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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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  • Summer Camp for Writers

    Learning Differences

    It’s June at last! School is finally out and like lots of families, my kids are looking forward to camp. I have a soft spot in my heart for the traditional American trees-and-dirt summer camp experience. I went often as a child. My favorite job of all time was working at a summer camp. But I confess that as I’m getting my own family ready for their summer I find myself thinking, wait a minute, when is it my turn?

    The good news is, there are plenty of summer camp experiences especially for writers of middle grade fiction.

    Perhaps the best known is the Writers Workshop at Chautauqua held each year for a week in mid July in a beautiful small town in southwestern New York State. This is probably the largest summer workshop geared specifically for the needs of children’s authors. Chautauqua is designed for individuals at all levels of experience, from beginning to published, who are interested in writing and illustrating for children.
The conference includes seminars, small-group workshops, and one-on-one sessions with some of the most accomplished and prominent authors, illustrators, editors, critics, and publishers in the world of children’s literature.
    The faculty is large numbering 23 members this year and their depth and breadth of experience is impressive. They include award winning authors, editors, illustrators, poets and publishers. Faculty are chosen not just for the strength of their published work but for their dedication to teaching and mentoring fellow writers. Workshops cover the range from the basics of craft for beginners to advanced writing techniques and information about the book industry and the needs of the child reader.
    If you are looking for a workshop focused solely on children’s books and you prefer the ambiance of small town more than the great outdoors, Chautauqua might be the perfect choice for you. You can learn more about the Writers Workshop at Chautauqua here.

    On the other hand, if you love the mountains and are longing to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a community devoted to all types of writing from memoir to poetry slam, the Fishtrap Summer Workshop might be what you are looking for. Nestled in the Wallowa Valley with breathtaking views of the Eagle Cap wilderness, it is the Switzerland of Oregon and the setting for a 25 year tradition of celebrating western writing.

    Each year there is a theme that all the genres revolve around. This year it’s Migrations and Passages. Thirteen faculty members will lead week long workshops in poetry, historical fiction, memoir, essay, and nature writing. I’m very honored to be among the faculty, teaching coming of age fiction. This is the only writers workshop that I know of that encourages families to attend and has workshops especially for the young writer and teens.
    For people who just can’t break away from work for an entire week, the Fishtrap Workshop ends with a long weekend Gathering with special guests, extra workshops, faculty readings and discussions, and of course music and campfires! It is a magical collaboration across genres, generations and cultures. Many participants come back year after year. There is still room to register for this year’s  workshop in which begins July 10th. For more information go to the Fishtrap website.

    Maybe it’s just not summer to you without a trip to the beach. In that case the Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop might be just what you’re looking for. It’s a more intimate workshop focused on children’s books exclusively. Dan Greenburg, the affable and enthusiastic host of the workshop, gathers an award-winning mix of authors, agents and editors to lead a week of writing workshops in an ocean front classroom.
    The hallmark of the workshop is its retreat-like atmosphere with ample opportunity for one on one consultation with faculty members, and a mix of community and independent mealtimes. It’s hard to beat the Oregon coast in July for great weather and spectacular views. And it’s hard to beat $800 for a week of writing workshops. For slightly more money graduate credit is available for this workshop. Still undecided? Check out the view!
    For more information, look here

    These three workshops are only the tip of the iceberg. You might also look up Kindling Words West in New Mexico, The Iowa Summer Writing Festival in Iowa City or the Book Passage Children’s Writers and Illustrators conference in San Francisco. Oh the possibilities of summer!

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