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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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  • Interview with Return To Exile Author, Eric Patten

    Authors, Giveaways, Interviews

    I know what you’re thinking.  And yes, it’s another interview.  But it’s not just ANY interview.  This is a super-kewl-you-almost-forgot-it-was-an-interview interview.

    Today I’ve captured, tied-up, and threatened with every inch of his life got Eric Patten, author of the majorly epic middle-grade novel, Return to Exile.

    From EJ Patten’s blog:

    Snare 1: Return to Exile
    ONE BOY. UNTOLD ENEMIES. A WHOLE WORLD TO SAVE.

    IT’S GOING TO BE A LOOONG THREE DAYS.

    Eleven years ago, a shattered band of ancient monster hunters captured an unimaginable evil and Phineas T. Pimiscule rescued his nephew, Sky, from the wreckage of that great battle. For eleven years, Sky Weathers has studied traps, puzzles, science, and the secret lore of the Hunters of Legend believing it all a game. For eleven years, Sky and his family have hidden from dark enemies while, unbeknownst to Sky, his uncle Phineas sacrificed everything to protect them.
    For eleven years, Sky Weathers has known nothing of that day.
    But on the eve of Sky’s twelfth birthday and his family’s long-awaited return to the town of Exile, everything changes. Phineas has disappeared, and Sky finds himself forced to confront the mysterious secrets he’s denied for so long: why did his family leave Exile on that day so long ago? What, exactly, has Phineas been preparing him for? And, the biggest mystery of all, who is Sky really and why does everyone want to kill him?!
    Featuring an action-packed plot that covers the gamut of every monster you’ve never heard of (not to mention weird powers and weapons made out of garbage), Return to Exile is brimming with boy and girl appeal and is a gem for reluctant young readers. And, with a diverse assortment of well-aged monster hunters in the cast, this series will be a hit with adults young and old as well.  Recommended for ages 9+.

     

    So now that you know about his book, it’s time to get to know the author!  Eric’s been forced agreed to answer some questions for all of our Mixed-Up readers! 

    Me:  Most authors come up with scenes for their books in various places….like stalking, watching people in the park. I prefer standing on my head and whistling Dixie while eating chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles. How about you?

    Eric:  Hmm…nothing too odd. I usually just frequent the run-of-the-mill places writers often go: haunted basements, castle dungeons—our secret moon base in the fields of ruin.

    Me:  *taps chin pensively*

    Eric:  Though, for The Legend Thief (Hunter Chronicles, Book 2, which comes out December 4, 2012), I did spend a lot of time in the wilderness. My backyard goes right up into the mountains with their prairie grass and scrub oak forests, and occasionally, I would climb into the foothills with my laptop, take in the city below, and fight off bears with my bullwhip and unnatural good-looks and charm. Well, with a bullwhip, at any rate.

    Me:  Ah yes, the good old, charm, good-looks and bullwhip technique.  Very effective.

    Eric:  I also spent a few weeks at a ranch in the sandstone hoodoos of southern Utah. I’m actually allergic to just about everything outdoors—I get the sniffles something fierce—but I love looking at it through the window of an air-conditioned room while sitting in a hot tub and eating dark chocolate bars.

    Me:  I think I’m in love.  He said CHOCOLATE.

    *ignores awkward silence*

    Me:  Anywho… I like talking to the voices in my head. They make great companions when I’m not eating cupcakes…or wearing a toga to go people stalking watching. Do you enjoy talking to your characters, too? And what, praytell, do they whisper back to you? Hmmm….??

    Eric:  You wear a toga to go stalking? That sounds comfortable. I’ve always wondered, are those machine washable or dry clean only?

    Me:  Wash-n-wear, baby!

    Eric:  When I hear voices, I like to go to the secret moon base. The voices never bother me there. Apparently, they can’t breathe moon air. Stupid voices.

    Me:  Stupid voices, indeed!  Personally, I favor chatting with these people in public, even if I do get strange looks. Do you prefer conversing in private or are you okay looking like the crazy bag lady – er, man – in public?

    Eric:  Have you seen my goatee? I get crazy looks whether I’m talking to myself or not. I figure, why not get a cat, a hairnet, and a nice bag—maybe one from Target, or the Gap—and go for the whole shebang?

    Me:  None of the above will be used as evidence against you in the court of law. Where were you Friday night, the 6th of October, 2011?

    Eric:  Er…moon base?

    Me:  Ah-ha!  Friday was actually the 7th!

    *ignores chirping of crickets*

    Me:  So…do you have children and do they enjoy reading your books?

    Eric:  I have three kids, ages nine, seven, and five. Return to Exile is my debut and so far, only my nine-year-old daughter, Jordan, has read it. I think Return to Exile ranks third on her list, right behind Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series, and Avi’s The Good Dog.

    Yes, she gave me the bronze medal.

    Me:  Huh.  Well, at least you placed.  So anything prophetic you’d like to share with us before we bid you adieu?

    Eric:  An author is never an author in his or her own home. I have no idea what that means, but I wanted to end with something that sounded deep. So, there you are.

    Me:  And there you have it folks!  Straight from the author’s handkerchief-stuffed mouth.

    But seriously, I want to thank Eric for humoring me today.  He’s my kind of guy.  I think we’d get along just fine, if he’d ever stop running away from me.

    Eric is so epic, he’s offering up a 10 page crit to one of our readers!  Yes, you heard me correctly – a TEN PAGE CRIT!  From one author to another, I know how generous this is.  So if you’re a writer and want to win a crit from an epic author, then you should leave a comment!  But seeing as I’ve already won the crit, it’s kind of pointless.  Seriously though I can’t win – I work here.   But if I don’t win, everyone’s fired!  Seriously, I don’t have the authority to do that.  But….so yeah….

    I dare you to enter.  Triple dawg dare.

    If you’d like to see other blogs that Eric will be visiting this month, be sure to check the calendar!

    Amie Borst writes fairy tales with a twist.  She’d love for you to visit her at her blog http://amie-borst.com and join her crazy corner of the cyberverse, complete with jokes and dancing skeletons.  But you won’t find any damsels in distress there – only butt-kicking, smart-talking girls with attitudes!

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