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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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  • On the Road: Transformative road trip reads for your next car trip

    Book Lists, Parents

    Ah, the family road trip—you start off envisioning flying down the open road, singing, and playing games and you forget about the fighting over music, the whining, and traffic. Let’s face it, who hasn’t used a video to sedate the kids or let them remain plugged up with earbuds tied to their ipods?

    The thing is, even with the electronic distractions, a car ride is a journey. You’re going from one place to another, and the experiences along the way can transform you—if you open up to the possibility. Why not introduce a little G-rated Kerouac to your kids?

    Without any modern distractions in the car, thirteen-year-old Salamanca entertains her Gram and Gramps as they travel from Kentucky to Idaho in search of her mother. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Harper Collins 1994) is a beautiful story within a story. Sal passes the hours telling the “extensively strange story” of her friend Phoebe Winterbottom. As the miles roll by, the truth about Sal’s mom slowly is revealed.

    What kid doesn’t want a turn at the wheel? Sal makes the last four hours alone, reasoning, “in the course of a lifetime, there were some things that mattered.”

    Twelve-year-old Margie makes a similar courageous journey to get her mother back. In Tami Lewis Brown’s The Map of Me (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2010), Margie and her sister Peep set off to find their mother who has left a note saying she “had to go.” When Dad is too busy making a sale at the World of Tires, Margie finds the spare key to the Faithful Ford and drives the back roads of Kentucky. Through a series of wrong turns, and fights over gas, and encounters with troopers, Margie grows to understand her mother and herself.

    Ten-year-old Kenny ends up in the Brown Bomber with his family, driving from Flint, Michigan to Alabama in The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte Press, 1995). Trouble drives the family to make the trip to see Grandma Sands and instead of peace they arrive at the darkest moment of the civil rights movement. Although much more happens in this book than the road trip, the difficulties the Watsons experience finding decent restrooms on their way may stop all complaining and stir conversation about U.S. history.

    Wherever the road takes you, get out the map and follow along on these three brave and eye-opening journeys.

    Jennifer Gennari is the author of My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer and she likes bike riding better than car trips. www.jengennari.com

    8 Comments

    5 Comments

    1. Sandy  •  Jul 30, 2012 @7:04 am

      When it comes to road trips/crazy adventures you can’t beat As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynn Ray Perkins. Thanks for a fun summer post!

      JenGenn Reply:

      @Sandy, thanks for the suggestion! I haven’t read it yet. (But is it YA or MG?)

    2. tricia  •  Jul 30, 2012 @4:32 pm

      I also love the Polly Horvath novels, “Northward to the Moon” and “My One Hundred Adventures”.

      JenGenn Reply:

      I had fun re-reading favorites. @tricia, Northward to the Moon was one of them.

    3. WendyS  •  Jul 30, 2012 @5:30 pm

      I’m a total sucker for books about road trips on horseback! I always envied the kids in the Great Brain books when they could pack up their horses and go somewhere for an adventure (although the kidnapping in The Great Brain is Back gave me pause…)

    4. PragmaticMom  •  Jul 30, 2012 @6:24 pm

      I love this post so much! How about One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia? It’s a journey of sorts but not so much as a road trip.

      For a great pop-up book, Woodie Guthrie Riding In My Car is wonderful!

      JenGenn Reply:

      @PragmaticMom, thanks! I will check out Woodie Guthrie–love him! I thought a lot about what books would fit my definition. I decided to make it narrowly about “automobile travel” (library keyword search folks) and realistic (no alien/fantasy–there are plenty of those!).

    5. Beverly Patt  •  Oct 9, 2012 @1:05 pm

      Thank you for highlighting WALK TWO MOONS.
      FAVORITE.
      BOOK.
      EVER.