• From the Mixed-Up Files... > Book Lists > Indie Spotlight: Hooray for Books! Alexandria VA
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    New-Oh-MG-critter

    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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Indie Spotlight: Hooray for Books! Alexandria VA

Book Lists, For Kids, Indie Spotlight, Parents

screenshot_812Today we’re talking with Ellen Klein, founder-owner  of
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in that town of avid readers, Alexandria, Virginia (www.hooray4books.com).

Sue Cowing for Mixed-up Files: I gather Hooray for Books began where another shop left off and was founded by some of its booksellers, so it’s a long tradition, right?
Ellen:Yes. A Likely Story closed its doors in November 2007, after serving the Alexandria community for more than 20 years. As a full-time bookseller at that store, I knew there were many loyal customers who would sorely miss having an independent, locally owned children’s bookstore in Old Town. That was the impetus for opening Hooray for Books! in June 2008. What really keeps me going, though, is seeing how excited the children are about everything we do in the store, at their schools, and in our community.

MUF:I’m so glad you tell us something about each of your individual booksellers on your website.  Just glancing over the rich variety of their interests and experiences and the titles they list of favorite books, I can just picture a middle-grader coming into your store to browse, asking for a recommendation, and coming out with a book to love for life!

Erin Hunter and Survivors Fans

Erin Hunter and Survivors Fans

Ellen:Yes, we’re all readers here at the bookstore, so we’re always happy to talk about new books with the children. Many of the children are regular customers, so we’ve learned what kinds of books they most enjoy reading and, often, we’ll order books with the thought, “Oh, so-and-so will want to see this book!” I should add that this is true for our adult readers, too!
Being an independent bookstore means that we’re responsible only to our customers – to anticipate their needs and respond quickly to their requests. What we stock on the shelves is, of course, limited by the size of the store, but we work with more than 400 vendors to try to have on hand the books and other merchandise that we believe our customers would like. If, however, we don’t have exactly what they want, we’re usually able to get it for them within a week or two.

MUF: How do you choose the books to carry in your shop?  Are there some favorite titles, fiction or nonfiction, new or old, that you are recommending to middle-graders this summer?
Ellen:We choose  titles based on several factors: gut instinct; reading an advance review copy; advice from our publisher reps; reviews from other independent bookstores; and customer recommendations. As for summer reading recommendations for middle graders, there are many great books, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention books by authors who will be coming in the fall: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier; the Accidental Adventure series by Alexander London; and the Dragon Chronicles series by Ellen Oh.

MUF:Apparently Alexandria is a reading community.  Is that part of the secret of your shop’s success? What kinds of outreach do you have to your community?
Ellen:Alexandria is said to be the nation’s leader when it comes to readers of children’s books, which is great! We work very closely with a local literacy organization, Wright to Read, to ensure that new books are donated to economically disadvantaged children throughout the city. With Wright to Read, we also cohost the annual Alexandria Story Festival, which is a free event that gives children a unique opportunity to meet award-winning authors. We work with many other organizations, too, as well as public schools in Alexandria and the surrounding counties, to bring books and authors to a wide variety of events.

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Judy Bloom signs copies at HFB 

MUF:What have been some of your favorite events at the store?  What’s coming up in the next month or so?
Ellen:For our middle grade readers, we offer two book clubs that meet once a month, year-round. The clubs are very popular because the members read and review copies of books not yet published—and we post the young readers’ reviews when the books are published. We also host events at the schools, public libraries, and the store. Just a few of our upcoming events include Aug. 26th at the store with Ty Burson (Let Sleeping Dragons Lie); Aug. 27th at the Bethesda Public Library with five middle grade authors; Sept. 8th at the store with four middle grade authors; Sept. 19th school and store events with Caroline Carlson (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates); and Sept. 28th–the Alexandria Story Festival.

MUF: If families from out of town Hooray for Books, would there be a family-friendly place nearby where they could get a snack or meal after browsing? And if they could stay awhile, are there some places or activities in the neighborhood or the city they shouldn’t miss?
Ellen:We’re fortunate that right at the corner is a coffee shop, The Uptowner, which makes great sandwiches and wraps and is very popular with our customers. As for sightseeing, I’d recommend visiting the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, which is about three blocks west of the bookstore on a hill that Thomas Jefferson argued should be Capitol Hill. I’d also highly recommend the Torpedo Factory Art Center on Union St (at the city marina), where visitors can see more than 100 artists at work.

Waldo went that-a-way!

Waldo went that-a-way!

 MUF: Thanks,Ellen for taking time out to talk with us.  One thing you said in passing really sticks in my and reminds me why we continue to spotlight children’s bookstores here on The Mixed-Up Files: “Being an independent bookstore means that we’re responsible only to our customers.”  That seems to be the underlying difference between children’s bookstores (all of which are independent)  and chains or on-line booksellers and goes far to explain visiting an Indy is so much more fun and rewarding.
Readers, let us know if you’ve visited Hooray for Books! or would like to go.  And if you’re just too far away, tell us about a favorite children’s bookstore nearer to you.

Sue Cowing is the author of the middle-grade puppet-and-boy story You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda Books 2011, Usborne UK, 2012)

 

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dianna Winget  •  Aug 3, 2013 @8:51 am

    Hooray for you, Ellen! I love reading about independent books stores and try my best to support them with any of my author activities as often as possible! Hope I get to visit your wonderful store some day.