• From the Mixed-Up Files... > Learning Differences > Oh Boy!
  • OhMG! News

    New-Oh-MG-critter

    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...

     

  • Subscribe!

    Get email updates:

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

Oh Boy!

Learning Differences

It’s our first giveaway of the new school year, and it’s a doozie–two titles each from some of the best “boys” writers around.   These six books are guaranteed to tickle the funnybone or shiver the spine of any middle grade reader.  Their authors have been kind enough to share some inside, interesting facts about their work.

  The Fourth Stall, by Chris Rylander

From IndieBound:  Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It’s what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys’ bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.

Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it’s going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that’s just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else’s problems is that there’s no one left to solve yours.

The Fourth Stall Part II, by Chris Rylander 
Win an ARC of this sequel, publishing early next year.
Chris told MUF:
THE FOURTH STALL:
1.       The only character based almost completely on a real person Chris knew in school when he was a kid is Kitten.
2.       The fight with the vampire and his brother in the sandbox when Mac and Vince are in kindergarten is based on something that really happened to the author, except in the real-life version Kristoff and his brother were armed with knives and axes!
3.       There is a character named Great White mostly because Great White sharks are author Chris’s favorite animal.

THE FOURTH STALL PART II:
1.       Mr. Skari, Mac’s teacher, is based on the author’s  own 6th grade teacher, whose name was also Mr. Skari.
2.       Some of the weird things Vince’s grandma says were inspired by song titles from some of Chris’s favorite bands.
3.       A deep-fried, jelly and sugar-covered ham sandwich called a Monte Cristo makes an appearance in the book.  The author has actually eaten one, and it was terrible!

The Billionaire’s Curse, by Richard Newsome
From Amazon: Gerald Wilkins never considered himself a particularly exceptional thirteen-year-old. But that was before he inherited twenty billion pounds, a Caribbean island, a yacht, and three estates from a great-aunt he never knew. With this fortune, however, comes a letter. One from his great-aunt Geraldine. One that tells Gerald that she was murdered, and that it’s up to him to find out why.Along with his friends Ruby and Sam, Gerald embarks on a journey that will lead him from the British Museum to dodgy social clubs for the disgustingly rich to mansions in the English countryside to secret places far underground. Who was Geraldine Archer? And what secrets was she hiding? Unless Gerald, Sam, and Ruby can find out before the killer does, they may be next.
The Emerald Casket, by Richard Newsome
from Amazon:It has only been a month since Gerald Wilkins became the richest kid on earth. One month since he found out his great-aunt Geraldine had left him all her fortune and, with it, a murder mystery, clues to a diamond heist, and a target on his back. One month since Sir Mason Green made off with the contents of the diamond casket, an object of unspeakable power. And you thought your school vacation was eventful.As book two of the Archer Legacy opens, Gerald, Ruby, and Sam come upon papers, drawings, and reams of research, all indicating that Gerald’s family has been protecting a secret concerning nothing less than the fate of the world. Now Gerald and his friends are off to India to try to find out the truth. Friendships will be forged and broken. A city buried under the sea will be rediscovered. A whole mess of pigeons will be involved. And Gerald is going to have to make a choice between his love for his friends and the darkest desires of his heart.  It’s entirely possible that this month might be even more eventful than the last.
Richard shared these thoughts with the MUF:

My first job straight out of high school was as a cadet reporter on the local newspaper, so my very first writing projects involved me going out into the world, observing some stuff then coming back to the office and bashing out a story on an old Olivetti manual typewriter. So now that I’m writing books I still feel the need to wander out into the wild and check on how things are. The Billionaire’s Curse is based mostly in England so I went on a research trip to London and the Somerset region to get some ideas. The whole process worked so well that when I got to writing The Emerald Casket, which is based in India, I knew I had to go there to get the descriptions right. The reason the book is based in India is because of a newspaper article I read way back in 2002. The article was about a little fishing village in the south of India where the local fishermen had spoken for generations about a mythical city beneath the waves. The legend had it that the city had seven beautiful temples and the gods grew so jealous of their beauty that they sent a giant wave to bury them. Then in 2004 the Boxing Day tsunami hit. The tide was drawn way back and for the first time in a thousand years, the remnants of this mythical city were revealed buried in the sand. Then the wave hit and covered them again. But what a terrific place to set an adventure story: in a lost city reclaimed from the sea.
I write my first draft longhand in an exercise book, using a pencil. It takes about three months to map out the storyline and most of the twists and turns. Then I set about transcribing it into my laptop, adding and polishing and embellishing as I go. Then come the multiple re-drafts and edits. By the time I send it off to my publisher it’s probably at draft nine or ten. Then my editor has a crack at it and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, it’s ready for the printer — about a 12 month exercise all up.

Guys Read: Funny Business, edited by Jon Scieszka
from IndieBound:Ten stories guaranteed to delight, amuse, and possibly make you spit your milk in your friend’s face, from the following esteemed writers:Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo & Jon Scieszka,
Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar,  Adam Rex and David Yoo
 Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka
  
A body on the tracks

A teenage terrorist

A mysterious wish-granting machine

The world’s worst private detective

The second volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading is chock-full of mystery, intrigue, and nefarious activity. Featuring some of the best writers around, and compiled by certified guy Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Thriller is a pulse-pounding collection of brand-new short stories, each one guaranteed to keep you riveted until the final page.

A few fun facts about this series:
1. Adam Rex came up with more than fifteen different cover sketches before deciding on the one you see on the cover of Guys Read: Funny Business.  The final design of the object in the painting is based on Jon Scieszka’s nose.

2. The story “Your Question for Author Here” was written by Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo back and forth, in a truly improvised manner.  Though some light editing was done, what you see on the page is pretty much what they came up with as they wrote to one another in character.

3. Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s “Pudding”, which appears in Guys Read: Thriller, is the first comics contribution to the Guys Read Library.

Thanks again to these terrific authors for sharing.  To win copies of all six books, enter a comment below.   To be entered twice, tweet or Facebook the post as well.  Only readers in the U.S.A. and Canada are eligible to win.
Comments Off