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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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  • The Boy Project with Kami Kinard

    Learning Differences

    Welcome Kami Kinard to the Mixed-Up Files! Her debut middle-grade novel, THE BOY PROJECT (Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister), came out on January 1. She’s a teaching artist on the SC Arts Commission’s Roster of Approved Artists, and writes from Beaufort, South Carolina where she lives with her husband and two children.

    About THE BOY PROJECT: Wildly creative seventh grader Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. She’s going to take notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?

    But Kara’s project turns out to be a lot more complicated than she imagined. Soon there are secrets, lies, and an embarrassing incident in the boy’s bathroom. Plus, Kara has to deal with mean girls, her slightly spacey BFF, and some surprising uses for duct tape. Still, if Kara’s research leads her to the right boy, everything may just be worth it. Full of charts and graphs, heart and humor, this hilarious debut will resonate with tweens everywhere. (From IndieBound)

    Kami, in THE BOY PROJECT, Kara McAllister uses the scientific method to figure out the mysteries of boys for the noble cause of getting her first boyfriend. Genius! Do you think the scientific method could help guys understand girls too?

    Any time you analyze data, it can help you figure something out. The trick is to think about things from different angles, which is what Kara learns to do in the novel. However, using the scientific method doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find a girlfriend or boyfriend in real life. (I’ve already been asked that by a few readers!)

    Kara tells us her story in diary format. What’s special about the diary novel that has made it so popular with the middle-grade crowd?

    Actually, I just wrote an article about diary format books for THE 4:00 BOOK HOOK! Here’s what I said about diary format books then, and I can’t say it any better now!

    “These books employ first person narrators who share feelings with their diaries, and thus their readers, that they don’t share with anyone else. This creates a sense of kinship between reader and narrator that is almost immediate.”

    A lot of girls who have read THE BOY PROJECT have told me that it is like Kara is talking just to them. If your character pours real feelings into her diary, the middle grade reader is going to identify with her.

    In addition to Kara’s passion for correcting the horrible never-been-kissed situation that is her life, she also creates some unique crafts (like using duct tape to transform a Depends). Are you a crafty gal?

    Yes, I am crafty and always have been. When I was a kid I made a duck out of toilet paper with yellow Ginko tree leaves for feet. My mom thought it was great and she showed it to everyone. But I don’t know what happened to that TP duck. I hope he didn’t meet with a bad end.

    Now, I occasionally teach art classes and I help my daughter with her craft blog. So far, every idea on the blog is something one of us made up. And a few of them, like the Altoids Box Suitcase, are featured in THE BOY PROJECT.

    Were you, like Kara, busy with pie charts in your quest for the love of your life?

    No. But some of the advice Kara gets along the way was. For example, Bebe Truelove’s tip number six is find common interests. I definitely did that. When I met my husband he was a smart art major who liked to play spades as much as I did. So we played a lot of spades, and talked about a lot of art, and because he was brainy too, we had a lot of academic conversations that I couldn’t have had with some of my other boyfriends. Over the years we’ve combined our interests in arts and smarts and renovated five houses. This has helped us tremendously financially, but we also enjoyed every project because we were both interested in working together to create something cool. (Sharing interests and goals also helps when you are trying to raise two wonderful children, too.)

    You’re from South Carolina, yet I didn’t hear a single y’all in your novel. Any plans to write a novel set in the South?

    Ahhhhh y’all. Such a useful word. But, nope!

    What’s your writing process like? How long does it take you to finish a novel?

    I approach writing like a job, not a hobby, and I try to write every day while my children are in school. Sometimes, I have to do other writing related things, like answer interviews, but that’s all part of the job! Different novels take different amounts of time to finish. I wrote THE BOY PROJECT in a relatively short amount of time. Including revisions for my agent, I wrote it in about eighteen months.

    What’s next for you?

    Now I am working on a novel that has taken me a relatively long amount of time to write. I started it about ten years ago. It has changed dramatically over the years, and I’ve put it aside to complete other projects several times. This novel is a fantasy, and when you write a fantasy, you have to create whole worlds, so it takes more time. Also, I’m working on another humorous MG because they are so much fun to write!

    The Mixed-Up Files has to know, what’s your fave MG book?

    Well, I don’t really have a favorite MG novel, but I am a big fan of Jeff Kinney’s WIMPY KID series and I loved PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale, oh, and also HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERERS STONE, and THE TIGER RISING by Kate DiCamillo is just beautiful, but it would be a shame to forget THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET… see what I mean?

    To learn more about Kami and THE BOY PROJECT visit http://kamikinard.com. And watch her book trailer.

    Leave a comment to win a copy of THE BOY PROJECT!

     

     

    Karen B. Schwartz writes contemporary middle-grade novels and raises contemporary middle-grade kids.

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