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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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  • Before They Were Famous

    Learning Differences

    When I discovered the biography section of the library as a kid, I thought I’d hit gold. There it was all mapped out for me–the path to fame and fortune. Albert Einstein was famous as a Nobel-prize winning physicist, but before that he was a kid that went to school, just like me (Although that is where the similarities ended, I was undeterred and studied physics through college. Alas, no Nobel prize.).

    Biographies and autobiographies make the great acheievements of famous people seem reachable. Kid readers may find with the right skill set, timing, and luck they too could one day be the subject of a biography.

    Here’s a book list of fascinating and inspirational life stories:

    ROSA PARKS: MY STORY by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins

    From IndieBound: Rosa Parks is best known for the day she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Yet there is much more to her story than this one act of defiance. In this straightforward, compelling autobiography, Rosa Parks talks candidly about the civil rights movement and her active role in it. Her dedication is inspiring; her story is unforgettable.

     

     

     

    ESCAPE! THE STORY OF THE GREAT HOUDINI by Sid Fleischman

    From IndieBound: Who was this man who could walk through brick walls and, with a snap of his fingers, vanish elephants? In these pages you will meet the astonishing Houdini—magician, ghost chaser, daredevil, pioneer aviator, and king of escape artists. No jail cell or straitjacket could hold him! He shucked off handcuffs as easily as gloves.

    In this fresh, witty biography of the most famous bamboozler since Merlin, Sid Fleischman, a former professional magician, enriches his warm homage with insider information and unmaskings. Did Houdini really pick the jailhouse lock to let a fellow circus performer escape? Were his secrets really buried with him? Was he a bum magician, as some rivals claimed? How did he manage to be born in two cities, in two countries, on two continents at the same instant?

    Here are the stories of how a knockabout kid named Ehrich Weiss, the son of an impoverished rabbi, presto-changoed himself into the legendary Harry Houdini. Here, too, are rare photographs never before seen by the general reader!

    KNOTS IN MY YO-YO STRING by Jerry Spinelli

    From IndieBound: Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli has penned his early autobiography with all the warmth, humor, and drama of his best-selling fiction. From first memories through high school, including first kiss, first punch, first trip to the principal’s office, and first humiliating sports experience, this is not merely an account of a highly unusual childhood. Rather, like Spinelli’s fiction, its appeal lies in the  accessibility and universality of his life. Entertaining and fast-paced, this is a highly readable memoir– a must-have for Spinelli fans of all ages.

     

     

     

    Here are samples from a series of biographies:

    INVENTING THE FUTURE: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF THOMAS ALVA EDISON by Marfe Ferguson Delano

    From IndieBound: Thomas Edison’s 1,093 patented inventions include the light bulb, the phonograph, and significant contributions to the fields of photography. Combining lively text, rare period photos, and Edison’s own words, Delano paints a memorable portrait of this prolific American genius. Photos.

    Note: This is one of a series of photobiographies created by this author for National Geographic.

     

     

     

    MILTON HERSHEY: YOUNG CHOCOLATIER by M.M. Eboch

    From IndieBound: Did you know that the man behind Hershey’s chocolate used to work in an ice cream parlor? Or that he had to try over and over again to get his now-famous chocolate to taste as delicious as it does today? Milton Hershey’s life wasn’t always a bowl of chocolate Kisses. When he was in fourth grade, he even had to drop out of school and work to help his poor family make ends meet. Read all about how the man we know as the famous young chocolatier finally struck it rich — in money, love, and chocolate!

    Note: This is one of a series of biographies, CHILDHOOD OF FAMOUS AMERICANS, published by Aladdin. A similar series is also available, CHILDHOOD OF WORLD FIGURES.

     

     

    STRONG FORCE: THE STORY OF PHYSICIST SHIRLEY ANN JACKSON by Diane O’Connell

    From IndieBound: Shirley Ann Jackson sees the unseen. She’s an expert in the invisible particles that make up everything in the universe, including you. Shirley Ann Jackson is a theoretical physicist, a scientist who studies the subatomic world using only paper, pencils, computers, and the most important tool of all: her imagination. Her passion for science blossomed during her childhood, with bumblebee experiments and go-cart races. But it’s her talent for math and her drive to succeed that have taken her career in amazing directions. Shirley uses her knowledge of electrons, neutrinos, and other particles of matter to better the lives of others–from solving important technology problems to teaching college physics to making nuclear power plants safer. A born leader, Shirley has always seized opportunities and broken down racial barriers, not only for herself but for others. Strong Force is the compelling story of an African American trailblazer and her science. Compelling and captivating, this true story of adventure traces the life of a young bee collector who lived her dream of becoming a world-renowned physicist.

    Note: This is one of a series of biographies, WOMEN’S ADVENTURES IN SCIENCE, published by Joseph Henry Press.

    In addition to a huge series of biographies published by DK Publishing, there’s also the Who Was…? series published by Grosset & Dunlap with titles such as WHO WAS WALT DISNEY? Tell us your favorite middle-grade biographies and autobiographies in the comments below!

     

    Karen B. Schwartz would like you to know that the only biography written on her life so far is this one. She was born and went to school, just like you, and one magical day became a member of this blog. Also, she writes (a lot), reads (a lot), raises two rascally boys (it never ends), and meets famous people (sometimes).

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