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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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Honoring Asian/Asian American Themed Middle-Grade Novels

Learning Differences

After the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the world’s eyes have been on Japan recently.

So we at the Mixed-Up Files thought we would show our solidarity with the entire region by and spotlighting ten terrific novels about Asia and Asian America… and one bonus forthcoming novel!

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that two of these fantastic Asian/Asian American themed MG novels are from within our own ranks! (Hey, we figure shameless self promotion is always OK if it’s to get some great new books to kids!)


Shop Indie Bookstores

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus (Amulet)


Although Manjiro, the young fisherman protagonist of Preus’ 2011 Newberry Honor book is 14, and so not technically a middle-grader, we had to start this list with a nod to this splendid adventure on the high seas. In fact, according to Publisher’s Weekly, Japanese television audiences can’t get enough of Preus and her book either!

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Tofu and T. Rex by Greg Leitich Smith (Little Brown)

Companion book to the also fabulously titled Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo, this novel is the story of militant vegan Frederika Mulchison-Kowalski, and her travails with her Japanese-Polish-German-American (and carnivorous) cousin Hans Peter, and their grandfather, who happens to own a butcher shop and sausage deli. Oh, and where is the T. Rex of the title? In the basement, of course…

Shop Indie Bookstores

Bobby the Brave (sometimes) by Lisa Yee (Arthur A. Levine)



It was hard to pick just one book by this master of the middle grade voice. Middle graders will laugh out loud at the antics in of Bobby in this book as well as Bobby vs. Girls (accidentally). Yee’s first MG novel was Millicent Min, Girl Genius – and it begins trio of books written from the distinct points of view of three (kind of) friends. The fantastic Millicent is followed by Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time and So Totally Emily Ebers.


Shop Indie Bookstores

The Year of the Rat by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, Young)


Although many are aware of Grace Lin’s 2010 Newberry Honor winning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, don’t skip over the delightful The Year of the Rat, the sequel to The Year of the Dog. Grace is of course also an illustrator, and has a new book for younger readers, Ling and Ting, which is a 2011 Geisel Honor book.


Rikshaw Girl by Mitali Bose Perkins (Charlesbridge)

Although Mitali is well known for her YA novels, including her much awarded Bamboo People, the story of two teen soldiers in the modern day political turmoil of Burma, she also has works for middle graders, including Rikshaw Girl, the story of a young girl who must save her mother’s golden bangle and fix her father’s rikshaw. 


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Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

This new novel by the author of the YA series The Summer I turned Pretty is about Clara Lee, a kimchi-loving, fish-soup-hating, candy-necklace wearing, little girl who dreams of winning the Little Miss Apple Pie contest. Will her luck change in time for her to win?


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Archer’s Quest by Linda Sue Park (Clarion)

Twelve year old Kevin, who “couldn’t care less” about his heritage, is shocked when a ruler from ancient Korea shows up in his modern day New York bedroom, complete with bow and arrows. Weaving together the past and the present, Park creates an adventure of Korean history and lore as well as a modern day, faced paced sensibility.







The Dragon’s  Child: A Story of Angel Island by Laurence Yep with Dr. Kathleen S. Yep (HarperCollins)

Based on two-time Newberry Honor winner Laurence Yep’s own family history, this historical novel follows ten-year-old Gim Lew Yep from a small village in Southern China to a ship bound for a new future in America.

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look (Schwartz & Wade)

It’s impossible not to adore Alvin Ho, or continue reading the other fabulous novels in this series. Lenore’s other young MG collection begins with Ruby Lu, Brave and True and is also going strong. Both Alvin and Ruby have new novels slated to come out this year!


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The Great Wall of Lucy Lu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (Scholastic)

This fantastic new novel from our own Mixed Up Files blogger (holla!) is about Lucy Wu, a sixth grade ‘all-American’ basketball player, whose life is turned upside down with the arrival of an elderly relative from China, who not only makes Lucy eat Chinese food instead of pizza and hamburgers, but shares her room! About the walls a young girl must break down in order to discover her family history, identity, and inner strength.







Vanished by Sheela Chari (Hyperion, forthcoming)

And here’s another amazing novel – this one forthcoming – from a Mixed Up files blogger! (double holla!) Eleven year old Neela dreams of becoming a musician, but when her instrument – a stringed Indian sitar that was an heirloom from her grandmother – goes missing – she must follow the mystery all the way to India – and into her past!





Here are some more great resources to discover Asian and Asian American middle grade novels:

1. Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website

2. BookDragon: The Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Program

3. Pooja Makhijani’s annotated bibliography of South Asian Children’s Literature

4. My own website’s list of South Asian Children’s Literature

If you have other favorite Asian and Asian American inspired MG novels that aren’t above, please add them to the comments! Also, please do share your own resources for discovering wonderful Asian/Asian American MG stories!

Sayantani DasGupta can rarely find the grocery lists she spends so much time making. But she never loses a good book list! She hopes her own Bengali folktale-themed MG adventure will make such a booklist soon!

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