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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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  • Girl Power! The Historical Fiction Version

    Book Lists, Historical Fiction, Research, Teachers, Women and girls

     

    Girl Power, huh? You may be thinking, girls didn’t have much, if any, “power” over their lives many decades and centuries ago. Weren’t girls back in the Middle Ages, The Renaissance period, even the 1700 and 1800s oppressed, without choice, without the right to vote, even? Marriages were arranged, ownership of land and businesses not allowed by law. Women couldn’t and didn’t work outside the home (unless you were a maid or a governess, and then mostly for room and board and a pittance salary).

    I still remember when the marvelous novel, Catherine, Called Birdy was published. Of course, it won the Newbery Medal and the Golden Kite Award for 1995, and it is a gorgeously written, emotional and heartfelt book about a girl’s life in Middle Ages England – a time period not written about much until Karen Cushman came along who had spent years researching this era. Catherine (or Birdy as she is nicknamed because she keeps birds) is a teenage girl about to be married off to a curmudgeonly old man – and ends up rebelling because she does not *want* to be married to a curmudgeonly old man with nose hair. She makes those wishes known in various ways, using her wit and manipulation to get out of the marriage her father is trying to arrange throughout the entire novel.

    BUT. I also remember that there was quite a bit of discussion when the book was published about Catherine’s rebellious and outspoken personality by those who said it wasn’t realistic as it could be because girls of that era were – 99.9% of the time – not given any options or choices in their lives, no matter the aspect. Catherine should have–or would have–rolled over and married the slug.

    I remember thinking that same thing about the novel “way back when” myself (I think I was easily influenced by others!), but my opinion has been changing due to more books, movies, and information that continues to come out about exceptional women in our world’s history . . . and maybe that is due to the fact that times have changed because we are talking more about women and their importance! Which is a good thing!

    It’s true that back in the Middle Ages up until the 20th century women couldn’t vote, could not own land/property/business, inherited practically nothing from their fathers, couldn’t work other than some sort of housekeeping, and had little say in their lives. At the same time, history is also FULL of examples of women and girls who did remarkable things with their lives. Women who broke away from the norm. Women who were daring and adventurous and traveled and had careers in the arts, in exploration, in science, etc.

    Just a very few examples of women who had great influence over their lives and/or their countries, even the world:

    Marie Cure
    Nellie Bly
    Joan of Arc
    Clara Barton
    Florence Nightingale
    Amelia Earhart
    Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan
    Wives of U.S. Presidents
    Mother Theresa
    The Queens of Great Britain, Europe, and Egypt!

    Countless pioneer and pilgrim women who sailed and traveled and worked the land and fought hardships of every kind over the last few hundred years.

    Missionary women throughout history who traveled and lived in every part of the world rendering aid, humanitarian efforts as well as education.

    Famous Women in History

    Top 100 Most Famous Women in History, Compiled by a Girl Scout!

    The problem is that most women were never recognized, respected or lauded for their accomplishments.

    And we’ve all heard the saying: “Behind every good man, there’s a good woman!” (Examples in this link in a USA Today article about upcoming movies where they focused on the wife as much as the successful man) 

    Most men accomplished much of what they succeeded at because of their invisible wife/woman who supported, encouraged, and usually took risks right along beside them.

    Today, more than ever there are dozens, nay, even hundreds of novels as well as non-fiction books published about the lives of girls and teens who influenced the world in some way, or made a better life for themselves and their families.

    Carolyn Meyer is probably the most prolific historical fiction writer of our time. She has published well over 50 books about girls who made an impact on the world. Go to the link to see some of her books about girls/teens. And she continues to publish 1-2 novels per year so keep an eye on her!

    Then go to your library or bookstore and look/ask for more titles.

     

     

     

     

     

    Don’t  forget to check out new non-fiction, too, with updated information never told before, like the amazing Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming.

    I haven’t even begun to touch the surface of this amazing category with inspiring and true life stories of real women who actually lived and did change the world.

    Have fun taking a research and shopping trip of your own – for yourself, or the girls and boys in your life.

     

    Brand new Non-fiction published this week: STRIKE! Mother Jones and the Colorado Coal Field War (circa 1913) by Lois Ruby.

    In the comments, please share your favorite girl/woman in history and a book title about them. If there isn’t one written about them, then go write it yourself! What are you waiting for?

     

     

     

    Kimberley Griffiths Little‘s third middle-grade novel,When the Butterflies Came, will be published April, 2013. She will make her Young Adult debut with Harpercollins Fall of 2013. Meanwhile, she’s busy writing the next book for Scholastic and trying not to eat too many chocolate chip cookies!

     
     
    9 Comments

    8 Comments

    1. Karen B. Schwartz  •  Sep 21, 2012 @12:51 pm

      I love reading about girls and women in history. It’s true that, until recently, they weren’t featured in books. I haven’t read it yet, but I want to check out Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone.

    2. PragmaticMom  •  Sep 21, 2012 @6:01 pm

      I’d love to get a reading list of the books you recommend. Oh, also there is a great historical fiction book of the British Amelia Earhart, Beryl Markham. Promise The NIght is the book (I had to look that one up).

      In fact, she makes Amelia Earhart look like a wimp in comparison! I think there was movie made after her as well.

    3. Ali B.  •  Sep 21, 2012 @8:46 pm

      Great recommendations. I love Karen Cushman’s books. Another wonderful title to include in women’s history/African American history is Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman Olympic High Jumper by Ann Malaspina. http://literarylunchbox.blogspot.com/2012/04/read-to-me-picture-book-challenge-touch.html

    4. Laurie Beth Schneider  •  Sep 21, 2012 @11:41 pm

      A topic near and dear to me. Some of my favorite books from the past few years are historical fiction with plenty of girl power: I loved Jennifer Holm’s latest — The Trouble with May Amelia, and then there’s Kirby Larson’s Hattie Big Sky. I can’t wait until Hattie Ever After, the sequel, comes out in February.

    5. Linda Andersen  •  Sep 22, 2012 @5:14 am

      I loved this post! I’d like to suggest two titles: The Hiding Place–Corrie ten Boom and The Diary of Anne Frank. Will this post be added to Book Lists?

      Beverly Patt Reply:

      @Linda Andersen, Yes, Added!

    6. Margo Sorenson  •  Sep 22, 2012 @12:28 pm

      This was a great post — I loved how you set it all up in the beginning paragraphs, too. These are good recommendations. Aloha!

    7. Bruce Luck  •  Sep 22, 2012 @11:28 pm

      Catherine Called Birdy is a great book and Birdy a great character.

    8. Gayvin  •  Oct 10, 2012 @4:57 pm

      I love this post! There are plenty of women in history that have had fascinating lives. We need more female driven stories and female lead characters to help inspire girls to dream and dream big! Thank you for this post!