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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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  • Middle-grade Book Club Guide

    Activities, For Kids

    So, you want to start a book club! Cool! But, how do you begin?

    I asked my pal and librarian extraordinaire, Deb Marshall, about what goes into making a successful middle-grade book club. She and her Backroom Kids Book Club members came up with some awesome advice to get you started:

    Deb’s report on the kids’ thoughts as she went around the table :

    SNACKS: since we meet right after school, the kids are hungry and have had NO FOOD since lunch. They really like having a chance to just sit around and chat about ‘whatever’ while they eat. In other words, we start with fifteen minutes or so of eating and chatting. 

    FIRST GRABS: the book clubbers LOVE getting first dibs on new books that come into the library. It’s like Christmas every Thursday!  Some call this “first grabs”.  They also like that they get to read Advance Review Copies and do reviews on them.

    NEW RELEASES ‘HEADS UP’: they get to find out what new releases are coming out. We decided to make this a weekly feature of our book club.

    NEW FRIENDS:  You never know who you will meet, but you all have one thing in common: you love to read! They really like that the book club feels like a social event. (Deb: this one surprised me, actually. That is one of the reasons I love book clubs too!)

    OPEN REGISTRATION: they like the open registration and that they don’t have to come to every meeting (although they DO come to every one, lol). They like that we don’t have ‘required reading’ right now…we just go around the table and talk about what we are reading and why we like it. It’s like ‘show and tell’ for books!

    Deb’s thoughts on book clubs:
     
    OPEN DOOR POLICY: it’s important to make everyone feel welcome and on equal ground.  Book clubs are about a love of books and if you are reading the same book over and over again, that’s okay. I had a girl in a previous club who did just that; in fact she told me she didn’t really like to read. I told her that was okay–she could still come and join in–we’d find her something else she liked. And we did! She became one or our most voracious readers!

    START SMALL AND GROW FROM THERE: if you start with small numbers, don’t get discouraged. Just keep going if your time and budget allows. Both book clubs I’ve been a part of started really small. In both cases, 2 kids. We ran all summer with just two kids, then fall arrived and they brought friends and so on–until that club was running with at least 10 kids per week.

    Same with the one I have now–we started with two, now we’re up to 12! The key here (I think) was letting the kids know it is a social event. We get together and talk about books, laugh and have fun.  Even if you’re not a speed reader, have only read one book in your life but love that book to death—join us!

    Wow! Thanks so much to Deb and the Backroom Kids Book Club for all these great tips! I  totally want to join your book club now (especially if you have SNACKS! ;-))

    In fact, I’ll be joining them via SKYPE in the next little while and can’t wait. :-)

    Your turn: Are you part of a middle-grade book club? Are you planning to start one? Please share your tips for success in the comments!

    Hélène Boudreau is the author of the upper middle-grade novel, REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky).  She offers FREE 30-minute Q & A sessions via SKYPE with REAL MERMAIDS book clubs. You can visit her at www.heleneboudreau.com

    10 Comments

    10 Comments

    1. Karen Scott  •  Feb 25, 2011 @7:10 am

      One of the things a middle grade book club my daugher and I belonged to did– We took turns “choosing” three books to recommend, then we gave a description to the group. The whole group voted on which one to read for the next month. It worked out pretty well.

    2. Deb Marshall  •  Feb 25, 2011 @8:52 am

      Helene! You are so welcome, thanks for asking us to share our passion!

    3. Karen Schwartz  •  Feb 25, 2011 @12:48 pm

      Sounds like a fun club. Wish they had something like that when I was a kid!

    4. Cathe Olson  •  Feb 25, 2011 @7:48 pm

      I really like the idea that the kids don’t have to all read the same book to discuss it. I love that they just share about what they are reading. I think that opens it up to so many more kids.

      Thanks for sharing this.

    5. Sayantani DasGupta  •  Feb 25, 2011 @7:50 pm

      Such a fantastic post – because it makes me realize, exactly like Cathe – that book club can be just kids talking about what books they are reading… fantastic…

    6. Diana Greenwood  •  Feb 25, 2011 @8:17 pm

      This makes me miss our old mother-daughter book club so much now that my girl is all grown up (and still an avid reader). Many good memories. LOVE the idea of talking about what books kids are reading. That could have really worked for ours when there was disagreement on choices and the reading felt forced. Didn’t happen often but once in a while.

      Thanks for a great post!

    7. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Feb 25, 2011 @10:45 pm

      Thanks so much for the great post, Deb and Helene! I’m part of several critique groups and we often discuss books we’re reading, but I’m not involved in an actual book club. Wow–wish I could be a part of yours, Deb! I’ve always thought that book clubs had participants read the same book–I love the thought of a more show and tell approach! I bet it helps a lot of your readers find wonderful new books!

    8. Pragmatic Mom  •  Feb 27, 2011 @5:12 pm

      Thank you for great ideas for middle grade book clubs! I run a book club for my kids (5th and 3rd grade) so it is great to know what is up head. I wanted to share my posts on Book Clubs for Kids at http://www.pragmaticmom.com/?category_name=book-club-for-kids

      I have some book and project ideas that might be helpful on this post: http://www.pragmaticmom.com/?p=120

    9. Megan  •  Mar 2, 2011 @8:20 pm

      This is a great idea! I am a writer, but, ironically, getting my daughter to read has been a struggle. I mentioned a book club, and she is excited. I think this will be the perfect thing to get her reading. Thanks!

    10. Deb  •  Mar 3, 2011 @12:44 pm

      Thanks for commenting, everyone! I must say I love my book club kids. They are amazing. Hard to believe it’s my job, lol. And yes on joining a book club, Megan. Maybe she could suggest it to her library, help organize it. When we started there was just 2-3 at a time, one of the boys really said he didn’t like reading, but he loved taking part in the planning and talking about the books he did like (many of which are graphic novels, so I told him it was great to have a graphic novel reader on board, I’d don’t get time to read as many as I want, so he is our go to guy, he’s been coming weekly since…Sept.) I think the key is to fit the club to the kids and recognize we are different kinds of readers. Some are good with reading one book a month, sometimes the same one over, some read a book a day. If we mold to them, though, I think we create the ground work for building non readers into readers, little bit of reading readers into more readers and voracious readers into kids who are willing to explore a wide variety of genre’s and take a role in creating a love of reading among their peers without being all “well I can read a book a day and you are only reading one a month?!?” (yeah started with a couple of those too, lol!) Anyhow, am still talking! Will stop. Thanks again for reading and commenting!