mórrígan by Pat O’Shea
      The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
      The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley

      Karen B. Schwartz Reply:

      @Laura Marcella, thanks for your suggestions!

    2. Sydney Salter  •  Feb 28, 2011 @12:56 pm

      I credit the SECRETS OF DROON series by Tony Abbott for turning my new-to-chapter-books daughter into the avid teen reader she is now. For years she re-enacted stories from that series, running around the house in a cape :)

      Karen B. Schwartz Reply:

      @Sydney Salter, that is awesome!

    3. Natalie Aguirre  •  Feb 28, 2011 @6:51 pm

      Thanks for the awesome list. There’s many on the list I need to read.

    4. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Feb 28, 2011 @9:55 pm

      Thanks, Karen. I can’t wait to dig into the fantasy novels on your list that I haven’t read yet. :)

    5. Jennifer Can Quilt  •  Mar 3, 2011 @11:19 am

      My students are loving THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE VOL 1 THE SHADOWS by Jacqueline West. It’s wonderful; the language is so fine! The children think the descriptions are fabulous, and are endlessly intrigued by the mysterious paintings in Olive’s house.

    6. Pippa  •  Apr 6, 2011 @11:22 am

      I’m a great fan of Roald Dahl’s brand of fantasy and got into Eoin Colfer’s ‘Artemis Fowl’ series to fill the Harry Potter void. Jonathan Stroud’s ‘Bartimaeus’ trilogy is awesome and I see he just won the BOB award for his prequel, ‘Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon’, which I’m dying to read.