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    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 ...

    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

     This year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the focus has shifted to middle-grade.  “A lot of foreign publishers are cutting back on YA and are looking for middle-grade,” said agent Laura Langlie, according to Publisher's Weekly.  Lighly illustrated or stand-alone contemporary middle-grade fiction is getting the most attention.  Read more...


    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

    Check out these titles releasing in March...


    March 5, 2013: Catch the BEA Buzz

    Titles for BEA's Editor Buzz panels have been announced.  The middle-grade titles selected are:

    A Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

    Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward

    Nick and Tesla's High-Voltages Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

    The Tie Fetch by Amy Herrick

    For more Buzz books in other categories,


    February 20, 2013: Lunching at the MG Roundtable 

    Earlier this month, MG authors Jeanne Birdsall, Rebecca Stead, and N.D. Wilson shared insight about writing for the middle grades at an informal luncheon with librarians held in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon "Middle Grade: Surviving the Onslaught."

    Read about their thoughts...


    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

    Check out these new titles releasing in February...


    January 28, 2013: Ivan Tops List of Winners

    The American Library Association today honored the best of the best from 2012, announcing the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, along with a host of other prestigious youth media awards, at their annual winter meeting in Seattle.

    The Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Honor books were: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

    The Coretta Scott King Book Award went to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

    The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award,which honors an author for his or her long-standing contributions to children’s literature, was presented to Katherine Paterson.

    The Pura Belpre Author Award, which honors a Latino author, went to Benjamin Alire Saenz for his novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was also named a Printz Honor book and won the Stonewall Book Award for its portrayal of the GLBT experience.

    For a complete list of winners…


    January 22, 2013: Biography Wins Sydney Taylor

    Louise Borden's His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, a verse biography of the Swedish humanitarian, has won the Sydney Taylor Award in the middle-grade category. The award is given annually to books of the highest literary merit that highlight the Jewish experience. Aimee Lurie, chair of the awards committee, writes, "Louise Borden's well-researched biography will, without a doubt, inspire children to perform acts of kindness and speak out against oppression."

    For more...


    January 17, 2013: Erdrich Wins Second O'Dell

    Louise Erdrich is recipient of the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for her historical novel Chickadee, the fourth book in herBirchbark House series. Roger Sutton,Horn Book editor and chair of the awards committee, says of Chickadee,"The book has humor and suspense (and disarmingly simple pencil illustrations by the author), providing a picture of 1860s Anishinabe life that is never didactic or exotic and is briskly detailed with the kind of information young readers enjoy." Erdrich also won the O'Dell Award in 2006 for The Game of Silence, the second book in theBirchbark series. 

    For more...


    January 15, 2013: After the Call

    Past Newbery winners Jack Gantos, Clare Vanderpool, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Stead, and Laura Amy Schlitz talk about how winning the Newbery changed (or didn't change) their lives in this piece from Publishers Weekly...


    January 2, 2013: On the Big Screen

    One of our Mixed-up Files members may be headed to the movies! Jennifer Nielsen's fantasy adventure novel The False Prince is being adapted for Paramount Pictures by Bryan Cogman, story editor for HBO's Game of Thrones. For more...


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Book Lists

Hi Mixed-Up Filers!!

It’s good to be back! Welcome to my semi-annual post with Mixed-Up Files!!  Okay, before I incur the wrath of the all-mighty Elissa Cruz, I am joking! It’s only been fourteen months. Wait, is that more or less than semi-annual? I’m sorry, math has never been my best subject. But, it’s okay. That’s what happens when you write for a popular site like Mixed-Up Files and its eighty-seven members! Still, I appreciate the massive letter-writing campaign that has been undertaken on my behalf, in order to get me more time on this site! Elissa Cruz told me that it literally took her like three to five minutes to go through the two letters she received, clamoring for more of me! I thank both of you for writing!

But, I digress. Back to my post! I was originally going to entitle this Our Firsts, but then I realized that I titled my last post that, and I also believe it makes me sound like some lovesick teenage girl writing an entry in my diary. But, that’s not it at all.

I’m talking about conferences!

This past weekend, the area I live in (south Florida), had its winter SCBWI writing conference. And in another week is the SCBWI winter conference in New York. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the Florida one this year. And the New York conference is strange for me, because while I am originally from New York, I have never attended a conference there. But, thinking about it, reminded me of the first time I went to any writing conference.

I am not sure exactly what year my first one was without putting a lot of thought into it, and as many of you know, whenever I do that, it never turns out well. But in any event, it was quite a few years ago. And what I remember most, was that I was sooooo nervous going. I didn’t know anybody, but was still excited to see real-life authors speak on the topic of writing. I wanted to get better, but I also remember thinking that I was already pretty good. I guess, that is a requirement of anybody that has a creative spark, you better believe in yourself to an extent, no matter what, right?

So, I went down to the conference, pretty much stayed to myself, and just soaked everything in. Not that I was anti-social, it’s just overwhelming when you really don’t know anybody and you are attending an event where it seemed like everybody knows everybody else except for you. After you go for a while, you begin to see that these writing folk are really just regular people. Perhaps, a bit odder and more eccentric than everybody else, but still just people…okay, a lot odder and more eccentric, but still, they are a tight-knit bunch and very welcoming to new writers. I felt amazed at seeing all these people whose books I’d loved, standing alongside of me.  It takes a few moments to get over being star-struck, and remember why you are there.

One of the funny things I do remember, is being extremely confident. Sure, I admired these writers, but I was also ready to dazzle everybody with my own writing. They would hear my work and shower me with praise and adulation, perhaps be carried off on their shoulders , with the well-deserved shouts of “Way to write!” echoing through the halls.

Well, that didn’t happen. What did in fact happen, was the embarrassment of hearing my work ripped apart. Why? Because I wasn’t ready. Plain and simple. So, what did I do? I basically, slunk back home, with tail between my legs and kept trying.  It was either that or give up, and almost every speaker I’ve heard since that initial conference, said that those that persevered, were the ones who made it. If you doubt, then you give up, and of course you won’t succeed.

You have to keep working at it and get better. I mean now, I’m almost ready to use two syllable words on a semi-regular basis. Almost. Since that first time, I’ve gone to many conferences and met many wonderful people and heard some great people in the writing industry speak. I have been getting positive critiques and feel much more polished. And even more important than any of that, is that I’ve made some incredible friends. And if you are a writer, you know that writing friends are necessary and also different than non-writing friends, because they just get what you’re doing. Your other friends just can’t understand. They are the ones issuing questions such as “Why aren’t you published yet?” or “Are you going to be rich doing this?”. You need those other writing friends. Now, when I go to conferences in this area, I feel like I know the majority and it’s certainly a lot more fun when a lot of people know you as well. A much better experience hanging with like-minded people, instead of standing off to the side and observing.

So, if you are in the SCBWI New York conference next weekend, and you see a lost soul hailing from Coral Springs, Florida, go on over and say hi!! And then of course have the common decency to introduce him to Julie Andrews!!

And remember, if I receive over 100 comments, Elissa Cruz has promised to cover herself with honey and run through a bear cave. Honestly, you just can’t beat that for your entertainment dollar!



  1. Bruce Luck  •  Jan 26, 2013 @12:30 am

    This comment is just for Elissa. Ninety-nine more then we pull out the honey.

    JROSEN Reply:

    @Bruce Luck,

    Okay, now I’m going to get the numbers.

  2. Janet Smart  •  Jan 27, 2013 @5:17 am

    Here is comment #2. One step closer to the honey pot. :o) just kidding. Unfortunately I will not be at the SCBWI NY Conference next weekend, if I was I’d be happy to say hi. I’m still hanging in there, and hopefully one of these days I will succeed.

    JROSEN Reply:

    @Janet Smart,

    Hopefully, you’ll get to go one of these days.

  3. Elissa Cruz  •  Jan 28, 2013 @7:25 pm

    Well, I will be at SCBWI NY, but I will NOT be arriving with honey. Just sayin’.

    Good luck at the conference, J!

    JROSEN Reply:

    @Elissa Cruz,

    See you there, Elissa!

  4. Ty  •  Jan 28, 2013 @9:25 pm

    Oh you were that awkward guy that kept staring a few conferences ago…