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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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  • Great Horse Books for your Horsie Kid!

    Book Lists

    Now that school’s back in, your horsie child will definitely need some daydreaming material for after school (and perhaps in it, but you didn’t hear that from me!) Doesn’t everyone read horse books instead of doing homework?

    No? Well, that was maybe just me.

    Anyway, I’m posting (in my opinion) the top horse books out there for younger readers. A caveat: I have read and enjoyed these horse books personally and *I* turned out okay, so don’t worry mom, give that book to your horsie kid and let them have at it! These books are clean with easy print and (for some) great discussion points that can be discussed. (see underneath the list for how you can add your favourites!)

    I will not tell you to buy from a particular bookseller. Amazon, B&N, Indie, the choice is yours. This is why I won’t provide links in this article, but don’t worry, you can find them easily.

    And now, in no particular order, the list!

    War horse
    - For older children, (12-ish?) but certainly an excellent book for horse fans. Handles the gritty subject of war and the unique aspect of a horse sent away to be in it.

    The Black Stallion series
    - This is a nice long series. Some get into the odd region (Flame and the UFO, for one), but the biggest highlight is Alec’s bond with The Black, and the adventures they have. Easy to read and a good length for young readers.

    Wild Girl
    - Just read this a while ago. Recommended for cultural aspects as well as the horse connection.

    Misty of Chincoteague series
    - Misty is cannon in horse literature. These are clean books, easy to read with excellent illustrations. You simply cannot go wrong with Marguerite Henry!

    King of the Wind
    - This is a great retelling of how Sham became the Godolphin Arabian. Wonderful cultural eye-opener, as well. Great talking book!

    Gunner: Hurricane Horse
    - A great true story, and close to home! Recommended!

    My Flicka Flicka (series)
    - Another cannon in horse books. These three showcase the wild brilliant difficult western life as it was, with characters you really enjoy and get behind.

    Terri Farleys Phantom Stallion Series
    - I’ve talked with this author and her Phantom series is great. She puts her money where her mouth is, too – she works with mustang rescues in her home state, and gives back thru SCBWI too!

    Black beauty
    - EXCELLENT book. Told from “the horse’s mouth”, so to say. Can’t beat it, and the cultural aspects are great as well.

    Beauty by Bill Wallace
    - A top author, a great person. He understood the horse and dog psyche – and a boy’s – in a unique way. He will be missed!

    National Velvet
    - Who wouldn’t want The Pie? A great clean book full of action!

    A Horse Called Dragon
    - A wonderful book that integrates the story of one wild stallion with the breed he helped to create, the Pony of the Americas. A great series!

    Summer Pony
    - Ah, Ginny and her rent-a-horse. This is a great book!

    Justin Morgan had a Horse
    - Interesting aspects of breed beginnings from Justin and his morgan horse. Should definitely read!

    The Red Pony
    - This one is for older children only. Expect to have some talks, as it deals with difficult subjects.

    PLEASE NOTE: As I read thru older books (and newer!) that are recommended, I’ll add to this list! So if you have a horse book you’d love to have added, please put it in the comments here and I’ll check it out!

    Thank you, and have a great horsie weekend!

    —-

    Jen K Blom is an author living in Berlin, Germany, where she writes children’s books about all sorts of kids and all sorts of animals. Her award-winning middle grade book POSSUM SUMMER was published in 2010, and her upcoming horse book BLUE APPALOOSA comes in 2013, with others to follow! You can follow her on Twitter, check out her Facebook and visit her blog.

    5 Comments

    5 Comments

    1. Dianna Winget  •  Sep 7, 2012 @10:21 am

      Just had to add one to the list, Jen. I know it may be too young for most MG readers, but they may have horse loving younger siblings. It’s “Call the Horse Lucky,” by Juanita Havill. It’s a great little story about how even kids can make a big difference in the life of an animal.

    2. PragmaticMom  •  Sep 7, 2012 @5:53 pm

      I never rode horses or had a horsie love phase, but I loved horsie books when I was a kid. Thanks for this great list!

    3. Ali B  •  Sep 7, 2012 @6:29 pm

      As a kid I loved the book, Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Thanks for the list.

    4. Susan Bickford  •  Sep 9, 2012 @9:15 pm

      oh, Annie Wedekind is my horse-loving son’s favorite author. Little Prince is his favorite he also likes Wild Blue. (I agree.) There is a “horse diaries” series — written from the perspective of the horse, like Wedekind’s: Elska is our favorite.

    5. Pat Wooldridge  •  Sep 14, 2012 @8:13 am

      Just found your site, and really like it! Here are some horse books I enjoy (yes, I read them more than once): The First Horse I See, by Sally M. Keehn; Not On A White Horse, by Nancy Springer; The Boy On A Black Horse, by Nancy Springer; Fly-By-Night, by K.M.Peyton; The Team, by K.M.Peyton; Bluebird—also published under the title of Bold Venture, by D.V.S. Jackson (despite THAT title, this book isn’t about the famous thoroughbred, Bold Venture). Oh—you mentioned My Friend Flicka. The other 2 books in the trilogy are Thunderhead and Green Grass Of Wyoming. Fine, fine books. I first began reading them when I was 10 (they were, & still are, my mom’s prize books; 1 by 1 she lent them to me. Even at that age I thought, “These HAVE to be real! They HAVE to be! Sure enough, decades later I discovered Mary O’Hara’s autobiography—Flicka’s Friend—and her other book, Wyoming Summer. Sure enough, the material is very accurately based on her life on that Wyoming ranch. Love it! A lot of people have never heard of these other books. My Friend Flicka has always been the most widely known, I guess. Ones who haven’t read the others, are missing out! :))

      Have you come across any middle grade fiction books dealing with therapeutic riding and the young riders involved, from the POV of a young volunteer at a TR facility? I’m looking to see whether my novel is just one more of a whole group of such books—but so far haven’t come across any. It would be good to learn about any that are around, so that I can see what sort of fit my book would be, with the publishers I’m wanting to approach. You seem to be the best person to ask, even though my question is way off the subject your column is discussing. For that, I’m sorry; just don’t know which direction to go, to get an answer…..