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    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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  • Einstein Anderson enters the 21st Century (with a Giveaway)!

    Giveaways, Science

    Seymour Simon has published hundreds of books about science, the vast majority of them nonfiction. But there is a special place in my heart for Simon’s fictional Adam “Einstein” Anderson. My kids, being the sciency progeny of a scientist and an engineer, loved to read about Einstein Anderson, a sciency kid who solved problems using his knowledge of scientific principles. I must have checked out every Einstein Anderson book from the library when my kids were young. The short chapters with a figure-it-out-yourself problem at the end were great for bedtime reading and science discussion. (I admit part of the appeal for me, an exhausted mom, was that they were short.)

    These days, I cite the Einstein Anderson books in my presentations about sciency fiction. Not only are they full of science content, they’re great examples of the kind of reasoning that is essential to the scientific process. While researching my talk, I found an article published in 1995 that suggests ways to use Einstein Anderson in the classroom. Great minds think alike, or so they say.

    The Einstein Anderson stories were originally published by Viking-Penguin in the 1980s as Einstein Anderson, Science Sleuth.

    sleuth

    In the 1990s, they were released in a slightly revised version by Morrow as Einstein Anderson, Science Detective.

    detective

     

    These days, some of the stories seem a bit dated.

    Imagine my delight to find out that they are being updated and reissued in paperback and ebook formats by Starwalk Kids Media as Einstein Anderson, Science Geek.

    geek

     

    I asked Seymour Simon about the update, and here’s what he had to say:

    “I decided to completely redo the Einstein Anderson series to make them more contemporary and outfit Einstein with the digital devices (smartphone, etc.) that many kids his age grow up with. I often say that kids these days are digital natives as contrasted with their parents and teachers who are digital immigrants. Kids simply integrate these digital devices into their lives. And the devices offer great new ways of learning about science — and anything else you want to learn about. “

    seymour simon

    “Kids don’t act the same, sound the same or even ARE  the same as they were in the past. The stories and even the characters in the Einstein series have been completely re-imagined and rewritten. Motivations and characters have shades of gray rather than simply one way or another. Bullying, for example, is dealt with very differently than in the original stories. Even the antagonist, Stanley, is into science — he wants to use it to make a billion dollars like Bill Gates– he just loses out because he’s not willing to do the homework to get the science right.  Even the approach to science is quite different. Not just ‘the facts’ are part of Einstein’s thinking, but the approach to solving a problem presents a real path that kids can emulate in their own life.”

    I had a chance to read the new books and to compare them to the original stories. Here are some of the things I like about the new Einstein:

    • The technology is updated. For example, in the story about rollerblades, Einstein makes a robot for the science fair. In the original story, it’s a model of a robot, but in the new version, it’s a real robot. Here’s another example: In the original story, Einstein knows the scientific name of the ants he sees on his way to a friend’s house. In the reboot, he doesn’t know the scientific name, but he takes a picture of the ants with his phone for his electronic science journal and looks up the scientific name on an app. Yes, there’s updated technology, but there’s more. Instead of relying on rote memorization of facts, Einstein is collecting data, recording it, and finding out more about the ants. Science is depicted as a process, instead of a bunch of facts.
    • In many cases, clues to the solution to the problem at the end of the chapter are planted earlier in the story. For example, in the story about the howling dog (who howls because someone is blowing a dog whistle, inaudible to human ears), Einstein explains to his brother that bees can see ultraviolet light, a wavelength humans can’t see, and goes on to talk about the high frequency sounds that bats can hear, but humans can’t. This engaging strategy allows the reader to apply a scientific principle in a new context and figure out the solution. Why should Einstein have all the fun?
    • Each story in the new Einstein Anderson series is followed by a related hands-on activity. The activity for the howling dog story involves bottles of water and the sounds they produce, which vary depending on the amount of water (and air) in the bottle. There are plenty of questions to prompt further investigation.
    • The activity is followed by a “Science Solution,” which explains the science behind the activity. Some Science Solutions also include links to online activities applying similar principles. For the howling dog story, the link gets you a video of an orchestra playing instruments made of trash, a “Junkestra,” if you will.

    Check out the new, 21st Century Einstein, and while you’re at Seymour Simon’s website, take a look around. You’ll find a lot of science books by an author who knows how to put science in his fiction.

    Giveaway! 

    One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of the first EINSTEIN ANDERSON, SCIENCE GEEK book, THE IMPOSSIBLE SHRINKING MACHINE AND OTHER CASES. Enter before midnight Monday, June 24. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 25.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Jacqueline Houtman has  PhD in Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Her sciency debut novel is called THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS.

    14 Comments

    14 Comments

    1. Elaine  •  Jun 17, 2013 @12:29 pm

      Ooh, this sounds wonderful! Thanks, Jacqueline and Seymour! I’m a huge fan of sciency fiction. :)

    2. Jennifer  •  Jun 17, 2013 @5:15 pm

      I love the idea of updating the series like this- makes me wish they could do the same for a few others I loved as a kid that aren’t quite holding up!

    3. Sharon  •  Jun 17, 2013 @5:18 pm

      This sounds like a great series.

    4. JenP  •  Jun 17, 2013 @6:39 pm

      Sounds clever!

    5. Stacey  •  Jun 17, 2013 @6:53 pm

      I have wanted to read this. I love Seymour Simon’s books!

    6. Sue Heavenrich  •  Jun 17, 2013 @7:37 pm

      my kids loved Einstein Anderson… I can’t wait to see how the new millennium stories go!

    7. Lynnette  •  Jun 17, 2013 @7:44 pm

      I’m so glad these are being updated – it’s a hard sell getting kids to take the older version. Good science-based fiction is so hard to find.

    8. Krista  •  Jun 17, 2013 @8:04 pm

      I love Seymour Simon! Somehow this is a series I missed!! Will definately have to look into them. Sounds like a series many kids will enjoy!

    9. Marilyn  •  Jun 17, 2013 @11:47 pm

      Sounds like a great series! I’m looking forward to reading them!

    10. Janet Smart  •  Jun 18, 2013 @6:44 am

      These books sound great! Thanks for the interview and the give a way.

    11. Deb Marshall  •  Jun 18, 2013 @7:06 am

      All I have to say is yay!! And thanks for the interview!

    12. Ruth Donnelly  •  Jun 18, 2013 @1:00 pm

      I have often used Seymour Simon’s wonderful science books in my classroom, but somehow I missed out on Einstein Anderson! Definitely want to check these out… and I’m glad he has updated them so they can be enjoyed by a new generation.

    13. PragmaticMom  •  Jun 18, 2013 @6:18 pm

      Looks great!

    14. Stephanie Shouldis  •  Jun 24, 2013 @9:15 am

      I used to love these books! I’m so excited they are being updated. The older verison, compared to the newer version would be a great way to teach students about advances in science and technology.