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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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  • Memoirs of a Summer Reading Dropout

    Book Lists

    I have a confession to make.

    As a child, every year, I signed up for the Summer Reading Program at my town’s library.

    I wrote my name on the contract. I received my little chart or check list or fill-in-the-blank card. I checked out a stack of books.

    And I never got further than half-way through the chart. Never. Ever.

    Why?

    Part of it could be lack of follow through. I was the type of child who would start something with a great frenzy of enthusiasm but then get distracted after a few weeks.

    It could have been the lure of the pool, where my friends hung out daily, smelling of chlorine and Jays Potato chips.

    But the largest fault, I believe, lay with the library’s mystery section. You see, I could never get enough of them. I would have a historical fiction book in my hands, or a required biography or science fiction, when I’d spy a title like “The Hidden Staircase Mystery” or “The Clue of Black Lake” and I’d be gone. The biography was tossed aside and I’d be ten pages into the mystery before The Life Of Benjamin Franklin hit the carpet. Before I knew it, poor Mr. Franklin was propping up a table leg while I was walking out the door with a stack of spine-tinglers.

    Did I have a narrow reading interest?  Yes.

    Did reading only mysteries limit my vocabulary? Probably.

    Did all those mysteries make my reading life suffer? Not necessarily.

    While I am a big fan of library reading programs as a parent (yes, my kids all completed them!) and I am in favor of introducing young readers to different genres of writing, I also know, as a reader, there is no better feeling than being chest-deep in a book you just looooove. I read every Nancy Drew I could afford or borrow. I checked out every book in the library mystery section. Reading became something I did, a lot. It became a habit. I would forgo the pool. I would not answer the phone. I would pretend I was sick, all to finish my current book. Those little mysteries made me into the reader I am today.

    When my first born started eating pureed food, I gave her pretty standard fare – pears, peaches, green beans – whatever we happened to be eating. But on the store shelves, I’d see jars of sweet potatoes and beets and prunes and I worried that I wasn’t giving her enough variety. I brought this up to my pediatrician who shrugged and said, “Some kids in other countries eat the same food every day. And they grow just fine.” My daughter grew up healthy and strong. In fact, she now towers over me. She also eats a wide variety of foods now that she has matured.

    The same is true for my reading. Though I grew up on a diet of straight mysteries, I now enjoy a variety of books, and enjoy reading across the genres. I became a Reader.

    A reader who just may, one day, actually finish a summer reading program.

    Beverly Patt has just finished writing the first draft of her third historical fiction novel – which also contains a mysterious twist, to satisfy the young reader still inside.   Visit her at www.beverlypatt.com.

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