Browsing the blog archives for December, 2012.


  • OhMG! News

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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 New Year!

    Holiday

    Here we are on the last day of 2012. What an amazing year for middle grade books! There were so many memorable, heart-stopping books published this year — sci fi and fantasy, humor and history, graphic novels and nonfiction, love and death and everything in between. Join me on a poetic journey through some of the fantastic middle grade novels of 2012…

    Once Upon a Toad there was a young reader

    Who devoured stories like a fearless leader.

    This year was no different, she read book after book,

    Fantasy, reality, historical; whatever it took.

    She cried over Ivan, witnessed some Drama, and cheered for Wonder(ful) Auggie,

    Had a Laugh With the Moon, wore a Fake Mustache, and looked In a Glass Grimmly.

    Next on her list was Glory Be, May B, Stealing Air, and The Marble Queen,

    Followed by Jake and Lily, The Templeton Twins, not to mention Ivy and Bean.

    She raced through The Fire Chronicle and Liar & Spy,

    Then got Caught in The Genius Files and Starry River of the Sky.

    No time to spare, there were still lots more books,

    about Dorks who keep Diaries, one Wimpy Kid, and The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook.

    She discovered The Upside of Ordinary, A Hero for WondLa, then poured over Son,

    Just in time to See You at Harry’s, be A Whole Lot of Lucky, and try Flying the Dragon.

    Next she figured out The 39 Clues while Stealing Popular and loving The Mighty Miss Malone,

    But wait, Amber Brown was back, and while on Will Sparrow’s Road, she was never alone.

    Then it was a Summer of the Gypsy Moths; the year was just flying by,

    Three Times Lucky, Mr. Terupt Falls Again, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, oh my!

    As the leaves began to fall, she curled up in her room,

    With The Fault in Our Stars, The False Prince, and Gustav Gloom.

    She raced through True Legend, Unstoppable, and Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities,

    Made sure to read The Great Unexpected, Joshua Dread, and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee.

    Who Could That Be at This Hour? she thought, when she heard a knock,

    She was Almost Home when she looked at the clock.

    2013 was at the door; it’s practically next year,

    She had to hurry up and finish Double Dog Dare.

    And now that she’s done, there’s only one thing to do,

    Start all over again with books that are new!

     

    A very happy new year from all of us at From the Mixed-Up Files! Keep reading and keep writing!

     

     

    Michele Weber Hurwitz, the author of Calli Be Gold (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House 2011) and an upcoming middle grade novel in spring 2014, can’t wait to see what books are in store for 2013.

    11 Comments

    The Writers’ TOP TEN

    Authors, Inspiration, Writing MG Books

    Top-10-ListI LOVE end of year top ten lists…the best and worst dressed..the most embarrassing political moments….the best/worst movies, books, etc… They are everywhere!

    Which means we need one, too.

    So here it is! To inspire you for a great writing year in 2013…..MY top ten list:

    THE BEST ADVICE I’VE RECEIVED (and often given), 2012 EDITION!

    (feel free to take it, or not!)

    10. Don’t hold back that revelation! This is a big one for me. What I mean: Instead of saving it for the end of the book, USE IT NOW…and see what happens next. What you find out will ALWAYS be more interesting than what you need to fill the pages, waiting to spill that revelation.

    9. TRY EVERYTHING! Do I need to explain? In my writers.com class, the writers that are getting agents/getting into MFA programs/having great years are the ones who take advice and try!!!! Even if you end up deleting the writing, you learn something new about your character!

    8. Don’t write when you don’t feel safe.  This is a tough one. And very personal. Writing can be a very dangerous activity….and it can be scary. So if the kids are sick or your hubby/wife needs attention or life is hard, that comes first.

    7. Plot logically. Find the easy answer. Over and over, ask yourself: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Think: action/reaction.

    6. Know what your book is about. Know what you want to say. Think about this as you write. Believe in yourself.

    stones

    5. An essential aspect of creativity is NOT being afraid to fail. (Actually, you have to embrace failure!!! It’s an essential part of the process. My bad drafts teach me so much!!!! Then REVISE.) Remember: if you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great will ever happen.

    4. Before you work on VOICE, know what your characters want and why. Know your plot. Foundation first. Otherwise, you’re probably just making darlings. Okay?

    3. Take the time to figure out what your characters have in common with you on an emotional level. It’s there! I promise!

    2. Two pages a day. Every day. Make the commitment.

    And the most important piece of advice I have EVER RECEIVED…and continue to give it over and over again…….

    celebrate 2

    CELEBRATE every step! Chocolate and flowers, writers! Every milestone. Every correspondence. My kids know when I have hit 100 pages, because that’s when I make Thai Seafood Soup! This may sound silly, but when I’m on page 70, just thinking about that soup helps me write.

    Happy New Year!!!!!

    Sarah Aronson keeps a scrapbook  of great quotes, great writing advice, and occasional writing prompts on her blog, Beyond Revision. It has YET to get a comment. Come check it out in 2013!

    19 Comments

    Indie Spotlight: The Reading Reptile, Books and Tapes for Young Mammals

    Indie Spotlight, Tweens

    It’s our delightful task in these Indie Spotlights to feature an Independent children’s bookstore each month and to share the well-kept secret that children’s bookstores aren’t going away.  In fact they are thriving all over the country because we love them and support them and because no on-line or chain store can match the things children’s bookstores do best.

    screenshot_508This month we’re talking with Debbie Pettid, founder/owner of The Reading Reptile—Books and Tapes for Young Mammals in Kansas City MO (www.readingreptile.com)

    Sue Cowing for Mixed-Up Files: There’s nothing like a great bookstore name/logo to make us want to visit, and Reading Reptile doesn’t disappoint.  How did the name, and the store, come about?screenshot_501

    Debbie Pettid: The name came about brainstorming with friends long ago. The idea for a store began after working at Eeyore’s in NYC. The staff was hardworking and knowledgeable and my time there inspired me to open my own store. I was young, naive and determined so went for it.

    MUF: Take us inside your shop and describe the climate you’ve created “for young mammals.”screenshot_499
    Debbie: The store itself is very organic and always changing. I never purposely set about trying to create a look or feeling, but had a general idea of wanting it to be the “best bookstore ever.” When I look at and read books they inspire me to create, so I do.  When you walk in the store, if you look back you realize you have walked through a large mouth (Zabajaba Jungle) The front left of the store is a George and Martha playroom and to the right is our in store bakery Le Petit Rouge which is designed to look like a fairy tale forest. Then depending which way you look you may see… up… a mural on the ceiling from Babar the king and all the vices, posters covering most of the ceiling, a U.S. map just like Scrambled States of America and lots of pieces hanging – Fortune from Fortune Cookies, the gorilla from Goodnight Gorilla, Max from Where the Wild Things Are, the Bear from Milos Hat Trick, Arnie the Doughnut, the boy from Meanwhile plus an assortment of origami, homemade paper, and miscellany. screenshot_500Each wall alcove has a scene from a book such as Go Dog Go, Dr. Desoto, My Father’s Dragon, Snowy Day and on top of shelves or tacked in different places you could find JLo from True Meaning of Smekday, Frances, Doll People, Fire Cat, Tin Tin, Moomins, Caps for Sale, Camille, Frog and Toad, Bill and Pete, Lily and Chester, David, plus others.   There are all sorts of stuff nailed, glued, and hung everywhere, crafts kids have made, some dioramas, (Wump World, etc.) some miniature scenes. Most everything is made large and in papermache. Our goal is to cover every surface!

    I guess you could say I am obsessed, but I think it is great for kids and adults to recognize characters from their favorite books or want to read the book of the character they see.  Books are exciting, art is exciting and there are a million ways to enjoy both.  I’m in the store every day, as is my husband and five kids and I want them to be interested in the world around them and be open to possibilities and interpretations and so I have tried to create an interesting world. Mostly I like to make stuff.screenshot_504

    MUF: You hold an annual writing contest for young writers ages 5-12, and the deadline is coming up on Monday, January 21st.   What role does this contestplay in your shop’s philosophy?
    Debbie: With that event we have local illustrators who are nationally published judge the stories. They pick their favorite and illustrate a scene from the story which the child receives. The only rule is don’t plagiarize. The focus is creativity and uniqueness. We have upwards of 500 kids entered each year, and many amazing stories. It is one of our favorite events.

    MUF: Tell us about your D.N.A. fest.  Curious title.  Looks like you’ve established a major annual literary event in Kansas City that engages the community, both kids and adults.screenshot_498
    Debbie: The festival is hard work, expensive and definitely worth it. We do our best to make sure everyone involved, (presenters, kids, adults, volunteers, etc.) has a really great time, and are able to leave with lots to think about. We think it’s important to have an event where everyone involved with books from readers to creators can have a chance to exchange ideas and build off that excitement. We also enjoy bringing some of the best authors and illustrators and introduce them to new readers.

    MUF:  One fan describes your books as “lovingly curated.” You seem to make it a point of pride to introduce readers to great books and authors that aren’t current best sellers but shouldn’t be forgotten. How do you do that?screenshot_497
    Debbie: Our books are chosen after having experienced them. Reading them ourselves, reading them out loud, having others read them. We look at the artfulness of the book, the content, the language, the craft. I don’t feed my kids McDonalds so why would I want to hand them the equivalent in a book? Content does matter when you read. “At least my kid is reading” doesn’t cut it. Anyway, if it is something I like a lot, I get it for the store.

    MUF: What makes your day as children’s booksellers?
    Debbie: Having an inspiring conversation with a customer, making something cool, reading something interesting, eating a cupcake, not wiping up any bodily fluids.screenshot_495

    MUF: If readers and their adults from out of town come to visit your shop, are there some favorite family-friendly places in the neighborhood where they could get a snack or meal after browsing?
    Debbie: Bella Napoli for lunch or Blue Grotto for dinner. Le Petit Rouge for a treat.  A little farther away, Aixois for lunch or Chai Shai for dinner.

    MUF: And if they could stay in town for the weekend, can you recommend some unique sights and activities they shouldn’t miss while they’re there?
    Debbie: Kemper Museum of Art, Little Freshie, Broadway Cafe Donna’s Dress Shop, Shop Girls, Local Pig, Artist and Craftsman, Loose Park Rose Garden, Kauffman Gardens, Berkeley Park for a bike ride.

     Readers please note:  A very special event coming right up on Reading Reptile’s calendar is an appearance by Minneapolis-based duo The Okee Dokee Brothers, playing songs from their Parents Choice Award-winning CD, Take it Outside,on Saturday, January 7 at 11 AM.  USA Today calls the Okee Dokee brother’s music “authentic bluegrass for your little brother.”screenshot_489

    If you have been to Reading Reptile, or if reading about it here makes you think you’d like to go, please leave a comment here for Debbie.  And if you’ve never visited a real children’s bookstore, why not make it a 2013 resolution to give yourself and a child that unique experience?

    Sue Cowing is the author of the puppet-and-boy novel You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda Books 2011 and Usborne UK 2013).

     

     

     

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