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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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  • Book Feast: Eat Your Way Through A Great Book!

    Activities, Book Lists, For Kids

    The next morning Mrs. Welsch asked, “Wouldn’t you like to try a ham sandwich, or egg salad, or peanut butter?” Her mother looked quizzically at Harriet while the cook stood next to the table looking enraged.

    “Tomato,” said Harriet, not even bothering to look up from the book she was reading.

    ~from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

    Books and Food. Food and Books. It’s holiday time and in the Brown house that means a happy family, good books and festive food. But books with food? Sure thing.

    This holiday season how about holding a literary feast? It’s yummy. It’s fun. And eating along with your favorite characters brings a story to life in a whole new way. Who didn’t wonder at Edmund’s passion for the exotic sounding Turkish Delight (a candy that tastes, disappointingly, more like the inside of a jelly bean than a treat from an exotic land.) Or Harry’s mug of Butter Beer. Snow Candy with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Chocolate Cake with Matilda.

    Curious second graders inspired my first intentionally literary feast. My class fell in love with Sara Pennypacker’s impulsive Clementine but most of the class had never heard of Boston Cream Pie- a mysterious dessert that’s more cake and pudding than pie. Or even Clementine’s namesake citrus fruit. To celebrate the last chapter and the end of the semester we got into the literary spirit with a Clementine feast. Would you believe every seven year old tried- and claimed to enjoy- lentils? Yes! Transformative. It was a book, a meal and a library period that none of us will ever forget.

    Reading Because of Winn-Dixie? How about a feast of egg salad sandwiches, Dump punch, pickles and lozenges (I recommend horehound candies as a reasonable substitute for Kate DiCamillo’s mystical treats.) A family reading Kathi Appelt’s Keeper could have a wonderful celebratory meal of Blue Crab Gumbo. Harriet’s tomato sandwiches are straight forward- bread, mayonnaise and sliced tomatoes. Period.

    Need a bit more guidance? There are oodles of cookbooks with middle-grade literary connections. Lots of them were even written by the original middle-grade authors. Check out

    Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story  P. L. Travers

    The Redwall Cookbook by Brian Jacques

    Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple gather dishes from all across the story spectrum in Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters

    Eat like you’re on the prairie with Barbara Walter’s The Little House Cookbook.

    Join the masses of Potter fans with Dinah Bucholz’s The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory–More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards. She has also written The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook, with everything from Turkish Delight to Fire Roasted Pavenders (a kind of small fish.)

    Or satisfy Roald Dahl fanboys and fangirls with treats from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes.

    As a FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES exclusive, here’s my kid-friendly recipe for Momma’s Sour Cream Ambrosia, fresh from the fridge in my middle-grade novel THE MAP OF ME.

    Sour Cream Ambrosia

    1 packet Jello- cherry or lime are “traditional” but use any flavor you prefer, prepared by packet instructions

    3 cups mini-marshmallows

    1 8oz container sour cream (may use low fat)

    1 8oz container whipped topping such as Cool Whip

    1 small jar maraschino cherries, drained

    1 small can mandrin oranges, drained

    2 cups crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved

    1 cup toasted coconut (optional)

    Mix all ingredients except coconut in a large bowl. If necessary, adjust to light moist consistency by gently stirring in some of the reserved pineapple juice. Sprinkle top with coconut.

    “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold [as the hobbits do], it would be a merrier world.” The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein. So as you settle into the holiday season read, munch, and be merry!

    What’s your favorite literary food?

     

    Tami Lewis Brown believes you can never have enough hot buttered toast, whether dining with a hobbit or Mercy Watson.

     

    7 Comments

    7 Comments

    1. Lisa Jost  •  Nov 28, 2012 @8:51 am

      What a wonderful idea! We are taking this one home personally – my 7th grade daughter wants to have a Christmas party with her friends, and it is going to be a Book Feast! All of the guests are challenged to bring a food featured in their favorite book – just need to let us know if it’s a drink, side dish, dessert or entree. I’ve come up with a list of ideas from “The Lightning Thief” and we’ve shared a few as examples to whet their appetite (pun intended). :) So that particular book is already “taken” and I plan on filling in the dinner menu from it accordingly – Grover’s Enchiladas, Ambrosia and Nectar of the Gods(some of which may greatly resemble your recipe above), blue foods for Percy, etc… Thanks for such a wonderful idea!!! My daughter and I had such fun discussing foods found in other books as well. Her class recently read “Freak The Mighty” and she asked me what American Chop Suey was – something she never thought to ask before. I’m wondering if I might find a recipe to make for dinner sometime soon! :)

    2. Cindy  •  Nov 28, 2012 @6:14 pm

      Love this post (I think I fell in love with Harriet partly because of her tomato sandwiches!) and absolutely love Lisa’s ideas for a Book Feast party. I have a 7th grade bookworm daughter too, and she would go crazy over this idea. Maybe we’ll do it for her birthday.

    3. Jill  •  Nov 28, 2012 @6:29 pm

      The book feast party is a lovely idea.

      I remember the honey and penut butter sandwiches from Ida B (unless I’m mixing it up with another book).
      In terms of YA, I remember the descriptions from The Hunger Games series.
      You’ve got my brain churning now because I know there are many. Fun.

    4. Linda Andersen  •  Nov 29, 2012 @5:11 am

      Clever combination. Other books could be spotlighted for their mention of animals, trees, etc. Learning can take many different paths, based on a good book. Eating happens one we all enjoy!

    5. PragmaticMom  •  Nov 29, 2012 @10:39 pm

      Love reading about food in books! My favorite is Bread and Jam for Frances by Russel and Lillian Hoban. It’s a picture book so it probably doesn’t belong here but it’s my very favorite kidlit book feast!

    6. Dianna Winget  •  Nov 30, 2012 @8:52 am

      Great post, Tami! My mom used to make a wonderful ambrosia salad when I was a kid. Reading your recipe makes me want to try it asap! When I wrote A Smidgen of Sky, I had great fun including mention of some great Southern food–sweet tea, cornbread with buttermilk on top, and sizzling pork patties on the barbecue. I also had great fun using food references as similies. I wonder if that means I think too much about food?

    7. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Dec 1, 2012 @2:15 pm

      Fantastic post, Tami!! Thanks for all the great ideas – and recipe!! :-)