Browsing the blog archives for the year 2013.


  • OhMG! News

    New-Oh-MG-critter



    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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  • Indie Spotlight: Best Books for Middle-Graders? Ask Your Independent Bookseller

    Book Lists, Indie Spotlight, Trends, Tweens

    On recent New York Times Best Seller Lists, a time-travel adventure novel by celebrity talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh ranks #1 in the Middle-Grade category, edging out a widely acclaimed favorite of the children’s lit world, Wonder, by R. J. Palacio.  How, you wonder?   Less than two months after its publication, this title, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, shows over 1600 reader reviews on Amazon, and over 1400 of those are five star reviews.  This never happens.screenshot_1133

    How the NYT list is compiled is a fascinating and complex subject.   It is not simply a list of the books that have sold the most copies in the preceding week. Suffice it to say that most books on the list are there because of genuine popular demand for them but  others not so much. Children’s books are currently a hot market in publishing, and it looks as though certain marketing practices that have long compromised the adult NYT nonfiction list, especially in the business, how-t0, and political categories, may now be creeping into children’s books. These include marketing companies or organizations making large prepublication purchases that they’ve disguised to count as  individual purchases, and enlisting or hiring people by the hundreds to write and post positive “reviews.” Publishing is a business, and there’s nothing wrong with being market savvy, but if this is what landed Rush Revere on the list, you wonder what other book missed being included as a result.

    Of course best-sellers are not guaranteed to be the best books anyway, and there are many better ways readers can learn about quality books for middle-graders they might like to read. Annual best books lists by reliable organizations like the  the American Library Association(www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb) or the New York Public Library (http://labs.nypl.org/childrens-books-2013/#/_) are a good bet.   Read reviews and articles in journals such as School Library Journal or Horn Book. Public and school librarians are another great resource.  And don’t forget that From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors, the site you are on at this moment, regularly reviews and discusses new books and interviews authors, so follow us and check out our archives!

    Among the best people to ask for recommendations of children’s books past and present are the passionate book-lovers and hand-sellers of independent bookstores.  Here are some of the shops from around the country that we’ve featured on our site in 2013, and the books they’ve recommended to middle-graders:

    screenshot_1121 screenshot_1122 screenshot_1123screenshot_1132screenshot_1126screenshot_1120

     

    Hicklebee’s, San Jose CA (www.hicklebees.com)  Their book of the year was Black Dog by Levi Pinfold. They also recommended Counting By 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Martin’s Mice by Dick King-Smith, Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck, and Mr. Max: The Book of Lost Things, by Cynthia Voigt

    [words], Maplewood NJ (www.wordsbookstore.com) recommended the Rick Riordan, Jeff King, and Dan Gutman books, plus Wonder by R.J. Palacioscreenshot_1127screenshot_1118

    Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul MN (www.redballoonbookshop.com) chose Wild Boy by Mary Losure and William Alexander’s Goblin’s Secret and Ghoulish Song.

    Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Ashville NC (www.spellboundchildrensbookshop.com) chose the Ivy and Bean, 39 Clues, and Sisters Grimm series, plus There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff and Hope Larson’s graphic version of A Wrinkle in Time.

    screenshot_1124 screenshot_1125

    Children’s Book World, Haverford PA (www.children’sbookworld.net) recommended Palacio’s Wonder, Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, and John Fardell’s Seven Professors of the Far North.

    Mockingbird Books, Seattle WA chose Three Times Lucky by Shiela Turnage, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson.

    Hooray for Books, Alexandria VA (www.hoorayforbooks.com) recommended  The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series by Caroline Carlson

    Powell’s Books, Portland OR  (www.powells.comrecommended Mr. Max: The Book of Lost Things, Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell, Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, The Oddfellows Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin, and for nonfiction: The Goods by McSweeneys, Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson, “anything in the Basher Science Series,” and Stout Hearted Seven Orphaned on the Oregon Trail by Neta Lohnes Frazier.screenshot_1136 screenshot_1135 screenshot_1134

    (Note: many of these shops regularly list staff choices on their web sites).

    What are the outstanding books for Middle Graders, fiction and/or nonfiction, that you’ve read in 2013?

     

    Sue Cowing is the author of the middle-grade puppet-and-boy novel You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda, 2011, Usborne UK 2012).

    4 Comments

    Saying No

    Holiday, Op-Ed

    ProtestThere are a lot of things that my kids do better than me.  But the one that stands out at this hectic time of year? Saying no.

    When my kids don’t want to do something, they say no.  When my kids don’t have time to do something, they say no.  When my kids are in a bad mood, they say no.

    Me?  I always seem to say yes. Even if I don’t want to. Even if I don’t have time. And even if it puts me in a bad mood.

    I know I’m not alone. In this busy world, we are constantly being asked to do just one more “little” thing.

    Parents are asked to do a lot of extras; join the PTA, bake for a class party, volunteer for the next field trip, coach a team…. so much that we often do it at the expense of our children.

    Authors are asked to do a lot for free; one more blog post, a quick review of something a friend wrote, a writing workshop, an extra author visit… so much that we don’t have time to actually write.

    Even Volunteers are asked to do just a little bit more; lead the next fundraising effort, organize a meeting, write the holiday newsletter… so much that we get burned out.

    And I know it’s the same for teachers, librarians, and everyone else…

    It’s hard to say no, because all these things are important and someone has to do it.  But I’ve started to notice that I’m not doing things as well as I could.  I’m not enjoying things as much as I should.  And I’m not helping anyone by always saying yes.

    keep-calm-and-just-say-no-76As we head into 2014, my goal is to practice saying no.  Not because I’m in a bad mood but because I’ve prioritized my time to respect what really matters; my family and my writing.

    I hope it doesn’t sound too grinchy, but I’m giving myself the gift of no this season. And I’m extending the present to all of you… parents, teachers, librarians, writers, and readers.

    It’s not selfish to say no.  It’s important – and it’s something we can learn from our kids.

     

    Yolanda Ridge is the author of Trouble in the Trees (Orca Book Publishers, 2011) and Road Block (Orca Book Publishers, 2012). Ironically, both are about a feisty 12-year-old girl who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

     

    3 Comments

    Visions of Gold and Silver

    Industry News, Librarians, Teachers

    The milk and cookies are waiting by the fireplaces, stockings are hung, candles are lit in windows the world over and you know what that means? The book award fairies are on their way to spread holiday cheer and shiny gold and silver stickers as they do every year for a few very special books.
    il_340x270.310268467It’s mock Newbery season and many library systems and bookstores around the country are posting the results from their hard working mock Newbery and mock Caldecott groups. Here are some links to the ones I know about.
    Anderson’s Book Shop
    Allen County Public Library
    North Allegheny School District
    If you’ve ever wondered how those sticker wearing books are chosen here are some links to the criterion for a few of the Middle Grade eligible awards.
    Newbery
    Scott O’Dell Award for Historical fiction
    Coretta Scott King
    Pura Del Pre
    If you like to follow the conversation about this years books, Heavy Medal provides lively and informative chat about this year’s crop of contenders.
    And here’s the unsung part of the book award story. The librarians who serve on these book award committees usually do so without extra pay. They travel to several meetings in their award-choosing year. They spend countless hours on email communicating with committee members about the titles, and they read hundreds of books. Here’s the thing that surprised me most about the committee members. They often read books many times over. I heard from one committee member that she read a title eight times–a title that didn’t get a sticker in the end. The final winning books are sometimes read many more times than that.
    As an author, it would be easy to be discouraged by how few books are singled out for award stickers each year. But here’s something that I have found very encouraging. Each award committee is made up of librarians from across the country and those librarians, following their year of service on an award committee, go back to their communities and advocate for the books they loved, but perhaps didn’t give a sticker to, to be included on state reading lists for children’s choice book awards and Battle of the Books lists.
    These state level book awards, though they don’t get the fanfare of a national award are the engine that keeps literary fiction for children in print. Year after year, librarian’s around the country work very hard to choose a list of books for their local readers which are deep and diverse and have the potential to become classics. What I love is that these state reading lists are not the same fare being pushed at the local big box store. They are not always the books that are already best sellers or have a huge marketing push. They really look for those gems that will serve their children well. So if you’re looking for that next great read for a child in your life, look no further than your own state’s reading lists. These programs are generally found under

    OBOB_small

    your state library association, so for me that would be the Oregon Library Association, or the local Council of Teachers of English.  Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program worthy of a post all it’s own. Here’s a link to the one in my state. Oregon Battle of the Books
    So for all you hard working librarians out there, thank you from all of us at the Mixed Up Files for your hard work in championing excellence in children’s books and for sharing your favorites far and wide. Joy and peaceful hours of good reading in your new year!
    For all you teachers and parents and writers out there, is there a librarian who’s made a difference in your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
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