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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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  • Happy release day – and a giveaway!

    Giveaways, Interviews

    Hello Middle Grade readers! Today we’re interviewing TMUF member Jen K Blom! Her debut, POSSUM SUMMER, released this month!

    First, a little about the book:

    A lonely girl.

    An orphaned possum.

    A dad that says no way.

    How do you keep that a secret? And what happens when you’re found out?

    TMUF: Well, Jen, happy release day! Your book was blurbed by Bill Wallace (A DOG CALLED KITTY). What did you do when you read what he said? And I quote: “Jen K. Blom’s Possum Summer, is a heartwarming, vibrant story of a western Oklahoma ‘country’ girl [that] mixes themes of honor, resolve, and courage with just the right blend of adventure, excitement, humor, danger, love, compassion, and a small touch of romance. It’s a book that middle graders will want to read. The author should brace herself for all the letters and emails she’ll receive asking ‘did this really happen?’ –Bill Wallace, author of A Dog Called Kitty and many other books”

    JKB: I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, actually. My school had had him visit when I was in fourth grade, and after I’d sat through his visit I decided I would be a writer too. It just took a bit longer than I expected, back then. (Teachers: schedule author visits for your students! *g*)

    TMUF: So how much of the book is personal experience? How will you answer those kids?

    JKB: Ha! I had a possum, back in the day. I rescued him in the *exact* way that the first chapter plays it out, too. Not much else is the same, except I did happen to grow up in Oklahoma. (GO SOONERS!) Oh, and Gran in the story is very much like my beloved Gran. She was a hoot. Maybe there is some stuff in there, after all.

    TMUF: Did you know a girl named Princess?

    JKB: Yes, my Gran! Her name was Princess, and I decided there was no better name than that.

    TMUF: What scene reminded you most of your childhood in Oklahoma when you wrote it?

    JKB: P slides down the sides of a red canyon early on in the book, and I definitely remember that iron-tasting red dirt.

    TMUF: Well, we’ve got to wrap this up. What do you hope readers will take away from POSSUM SUMMER?

    JKB: Oh. Well. I’d love to have them come away wondering what they’d do in P’s situation, especially the military kids – they’ll recognize many of P’s foibles, I think. I really appreciate P’s determination: she made a call, and she saw it through to the end, even though that end wasn’t what she wanted.

    And I also hope they’d be interested in taking part in the Oklahoma Showdown, later this year.

    TMUF: Thanks, Jen!

    JKB: Thanks, guys! I hope you enjoy POSSUM SUMMER!

    —–

    Leave a comment in the comments section below and our random generator will choose a lucky winner on Saturday, June 25th, to win a

    POSSUM PRIZE PACK

    Consisting of a signed POSSUM SUMMER hardcover, a personalized Lookbook (just like P!) and an Awesome Possum t-shirt!

    You’ll get extra entries for sharing a link on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or if you click the ‘Follow this blog’ button in Networked Blogs on the lower right side of our site.

    ***Please mention each link in a new comment so the generator will add your extra entries.  This contest is open internationally.  Good luck!

     

    25 Comments

    25 Comments

    1. sarah aronson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @6:31 am

      Congratulations, Jen! Can’t wait to read Possum Summer!!!

    2. Heather Macchi  •  Jun 24, 2011 @6:35 am

      Congratulations to Jen! This sounds like a great book that I think my students will enjoy. I am always on the lookout for new books and authors to introduce my class to. Hopefully this will be the first of many for Jen K Blom.

    3. Jill of The O.W.L.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:16 am

      Sounds really good! It reminds me of a short story that I’ve read involving a boy and it pet fox.

    4. JKB  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:41 am

      Thank you, guys!

      Sarah – I’d love to know what you think, once you’re done!

      Heather – I hope it’s the first of many, too! My next contracted is THE SPOTTED PONY – think Flicka meets Texas. Let me know if you’d like bookmarks for your class!

      Jill – thanks! I’d love to know what you think of it when you read it!

    5. Barbara Watson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:22 am

      My daughter and I can’t resist books involving animals, especially when the dad says, ‘No way.’ We can’t wait to read it!

    6. JKB  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:25 am

      Barbara – atta girl! And your daughter gets a GOLD STAR! Let me know what you think!

    7. JKB  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:26 am

      Oh – and I will also say this: if you have a copy of POSSUM SUMMER, contact me! I will send you a bookplate (signed!) or a bookmark, of course!

    8. gwendolyn b.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:00 am

      Jen, congrats on your debut! POSSUM SUMMER sounds wonderful. It must be nice to see your dream come true!

      Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book — I hope to read it with my niece this summer.

    9. gwendolyn b.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:02 am

      +1 I follow on Networked Blogs

    10. Laura Marcella  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:07 am

      Congrats on your novel’s release, Jen! Your book sounds terrific. I have a niece who loves animals, and I know she (and I!) will enjoy Possum Summer.

    11. Ella Schwartz  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:08 am

      Congratulations on the release!! Wishing you nothing but success!! What an interesting idea :)

    12. gwendolyn b.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:24 am
    13. Sarah H.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @10:47 am

      Love the cover! Looks like a really sweet story!

    14. Barbara Watson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @12:35 pm

      +1 with Twitter mention from @BA_Watson

    15. Akoss  •  Jun 24, 2011 @12:43 pm

      She has so much resolve in her eyes.
      I would be great to win, but in case I don’t I will make my way to the library to find out more. :)
      Thanks for this giveaway.

    16. Llehn  •  Jun 24, 2011 @5:24 pm

      I’d love to play please.

    17. Linda Andersen  •  Jun 24, 2011 @5:59 pm

      Jen, this sounds like a terrific book. Possums are cool animals. I think lots of kids will be drawn to this. Please enter my name in the drawing.

      Thanks!

    18. Cathe Olson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:00 pm

      The book and the fun extras sound great. Please enter me in the drawing.

    19. Cathe Olson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:00 pm

      I’m a blog follower.

    20. Heidi Grange  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:41 pm

      Sounds like a fun book to share. Animal books are always popular at my school.

    21. Rosanne Parry  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:02 pm

      Congratulations Jen!

    22. PragmaticMom  •  Jun 25, 2011 @9:36 am

      Would love to win this!

    23. Margaret Nevinski  •  Jun 25, 2011 @9:55 am

      Best of luck with your debut novel, Jen. It sounds wonderful.

    24. Karen  •  Jun 27, 2011 @10:53 pm

      Congratulations, this looks amazing!

    25. RLB Hartmann  •  Jun 28, 2011 @1:41 pm

      My affection for possums goes back a long way, and I applaud anyone who shares my affinity enough to write a book. Thanks, Jen!