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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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  • 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

    10 Comments

    1. Linda Andersen  •  Dec 28, 2012 @8:07 am

      Sarah,
      Great list. I especially like #10 also. I’m guessing this makes you come up with an even bigger revelation for the end. Am I right?

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Linda Andersen, SOOOO right.

    2. Lill Pluta  •  Dec 28, 2012 @8:15 am

      Oh, that is a great list!!! I’ll have to print this one out.

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Lill Pluta, Thanks!!!!!

    3. S. Pinneo / Julia's Child  •  Dec 28, 2012 @12:41 pm

      Great list! I ususally OD on #6 though, sometimes at the expense of story. But all can be fixed with careful application of the delete key…

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @S. Pinneo / Julia’s Child, Bow down to the delete key!!!! (We’ve been spending quite a bit of time together recently!!!)

    4. Gerri Lanier  •  Dec 28, 2012 @3:21 pm

      * Wow, what a great list! Thanks, Sarah!! #5 says it all for me.

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Gerri Lanier, This is a piece of advice I keep on an index card, taped to my wall. Success can’t occur unless you’re winning to fail. BE BRAVE!!!!!!

    5. Brenda  •  Dec 28, 2012 @4:44 pm

      Really like #5, great list overall.

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Brenda, THANKS!!!!

    6. PragmaticMom  •  Dec 29, 2012 @8:55 am

      I love the advice about giving yourself the freedom to try new things and fail!

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @PragmaticMom, It works for everything and everyone! Happy New Year!!!!!

    7. Pat Wooldridge  •  Dec 29, 2012 @1:22 pm

      Sarah Aronson, what a great post! Number 8 has to be one of my most favorite bits. Every time I feel that I can’t write because certain parts of life are overwhelming (and the overwhelming parts are never the same twice in a row, and I, as a person, am tough with myself), I do my utmost to bull through it, get that writing done. Even if some of it does end up on paper, I feel as though I am running at top speed and the situations clamoring for attention are all chasing me. Until I read #8 today, I thought it was just me letting life be difficult. This writing advice also is a crucial piece of riding (as in horseback) advice. During some years that were riddled with varied, unrelenting problems, if I felt that things would not go well if I saddled up my very energetic and ambitious Anglo Arab horse and rode on a given day, I didn’t ride. Again, I thought it was Just Me. Years later I read the very same advice I had been giving myself, and decided I really wasn’t so far off the mark after all. He would have realized that something was bothering me, my feelings would have transferred to him, and it would have been a very uneasy ride. Dangerous, actually. Thanks so much, Sarah. Oh—and about celebrating writing milestones which may seem small to an onlooker, but we know they are huge–I’m so glad you added that. Celebrating whenever we wish, is important and adds such energy to the whole process.

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Pat Wooldridge, in this long career, I have had to periodically forgive myself. In a world where recognition is sometimes hard to ask for, we think we have to be always producing. We feel guilt. But one of my mentors gave me permission to take the break when I needed it. When crap is happening in your life, you have to take care of yourself. You don’t have to be productive (even though the whole two pages a day thing IS true.)

      GOOD LUCK and Write WELL!!!!!

    8. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Dec 29, 2012 @3:18 pm

      Marvelous list, Sara! I loved reading it. You make some really good points that I definitely use. Some of these, like knowing your “theme” or where you’re going next sometimes happen as we write the book – or during the revision process. :-) Happy New Year!!!

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Kimberley Griffiths Little, Lately, I’ve been spending more time making a synopsis. Chapter to chapter. It’s funny how our processes change!!!

    9. Michele Weber Hurwitz  •  Dec 29, 2012 @4:52 pm

      Always love reading inspirational top ten lists! Thanks for writing this as we head into a fresh new year!

      sarah aronson Reply:

      @Michele Weber Hurwitz, You are welcome!!!! Bring on 2013!!!!! Eat the chocolate!!!

    10. Lori Ann Freeland  •  Jan 4, 2013 @9:33 am

      Love this list. FB’ed it. My favorite is number 5 because failing is my greatest obstacle. Thanks for sharing. :)