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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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  • Anything for a vote…aka occupying New Hampshire…aka “pious baloney!”

    Learning Differences

    Good morning, Readers and Writers!

    When I moved to New Hampshire (more than fifteen years ago–I can’t believe that!), I have to admit, I came kicking and screaming.

    I was a city girl. I didn’t ski. I was more than a wee bit concerned about living in a very small town with a long winter with very little diversity (and as far as I could tell, no hot and sour soup).  This was a state with the motto: “Live Free or Die.”  Before I put a bid on a house, I searched the neighbors for Pat Buchanan stickers! Fortunately, there were none!

    The one thing I knew I would love was the up-close and personal look at the political process that graces New Hampshire every four years. It really doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, if you watch every debate and ad or never turn on a TV.  Over the years, I’ve met or heard almost every single candidate for President. I’ve also run into (and eavesdropped on) tons of political pundits. It’s fun seeing the political machine at the local diner, ordering coffee, making speeches and wooing the state.

    Talking politics can also be a great way to engage middle grade kids. I’m not sure if our family’s avid discussions awakened my son’s passion for history or if his passion for history awakened our love of politics.

    What I do know: the political process offers us parents (and writers) a great opportunity to talk about some pretty important concepts: rights, voice, and responsibility.

    TEACH BY EXAMPLE: Forget the babysitter and take your kids to hear the candidates. Take them into the voting booth. Show them firsthand that each of us has a voice that can be expressed with one vote. Last week in Iowa, Mr. Romney beat Mr. Santorum by EIGHT VOTES. It is one of the things that makes our country great. (And in some states, it’s something that we need to fight for.)

    VOLUNTEER! JOIN THE CROWD! There are plenty of political activities that welcome kids. My kids have stuffed envelopes. They have marched in parades. They have sported t shirts. They have baked cookies to serve at the voting booth.

    Nothing was more fun than taking my son, Elliot, to hear Barack Obama. (I remember hearing Ted Kennedy speak in 1979!) My kids have also heard Bill Clinton, Joe Lieberman, and Joe Biden. (Bill Clinton called them “the most beautiful children.” And he seemed very sincere!) Once, when I was trying to eavesdrop on some pundits, Elliot insisted I finish reading Curious George. (Were they listening to me? They seemed to laugh at all the right places.)

    DISCUSS THE ISSUES: Don’t be afraid to share your opinions with your kids! Talking to your kids about why you are voting for one candidate over another can show them what your values and priorities are.Talk to them about the ads they may be seeing on TV. Talk to them about how to tell the difference between fact and fiction. Show them the power of charisma!

     TAKE A LOOK AT HISTORY! READ!!!!  There are lots of great books about politics, the White House, and the Presidency.  Here’s Elliot’s list of favorites. I can vouch for all of them. Reading these books has given us great sources for discussion…at the dinner table…in the car….and at the voting booth.

    A Big Cheese for the White House: Based on a true moment in American history, this funny picture book celebrates the ingenuity and community spirit of one small New England town as it attempts to make the country’s biggest cheese for the nation’s greatest man.

     

     

    Our White House, Looking In, Looking Out: Conceived and co-created by the National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance, this incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry melds with an equally stunning array of original art to offer a multifaceted look at America’s history through the prism of the White House.

     

     

    Secret Lives of the US Presidents: Murder, Adultery, Gambling, UFOs – And the White House?!?  This book is Elliot’s ALL TIME FAVORITE. It sparked hundreds of great conversations. If you have a kid with a great sense of humor and a love of history and trivia, this is a MUST READ.

     

     

     

    Anything for a Vote: A History of Mud-Slinging, Character Assassination, And Other Election Strategies. (Elliot says: Read this after finishing SECRET LIVES.)

     

     

     

     

    Almost President: Almost President profiles a dozen men who have run for the American presidency and lost—but who, even in defeat, have had a greater impact on American history than many of those who have served as president.

     

     

     

    The Leaders We Deserved (and a few we didn’t):

    It’s a perennial pastime to compare U.S. presidents, but our current ranking systems are riddled with flaws. InThe Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn’t), Alvin Stephen Felzenberg offers logical categories of measuring presidential performance—character, vision, competence, legacy, and so on—while assessing, for each, the best and worst we’ve seen.

    A fresh and imaginative look at how our presidents stack up against one another, The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn’t) uniquely deliberates on the standard “greats” of our country’s history, giving them the critical consideration they deserve.

    Elliot’s reading this now and didn’t want to leave it off the list.

    Sarah Aronson first got involved in the political process making posters for George McGovern. Today is Richard Nixon’s birthday (you can ask her how she knows this). You can also ask her about Elliot’s favorite Presidential quotes or facts or read them in her middle grade novel, Beyond Lucky!

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