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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 ...

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    February 14, 2014:
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    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:
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    September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

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    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:
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    Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
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    August 21, 2013:
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    Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31! Read more ...

    August 19, 2013:
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    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

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    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

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    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

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    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."

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    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

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    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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You’ve got a friend in Grandma

Book Lists, friendships

Gennari grandparentMy Italian grandmother lived to be 104, and you could always count on her to tell you what you needed to hear. No sugar coating. No blaming either. Just move on and make the best of life.

Every kid needs a caring adult, especially after age 10 when parents start to become uncool. That’s when grandparents can step in. Once preteens stop confiding in their parents, it’s important to have someone who listens.

YeecovercreechcoverThat’s the case in Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee. Millie is super smart but too often misreads how to behave with her peers. Millie’s grandmother Maddie is the one who provides the reasoned voice when Millie won’t listen to anyone else. She provides the crucial guidance, advising Millie to patch up her friendship with Emily: “Sometimes it’s better to be liked than it is to be right.” And my all time favorite grandparents are Gramps and Gram in Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

manzanocoverSometimes the grandmother isn’t always wise. In Sonia Manzano’s The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, a Pura Belpré honor book, the arrival of Abuela shakes things up. Set in El Barrio in New York in 1969, Evelyn is pulling away from the family life she’s always known. Abuela dresses flamboyantly and always gets involved in causes, which both thrills and embarrasses Evelyn. The occupation of the church by the Young Lords Puerto Ricans teaches Evelyn to embrace her heritage. But she also understands her grandmother for the first time:

“I turned to see what Mami was doing. She was staring at her mother. I was looking at my mother and she was looking at her mother. Mami was looking at Abuela the way you look at a puzzle and can’t quite figure it out. How many times had I looked at Mami the same way?” It is then Evelyn understands the hurt her grandmother has caused her own mother, “like she missed her even though she was looking right at her.”

urbancoverRuby’s grandmother has died in Linda Urban’s newest book, The Center of the Universe. Ruby struggles with her grief and regret that she didn’t listen, just a little longer. For Ruby, her big moment in the Bunning Day parade in her small town gives her the chance to pay homage to her beloved grandmother Gigi. As Meg Wolitzer writes in her New York Times review, “The Center of Everything uses the premise of a grandparent’s death in a surprising way, exploring not only grief but also its occasional companions, anxiety and guilt.”

I love it when books acknowledge the role grandparents play in young kids’ lives. What other grandparent books do you love?

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Megan  •  Apr 17, 2013 @9:49 am

    The grandma in Love, Aubrey is a rock when Aubrey’s world, including her own mother, crumbles around her.

  2. Michele Weber Hurwitz  •  Apr 17, 2013 @10:58 am

    Great post, Jen! Wow, 104! I also love grandparents in middle grade books.

  3. Jordan  •  Apr 17, 2013 @1:17 pm

    I think that grandparents in middle grade books are so special, especially because of my experiences with my grandparents while growing up. Though it is not necessarily a middle grade book, the relationship between the main character and her “babushka” in Thunder cake is so sweet to me. I also have always loved the bond that Heidi shares with her grandfather in the book Heidi. I think it’s great when authors explore different family relationships in middle grade literature. I helps these stories be more relatable to real life circumstances.

  4. Jill  •  Apr 17, 2013 @6:14 pm

    Another nice and unique post. I think I have some unconventional ideas when I think of grandparents in middle grade….like Gangsta Granny, by David Walliams or maybe the grandmother (a ghost) in ParaNorman. Both play prominent roles in the books and both are entertaining reads.
    The grandma and particularly the grandpa in “Remarkable” are quite a pair also. Also, a “remarkable” book overall!
    Thanks for getting me thinking :)

  5. Connie  •  Apr 17, 2013 @6:17 pm

    Sometimes the grandpa can be the wise guiding one and that wisdom can be felt even over vast distances. I’m hoping that the love and respect will be clear in my soon to be published The Black Pony, Midnight Finds a Friend.

  6. JenGenn  •  Apr 17, 2013 @8:31 pm

    Thanks, Megan, for the suggestion! I will check it out. Jordan — yes! Heidi! I had forgotten that.

  7. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Apr 17, 2013 @9:32 pm

    I love grandparents in MG books, too. Maybe since I never knew my own grandmothers and both my grandfathers died when I was young, so I like to dream about what they would be like! I had so much fun creating and writing about Grammy Claire in my new book, When the Butterflies Came (Scholastic). It was sort of surreal because the letters she writes to her granddaughter, Tara, the MC, in case of her untimely death, practically wrote themselves. Like I was *channeling* her! And I hardly had to revise them. Her voice came immediately to me and so strong.

    Fun post, thanks!

  8. PragmaticMom  •  Apr 21, 2013 @9:21 am

    Also The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Shang has a grandmother that is central to the story. Congrats on your grandmother! My mom is turning 90 this year and it’s wonderful to know that 104 is possible!!

  9. Carolyn  •  Apr 21, 2013 @2:07 pm

    My grandmothers both died when I was too young to remember them so it was my grandpa (Bumpa) that had the most influence in my life. He was one of those gruff, no-nonsense types but he gave great advice. (Even though I hardly ever asked for it!) My son and I recently read (and loved), When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica Perl, which has a great Grandpa character, Ace. I love how the author wrote all the Grandpa’s words in all caps; it perfectly captures his booming voice. Such a great book and a super fun read aloud.

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