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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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  • Books on The Craft of Writing

    Learning Differences

    When I asked my fellow bloggers here at From the Mixed-Up Files what their favorite craft of writing books are, they couldn’t wait to tell me. Many of us admit we’re craft book junkies and our recommendations are wide and varied. How-to books on writing are great for guiding us, inspiring us, and teaching us different techniques for making our novels better.

    Here are some great suggestions for books on writing technique:


    Karen Schwartz –  I love Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT: THE LAST BOOK ON SCREENWRITING YOU’LL EVER NEED. It applies equally well to novels and helped me so much with plotting my middle-grade novels. I write contemporary realistic, all character-driven, so I needed a solid structure for my characters to play around in.

    Tracy Abell – The book that helped me make the biggest leap in my writing was SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King. The
    editor-authors address the basics of fiction writing – show and tell,  point of view, dialogue, proportion -  with specific examples. Each chapter ends with a checklist for your work-in-progress and exercises that allow you to practice what you’ve learned.  I had many aha moments when reading this book and, as a result, eliminated many amateur writing mistakes.

    Wendy Martin – My go to book is PICTURE THIS: HOW PICTURES WORK by Molly Bang, mainly because I’m an illustrator first and an author second. I think
    visually even when writing middle-grade.

    Amie Borst – HOW TO WRITE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY by Orson Scott Card.

    Sarah Aronson – WRITING STORIES, by Carolyn Coman. I’m using it now in my writers class. Fantastic and encouraging.

    Sayantani – Cheryl Klein’s book SECOND SIGHT is a fantastic book on not just craft but craft for children’s novelists.

    Wendy Shang – I have to second Sayantani’s recommendation of Cheryl Klein’s book, SECOND SIGHT.  I would say this is a book for more someone who has been writing for a while, particularly middle-grade or YA.  Ms. Klein really takes the reader deep into the editing process, showing us how to think more deeply about character, plot and structure.  It is quite often the case that while I am reading Ms. Klein’s book, I will find new inspiration or insight for my own manuscript, and then I am torn between finishing the chapter and running off to write.

    Kimberley Griffiths Little – ANY book by Donald Maass is absolutely brilliant on how to write well, particularly THE FIRE IN FICTION and WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL.




    For inspiration, try some of these:

    Laurie Schneider – I love reading about the nuts and bolts of writing, but sometimes what I need is a wrench. Writing can be lonely and hard. When
    I’m feeling grumpy and uninspired I like to flip open Jane Yolen’s TAKE JOY, A WRITER’S GUIDE TO LOVING THE CRAFT. Even the cover, designed to look like a slice of watermelon, cheers me up.

    Kimberley Griffiths Little – My writing and self-confidence went through a particularly rough period when, after selling and publishing three books with my agent of 10 years, we parted ways due to my agent’s change of focus to adult novels only. During the last few years with the agent and for another 4 years beyond “the parting”, 8 years went by without a book sale. I continued writing like crazy, subbing on my own, querying agents, and getting nothing but rejections. I truly wondered if my career was done. Then I found this book: THE WRITER’S BOOK OF HOPE, Getting From Frustration to Publication by Ralph Keyes. It was invaluable, kept me off the ledge of insanity, and it was a great read, too.

    Diana Greenwood – Everything that Kimberley said and I will add THE COURAGE TO WRITE, also by Ralph Keyes. I recommend his book when I do presentations, particularly the passages/chapters about fear. I also heard him speak a few years back and he is just as inspiring in person as he is in print. His advice applies to writers of all genres.

    Sarah Aronson – FROM WHERE WE DREAM, especially the chapters on Yearning and Cinema of the Mind, by Robert Olen Butler.

    Tracy Abell - I’d like to make a plug for THE POCKET MUSE: Ideas and Inspiration for Writing by Monica Wood. This is one of those books I keep at my writing space so I can flip to a page that will either trigger a new idea or inspire me to keep writing. The black and white photos get my brain working in new ways and help me think outside that metaphorical box.


    Amie Borst – For me, I found Stephen King’s ON WRITING helpful in his typical arrogant form.

    Sayantani – I actually like teaching my fiction writing class with Alice LePlante’s THE MAKING OF A STORY which is a fantastic craft book with short stories, examples (not children’s necessarily) Someone mentioned Stephen King’s ON WRITING, I also like, for inspiration, E.M. Forster’s ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL, Italo Calvino’s THE USES OF LITERATURE, and Umberto Eco’s ON LITERATURE.

    Once you’ve finished writing your novel and it’s all polished and shiny, you might want to think about publishing it. I have a couple of recommendations for books to help you figure out where to send your manuscript.

    To get all the information you could ever want about the complex world of the children’s publishing industry, get your hands on a copy of Harold Underdown’s THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING CHILDREN’S BOOKS. Writers and illustrators can find inspiration and information including the “rules” for finding an agent, getting a contract from a publisher, and even what happens after your book has sold.

    Finding the right agent or the right publishing house is daunting, to say the least. But Alice Pope’s book, CHILDREN’S WRITER’S AND ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET which is updated every year can help. The 2011 CWIM offers more than 650 listings for book publishers, magazines, agents, art reps and more.

    These are just a few of our favorites. We’d love to hear your recommendations. Please share!

     

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