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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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  • Happy UN Day!

    Authors, Book Lists, Inspiration

    You might not know that today is United Nations Day. I didn’t know it either, until my Mixed-Up Files calendar told me so. Now that you know this, you are probably asking, okay, what is United Nations Day?

    According to the UN, this day was established to highlight the aims and achievements of the UN and marks the anniversary of the organization’s 1945 charter. But more specifically, the UN Secretary-General said recently that this is a day for everyone to resolve to do more — more to protect those caught in armed conflict, more to fight climate change, avert nuclear catastrophe, expand opportunities for women and girls, and more to combat injustice.

    It seems an insurmountable task to fix all that’s broken in our world. And it’s easy to get caught up in how much is bad, especially since much of the news is overly negative and sensational. But the good stories are out there too, like an article I read about five women in their 70s who have been friends since kindergarten, or the man who had his lost wedding band returned by strangers. Those kinds of stories lift my heart, as do these favorite books with young characters who are determined to make this world a better place. We could all learn something from them!


    My Life in Pink & Green
    , by Lisa Greenwald

    Twelve-year old Lucy Desberg is a natural problem-solver. She’s started doing makeovers at her family’s struggling pharmacy, but all the makeup tips in the world won’t help save the business. Lucy dreams up a solution that can breathe new life into the business and help the environment too. But will her family stop arguing long enough to listen to a seventh-grader?

    I love this sweet book, and Lucy is such an inspiring character. I was happy to hear that we’ll find out how Lucy’s story continues when the sequel comes out this spring – My Summer of Pink & Green.

     The Second Life of Abigail Walker, by Frances O’Roark Dowell

    Seventeen pounds. That’s the difference between Abigail and Kristen. Between chubby and slim, teased and taunting. Abby is fine with her body and sick of seventeen pounds making her miserable, so she speaks out against Kristen and her groupies — and becomes officially unpopular. Then Abby meets Anders, who is homeschooled and different, plus worried about his dad, an Iraq War vet. Abby unexpectedly discovers that by helping someone else find hope in the world, she’s able to find some too.

     


    Bully
    , by Patricia Polacco

    Lyla makes the cheerleading squad and is suddenly part of the popular group. But when she sees the popular girls viciously teasing classmates on Facebook, including an old friend, she realizes it’s time to get out. But the popular girls aren’t so happy with Lyla’s decision and they’re out for revenge. This is a powerful story of cliques, online bullying, and the choice to stand up for a friend.

     

    Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen

    In this Newbery Honor book, Roy Eberhardt is on a quest to save endangered miniature owls when a pancake house is scheduled to be built over their burrows. Full of funny, interesting, quirky characters, as well as inspiration.

     

     

     Wonder, by RJ Palacio

    This best-seller follows the story of Auggie Pullman, a boy with a severe facial deformity who is going to school for the first time. The book has prompted an anti-bullying campaign, choosekind.tumblr.com and its own Twitter feed, #thewonderofwonder. Full of heart and hope, the majority of characters realize that Auggie is someone they can be friends with instead of stare at.

     

    Judy Moody Saves the World, by Megan McDonald
    Judy sets out to win a contest for her Band-Aid design but after garnering only an honorable mention, she turns her attention to her family’s crummy recycling habits and an endangered species.

     

     

     

    One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

    The story of Ivan, a caged gorilla living inside a circus-themed mall, is based on a true story, and the cool part is that it was heartfelt letters from kids that helped free the real Ivan. Applegate has written a poignant story in Ivan’s voice that has resonated with readers of many ages. The real Ivan was happily moved to the Atlanta Zoo (after 27 years at the mall!) and became a beloved celebrity there, living contentedly with other gorillas until he died at age 50.

     

    Although these characters are fictional, their quests to set things right are very real – saving a small business, helping a war veteran, confronting bullies, rescuing an endangered species, and fighting for freedom. I hope that young readers (and old ones too) are inspired to get out there and change the world!

    Talk about this and other issues on the weekly Twitter chat about middle grade fiction and nonfiction — #MGlitchat. This takes place every Thursday night at 9 p.m. EST.

    Michele Weber Hurwitz, the author of Calli Be Gold (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House 2011), has way too many inspirational quotes taped up over her desk. Visit her at www.micheleweberhurwitz.com.

    3 Comments

    3 Comments

    1. Jill  •  Oct 24, 2012 @5:50 pm

      Great post.
      I’ve read The One and Only Ivan, The Second Life of Abigail Walker, and Wonder just recently actually. Good books!

    2. PragmaticMom  •  Oct 24, 2012 @8:44 pm

      Wow! Great book list and never would have guessed the UN relationship! Love this post!

    3. Tracy Abell  •  Oct 26, 2012 @11:09 am

      This is a wonderful list, Michele. Thank you for adding more books to my to-be-read pile! Am reading WONDER right now, and enjoying it very much.