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    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:
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    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
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    August 6, 2013:
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    July 2, 2013:
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    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...

     

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SOMETHING TO HOLD Book Launch: Historical Fiction Inspired by Real Life

Interviews

Something to Hold cover

CLARION BOOKS
ISBN: 978-0-547-55813-4
Hardcover: $16.99

It’s 1962 and Kitty has just turned eleven when Dad’s government job moves the family all the way across the country to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon. She knows how to be “the new kid,” but it’s a whole new kind of starting over this time.

Kitty is one of only two white kids in her class, and the Indian kids are keeping their distance. With time, Kitty becomes increasingly aware of the tensions and prejudices between Indians and whites, and of the past injustice and pain still very much alive on the reservation. Time also brings friendships and opportunities to make a difference. Map, author’s note, glossary, and pronunciation guide.

We’re intrigued — tell us how real life inspired your book!

It’s hard to think of my life as inspiration for historical fiction … but it’s true. This story is grounded in my childhood experiences living on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in the early 1960′s. Like Kitty’s dad, mine worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and we moved to Warm Springs from Virginia when I was in the second grade. I was born on the Colville Reservation and later graduated from high school on the Yakama Reservation, both in Washington state. We also lived across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., where my dad worked for the Department of the Interior. Kitty’s story of longing and belonging has quite a bit in common with my own.

What was it like growing up on Indian reservations?

That’s a central question that I’ve been asked by other non-Indians my whole life! And it’s one of the sparks for writing Something to Hold. Those years at Warm Springs were very formative for me, as the years between seven and eleven are for everyone. On the one hand, living there was like living in any small community. Here’s a photo of what was then called the Warm Springs Indian Agency, with my house (and Kitty’s) in the center, and my dad’s office (and hers) just to the right across the alley. A general store (which doubled as the post office, hardware store, and museum) was a block away to the right. And the grade school where Kitty and I went was not far beyond the left edges of the photo.

But, of course, there were many things unique for me about living at Warm Springs. My brothers and I were among 17 non-Indian students in the school of around 300. Until shortly after we moved there, the school was a boarding school — with a long and sometimes painful history similar to boarding and residential schools across the U.S. and Canada in which students were intentionally separated from their families, languages, and cultures. In 1961, the school opened its doors to all students who lived in the community, tribal members and non-Indians alike. Although the instruction and curriculum at the school today are culturally relevant, they definitely were not at the time I was a student. As a child, I didn’t fully appreciate what this meant, but I did know that some of my classmates and I experienced school in strikingly different ways. My evolving awareness of how my Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute classmates were sometimes treated as outsiders on their own land is at the heart of Kitty’s story in Something to Hold.

Kitty really struggles to make friends and fit in — did that also happen to you?

Struggle and conflict are the life blood of a good story. I had to make it hard for Kitty — but thank goodness that’s not what I experienced! I always felt welcomed and accepted, and I’ve been lucky to maintain ties with people I knew so long ago at Warm Springs. With very few exceptions, the characters and incidents in the book are entirely fictional, though heavily grounded in universal longings and needs we all share: to belong, to befriend, to be known.

Oh, please give us the scoop on what’s true and what’s fiction!

OK — a few examples, just between us. Don’t tell anybody!

Katherine's 4-H Club

Cascade Cooks 4-H club. I'm standing second from the left; Pinky is third from the right.

My family all play cameo roles, as does my good friend from Warm Springs, Pinky. Meet her in the photo on the left! Pinky pretty much plays herself in the book — spunky, good-hearted, brave friend to Kitty and to me! Like Miss Anthony in the book, one of our teachers read the Bible to us every day. And like Kitty, I accidentally cut my desk with a razor blade during an art project and lived in fear that I’d be found out. Remembering my own discomfort being “the new kid” was really helpful in writing this book. But Kitty’s got a much stronger sense of justice than I did at her age — and she finds courage to speak out when I would have been too afraid.

My wish is that readers of all ages will connect with characters in this book who find ways to reach out to each other across their differences, and who help each other live with courage and hope.

Leave a comment to enter to win an autographed copy of Something to Hold!
Winner announced tomorrow, December 6.

Katherine will climb on board the Mixed-Up Files Skype Tour bus this winter — watch for news of the departure date coming soon! Skype Tour FAQ here.

Katherine Schlick Noe teaches beginning and experienced teachers at Seattle University. She is webmaster of the Literature Circles Resource Center. Something to Hold is her debut novel. Visit her at http://katherineschlicknoe.com

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