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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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    Giveaways, Interviews

    It’s been a very good year, and yikes, it’s almost over. MUF still has time, though, for one last, fun giveaway. Both Charles London and Lisa Rowe Fraustino took time from cookie baking and present wrapping to give us peeks into their writing lives.

    Lisa manages a busy career as both author and professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University. She shared a couple of tips on how to find time for your writing. (New Year Resolutions, anyone?)

    If you don’t have enough time to write, figure out why.

    Keep a journal of everything you do for a week, the same way you would for every penny spent if you had trouble paying your bills. Analyze your patterns. See what you’re doing that’s less important to you than writing.

    Block off your writing time, and mean it.

    Schedule your writing time on your calendar, and heed it with the same seriousness you do a meeting with your boss or a doctor’s appointment you can’t miss. Besides claiming my morning hour or two, I condense all my classes and committee meetings into Monday through Thursday so that I can I set aside Friday for writing projects—and I guard that time like a good dog. (Yes, Thursdays feel really looooooong.)

    Don’t let others stop you.

    Make your writing schedule clear to friends and family. Set the alarm, put a cute sign on the door, promise food or shopping when you’re finished—do whatever it takes to encourage their cooperation. If they still won’t leave you alone to write, then send them somewhere else for a while, or else you leave the house yourself. Some writers form parenting co-ops, trading turns at childcare to give each other blocks of time. Others who can afford it will hire a sitter. One winter break years ago when I had a novel to finish, I drove two hours to a cheap hotel in the boonies and got snowed in for several days of joyful binge writing while the children enjoyed time with their father.

    We’re giving away an ARC of her award-winning novel, The Hole in the Wall. From Amazon:

    Eleven-year-old Sebby has found the perfect escape from his crummy house and bickering family–a secret cave he calls “The Hole in the Wall.” He discovers this astonishing cave in a pristine, beautiful glen in the midst of a devastated mining area behind his home. But it’s not long after Sebby’s found it that his world starts falling apart: His family’s chickens disappear, colors start jumping off the wall and coming to life, and after sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough he finds himself with the mother of all stomachaches. When Sebby sets out to solve these mysteries, he and his twin sister Barbie get caught in a wild chase through the tunnels and caverns around The Hole in the Wall—all leading them to the mining activities of one Stanley Odum, the hometown astrophysicist who’s buying up all the land behind Sebby’s home. Exactly what is Mr. Odum mining in his secret facility, and does it have anything to do with the mystery of the lost chickens and Sebby’s stomachache? The answers to these questions go much further than the twins ever imagined.

    Charles London has been here before, and we’re tickled to have him back. Author of the Accidental Adventures series, Charles had a few things to say about…lizards.

    I appear always to have found lizards funny. I have also always found lizards somewhat terrifying. I based the lizard in the books, Beverly, a good-hearted but ornery Heloderma Horridum (beaded lizard) on my dog, who shares much in common with her. He does not know that he inspired a lizard. I hope he doesn’t read this blog.

    I based the character of Corey Brandt, teen-heartthrob and Celebrity Adventurist in Book 2, on a mash-up of Bear Grylls and Justin Bieber. I hope either of them do read this blog.

    Before I wrote this series, I never could have imagined becoming a middle grade author for a living. I had always imagined myself becoming a sort of rugged traveling writer, like Bruce Chatwin or Jon Krakauer. It turns out, my travels and my nonfiction writing were all training to do the truly challenging work of capturing the attention of and sharing stories with middle grade readers, the toughest (and best) audience in the world.

    We’re giving away ARCs of both books. From Amazon:

    Eleven-year-old twins Oliver and Celia Navel live on the 4-1/2th floor of the Explorers Club with their father, Dr. Navel. Their mother, Dr. Navel, has been missing for years. So when an explorer shows up with a clue as to where his wife could be, Dr. Navel drags Oliver and Celia toTibetto find her. Once there, the twins fall out of airplanes, encounter Yetis, travel through waterfalls, and end up in the Demon Fortress of the Warrior King where they – just possibly – might find their mother and save their father from the Poison Witches. Thing is, they would much rather be watching television. And if their trip doesn’t work out as planned, the twins could end up as slaves to Sir Edmund ThitheltorpeIII, an evil explorer with breath that smells like boiled carrots, who has it in for the whole Navel family.

    Please leave a comment below for a chance to be a winner of all three books.

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