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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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Celebrating Second Fiddle

Book Lists, Giveaways, Historical Fiction, Interviews

Today we are celebrating the launch of Rosanne Parry’s new novel, Second Fiddle. It has been chosen as a Spring Indy Next book by independent booksellers, so stop by your nearest indy bookstore and look for it today!

Rosanne has a hardcover copy of Second Fiddle and a paperback of Heart of a Shepherd for one lucky commentator on the site. So leave your name in the comments and we’ll choose a winner next Tuesday.

Here is the jacket flap:

It is 1990 and the wall that separated Communist East Berlin from the capitalist West has finally come down. For Jody this means moving back the States with her dad who’s retiring from the army and saying goodbye the the two best friends she’s ever had.

Before they part ways the three girls plan one last adventure a trip to Paris where they’ll compete in a classical music contest as a string trio.  Winning will (almost) make up for the fact that they’ll soon be separated. But as they walk home from their final music lesson the girls witness a terrible crime and must act to save a Soviet soldier’s life. Getting to Paris becomes urgent as the girls discover that the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.

In this fast-paced tale of music, friendship and adventure, Rosanne Parry, author of Heart of a Shepherd, offers a sensitive portrayal of military families at a pivotal moment in history.


What was your favorite part of the book writing process?

I played violin from the age of 9 to 14. When I began researching Second Fiddle, I started playing my violin again to get my head into my main character, Jody. At first, I sounded awful, but once I got back in the habit of playing 20-30 minutes a day, I loved it. Even better, my younger two daughters, who play violin and piano, became old enough to play duets and trios with me. That was, and continues to be, the most amazing, wonderful thing! I love playing with my girls so much that I dedicated the book to them. It was a great insight into, not just Jody as a musician, but also the dynamic of girls making music together.

I have a bunch of bookstore events coming up for Second Fiddle and at most of them I’ll bring my violin and have lots of kid musicians along to make music with me. I can’t wait!


Why did you decide to make this story for middle grade readers?

Second Fiddle could have become a YA novel. Jody and her friends are at the end of their 8th grade year. They accomplished musicians and travel abroad on their own; that would be pretty independent even for high school students, so my editor and I discussed the possibility of gearing the story for older readers. But when I reflected on the heart of my main character I found Jody was more interested in music than romance. She wasn’t trying to rebel or strike out on her own, she was just trying to do the right thing in a world where the rules about who is your friend and your enemy had dramatically changed.

So we kept it at the older end of middle grade. Although the girls are frequently in real danger, they meet kind and helpful people everywhere they go. When they are confronted with “adult” situations—alcohol, inappropriate advances—they respond with a resounding middle grade “Eeww! Yuck!” What I love about this decision is that it keeps the focus clearly on Jody’s journey of claiming the title musician for her self.


Can you share an excerpt from the book that gives us a flavor of your character’s voice? How did you find your character’s voice?

The opening line of this book walked into my head one day quite early in the process of researching this book. I scratched it out on a scrap of paper because it told me almost everything I needed to know about my main character. She’s a sensible down to earth girl who’s trying to do the right thing, and has a clear sense of what it means to be an American living overseas at the close of the cold war.

“If we had known it would eventually involve the KGB, the French National Police, and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, we would have left that body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen, but we were Americans and addicted to solving other peoples’ problems, so naturally we got involved.”


Why did you choose the setting of your story?

It was my privilege to live in Germany from 1990-1992 at the end of the cold war. It was a fascinating time because the Soviet Union was such a formidable enemy of the U.S. for so long, it was astonishing to see the cascade of changes that occurred across Europe because of the fall of the Berlin Wall. That uncertainty is the perfect companion for the uncertainty of the kid who moves all the time and the uncertainty of leaving grade school and entering high school. It gave me plenty of room to find conflict and all the fun of revisiting my memories of Germany and Paris.

It’s a complete coincidence but the current events Egypt and North Africa are strikingly similar to the events at the fall of communism. I heard an American-born Egyptian on the radio, saying nearly exactly the same thing my Soviet soldier says about longing to be home in his own country helping to make it free.


Rosanne Parry moved to Germany in the spring of 1990 just as the Berlin Wall was coming down. She ran away to Paris for one glorious weekend with her soldier husband, first-born baby and an enormous purple stroller. The three of them are best friends to this day. Rosanne is the author of Heart of a Shepherd, which has been honored as a Washington Post’s Best Kid’s Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of the Year and a Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year. She also plays the violin for which she has never been honored with a prize of any kind. She now lives with her husband in an old farmhouse in Portland, Oregon, where they raise four children, three chickens, five kinds of fruit and their voices in the occasional song. Visit Rosanne at rosanneparry.com.

Rosanne does school visits for all ages from primary grades to high school, both in person and on Skype, and also adult writers workshops. You may contact her for an appearance at rosanneparry@comcast.net.

If you are looking for some good companion reads for Second Fiddle, there are some recommendations here at her website.





  1. jone  •  Mar 22, 2011 @1:54 pm

    Happy Book Birthday, Second Fiddle. I cannot wait to read you as I loved your sibling Heart of a Shepherd. Thanks for a great interview on the creating of the book.

  2. Anamaria  •  Mar 22, 2011 @1:58 pm

    Very much looking forward to reading Second Fiddle–I too love Heart of a Shepherd (it was on my Newbery shortlist!), as well as Paris and the violin!

    Rosanne Parry Reply:

    @Anamaria, Hi Anamaria,
    If you happen to be in Portland on April 9th, I’ll be doing a book event at A Children’s Place bookstore on Fremont at 2pm. Some very talented members of the Metro Youth Symphony will be there to play some music with me. Bring your fiddle and play along with us!

  3. Kim Kasch  •  Mar 22, 2011 @2:29 pm

    Happy Bookday to You!

  4. Sherrie Petersen  •  Mar 22, 2011 @3:34 pm

    I love the potential for double meaning in the title. Sounds like a wonderful premise for a book.

  5. Kathleen  •  Mar 22, 2011 @4:48 pm

    I’m looking forward to Second Fiddle. I loved Heart of a Shepherd and have been anxiously awaiting another great story from Rosanne.

  6. Carol Riggs  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:12 pm

    Way to go, another book by Rosanne! I’d love to enter. Thanks for the nice interview. SECOND FIDDLE sounds like a great read. :)

  7. Natalie Aguirre  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:24 pm

    Great interview. It’s so interesting how Rosanne has tapped into her musical experiences and her experiences living in Europe to develop this story.

  8. Linda Andersen  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:40 pm


    I work at a School of Arts. Second Fiddle would be a great book to loan out. Now, I’m curious about Heart of a Shepherd also. Thanks for the great interview. Keep putting out quality reads.

    Linda A.

  9. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:56 pm

    Congratulations, Rosanne! Can’t wait to read another book by you – and it sounds gripping and wonderful.

  10. Rosanne Parry  •  Mar 22, 2011 @6:58 pm

    @Linda Andersen, One of the really fun things about writing this book was that my editor and agent are both musicians. We all have warm memories of making music with friends and really wanted to bring out a book that celebrates the uniquely empowering thing that music can be in a young person’s life.

    Your students are so lucky to have a school for the arts! I would have loved that for myself. I wish it was available to my own children.

  11. Cindy  •  Mar 22, 2011 @7:38 pm

    This sounds so good… I can’t wait to read it.

  12. Laurie Beth Schneider  •  Mar 22, 2011 @8:02 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful story, Rosanne. I hope to run into you–and your fiddle–one day.

  13. Penny Murray  •  Mar 22, 2011 @8:08 pm

    Haven’t read anything by this author, but, leave it to the Mixed Up Files to pique my interest about another book–books, actually! Will read both, thank you! ~a 4th and 5th grade teacher, Grass Lake, MI

  14. Teresa Meier  •  Mar 22, 2011 @8:25 pm

    Can’t wait to read it!

  15. Susan  •  Mar 22, 2011 @9:47 pm

    Put me down as another who loved Heart of a Shepherd and is looking forward to reading your new book. Congratulations, Rosanne! (And I even have an aunt named Rosanne. Do I get extra points for that??)

  16. Dianne White  •  Mar 22, 2011 @10:58 pm

    Terrific interview! I’m looking forward to reading Second Fiddle.

  17. Diana Greenwood  •  Mar 22, 2011 @11:22 pm

    I am going to love this book! Love that snippet of the MC’s voice. Tells all, indeed.

  18. Katie Schneider  •  Mar 23, 2011 @9:18 am

    Congratulations Roseanne! You rock! We’ll try to be there on the 9th!

  19. Bev Patt  •  Mar 23, 2011 @10:45 am

    Just wanted to stop by and say CONGRATS to my pal Rosanne AND to the lucky winner of SECOND FIDDLE. If it’s as terrific as HEART OF A SHEPHERD, the winner will be lucky indeed!
    I will be buying my own copy so don’t include me in the giveaway:)



  20. Michael Gettel-Gilmartin  •  Mar 23, 2011 @5:54 pm

    Yay, Rosanne! I wish SECOND FIDDLE every success.

  21. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Mar 23, 2011 @11:01 pm

    Congrats on the release of Second Fiddle! I can’t wait to read it. :)

  22. Barbara Baker  •  Mar 26, 2011 @6:45 pm

    Sounds like a great read! I can hardly wait to dig in.

  23. Barbara Baker  •  Mar 26, 2011 @6:46 pm

    Sounds like a great read! I can hardly wait to dig in.