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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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  • Calling all Teachers! (and librarians and parents and writers and book lovers!)

    Learning Differences

    About six weeks ago I attended my first IRA (International Reading Association) annual conference in Chicago.

    I got to go as a Presenter, and not as an Attendee – a first for me at a major conference! Nine authors from around the country (moi included) were shocked to have our all day panel workshop accepted and after numerous phone calls and hundreds of emails to plan our eight-hour workshop, we were off!

    We spoke to a room full of reading specialists, teachers and librarians, as well as teachers and librarians who aspire to be writers themselves and wanted all our inner *secrets* – which we gladly gave them. What was so great about it, is that everything we talked about and demonstrated can be used in the classroom or at home.

    Our topic? Rekindling the Reading Fire – Using the Story Strategies of Professional Authors to Inspire a Love of Reading and Writing.

    Please Raise Your Hand if you’ve ever attended IRA!! 25,000 people attend every year – at least – from all over the world. We had a women from Nigeria and England as well as all over the USA – and those are just the ones I personally got to chat with during breaks and lunch.

    In the comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions of any past IRA experiences and how it helped you as a teacher.

    With eight hours to fill from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., of course we had to break the day into segments. We discussed aspects of story techniques, The Hero’s Journey, plotting, prose, poetry, verse novels, middle grade, fantasy, young adult novels, picture books, history, and research.We also did several hands-on writing exercises – things the teachers could take back with them to the classroom to use with their students. (Here’s a link to info about The Creative Diary; a classroom hands-on writing workshop as an example of what authors do when they visit schools.)

    Since we have the most awesome readers here at From the Mixed-Up Files, I’m including links to a few of our handouts from the day. Use them for yourself or your own kids or the students in your classroom.The ones below were created by the wonderful author and former elementary school teacher, Caroline Starr Rose of MAY B fame.

    1. Easy Stick Man Character Sketch

    2. Where in the World are We Reading?

    3. Book Travel Log with Specific Writing Exercises and Games

    I paired up with Kersten Hamilton and we spent one of the slots of time discussing Fantasy: all types and genres, but more importantly, the great way fantasy books can be used with kids to expand their minds and their creativity. Books with even just a splash of magical realism can get kids to enlarge their reading horizons into other more *serious* books, like historical novels or straight contemporary stories – step by step. (See my Handout below for title ideas).

    I created a PDF about fantasy books for Middle-Grade and Young Adult readers. I DEFINE each fantasy GENRE (there are 11!) as well give 3-4 EXAMPLES of current books for each genre. And here it is for easy download:

    THE VIEW FROM UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF FANTASY

    Our IRA Panel of Authors (in case you’re curious):

    Carolee Dean

    Uma Krishnaswami

    Carolyn Meyer

    April Halprin Wayland

    Esther Hershenhorn

    Caroline Starr Rose

    Kersten Hamilton

    Lisa Schroeder

    Kimberley Griffiths Little

    Hope the links and Handouts help you in your own reading and teaching adventures!

    Kimberley turns in her proofread typeset pages of her next novel (Spring, 2013), WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME *today* and will be napping this afternoon. (*crosses fingers*)

    If you’d like to see the dazzling cover Scholastic’s design team and artist Erin McGuire created, go here to take a peek and enter the NINE book giveaway on her blog: www. kimberleygriffithslittle.blogspot.com

     

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