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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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  • Cozy Winter Reads

    Book Lists
    134083_6d4c34e1

    © Copyright Martin Rankin and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/134083

    My favorite thing to do in winter is snuggle up in front of the fireplace with a blanket, some hot cocoa, and a good book.  My second favorite thing to do is snuggle up in front of a window with a blanket, some hot cocoa, and a good book–maybe two blankets, since it gets awfully cold next to my windows.

    I  believe reading a book with a winter setting is best done with a blanket and hot cocoa, too.  So grab yours and curl up with one of these dozen wintry reads for kids ages 8-12 (or for the 8-12-year-old at heart):

     

    Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

    Description: Artemis Fowl receives an urgent e-mail from Russia. In it is a plea from a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his father. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by a familiar nemesis, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. Now, instead of battling the fairies, Artemis must join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people in the world he loves.

     

    Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

    Description: Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

     

    Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen

    Description: In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. He was rescued at the end of the summer. Brian’s Winter begins where Hatchet might have ended: Brian is not rescued, but must build on his survival skills to face his deadliest enemy–a northern winter.

     

    Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory

    Description: Eleven-year-old Abigail Jane Stewart’s fictionalized diary about her life, family, friends, and neighbors, and the sides they have to choose in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, during the height of the Revolutionary War, renders a vivid portrayal of one of the most memorable and crucial winters in American history.

    Abby’s life with her family is quickly upended when they are awakened by the unfamiliar sound of drums. General George Washington is leading the Continental soldiers into their winter encampment at Valley Forge, PA.

     

    Dogsled Dreams by Terry Lynn Johnson

    Description: Twelve-year-old Rebecca dreams of becoming a famous dog-sled racer. She’s an inventive but self-doubting musher who tackles blinding blizzards, wild animal attacks, puppy training, and flying poo missiles. All of her challenges seem easier than living up to the dogs’ trust in her abilities.

     

     

    Icefall by Matthew Kirby

    Description: Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father’s victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, as a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

     

    Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

    Description: To her small Eskimo village, she is known as Miyax; to her friend in San Francisco, she is Julie. When her life in the village becomes dangerous, Miyax runs away, only to find herself lost in the Alaskan wilderness.

    Without food and time running out, Miyax tries to survive by copying the ways of a pack of wolves. Accepted by their leader and befriended by a feisty pup named Kapu, she soon grows to love her new wolf family. Life in the wilderness is a struggle, but when she finds her way back to civilization, Miyax is torn between her old a new lives. Is she Miyax of the Eskimos — or Julie of the wolves?

     

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

    Description: They open a door and enter a world. NARNIA … the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy … the place where the adventure begins. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the Professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.

     

    The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Description: The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

     

    Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

    Description on back of book: Peter Lunstrom never thought he would become a hero. But that bleak winter of 1940 was like no other. Nazi troops parachuted into Peter’s tiny village and held it captive. nobody thought they could be defeated–until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children of the village could fool the enemy.

    It was a dangerous plan. Peter and his friends had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds. It meant risking their country’s treasure–and their lives.

     

    Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin; illustrated by Mary Azarian

    Description from jacket flap: Snow in Vermont is as common as dirt. Why would anyone want to photograph it? But from the time he was a small boy, Wilson Bentley thinks of the icy crystals as small miracles, and he determines that one day his camera will capture for others their extraordinary beauty.

    Often misunderstood in his time, Wilson Bentley took pictures that even today reveal two important truths about snowflakes: first, that no two are alike, and second, that each one is startlingly beautiful. His story, gracefully told by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and brought to life in Mary Azarian’s lovely woodcuts, gives children insight into the soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance, but a clear passion for the wonders of nature.

     

    Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner

    Description: For Claire Boucher, life is all about skating on the frozen cow pond and working at her family’s maple farm. But when a professional skating coach offers Claire a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with the elite skaters in Lake Placid, she’s tossed into a competitive world of mean girls on ice. Can Claire find the strength to stand up to those who want her to fail?

     

     

    If you know of other books where winter plays a prominent (or not so prominent) roll, please share them with us in the comments below.  Enjoy your winter reading, and don’t forget the cocoa!

    (NOTE: All descriptions are by Indiebound unless otherwise noted.)

    Elissa Cruz has a fireplace and several great picture windows in her house. In winter you can usually find her in front of one of them, reading and writing books for middle-grade kids. For more on her mixed-up writing life, you can visit her website at elissacruz.com or her blog at elissacruz.blogspot.com.

    3 Comments

    2 Comments

    1. PragmaticMom  •  Dec 27, 2012 @9:36 am

      What a great winter list!

    2. PragmaticMom  •  Dec 27, 2012 @9:37 am

      Wanted to add Mr. Popper’s Penguins. We love this book so much!

      Elissa Cruz Reply:

      @PragmaticMom, YES! I can’t believe I forgot that great book! Thanks for mentioning it for me.