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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:
    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 ...

    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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February New Releases

Learning Differences

This is a perfect month to fall in love with a new book. Especially when you have so many to choose from!

MYSTERY/ADVENTURE

The Case of the Ruby Slippers (First Kids Mystery) (Holiday House) – Martha Freeman. Aunt Jen, the official White House hostess, is being thrown a surprise party with a Wizard of Oz theme, but when a box arrives from the Smithsonian, the slippers that Judy Garland wore in the movie aren’t in it! Never fear, First Kids Cammie and Tess are on the case. White House dog Hooligan finds one slipper, but no one knows where or how. A surprising revelation reveals the thief’s identity. Filled with humor and White House inside information, this third First Kids Mystery is exciting from start to finish.

The Secret Journeys of Jack London, Book Two: The Sea Wolves (HarperCollins) – Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon. Jack is making his way back to civilization after barely surviving his adventure in the Yukon. That episode tested his body, his mind, and even his grip on his humanity–but it was nothing compared to what he is about to face.

FANTASY

Above World (Candlewick) – Jenn Reese. Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is at risk. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna’s fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt – growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains – here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

Fairy Lies (Bloomsbury USA) – E. D. D. Baker. In this delightful sequel to Fairy Wings (originally titled Wings) the fairy princess Tamisin has been kidnapped from her home in the human world by Oberon, king of the fairies, who thinks he’s her father. When Tamisin’s boyfriend Jak finds out, he sets off to rescue her. In this funny and heartwarming romp through a land of fairies, goblins, sphinxes, unicorns, and many more, Tamisin and Jak try to regain their romance even as they find their way back to the human world.

Quest for the Secret Keeper (Oracles of Delphi Keep) (Delacorte) – Victoria Laurie. Delphi Keep is awash in activity, and for Ian, Theo, and Carl, their safe haven might be nearing its end. The Royal Navy has taken the keep to use as a hospital and the tunnels running under the keep and the castle are ideal to set up a central communications outpost for the approaching war. The earl is happy to help the effort, but now the keep is no longer safe for the orphans and they must be evacuated to his winter residence. Ian, Theo, and Carl know that if they’re sent away, they’ll no longer be protected. But more important than their safety is deciphering the third prophecy. All clues point to a quest. The orphans don’t know where they must go, but they know they must rescue the Secret Keeper. To do that, however, they need to work out who this Secret Keeper is. And what, exactly are the secrets he’s keeping?

Seekers: Return to the Wild #1: Island of Shadows (HarperCollins) – Erin Hunter. The journey home begins. . . . Toklo, Kallik, and Lusa survived the perilous mission that brought them together, and now it’s time for them to find their way home. Kallik and Lusa are ready to be among their own kinds again, but Toklo, devastated by the loss of their companion Ujurak, feels hopeless and afraid of what’s to come. When the group reaches a shadowy island covered in mountains and ice, Kallik is sure they’re almost back to the Frozen Sea. But a terrifying accident leads them into a maze of abandoned tunnels, unlike anything they’ve ever seen before—making them question their path once again. The bears grow desperate for a sign to guide them, and when they meet a cub who has lost his whole family, Toklo believes the cub has been sent by Ujurak. But the others are unsure. Can they trust their new companion? Or could he be hiding something that will endanger them all?

The Adventures of Beanboy (Houghton Mifflin) – Lisa Harkrader. Never underestimate the power of the bean. Tucker MacBean has been drawing comic books almost as long as he’s been reading them. When his favorite comic has a contest for kids, he hopes he has finally found a way to fix his family—all he has to do is create the winning superhero sidekick . . . Introducing “Beanboy”—the first comic book character to truly harness the power of the bean for good. He is strong, he is relentless, he can double in size overnight (if given enough water).

The Humming Room (Feiwel & Friends) – Ellen Potter. Hiding is Roo Fanshaw’s special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment’s notice. When her parents are murdered, it’s her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life. As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn’t believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth. Despite the best efforts of her uncle’s assistants, Roo discovers the house’s hidden room–a garden with a tragic secret. Inspired by the classic novel, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Secret of Ashona (Erec Rex) (Simon & Schuster) – Kaza Kingsley. Erec Rex might still become king—but the closer he gets, the more dangerous his tasks become.Given his romance brewing with Bethany, the discovery that his siblings are secretly king and queen of the Fairy world, and the knowledge that the Stain brothers are growing more and more underhanded, Erec Rex isn’t exactly in an ideal state of mind to face his next two tasks. He will need to lean on his friends more than ever to complete what could be the most terrifying challenge he has ever faced.

CONTEMPORARY

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe (Holiday House) – Lutricia Clifton. When twelve-year-old Frankie Joe’s mother is sent to jail, he is uprooted from his home in Texas to live with the father he has never met, his father’s wife, and his father’s four “legitimate” sons in Illinois. Frankie Joe is miserable. Trying to adjust to his blended family proves too much to bear, so Frankie Joe hatches a plot to escape on his bike back home to Texas. For that he needs money, and so Frankie Joe’s Freaky Fast Delivery Service is born. His deliveries win new friends, a place in the rural Illinois community, and a sense of achievement. But his planned escape is destroyed by a heartbreaking betrayal, and Frankie Joe needs all of his incredible resilience and the loving support of his new family to survive the devastating loss.

Matthew Meets the Man (Roaring Brook Press) – Travis Nichols. Matthew Swanbeck has a classic problem. Back in seventh grade, his dad talked him into playing the trumpet instead of the drums. Now he’s a lowly brass player in the school marching band. Until one day he has an epiphany: He can start his own band, play in all the cool rock venues, even go on tour … if only he can scrape together the cash to buy a drum set. But how will he ever get the money together when The Man thwarts him at every turn, taking taxes out of his paycheck, forcing him to mow the lawn for a measly $10 a week, and creating all of those rules that get in the way of dreams? It’s one teen against the system in this light-hearted look at the challenges and rewards of chasing your dreams.

The Jade Notebook (Indigo Notebook) (Delacorte) – Laura Resau. Down-to-earth Zeeta and her flighty mom, Layla, have spent years traveling the globe and soaking up everything each new culture has to offer. Now they’ve settled in the beachside town of Mazunte, Mexico, where Zeeta’s true love, Wendell, has an internship photographing rare sea turtles. At first glance, Zeeta feels sure that Mazunte is paradise—she envisions dips in jade waters, sunsets over sea cliffs, moonlit walks in the surf. And she is determined to make Mazunte her home . . . for good. But as she and Wendell dig deeper to unearth her elusive father’s past, Zeeta finds that paradise has its dark side.

What the Dog Said (Bloomsbury) – Randi Reisfeld. Ever since her police officer father was killed a few months ago, Grace Abernathy hasn’t wanted to do much of anything. She’s pulled away from her friends, her grades are plummeting . . . it’s a problem. The last thing Grace wants is to be dragged into her older sister Regan’s plan to train a shelter dog as a service dog. But Grace has no idea how involved she’ll get-especially when a mangy mutt named Rex starts talking to her. Has Grace gone off the deep end? Or might this dog be something really special-an angel? A spirit? Either way, he is exactly the therapy that Grace needs.

HISTORICAL

A Diamond in the Desert (Viking) – Kathryn Fitzmaurice. For Tetsu, baseball is so much more than just a game . On December 6, 1941, Tetsu is a twelve-year-old California boy who loves baseball. On December 7, 1941, everything changes. The bombing of Pearl Harbor means Tetsu’s Japanese-American family will be relocated to an internment camp. Gila River camp isn’t technically a prison, but with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no time frame for leaving, it might as well be. So when someone has the idea of building a baseball diamond and starting a team, Tetsu is overjoyed. But then his sister gets dangerously sick, forcing him to choose between his family and his love of the game.

Ghosts of the Titanic (Holiday House) – Julie Lawson. Just in time for the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, comes a haunting and suspenseful novel that weaves gripping fiction around fascinating historical fact. When twelve-year-old Kevin Messenger’s father inherits a house in Halifax, Canada, left to him by a complete stranger named Angus Seaton, Kevin decides to investigate. His puzzling discoveries lead to troubling dreams and a voice calling to him for help. A parallel narrative tells the dramatic story of Angus Seaton, who worked on one of the ships responsible for recovering bodies and personal effects after the Titanic sank. The two stories converge in a spine-tingling climax as Kevin is transported aboard the sinking Titanic to try to right the wrongs of the past.

The Star Shard (Houghton Mifflin) – Frederic S. Durbin. Twelve-year-old Cymbril is a slave on Thunder Rake, a gigantic wagon city that rolls from town to town carrying goods to be sold by its resident merchants. The Rake’s master purchases a new slave, a mysterious boy named Loric who is one of the magical Fey. Because he can see in the dark, Loric’s duty is to guide the Rake through the treacherous wilderness at night.Cymbril and Loric secretly join forces to plan their escape—soon the two friends thread their way through a series of increasing dangers, encountering an enchanted market and deadly monsters as their one chance for freedom draws nearer.

NON-FICTION

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole (Charlesbridge) -Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano. If a black hole is not a hole, then what is it? Find out what black holes are, what causes them, and how scientists first discovered them. Learn how astronomers find black holes, get to know our nearest black-hole neighbor, and take a journey that will literally s-t-r-e-t-c-h the mind.

About Habitats: Oceans (Peachtree) – Cathryn Sill. Award-winning author Cathryn Sill and her husband, noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, offer young readers a first glimpse into ocean habitats. In simple, easy-to-understand language, this guide teaches children what oceans are and what kinds of animals and plants live there. A glossary and afterword provide readers with further fascinating details.

First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low (Clarion) – Ginger Wadsworth. Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts in 2012, a lavishly illustrated account of the fascinating life of the woman who started it all. Juliette (Daisy) Gordon Low was a remarkable woman with ideas that were ahead of her time. She witnessed important eras in U.S. history, from the Civil War and Reconstruction to westward expansion to post–World War I. And she made history by founding the first national organization to bring girls from all backgrounds into the out-of-doors. Daisy created controversy by encouraging them to prepare not only for traditional homemaking but also for roles as professional women—in the arts, sciences, and business—and for active citizenship outside the home. Her group also welcomed girls with disabilities at a time when they were usually excluded. Includes author’s note, source notes, bibliography, timeline, places to visit, the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and musical notation for the favorite scout Song “Make New Friends.”

Get the Scoop on Animal Poop (Imagine – a Charlesbridge imprint) – Dawn Cusick. From lions to tapeworms, 251 cool facts about scat, frass, dung and more!

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World (Holiday House) – Laurie Lawlor. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, here is a biography of the pioneering environmentalist. “Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it,” wrote Rachel Carson, the pioneering environmentalist. She wrote Silent Spring, the book that woke people up to the harmful impact humans were having on our planet.

Snowmobile: Bombardier’s Dream Machine (Charlesbridge) – Jules Older. Bombardier’s Dream Machine. The true story of Joseph-Armand Bombardier’s journey to invent the snowmobile.

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