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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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  • One Mom Plus Two Sets of Twins Leads to Three Great Book Clubs

    Inspiration, Parents

    Among the baseball team parents, it wasn’t hard to spot Liza Nelson as a mom who might be a bit out of the ordinary. While I struggled to get my one boy to the ballfield with all the necessary accoutrement of the game, her two sets of twins (yes, you read that correctly) arrived properly kitted out and on time. Four gloves, four jerseys, four pairs of pants, 8 socks. Eight cleats. Yup, we were looking at someone special here. And, nice special, not jealousy-invoking special.


    But the real kicker came the day I found out that she ran three book clubs for her kids – two separate ones for her boy/girl twins, Jacob and Holly, now in fourth grade, and one for the boy/boy twins, Michael and Joseph, now in third. Not only that, but the club for younger boys, according to Nelson, was full. To the point that more boys were waiting to join. I nearly fell off the bleachers.

    Because running a successful book club for boys is the literary equivalent of summitting Mt. Everest, I asked Liza to share her secrets. “I did some research on line and found The Kids’ Book Club Book [by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp]…As I do with most things,

    I take what I like and think will be most fun/interesting,” said Liza  ”I’m a big believer in not reinventing the wheel, but instead, borrowing the parts from the best resources available.  When I saw the list of ‘Jackie Hemond’s discussion tasks’ in The Kid’s Book Club Book, I knew I had found the key to how I wanted to structure book club.”  Using this as a basis, Liza omitted some of the tasks that didn’t work, and added a new ones for the club.

    The members of the club rotate through the following tasks:

    The Illuminator tells about the main events in the book.

    The Conductor conducts the meeting.

    The Character Shrink chooses one character to “psychoanalyze”.

    The Questioner comes up with open-ended questions (maximum of 5) to ask the other kids.

    The Statesman finds facts about the setting of the book.

    The Game Warden develops a short, fun activity connected with the book.

    The Gossip tells a little something about the author.

    Feeder of the Hungry brings food associated with the book.

    The Word Wizard looks up and shares meanings of new vocabulary words.

    The DeEnergizer develops an outdoor activity connected with the book.

    The clubs meet year round at the Nelson home. Liza described a typical book club meeting, for either boys or girls, as follows:

    Opening activity: The club’s opening activities have included drawing a scene from the book, creating a new cover for a book, making snow globes with a scene from a book, and drawing a cartoon based on the book. Liza adds wryly, “For the older boys, I have them do an outdoor activity called the DeEnergizer designed to do exactly what you think.”

    Meeting time: Kids go through their jobs except the Game Warden

    Snack time: Kids have snack and discuss next book options. Everyone gets a chance to pick a book before a person can pick a second book. The names of books are put in a hat and picked at random.

    Game time: Kids play the game that was created by the Game Warden.

    Post Meeting: Kids pick jobs for next meeting.

    “Snack and game are based on a theme from the book,” Liza notes. “Once in a while we’ll have a movie meeting, where we’ll watch a movie based on one of the books we’ve read.”

    Many of the most successful books for boys have been books from series, such as Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief series and Kate McMullan’s Dragon Slayers Academy. Liza notes that the boys decided as a group to only read one book from a series, though they have decided that they can read books from a different series by the same author. They have also limited graphic novels to twice a year.

    The three book clubs just celebrated their one-year anniversary, lasting longer than Nelson would have predicted. “For me, there is no better feeling than when I see the boys try a book they wouldn’t normally choose and end up loving it so much that they read the whole series!” says Liza.  ”At each of my children’s parent/teacher conference, they mentioned how wonderful it was that each child was participating in a book club and what a great experience it is for them to have.  I feel good that I am giving them something outside of the norm of soccer and baseball.”

    Wendy Shang is thankful for amazing kids, great books and inspiring moms everywhere. She is the author of The Great Wall of Lucy Wu (Scholastic).

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