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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:
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    February 14, 2014:
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    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:
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    September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

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    September 18, 2013: Vermont College of Fine Arts Scholarship opportunity

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    September 16, 2013:
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    Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
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    August 21, 2013:
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    August 19, 2013:
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    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

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    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 

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    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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Indie Spotlight: The Little Shop of Stories

Book Lists

 

We’re heading south today to chat with Dave Shallenberger, co-owner, and Krista Gilliam, manager, of  The Little shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia.

Sue Cowing for MUF: You’ve described Little Shop of Stories as the best independent bookstore for children and their adults in the observable universe!  Obviously you’re proud of the store.  What do you do best?
Dave: I think we’re best at getting kids excited about reading and about literature.  We do this through our Summer Reading Program, our On The Same Page community-wide reading program, our author events, our school book fairs, our involvement with the Decatur Book Festival, our book-themed summer camps, and (most importantly) our own staff enthusiasm in helping kids select their next book.

 

MUF: What can kids and their adults expect when they walk in?
Krista: When people walk in for the first time, they’ll often look around and say, “Oh my gosh! This is just like that little bookstore in that movie! What was that movie?” And then we remind them that the movie they are thinking about is You’ve Got Mail. But other that that, customers can expect a friendly, knowledgeable staff, a fun atmosphere, lots of engaging events, and a great selection of books.

MUF: We at MUF are fascinated by your unique and apparently popular summer book camps, which are mostly for middle-graders.  Tell us more!
Dave: Most of our camps over the years have been book themed.  Camps this summer focus on characters from American Girl books, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and the Magic Tree House series.  Any activities that we can think of that relate to the books are used.  By far our most popular camps are the ones based on the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series.  We have had, among many, many activities, archery, pedicab “chariot” races, Greek language lessons, and mini-catapult building.

MUF: How else does Little Shop encourage reading in the community?  
Krista:
By being a huge part of the community. We have a Summer Reading Program where children receive treats from local businesses in Decatur (frozen yogurt, candy, cookies) for each 10 hours they read over the summer. If they make it to 40 hours, they get to come to our award ceremony and pizza party at the end of the summer. We coordinate a giant Christmas tree lighting event in the town square in December. We do school book fairs and visit schools for special events. We host five book groups here at the shop (three of which are actually for adults.)

Krista with Emiline and Marshall, two young book reviewers from the blog A Monster Ate My Book Report

Last year we started On The Same Page, our community reading program, where we pick a children’s book and then get everyone in the community to read the same book. We host book clubs, movie screenings (if there is a movie version), parties, and events all fall and end the program with a grand finale visit from the author. We work with schools to incorporate the book in their curriculum, coordinate volunteers to lead groups, and donate hundreds of free copies of the book to at-risk students. Our inaugural book was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and we had over 2,000 people participate. We’ll make the announcement for our 2012 selection at the AJC Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day weekend.

MUF: How do you select the books to carry in your shop?

Krista:  We work with reps from the publishing houses and order each quarter to bring in frontlist titles. We are very aware of our customer base and make sure to bring in books our customers will like. We mostly have children’s books, but we do have a (very hand-picked, very high quality) adult section and even have two adult book groups, so we serve the adult market as well.

MUF: As middle-grade authors, we have to ask: do you have a few favorite fiction and/or nonfiction titles, either recent or classic, that you especially recommend to middle-graders when they come in?
Krista: Right now we are super excited about Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, The Heroes Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, and The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. We also love always love to handsell Savvy by Ingrid Law, A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, and Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Terra Elan McVoy, author of BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS and SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS

MUF: Have some memorable middle grade authors appeared at your shop?
Dave: The most memorable middle grade authors who have visited include: Neil Gaiman, Norton Juster, Rick Riordan, Kate DiCamillo, Jeanne Birdsall, Avi, Tony DiTerlizzi, Kevin Henkes, Sara Pennypacker, Jeff Kinney, Adam Rex, etc. etc. etc.

MUF:If a family came from out of town to visit Little Shop of Stories, would there be a local family-friendly place for them to get a bite to eat after book-browsing?
Dave: Little Shop is located right on a traditional town square, right across from the Old Courthouse, and surrounded by retail and restaurants and one block from the MARTA station.  Here is a link to local restaurants.  Nearly all are within walking distance.http://www.decaturga.com/index.aspx?page=577
Particularly tasty, particularly close, and good for small kids include: Farm Burger, Pastries A Go Go, Raging Burrito, Sapori di Napoli, Sweek Melissa’s, Taco Mac, and Yogurt Tap.  If kids are a tad older: the famed Brick Store Pub.  Mature kids or no kids (and more expensive): Cafe Alsace, Cafe Lily, Cakes and Ale, Iberian Pig, Leon’s, and No. 246.

MUF: And if they could stay the whole day or even the weekend, what other family activities would you recommend to them?
Dave: Located within walking distance is a small park for younger kids (0-4).  The Decatur Cemetery is a great place for strolling and contemplation, as is Agnes Scott College.  (Emory University is a short drive.)  The city holds concerts on the town square every Wednesday at noon and Saturday at 7pm during the months of May and September.  Downtown Atlanta is a short 15-minute trip on MARTA.
Krista: We are right on the MARTA line, so you could easily visit the Center for Puppetry Arts, the High Museum of Art, the Wren’s Nest[home of Joel Chandler Harris, creator of Uncle Remus], and one of my personal favorite spots in East Atlanta–Oakland Cemetery!

MUF: Tell us a bit about  the Decatur Book Festival and your shop’s connection with it.  When’s the next one?
Krista: The AJC Decatur Book Festival happens each year on Labor Day weekend and is jam-packed with authors, book signings, art, concerts, food, activities, a key note event, and much more. We work closely with the Festival staff to coordinate the children and teen stages, and it’s our busiest (and favorite) weekend of the year.  We always have phenomenal authors and illustrators–Judy Schachner, Adam Gitwitz, Anna Dewdney, Loren Long, Tim Green, Kate DiCamillo, Rick Riordan, Lauren Myracle, Libba Bray, Stephanie Perkins, and many more.

MUF:  Thanks, Dave and Krista, for acquainting us a bit with The Little Shop.  Readers, if you’ve been to this “best independent bookstore for children and their adults in the observable universe” or think you would like to visit , please like, share, or leave a comment here.

 

 

Sue Cowing is the author of the puppet-and-boy novel You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda Books, 2011 and Usborne UK, 2012) which the London INDEPENDENT recently included on its list of 50 Best Summer Reads.

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