Browsing the blog archives for September, 2011.

  • OhMG! News


    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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  • Don’t Be Left Behind! Jump On The Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour Bus!

    Learning Differences

    The Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype tour bus is pulling out… you have until October 3… that’s next Monday… to enter. Who can enter? Any grownup with a class, club, troop or group of middle-grade kids who love books. We’ll pull our Skype tour bus into your home, library, classroom or any place else with an internet connection!

    How do you enter? By leaving a comment here. Extra entries when you blog, tweet, or post on Facebook (but be sure to come back and leave another comment for each of your additional entries)

    Can more than one person enter for one class, book club, troop, or group? Sure! Ask every parent in your child’s class to leave a comment! The more the merrier!!

    What will you win? A full 45 minute Skype visit from one of the Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour authors, plus a copy of that author’s book and assorted swag, if available.

    When’s the drawing? October 3. Winners will be announced here at the Mixed-Up Files on October 4.

    Any other questions? Look here.

    And another thing…

    There are two more authors on the bus today!

    Welcome Erin Moulton!!! Can you tell us about your new middle-grade novel Flutter?

     FLUTTER, came out in May 2011. My second book, THE LANTERNLIGHT DREAMERS, will hit bookshelves in Summer 2012.  Both are MG novels and both have very quirky, yet resourceful characters, with big hearts, who manage to get themselves into trouble despite their best efforts. 

    What do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?

    I love the voice that pops into my head when I think of “middle grade people.” They can be funny, poetic, tangential.  They can spin you a metaphor as quickly as tell a crude joke.  Once this age begins talking in my head, there is no way to stop it! 

    What was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

    A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner.

    I’ve never heard of that one but you have super taste… and I love FLUTTER so I’m going to check it out!  What makes your school visits special?

    I have lots of experience on doing programming from my time working in after school care, so my lessons/visits are often a mix of Author Talk combined with information on creative writing or literary elements. I also am a firm believer in lots of visuals, questions and hands on projects to keep the kids engaged.  Maple candy is often involved if it lines up with school policy :J

    OH! Hooray here comes Jen Blom! Jen how about telling us about your new book Possum Summer?

    I’m an animal lover and I get to write about them! My debut title, POSSUM SUMMER, deals with a girl who’s trying to find her way between the little orphan possum she’s dying to save and her strict father who says no way. My second book, THE SPOTTED PONY (2013) is what happens when a girl visiting her father’s feedlot in Texas falls in love with the wrong horse!

    What do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?

    It’s the most magical time to be a reader. Anything is possible, and you’re learning about the world around you. I know that books shaped my outlook when I was growing up, and it’s so exciting to think that my books might do that for some other kid!

    I totally agree! What was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

    It changed daily but the ones I still re-read are RASCAL (North) SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS (Rawls) and WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS (Rawls)

    What makes your school visits special?

    The amount of energy and participation I get from the kids!

    There you have it, folks! Two more amazing authors raring to meet your kids and their class, club, or group. All you have to do is ENTER.

    Tami Lewis Brown, the author of THE MAP OF ME, and seven other middle-grade authors are ready to visit your group! Jump on the bus!

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    How Many Authors Fit On A Skype Tour Bus? Welcome and Win Tricia Springstubb, Bruce Hale, and Kathryn Erskine!

    Learning Differences

    Nope. That’s not us.

    Yep! That’s more like it.

    The Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour Bus is ready to pull into your school, library, home… or where ever you are! To enter comment here by next Monday, October 3. Winners will be announced on October 4.

    Who might be headed for a visit with your troop? We have a busload of authors including me Tami Lewis Brown (The Map Of Me),Erin Moulton (Flutter),Kathy Erskine (Mockingbird), Tricia Springstubb (What Happened On Fox Street), Sarah Aronson (Beyond Lucky),Uma Krishnaswami (The Grand Plan To Fix Everything),Jennifer Nielsen (Elliot and the Pixie Plot) and Bruce Hale  (Chet Gecko Mysteries)! Can you believe it? So many authors and plenty more time to tell all your friends and neighbors to enter for you and your classroom, library, troop, or group.

    Today three authors are visiting to talk about their books and their Skype visits.

    First up? National Book Award winning author Kathryn Erskine.

    Hi Kathy! Please tell us about you and your books.

    My latest book is The Absolute Value of Mike. I tend to write about tough issues but there’s always humor, too, because that’s what life is like.  I enjoy reading books where I learn interesting stuff painlessly — so that’s what I like to write for others, too. 

    What do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?

    Middle graders are curious and open-minded which makes for a great group of readers!

    What was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

    The SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS series by Arthur Ransome because they were wonderful adventure stories about kids who got to camping and sailing and have adventures without any parents around!

    I loved SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, too.  And Ransome’s books have very cool maps as end papers, I might add. What makes your school visits special?

     I LOVE answering students’ questions — and asking them some questions, too — and they love seeing my dog.  :o)

    A Skype visit with a dog! How cool!! You can read more about Kathy in Wendy Shang’s interview right here at From The Mixed-Up Files.

    Oh look! Here’s Tricia Springstubb! Before you climb on the bus, Tricia, tell us a little about your books, especially your newest middle grade novel, Mo Wren, Lost And Found.

    I’m a promiscuous writer—I’ve published fiction for kids of all ages, as well as for adults.  The language and complexity of my writing varies, but family is always at the center.  Family forms us, yet we have to wriggle free of it to truly become ourselves.  My stories explore that contradiction over and over.

    What do you like about middle grade readers?

    Readers this age just rock.  They demand great plot and character, but also appreciate nuance and beautiful sentences.  Their eyes are wide and their hearts are big!  A writer couldn’t ask for a better audience. 

    Did you have any favorite books when you were that age?

    When I was a middle grader, I loved, among many other books, Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames—those great girl heroines!  I read totally indiscriminately and insatiably. I wish I could still read that way.What makes your author visits special?After working forever as a teacher, librarian, and school volunteer, I’m now a full-time writer for the first time in my life.  This is an amazing privilege, but has one drawback—I’m not around kids enough!  I love school visits to keep in touch with my peeps!  

    Tricia is a loyal (and very hardworking!) member of the Mixed-Up Files. You can read more about her and her darling protagonist Mo Wren here.

     Wow… here’s Bruce Hale, the author of about a zillion Chet Gecko books, too! Welcome Bruce! 


    What do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?
    I love the sense of possibility — it feels like you could take those readers nearly anywhere, as long as you keep them entertained.  Mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, graphic novels — all genres are open for exploring.
    What was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

    I first got hooked on reading in 3rd grade, via Tarzan of the Apes.  That was my favorite series, but eventually I branched out to books like THE HOBBIT and WRINKLE IN TIME.

    You can read more about Bruce, his wacky sense of humor, and his wonderful books here.

    All right readers! Are you ready to jump on the bus? We’re saving you a seat and all you have to do is leave a comment right HERE!

    Tami Lewis Brown wants to park the Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour Bus in your driveway. Enter HERE to win an author visit for your eager readers.


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    Interview with Author and Illustrator Rose Cooper

    Authors, Giveaways, Graphic Novel, Interviews

    I’m so excited to have the fabulous and uber cool, Rose Cooper, with us today at the Mixed Up Files!  Rose is my writing BFF and we’re prone to absolute silliness.  But we’ll try to keep it to a minimum today cause it’s all seriousness here at the Mixed Up Files. ;)

    Me:  So Rose, tell us a little bit about your bad self.

    Rose: I am represented by Rosemary Stimola and I’m the author and illustrator of the Blogtastic! Novel series.  It took me six long years of tears rejections, before I finally wrote a story that gained interest from agents and ultimately got me signed. Eight weeks later my book found a home with Random House.  

    Me: Sounds like me. The six long years part. Except it’s only been two. Like I said, exactly like me.  Anywhoooo, how did you come up with the idea for Blogtastic?

    Rose: I was sitting in Starbucks studying for my Business Law class. I was near the girls room and I thought, “wouldn’t that be funny to have a book about a bathroom blog?” and Bam! the idea was born. Of course, the titled changed from Bathroom Blog to Gossip from the Girls Room so it would be more appealing to readers.

    Me: I dunno, the bathroom humor fanatic in me kinda likes Bathroom Blog. *shrugs* *ignores farting noises from the dog* So….Rose….tell me, do you spy on people in the ladies bathroom often?

    Rose: Only when I’m super bored. Or looking for material for my next book.

    Me: *Winks* Gotcha. Suuuuure.

    What about the boys room?

    Rose: I know i’m supposed to say no to that, so no. Absolutely not. That would be totally wrong. And I definitely don’t send my son into the boys room to spy either. That would also be very wrong.

    Me: Right. I mean wrong. Yes, spying is very wrong.  *nods* I have to ask….does your main character, Sofia, find any interesting uses for toilet paper?  *ignores middle-grade memories of Halloween…bad Amie, bad!*

    Rose: In GOSSIP, Sofia had to use the toilet paper as a nose plug when she was hiding out in the stink haunted stall. She uses what’s available to her when the situation calls for it. She’s like the MacGuyver of bathrooms. 

    Me: There’s a stink haunted stall in my house. I could use some MacGuyver moves here when I have to clean it. Something’s gotta work better than a clothespin and toilet brush.  So all our readers are dying to know….why do you write for middle-grade readers?

    Rose: I relate to kids best at this age, probably because my son is in middle grade and also partly because I refuse to let go of my childhood. 

    Me: Repeat with me: I will not grow up. I will not grow up.  Phew! I feel better! What do you think is the BEST PART about writing for middle grade?

    Rose: There are so many great things, it’s hard to pick just one. But I would have to say getting emails from kids who read the book. When I hear how they are inspired to write or illustrate their own book, or how much they enjoyed reading it, it makes me feel as if this is the reason I became an author.  

    Me: That’s gotta be such a rewarding feeling. You’ll get to experience that all over again pretty soon, won’t you?

    Rose: I will! My second book, Rumors from the Boys Room, will be released Oct.11, 2011 (holy cow!) and you will see many familiar faces, as well as new ones. Sofia Becker swears to only blog about things that she hears from a totally trustworthy source—herself! Her locker just happens to be in her direct line of vision of the boy’s room (if she peeks around the corner), so this gives her many opportunities to spy on the boys. Of course there’s no way she could possibly get that information mixed up, right? Thrown into the mix is a FES (foreign exchange student), a Popular Pretty who has the ability to use her hair as a weapon (or jump rope), and a dirty psycho kitty.

    Me: Hair as a weapon, eh? *Twirls head, gets whiplash, realizes that was stupid*

    As author and illustrator you have a lot of responsibility….tell us about the process.

    Rose: After I do revisions on the actual manuscript, I then work with a designer at Random House. I send her all the images and she puts the book together. Then I revise the manuscript some more. Then revise the illustrations. I am essentially always on a deadline, whether it’s with the book or the illustrations. It’s twice the work, but completely worth it.

    Me: That sounds like a lot of work. In fact, I’m breaking a sweat just thinking about it.

    I already know some prehtty kewl stuff about the third book (nanny, nanny pooh, pooh!) Wanna share some secrets with the readers today?

    Rose: The third book in the Blogtastic! series will be Secrets from the Sleeping Bag, due out summer 2012. Sofia goes away to summer camp and is without any technology (gasp!). Not only does she make new friends, but she finds herself in the middle of prank wars, marshmallow fights, bigfoot sightings, and activities gone horribly wrong.  Oh yeah, and she totally fears for her life when she encounters wild animals. Hint: not skunks.

    Me:  Did you notice how I said “secrets” before? Yeah, uh huh, told you I knew some prehtty kewl stuff.  Well Rose….we really appreciate you visiting with us at the Mixed Up Files today. It’s been real. It’s been fun. And it’s been real fun. Before we go out for lunch and eat chocolates and bon bons, is there anything else you want to share?

    Rose: I’m going to be a Ninja for Halloween.


    Rose has graciously agreed to give away two books – Gossip from the Girls Room and her soon-to-be-released Rumors from the Boys Room – to one Mixed Up Files reader! Cause she’s awesome like that. And I bribed her.

    Leave your comment below to be entered.  No Mia St Claire’s allowed.

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