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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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  • Parenting Tips I Learned From Reading Middle-Grade Literature

    Book Lists, Inspiration, Op-Ed, Parents
    Flick’r photo by sean dreilinger

    Confession: I read a LOT of middle-grade fiction.  It’s true.  In fact, I haven’t yet been in the young adult or adult section of my local public library.  I see no problem with this, except for one thing: I want to talk about the books I read with my friends.

    This is a problem because none of my friends read middle-grade books.  Their kids read middle-grade books—lately I’ve had more book conversations with those kids than I’ve had with their parents (sad, but true)–and though my friends and I have plenty of other topics to discuss, I can’t help feeling they are missing out on something by only reading books for adults (and the occasional YA).

    Lately I’ve been asking myself why I’ve been concerned about this.  Granted, I like middle-grade books because I write them.  But the more I read them, the more I realize there is a wealth of knowledge for parents in those stories, too.  And that might be part of the reason why I feel like my friends are missing out.  It’s a delicious secret I want to share with them, and with any other parent who will listen.

    And since I have a captive audience today, I am going to do just that.  The following are three parenting tips I learned from reading middle-grade literature.  They may not be earth-shattering, or particularly exciting, or even new, but I’m glad for them anyway.

    Parenting Tip #1: Kids need family. 

    Click image for more about this book

    In the opening chapters of Brian Selznick’s WONDERSTRUCK, one of the main characters, Ben, has lost his mother and doesn’t know where his father is.  As I followed along on his journey to find his dad, I realized how important family is.  And I also realized how often I take mine for granted.

    As a parent, I need to nurture those connections, especially with my children.  I need to carve out time to play with my kids, I need to listen to them as they share their (often random) thoughts with me, I need to encourage them and praise them and just be with them.  And I need to help them nurture close relationships with their father and siblings, too.  Family is important.

    Parenting Tip #2: Kids need choices. 

    Click image for more about this book

    In Ingrid Law’s SCUMBLE, main character Ledger comes from a family where each member inherits a savvy, a magical power.  His family line is full of unique and interesting powers, but none are more intriguing to me (as a parent, anyway) than the one Ledger’s mom has been given; she has the power to make people do what she says.

    And she does it with a smile.

    Now, I don’t know any parent who wouldn’t love to have that kind of power over their children!  But as I read Ledger’s story and watched him stew when his mom made him do what she wanted him to, I realized that children are much happier and more likely to succeed when they are given choices.  It was a powerful reminder to me that it’s my job to inspire my kids to find their own greatness, not to require them to do what I think would be good for them.

    Yes, I still need to guide them in their decisions, and I must set rules for them to follow, but I need to remember that, if possible, I need to let them choose for themselves.  And I must allow them to experience the consequences of their actions, no matter how much those consequences may hurt.

    Parenting Tip #3: Kids need love. 

    Click image for more about this book

    The middle-grade literature world is full of books about orphans who hope for someone to take them in and love them. One of those kinds of books, THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart, introduces Reynie, an incredibly intelligent orphan, and his tutor, Miss Perumal.  At the beginning of the book, no other adult loves Reynie except for Miss Perumal, and her love influences Reynie’s decisions later when he is in the most dire of circumstances.

    As a parent, it’s nice to be reminded every once in a while that my love for my children can be more influential than I realize.   In fact, it’s quite possible that someday my love could save the world.

     

    It might not surprise you to learn that there are plenty of other parenting tips hidden in a middle-grade book near you.  Parents, I encourage you to pick up a title and read.  You won’t be disappointed.  And please share any additional tips you find with us here.  I’m still hoping to have this conversation with my friends someday.

    Besides, I could use all the parenting help I can get.

    Elissa Cruz has lots of children.  Five, to be exact.  You’d think she’d be a parenting expert with that many running around the house, but she’s not.  Unfortunately.  She writes middle-grade fiction for her children, but she also writes it for herself, and for anyone else brave enough to read it.  You can learn more about her writing journey on her blog, elissacruz.blogspot.com.  And if you, too, want to talk about middle-grade books, join her on Twitter every Thursday 9pm Eastern for #MGlitchat.

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