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    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 ...

    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

     This year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the focus has shifted to middle-grade.  “A lot of foreign publishers are cutting back on YA and are looking for middle-grade,” said agent Laura Langlie, according to Publisher's Weekly.  Lighly illustrated or stand-alone contemporary middle-grade fiction is getting the most attention.  Read more...

     

    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

    Check out these titles releasing in March...

     

    March 5, 2013: Catch the BEA Buzz

    Titles for BEA's Editor Buzz panels have been announced.  The middle-grade titles selected are:

    A Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

    Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward

    Nick and Tesla's High-Voltages Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

    The Tie Fetch by Amy Herrick

    For more Buzz books in other categories, read more...

     

    February 20, 2013: Lunching at the MG Roundtable 

    Earlier this month, MG authors Jeanne Birdsall, Rebecca Stead, and N.D. Wilson shared insight about writing for the middle grades at an informal luncheon with librarians held in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon "Middle Grade: Surviving the Onslaught."

    Read about their thoughts...

     

    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

    Check out these new titles releasing in February...

     

    January 28, 2013: Ivan Tops List of Winners

    The American Library Association today honored the best of the best from 2012, announcing the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, along with a host of other prestigious youth media awards, at their annual winter meeting in Seattle.

    The Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Honor books were: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

    The Coretta Scott King Book Award went to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

    The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award,which honors an author for his or her long-standing contributions to children’s literature, was presented to Katherine Paterson.

    The Pura Belpre Author Award, which honors a Latino author, went to Benjamin Alire Saenz for his novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was also named a Printz Honor book and won the Stonewall Book Award for its portrayal of the GLBT experience.

    For a complete list of winners…

     

    January 22, 2013: Biography Wins Sydney Taylor

    Louise Borden's His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, a verse biography of the Swedish humanitarian, has won the Sydney Taylor Award in the middle-grade category. The award is given annually to books of the highest literary merit that highlight the Jewish experience. Aimee Lurie, chair of the awards committee, writes, "Louise Borden's well-researched biography will, without a doubt, inspire children to perform acts of kindness and speak out against oppression."

    For more...

     

    January 17, 2013: Erdrich Wins Second O'Dell

    Louise Erdrich is recipient of the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for her historical novel Chickadee, the fourth book in herBirchbark House series. Roger Sutton,Horn Book editor and chair of the awards committee, says of Chickadee,"The book has humor and suspense (and disarmingly simple pencil illustrations by the author), providing a picture of 1860s Anishinabe life that is never didactic or exotic and is briskly detailed with the kind of information young readers enjoy." Erdrich also won the O'Dell Award in 2006 for The Game of Silence, the second book in theBirchbark series. 

    For more...

     

    January 15, 2013: After the Call

    Past Newbery winners Jack Gantos, Clare Vanderpool, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Stead, and Laura Amy Schlitz talk about how winning the Newbery changed (or didn't change) their lives in this piece from Publishers Weekly...

     

    January 2, 2013: On the Big Screen

    One of our Mixed-up Files members may be headed to the movies! Jennifer Nielsen's fantasy adventure novel The False Prince is being adapted for Paramount Pictures by Bryan Cogman, story editor for HBO's Game of Thrones. For more...

     

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Indie Spotlight: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Indie Spotlight, Interviews, Tweens
Anyone who thinks children’s bookstores are becoming a thing of the past probably needs to get out in the country more!  True, some wonderful old favorites are no longer with us, but others are doing just fine and wonderful new ones keep springing up, even in these recent hard times.  Today we’re talking to owner Kim Krug of Monkey See, Monkey Do in Clarence,  New York, whose small-town shop is just over three years old  and  has already become an asset  to the community and  earned the 2012 Pannel Prize for Children’s Specialty Bookstore from The Women’s National Book Association.
Sue Cowing for Mixed-Up Files: It’s always a pleasure to discover a new—and thriving—children’s bookstore. What led you to start one up in Clarence, New York?
Kim: Our three children inspired me to open a children’s business.  I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at home with them for the first five years and then wanted to share with them a passion I had to give back to our community, teach them the importance of following a dream and work to inspire other families with a love of reading and lifetime learning.
MUF:Describe the atmosphere in Monkey See, Monkey Do.
Kim: It’s a very warm, charming and creative space.  Both children and adults alike love to look at the books and enjoy the building.  Our bookstore is housed in a historic 1840′s building with timber beams in the young adult/adult book room.  There are six cozy rooms in which books are shelved, tables are set up and classes are held.  People are very curious about the history of the building, it is said to have ties to the Underground Railroad.
MUF: How do you select the books to carry at Monkey See, Monkey Do? What are some favorite titles, fiction or nonfiction, that you recommend to middle-graders?
Kim: I spend a lot of time reviewing advanced titles provided by independent authors and publishers.  I follow our regional book groups and the American Booksellers Association for reviews.  I love finding unique, indie titles that I can bring into the store and tie a program around.  One of my favorite titles is Wonder by RJ Palacio, I absolutely love this book and highly recommend children in grades 5 and up along with parents/adults to read it!  It’s an inspiring story about a 5th grade boy who has a facial deformity  and is homeschooled up until the 5th grade.  The story switches narrative throughout the book as we journey along with Auggie, the main character through his first year of transition in public school.  Some newly released picture books that I am a huge fan of are:  Big by Coleen Paratore, Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein, What Does it Mean to be Present by Rana DiOrio  and Say Helloby Jack & Michael Foreman. Our Gorilla Girls Book Club (Gr. 5 and up) has been reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, and the Bright Monkeys Literacy Club (Grades 3-6) is reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  

Gorilla Girls Book Club

MUF: The Pannel Prize folks cited your “innovative approaches to getting kids engaged with reading.” That seems like an understatement. Monkey See, Monkey Do has a strong commitment to promoting literacy and acts on it by holding a number of literacy classes and activities, even individual tutoring sessions. Tell us about some of those efforts and the community response.
Kim:We truly believe we “bring our books to life” through the variety of creative, literacy-based classes we offer each month.  This past summer we held over 40+ to inspire children to creatively engage in literature.  This Fall we began a new venture in partnering with schools in our After-School Literacy Clubs in which we offer a 6-week literacy club led by a

Reading to each other on National Star Wars Reads Day

NYS certified teacher where children practice reading aloud, work on cadence, pace, vocabulary-building and comprehension.  Children discuss the reading each week, practice journal writing and reflective questions.  In this current session we are running in the schools, the last class will end with a very special author Skype in which children can engage directly with the author to learn about what inspired them to write their book and question the author directly.

MUF:Your book camps sound fun and popular, and you hold them not only in the summer but also during school breaks throughout the year. What have been a couple of your most memorable ones?
Kim: That is a tough question, I have so many fantastic memories from many of our camps but here’s a few that really stick out:
  • Art Safari – children spend a full week reading about a new artist each day and then working on an art project inspired by that particular artisan’s work.

    Art Safari

  • Cupcake Diaries – a full week camp in which children formed reading circles each day to complete reading, creating cupcake journals and writing entries that tied in with their reading and discussions and ended each day with a cupcake decorations lesson by a pastry artist.  The children learned a new cupcake recipe each day, worked on frosting/decorating skills and then enjoyed their work!
  • Let’s Go To Spain – a full day camp reading about Spanish culture, learning new vocabulary, enjoying Spanish treat and engaging in a role-playing skit.
MUF: All this community involvement and teaching and operating a bookstore, too! You must have some good help and/or very little sleep!
Kim: Yes, that is true!  We have an absolutely amazing staff of devoted teachers, employees, artisans and interns from local colleges that offer their time, talent and energy!  And yes….little sleep these days in juggling our family and the business.
MUF: Many towns have no bookstore at all, much less a children’s bookstore. If an out-of-town family decided to make an excursion to Monkey See, Monkey Do, would there be any places for them to have a snack or a bite to eat after browsing?
Kim: Yes, right in the back of our bookstore is a charming restaurant called The Carriage House.  It’s steps away from our bookstore and offers a wonderful lunch menu.
MUF: Are any special events planned at Monkey See, Monkey Do (or in Clarence) for Halloween or November?
Kim: Yes!  Next week we are hosting our 4th Annual Storybook Halloween Party in which we encourage families and children to dress up as their favorite storybook character and come to our free event that features free crafts, sweet treats and two local authors that will be reading their book and signing copies!
In November,  we will be hosting our 4th annual Black Friday camps (Friday, November 23rd) for children to enjoy and parents to have a place to drop off their children for creative programing while they shop.  On Saturday, November 24th we will have our SHOP LOCAL Holiday Event where we invite several authors, artisans and small business owners to come into our bookstore and sell their wares and promote a local shopping spirit.
MUF: Thanks, Kim, for talking with us and for creating not just a children’s book store but a center for learning to love to read  Here’s wishing you success and many anniversaries and honors in the future!
Readers, if you would like to know more about this place, go to http://www.monkeysread.com.  If reading about Monkey See, Monkey Do makes you want to visit the shop, and/or if you think Kim’s approach to running a bookstore is intriguing, please leave her a comment here.
Sue Cowing is the author of the middle-grade puppet-and-boy novel, You Will Call Me Drog, (Carolrhoda, 2011; Usborne UK, 2012)
9 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Karen B. Schwartz  •  Oct 26, 2012 @8:16 am

    What a delightful store! i love all the book related camps she came up with too. So creative!

  2. Amy Nash  •  Oct 26, 2012 @11:45 am

    Your article was great, and this bookstore is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Quick correction: their website is http://www.MonkeysRead.com.

    Sue Cowing Reply:

    @Amy Nash,
    Thanks for the
    catch, Amy! I’ve changed it.

  3. Joanne Levy  •  Oct 26, 2012 @9:45 pm

    I had the opportunity to stop in at MS,MD in recent travels to the area and was so impressed not only by the physical store, but by Kim and the way she makes her store a part of the community. THIS is what bookstores should be and I love seeing indie stores like this thrive as vital parts of the communities they are in.

    Sue Cowing Reply:

    @Joanne Levy,

    Amen, Joanne!

  4. David Etkin  •  Oct 27, 2012 @5:58 am

    I affectionately refer to Monkey See as MY bookstore. Kim is helpful with ordering books for teachers and students at discounted prices. She even makes cool order forms–like the ones she made for our FORTUNE WOOKIEE party over the summer and our upcoming BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX read and Skype with Laurel Snyder.

    I could go on and on. Suffice it to say–this bookstore ROCKS.

    Sue Cowing Reply:

    @David Etkin,
    Don’t you wish everybody could have a bookstore like this nearby?

  5. Dianna Winget  •  Oct 27, 2012 @5:12 pm

    Congratulations, Kim! It sounds like you run a wonderful book store. I can’t imagine how any of the big, box stores could even begin to measure up to something like this!

  6. Linda Andersen  •  Oct 29, 2012 @5:53 am

    Love the store name, the events, and the interview. Thanks so much for sharing.