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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, read more...

     

    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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One World, Many Stories

Learning Differences

One of the best ways for kids to walk in the shoes of people in other countries and cultures is to read their stories. Fiction set in other countries will help even the most reluctant reader get a taste for life beyond their back yard. That’s the reason many library systems all over the U.S. have this theme–”One World, Many Stories–for their summer reading club this year. From Ireland to Russia to North Korea and beyond, the books listed below will take young readers on a multi-cultural carpet ride around the world.

Year of Impossible Goodbyes, by Sook Nyul Choi.  It’s 1945 and 10-year-old Sookan’s homeland of North Korea is occupied by the Japanese. Her father, a resistance fighter, hides in Manchuria, while her older brothers toil away in Japanese labor camps. Sookan watches as the Japanese commit cruel, humiliating acts against this once-proud and hopeful family. When they can no longer live under the oppression of first the Japanese and then the Russians, Sookan, her mother and young brother make a harrowing attempt to escape and cross the 38th parallel to safety. Based in part from the author’s own experiences, Choi shares an incredible story of the love and determination of her family.

Nory Ryan’s Song, by Patricia Reilly Giff.  Life has always been tough for poor Irish potato farmers, but 12-year-old Nory Ryan and her family have always managed to scrape by and, most importantly, stay together. That us until the great potato famine of 1845-1852, later known in history as The Great Hunger. Seemingly overnight, the foul smell of rotting, diseased potatoes lying in the field fill the air. Hunger quickly closes in. The farmers and their families are reduced to eating seaweed and grass. As her community falls apart, Nory scrambles to find food for her family. Increasingly, the lure of plenty in America tears families from each other. Young readers may have heard of the Irish Potato Famine, but they won’t truly understand it until they see it through Nory Ryan’s eyes.

Listening for Lions, by Gloria Whelan. It’s 1919 in British East Africa, and 13-year-old Rachel has lost her missionary parents in the influenza epidemic that’s ravaging the world. With no family, Rachel is sent by the conniving neighbors to visit an elderly man in England. They want her to convince him that she, Rachel, is their daughter and his granddaughter. With no other options, Rachel agrees to this plan and crosses the ocean to England. Rachel and the frail old grandfather develop a strong bond as she relates to him in loving detail stories of the world beyond his sick room, most especially her beloved Africa. This old-fashioned story of an orphan who finds her place in the world is sure to appeal to fans of The Secret Garden.

Madame Pamplemousse and the Enchanted Sweet Shop, by Rupert Kingfisher.  This is the second book in the thoroughly delightful and charming Madame Pamplemousse series. It’s winter in Paris and Madeleine is having problems at school with a new girl who is bullying her. She’s too embarrassed to ask her steadfast friends, Madame P. and Camembert, but she’s befriended by Madame BonBon, owner of the sweetshop. At first, Madame BonBon’s sweets make Madeleine feel stronger and confident enough to confront the bully at school. But soon, the sweets take her to a world much scarier than school! If you’re looking for a charming read for the younger middle-graders that has a bit of a mystery to it, this is a tres bon pick!

Breadwinner, by Deborah Ellis.  Written shortly before 9/11, the author takes the reader into the oppressive rule in Afghanistan by the Taliban, as seen through the eyes of the 11-year-old girl, Parvana. Parvana has rarely been allowedoutside of her family’s one-room house after the Taliban took over. After her university educated father is hauled away, Parvana realizes it’s up to her to support the family. To do this, she must disguise herself as a boy in order to go to the market to get food for her mother and siblings. Parvana also discovers she can make some extra money for the family by providing a reading service for those who can’t read–something she could never do if she were not disguised as a boy. This topical novel explores the realities of life for both boys and girls in modern day Afghanistan.


Angel on the Square, by Gloria Whelan.  We return to another book by Whelan in this evocative, absorbing look at the tumultuous period in Russian history during the Russian Revolution of 1913-1918. A young girl, Katya, and her widowed mother have gone to live with Tsar Nikolai II so her mother can serve as the Empress’s Lady-in-Waiting. The Tsar and his family become like a second family to Katya, and for the first time, her life seems idyllic. But after a time, Katya begins to question the Tsar’s treatment of “his people”. As the world outside the palace walls begins to thrust its way into Katya’s and the Tsar’s sheltered world, Katya and all of Russia’s life is changed forever. Whelan’s balanced and sensitive treatment of both sides of the Russian Revolution is amazingly accessible.

Bobbie Pyron is the author of The Ring (WestSide Books, 2009), A Dog’s Way Home (Katherine Tegen Books, March 2011) and the upcoming Mercy’s Bone (Arthur A. Levine Books, Fall 2012) which is set in Russia.

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