• From the Mixed-Up Files... > Industry News > Meet Kaylan Adair– middle-grade editor extraordinaire!
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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, read more...

     

    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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Meet Kaylan Adair– middle-grade editor extraordinaire!

Industry News, Interviews

Today we welcome Candlewick editor Kaylan Adair to From The Mixed-Up Files.

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Kaylan has edited a number of outstanding middle-grade novels including Down Sand Mountain by Steve Watkins, Small As An Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson and the upcoming Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup.  She was even the American editor of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, a novel that straddles that tricky YA/Middle-grade line.

Welcome Kaylan! What excites you about editing middle-grade novels?

Middle-grade novels are what turned me into a reader. I struggled with reading for much of my early life but in fourth or fifth grade, my (incredibly patient) school librarian convinced me to give the novel Follow My Leader a try. The book struck me as being intimidatingly long, but it was about a boy who’s blinded in an accident and gets a guide dog and I was obsessed with dogs at the time (particularly German shepherds), so I decided to give it a try. It’s the first middle-grade novel I remember reading for pleasure. And it’s no exaggeration to say that that experience changed my life. Suddenly, countless worlds opened up to me. I quickly discovered Lois Lowry and devoured everything she’d ever written.

I signed up to read books for our state book award (the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award) and twice read enough books to be selected to go to the awards ceremony — quite an accomplishment for the girl who’d been so stressed about having to finish an assigned book that she’d thrown up on the novel the year before. (In class. In front of everyone.)

 To this day, middle-grade novels seem magical to me. They remain portals to other worlds — as many books are, certainly, but with middle-grade novels, I am keenly aware of the huge significance they can have on a young reader, on someone who’s still learning about the world and about herself. Whenever I work on a middle-grade novel, part of me can’t help wondering how this book might change some child’s life.

What were your favorite books when you were 9-12?

Lois Lowry was there for me at a very important time in my life. I remember reading the ending of The Giver during a school assembly in the auditorium. I couldn’t bear to put the book down, and when I finally finished, I sat there in a daze, trying to puzzle out the ending. (I have no idea what the assembly was about, by the way.)

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We know you’re excited about the publication of Garden Princess, the story of an unlikely princess and a strange, enchanted garden (with a heart-stoppingly GORGEOUS cover sure to tempt any middle-grade reader.) Anything else in the middle-grade world you’re looking forward to this spring?

Yes! I’m excited and honored to attend the Highlights Whole Novel: Middle Grade retreat from March 3-9.  

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I’ve never participated in anything like this before (and perhaps there is nothing else like this out there!), so I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to connect in a deep and meaningful way with authors and with their manuscripts. My hope for the writers is that they leave the retreat feeling energized and excited to continue working on their projects. Perhaps they’ll gain some new insight into their story or characters because of our week together, or perhaps even just the choice to prioritize their writing for this one week will have a lasting impact and they’ll continue to prioritize their novels long after our time together has ended.

The good news for you, dear From The Mixed-Up Files readers and writers, is there’s still space available at Highlights’ Whole Novel Retreat: Middle Grade. Get more information here. It’s a chance to take your own middle-grade novel to the next level, work with wonderful mentors including Kaylan, gorge on the famous Boyds Mill farm cuisine, and immerse yourself in books and writing… it doesn’t get better than this!

 

Tami Lewis Brown is hard at work on her next (whole) middle-grade novel and she looks forward to joining editors Kaylan Adair, Molly O’Neill (HarperCollins), Elizabeth VanDoren (Boyds Mill) and a slew of fantastic writers and mentors at the Highlights retreat this spring.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Janet Smart  •  Jan 29, 2013 @8:36 am

    Kaylan came to our WVWriter’s Conference one year and I had the pleasure to meet with her. Wish I could go to the Highlights retreat, but unfortunately it is out of my price range. Enjoyed your post.

  2. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Jan 29, 2013 @4:49 pm

    I enjoyed this interview, thank you Kaylan! I always love hearing how editors fell into their life’s work, and I can’t wait to read some of your titles. The Highlights retreat sounds fabulous, what an opportunity. Hope some of our MUF folks can attend and tell us all about it when they return!

  3. Connie B. Dowell  •  Jan 29, 2013 @8:56 pm

    The retreat sounds amazing. I wish I could be there.

  4. WendyS  •  Jan 30, 2013 @9:30 am

    I love Kaylan’s story, going from struggling (vomiting!) reader to voracious reader. Thank you for this inspiration!