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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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  • Where’d that Creativity Come From?

    Op-Ed, Parents, Research

     

    It’s not uncommon for parents to look at personality traits as they develop in their children and think, Oh, that’s just like me. So a joint study recently released by researchers from Yale and Moscow State University should not come as any great surprise: that creative parents tend to produce creative children.

    Okay, it’s not a surprise. But it is a wonderful confirmation that the creativity writers pour into their work is a trait that we may have received from our parents, and will likely pass to our children.

    My youngest wrote his first story at age four. He wasn’t old enough to type the words, but he dictated while I typed. Called “Forest Adventures,” this one page story was about a man who goes into the forest where all sorts of horrific things happen, including being attacked by bees, and also bears who crawl all over the man’s bus “including that part where the people go in.”

    Okay, so it’s probably not going to win the Newbery, but as both a mother and an author, it gave me a slight bit of hope that maybe one day, there might be another writer in the family.

    There are several examples of literary families: the Bronte sisters and the brothers Grimm are perhaps the most famous, but David Updike, the son of John Updike, is a children’s and short story author. The daughter of feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft is Mary Shelley, author of “Frankenstein.” Mary Higgins Clark co-wrote several books with her daughter, Carol, who has gone on to write books of her own.

    The joint study analyzed the creative writing of 511 children between the ages of 8 and 17 and compared it to their parents’ writing. The themes for the writing were the same for each age group, such as “were I invisible” for children and “who lives and what happens on a planet called Priumliava” for adults. The stories were then rated for their originality, plot development and quality, and creative use of prior knowledge. Factors such as general intelligence and the way the family interacted with each other were accounted for.

    The researchers concluded what most parents have long known, that there are inheritable traits that have nothing to do with hair and eye color. They stated, “It may be worth further studies to confirm that creative writers are indeed born, as well as made.”

    So how does this affect us as writers? Well, for those who are also parents, this is a reminder that the work we do is not solely for the story, or for our readers. Exploring our own creative instincts becomes a role model for our children, who, research shows, may have those same instincts. Let your children see you create so that one day they will create for themselves. And what parent would not be thrilled about that?

     

    7 Comments

    6 Comments

    1. Laura Marcella  •  Oct 12, 2012 @12:20 pm

      My mom is a writer and so is her mom. And now I am! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! :)

    2. Jen Swanson  •  Oct 12, 2012 @1:17 pm

      I’m an author and both of my teenage daughters are writers as well. My 17-year-old was even considering participating in NaNoWriMo. Of course I’m not allowed to read anything they write, but I have to admit I’ve sneaked a peek. I’m proud to say, it’s pretty good. So, maybe there will be more authors in the family some day. The funny thing is my husband is a math brainiac and so is our son. They both hate to write. Kinda weird how genes work.

    3. Judy Enderle  •  Oct 12, 2012 @5:57 pm

      Oh so true. I write for children. My daughter has released her first adult novel Girl Under Glass that is garnering four and five star reviews on Amazon. I knew she was a writer long before she did. I couldn’t be prouder.

      Monica Enderle Pierce Reply:

      @Judy Enderle. Thanks for the shameless plug, Mom! And I’m proud to say that your 6-year-old granddaughter writes and illustrates her own books, too. The writing force is strong with this family.

    4. Kenda  •  Oct 12, 2012 @8:25 pm

      Grandmothers can be role-models for our grandkids, too–it makes for fun going into yet another generation!

    5. PragmaticMom  •  Oct 12, 2012 @10:29 pm

      What a fun post! I’m not surprised that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

    6. Stacey  •  Oct 13, 2012 @7:24 pm

      Great post. It is true, we look for our kids to inherit athletic ability, but I have always assumed writing is more of a learned trait, but my husband and I both enjoy writing, and so do our children.