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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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  • Crafty Ways to Spend Late Summer Days

    Activities, Book Lists, For Kids

    Are we bored yet?

    There are only a few weeks left before school starts. Maybe only a few days for some of you. Can you believe it? If you’re fresh out of ideas for entertainment, check out this collection of books guaranteed to jump-start your creativity. Recycle CDs, design a metal robot, or make a cool beaded curtain to spiff up your room for the new school year. That should keep you busy.

     

    First on the list are three books in a series called Cool Crafts by Carol Sirrine. These books are indeed cool, filled with crafts that focus around recycling or “upcycling” so dig in your junk drawer or find an old pair of jeans to cut up and get creative! A former music and art teacher, Carol Sirrine founded ArtStart in 1988, an organization that combines learning in the arts with environmental stewardship. Her books are fun and useful, featuring “green projects for resourceful kids.”

     

    In Cool Crafts with Old Jeans you can return to school in style with handmade accessories like the denim bag featured on the cover.



    One of my favorites in this series is Cool Crafts with Old CDs. The introduction alone is worth a look and the author tells us that each month, almost 50 tons of CDs are tossed into landfills. But you can do your part to reduce waste by making cool party coasters, a mosaic flowerpot, or even an amazing frame. Be sure to follow the safety tips in this book and have fun!

    Next is Cool Crafts with Old Wrappers, Cans, and Bottles. It’s hard to pick a favorite project in this book but the “Origami Crane Earrings” made from foil gum wrappers are adorable and the “Itty Bitty Frames” with magnets made from metal bottle caps and magazine pictures are simple and oh-so-cute! The mini frames would be fun to create and trade with friends.


    If you love junk, you’ll love this one. From Kids Can Press, this fun and informative book by Renee Schwarz is chock full of cool stuff to make with hardware that you’ll find in tins in the garage, the drawer in the kitchen, and maybe even your pockets. A trip to the hardware store for wire and connectors and springs might be in order. Hardware stores are a treasure trove for junk-lovers. You can make metal mice from wing nuts and screws. Try an alien key chain with brass wire, an expansion spring, and a few nuts. You’ll impress your friends with Sharpie the Robot, which is a real pencil sharpener made from hardware. Complete with step by step instructions as well as lessons on using tools, this book is fun!

     

    Geeks rock! This recently released book by Susan Beal and photographer, Jay B. Sauceda, is quantum-cool! Description from Indiebound:

    Geek meets craft in this fun collection of 25 kooky projects for geeks of any affiliation, from D&D dice earrings, Star Trek pillows, and Super Mario cross-stitch to Star Wars terrariums, a Morse code quilt, and much more! Organized by difficulty from “Not a Jedi Yet” to “Warp Speed,” World of Geekcraft covers a range of popular crafting techniques including beading, quilting, appliqué, embroidery, and needle felting. Best of all, it’s easy to get started with step-by-step instructions and handy templates included in the back of the book. With lots of photos and plenty of geekery throughout, this one-of-a-kind book shows that geek and craft go together like…pixels and cross-stitch!

     


    Stuff for Your Space by Ellen Warwick has cool projects and themes to jazz up your room in time for a new school year. My favorite is the “Groovy Bead Curtain.” Made with beads and plastic straws, this is a simple yet effective way to spiff up a doorway, window, or bedside and you can do it yourself!

     

     

     

    Six books for crafty ways to spend the last days of summer. What will you make? Do you have a favorite craft book?

     

    Diana Greenwood’s debut novel, Insight, (Zondervan) was released in May. She lives in the Napa Valley, California with a great lump of a cat and many closets stuffed with craft supplies. Visit her at www.dianagreenwood.com or find her on Facebook.

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