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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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  • 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!