• From the Mixed-Up Files... > Authors > Screen Free Week With Alvin Ho Author Lenore Look!
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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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Screen Free Week With Alvin Ho Author Lenore Look!

Authors, Book Lists, Giveaways, Interviews

Lenore Look is here today to discuss screen free week (April 29th – May 5th)  a time when many chose to turn off their televisions in exchange for other activities.  I know I enjoyed reading Alvin Ho during my time away from the T.V. this week, even if it was a bit early!  Lenore has some great input for what she does during her unplugged days.  Read ahead to learn all about it!

2 Days - Alvin Ho_2

Me:  During your screen free week you decide to take advantage of a beautiful sunny day, what do you do?

Lenore:  Believe it or not, it’s not only screen-free week for me, it’s a screen-free life! I had decided at age 18, when I moved out to college that I would never own a TV. In my parents home when I was growing up, the TV was on ALL the time, and I got so sick of it and saw how much time was wasted in front of it, that I knew I didn’t want it inmy house. And do you know what? I never even miss it. My days are so full that I don’t have time for  everything, let alone find time for TV. I really don’t know how people fit it in. On sunny days in my screen-free life, I’ll go for a run, meet a friend for lunch, work on my books, read a book, read the newspaper, go for a swim, travel, and so much more! The more screen-free you are, the richer and fuller your life becomes!

Me: That’s awesome!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve threatened to turn off the cable. I don’t know what’s stopping me.  Thank you for being such a great example.   What are your rainy day options? Do you grab your sword and shield and fight off fire breathing dragons or do you put on an aluminum foil cap so the aliens can’t read your mind?

Lenore:  Everything I do on sunny days is even better to do on rainy days, except maybe for the run. I love curling up with a book on a rainy day. And nothing makes me write better than a good storm. When I was a kid, a rainy day (and there were many in Seattle!) meant rolling out the flying carpet (a bath towel) and going on the most splendid journeys to exotic lands. I dropped in and out of different cultures and even time traveled. It was fantastic! When I was old enough to not burn down the house, I enjoyed baking cookies and brownies on rainy days.

Lenore Look_Photo Credit Charity Chen-cropped

LENORE LOOK is the author of the popular Alvin Ho series; in a starred review Kirkus Reviews called Alvin “refreshingly original [and] endearing.” Lenore is also the author of several acclaimed picture books, including Henry’s First-Moon Birthday and Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding, both of which received three starred reviews and were named ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Books. Her latest picture book is Polka Dot Penguin Pottery.

 Me:  Darn! No Fire breathing dragons, huh?  The flying carpet is pretty cool though!  We enjoy making crafts in my home.  Are you a crafter?

Lenore:  Sadly, I’m a crafter wannabe who will never amount to much. I always get inspired to do a craft whenever I see something spectacular that someone has made, and say, “Hey, I can do that!” Then the competitive part of me adds, “I can do it better!” Then I head straight to the craft store, where I’ll spend a princely sum because not only will I do it better, I’ll make the BEST ONE YET!!! Guess how many world-famous, museum-worthy craft projects I have in the back of my closet waiting for me to do???

Me: Ha! Don’t I know that feeling!  One last question.  A unicorn visits your picnic, do you:

a. share your chocolate

b. chase him away with a stick while wearing a turbin and dancing the hula

c. feed him your veggies (the ones that you tucked under your napkin at dinner last night)

Lenore:  Sorry, unicorn, I’m going to say “none of the above” – this is on account of a.) I love chocolate so much I have a really hard time sharing chocolate, b.) I would never chase you away because I love animals, and c) I love veggies so much I have a hard time sharing those, too, though not as much as chocolate. So if you’re a unicorn at my picnic, I would share my homemade granola with you because it’s the best granola in the world and it’s good for you. Then I’ll comb your coat. Then we’ll be friends, just like that!

Me:  Smart girl. I wouldn’t share my chocolate either!  Thanks for joining us here on The Mixed-Up Files, Lenore.


Alvin Ho

ALVIN HO: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look; illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Alvin’s fans will laugh out loud at his latest fear–a baby!Readers will herald the return of their favorite phobic boy in this, the fifth book in the beloved series. Alvin’s mother has been getting bigger . . . and bigger. Alvin’s sure it’s all the mochi cakes she’s been eating, but it turns out she’s pregnant! There are lots of scary things about babies, as everybody knows–there’s learning CPR for the newborn and changing diapers (no way)–but the scariest thing of all is the fact that the baby could be a GIRL. As a result of the stress, Alvin develops a sympathetic pregnancy and hilarity definitely ensues. Once again, Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham deliver a story that’s funny and touching in equal measures.

Want a copy of this book??  One lucky winner will receive a copy of Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look! If you’d like to win  this delightful story just fill out the form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can learn more about screen free week here http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/screenfreeweek/.  Here’s a youtube video from Random House about unplugging https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsbhj6_ha94.  Now, join the cruisade and UNPLUG!

Amie Borst and her middle-grade daughter write fairy tales with a twist.  Their first book, Cinderskella, releases October 2013!



  1. Jill  •  Apr 27, 2013 @7:16 am

    Great interview and something to think about since I use too much screen time honestly…sometimes I need some kind of distraction, but I guess that is no excuse!

    I have been meaning to read these books. Fun.

  2. roanne scheringer  •  Apr 27, 2013 @8:52 am

    I like to do scrapbooking during my screen free time.

  3. Alana  •  Apr 27, 2013 @4:31 pm

    Our kids are always up for a board game!!

  4. PragmaticMom  •  Apr 27, 2013 @6:25 pm

    We like to cook together and we’ll try more art projects.

  5. Stacey  •  Apr 27, 2013 @6:46 pm

    I love the premise–afraid of babies! Sounds like a fun game. I also think screen free week is a great idea!

  6. L  •  Apr 29, 2013 @5:07 pm

    seriously considering no screen during summer but maybe a once a week film..really can’t do without a good film to read. but I do want to make better of my time with me and the family. having another alvin ho book to laugh aloud with some summery morning sounds really good to me. love this series.

  7. Michelle  •  May 1, 2013 @1:47 pm

    I love to use my Kindle to read:)