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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:
    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:
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    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:
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    November 9, 2013:
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    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

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    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:
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    August 6, 2013:
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    July 2, 2013:
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    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

     This year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the focus has shifted to middle-grade.  “A lot of foreign publishers are cutting back on YA and are looking for middle-grade,” said agent Laura Langlie, according to Publisher's Weekly.  Lighly illustrated or stand-alone contemporary middle-grade fiction is getting the most attention.  Read more...

     

    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 

    Earlier this month, MG authors Jeanne Birdsall, Rebecca Stead, and N.D. Wilson shared insight about writing for the middle grades at an informal luncheon with librarians held in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon "Middle Grade: Surviving the Onslaught."

    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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Whole Lot of Lucky Giveaway

Authors, Giveaways

Danette Hayworth, author of the popular Me & Jack and Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning, is back! Her new novel, A Whole Lot of Lucky, is sure to hit that  middle grade sweet spot. 

From Indiebound: Hailee Richardson never realized how much she hated her Salvation Army life and Goodwill accessories until the night her family wins the lottery. All of a sudden she’s no longer the only girl at school without a cell phone or a brand-new bike! And the newfound popularity that comes with being a lottery winner is just what she’s always dreamed of. But the glow of her smartphone and fancy new clothes wears off when Hailee is transferred to Magnolia Academy, a private school. All of a sudden, her best friend and parents seem shabby compared to the beautiful Magnolia moms and the popular bad-girl Nikki, who seems to want to be her friend. Now, Hailee wants nothing more than to grow up-and away-from her old life. It’ll take one very busy social networking page, a stolen first kiss, and a whole carton of eggs for Hailee to realize that not all luck is good, not all change is bad, and a best friend who’s just a call away will always be more valuable than a phone.

Danette stopped by to talk about her writing process, share the secrets of a writer’s purse, and give away an ARC of the new book. Take it away, Danette!

For me, the writing of a story almost always begins with voice, a voice so strong that it carries with it the gender, age, location, and disposition of the character. All I have to do then is think of what could be the worst thing that could happen to that character. If the voice is strong enough, I can drop the character into any situation and know how she’ll react. That’s where the real work begins: finding the right situation to exploit the voice in my head.

While I was in line edits for Me & Jack, I got hit by this image of two girls and a bike. Not just a snapshot image, it was like a short video of an old memory. The girls were in a driveway. I saw lots of trees, and it was that kind of warm/chilly day you get in spring. The main character had just convinced her reluctant best friend to let her ride her new bike (a new bike, and it wasn’t even her birthday!) by agreeing to pay a dollar and a pack of Smarties. As the MC rides away from her friend’s shouted instructions and warnings, she feels as free as the honeysuckle air wafting under her nose, yet she can’t help but compare her friend’s flashy new bike to her own embarrassing old red boy bike, bought for three dollars at a garage sale last year.

The image of these two girls was so strong, I picked up a scrap of paper and wrote down the main character’s viewpoint of that scene, dialogue and all. The words flowed like water from the tap. Other thoughts popped up over the next few days and I wrote them all down. Later, I nixed some of them and expanded others, but what remained were those first words spoken by twelve-year-old Hailee Richardson, owner of the red boy bike. She didn’t know it then, but her whole life was about to change.

The first three chapters are available on my website. If you compare them to the scrap below—and if you can decipher my scratchy writing!—you’ll see that the first few published pages don’t differ much from the first scrappy words spoken by my then-nameless main character.

Parts of this book were written on the backs of old grocery receipts, a must-have for every writer’s purse.

Now that you know the inside story, why not try your own luck. Leave a comment below and you may win an advanced reader’s copy of the novel, due on shelves Sept. 4.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Sara Zoe  •  Jul 31, 2012 @6:36 am

    What a great concept! Hope I am lucky enough to win!

  2. WendyS  •  Jul 31, 2012 @6:45 am

    I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of this last month. I really love how Hayworth resisted the urge to have this book become a flight of fancy, but really showed how money can affect relationships.

  3. Heidi Grange  •  Jul 31, 2012 @7:34 am

    This sounds like an interesting read. Money sadly enough does have a profound effect on all of our lives.

  4. Jana  •  Jul 31, 2012 @7:47 am

    Great post! I love the picture of some of the book being written on the back of a grocery list!

  5. Janet Smart  •  Jul 31, 2012 @7:51 am

    I love the writing. Sounds like a very interesting book. I’d love to win it and be able to read the rest. Thanks

  6. Peggy Eddleman  •  Jul 31, 2012 @7:55 am

    Sounds like such a fabulous book! I love the receipt writing. :)

  7. Jill of The O.W.L.  •  Jul 31, 2012 @8:06 am

    Sounds great and perfect for my students!!!

  8. Connie B. Dowell  •  Jul 31, 2012 @10:40 am

    Sounds like a fun book. I’ve definitely written on the backs of old receipts too!

  9. Tim Canny  •  Jul 31, 2012 @10:59 am

    Nice insight into the ideation process and how being open to inspiration (where ever it hits) is key. I would love to win an ARC of this book.

  10. Michelle Nero  •  Jul 31, 2012 @1:31 pm

    A great author and I love hearing the insights as well. Thanks for the opportunity to win an ARC to talk up to my students!

  11. Ruth Donnelly  •  Jul 31, 2012 @2:12 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful story, and I loved the peek into the author’s writing process!

  12. jpetroroy  •  Jul 31, 2012 @5:27 pm

    This sounds like a lovely story.

  13. PragmaticMom  •  Jul 31, 2012 @5:59 pm

    Oh, oh, oh!!! I love her books! Violet Raines is one of my favorites! I would love to win!!

  14. Jill  •  Jul 31, 2012 @6:22 pm

    I love this. I really really am impressed with how she developed this story: it reveals her true passion and love of writing.
    It kind of makes me reflect on how I often find snatches of “scenes” and character’s voices in my head…it’s like I have the character and a few significant moments in my head…but no plot !! BUT, I’m inspired by the author’s observation that she thinks about ‘what’s the worse thing I can throw at that voice”…that really gets me thinking…hmmm.

    Anyway, would love love to read this. Thanks for offering a giveaway and lots of luck to the potential winner (including me ;)

  15. Megan Earley  •  Jul 31, 2012 @6:33 pm

    I’m always looking for great new middle grade books! Thanks for introducing me to Lucky!

  16. Jaymie  •  Jul 31, 2012 @7:39 pm

    Sounds like a great story! Thanks for the opportunity.

  17. Linda Andersen  •  Jul 31, 2012 @8:10 pm

    Loved the story of how this book idea came to Danette. I’d also love to have an ARC of this book. Thanks for sharing the first three chapters on line. I can’t wait to find them. Great post Tricia.

  18. Llehn  •  Jul 31, 2012 @10:08 pm

    Fingers crossed!

  19. D.Lee Sebree  •  Aug 1, 2012 @12:00 am

    Hey! I’m normal! When it comes to writing anyway… : ) I’d love to win a copy.

  20. Danette Haworth  •  Aug 4, 2012 @11:18 am

    Thanks, everyone, for reading and entering! I’m especially humbled and HAPPY by your mentions of Violet Raines!

  21. Carol  •  Aug 28, 2012 @4:05 pm

    Fab!