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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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  • Feeling Overwhelmed?

    Inspiration, Writing MG Books

    Feeling just a little bit overwhelmed these days? Or a lot bit overwhelmed? You’re not alone. I have come to the conclusion that everyone feels overwhelmed. Constantly. It’s more or less a state of being for our world today.

    On a recent Monday morning, the kids shuttled off to school, husband hard at work, I took a look at my to-do list for the day:

    Laundry, groceries, straighten up house, drop off clothes for donation, get to the health club, make three doctor appointments, pick up prescription, call friend whose Mom is in hospital, pick up dry cleaning, schedule piano tuner…and, OH YEAH, get to that WIP!

    freakedout

    What?

    How come the ol’ work in progress is at the end of my list? That just ain’t right.

    Do you find that to be true, as well? Everything else seems more pressing, or you can’t write until the house is tidied up and the laundry is put away, or you spend so much time doing errands and tasks, that by the time you sit down to write, you’re too exhausted to think?

    Balance is an issue that weighs on many writers, especially those of us who work at home. Finding the time to write can be a challenge on many days. When I talk to other writers, I’m always curious how they juggle their writing time with all that other stuff.

    I know many writers who attack their work first thing in the morning, still in their PJs, before the day gets away from them. Others get up before everyone else, writing at some ungodly hour in the morning. Still others work late at night when the rest of the house is fast asleep.

    I’m not sure any of those options are right for me… For one, I think better when my teeth are brushed and I’m wearing actual clothing. Okay, and, I like to sleep! Plus, a messed-up house makes me completely crazy, I admit it!

    In trying to come up with a plan that would work for me, I stumbled across this quote from Katherine Paterson:

    “As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say.”

    Huh?

    Wait…is she saying I shouldn’t despise that pile of laundry, sink full of dishes, and empty fridge? That they are somehow good things?

    not enough time

    Is it possible that all this stuff that’s constantly on my to-do list, challenging my writing time, can actually fuel my writing? Give me ideas for characters, plot, setting?

    I never thought about it that way. That’s a whole new ballgame.

    So I have a plan now. Instead of resenting the to-do list tasks or feeling like I need to get through them all at once, I blend them in with my day. Straighten up house, write for one hour. Throw in a load of laundry, write for another hour. Get to a couple of phone calls and emails, write for another hour. Somehow, those little breaks in between my focused writing time allow my brain to process and review what I’ve written, and I get some other things done too!

    Plus, when I took the laundry out of the dryer today, there was a nice chunk of gum stuck to my daughter’s jeans. Hmm… there’s a character in my WIP who is obsessed with gum-chewing…

     

    Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of Calli Be Gold (Wendy Lamb Books 2011) and The Summer I Saved the World…in 65 Days (Wendy Lamb Books, coming April 2014). She can be found at micheleweberhurwitz.com and on her Facebook author page.

     

     

     

     

     

    7 Comments

    7 Comments

    1. T. P. Jagger  •  Jan 8, 2014 @11:49 am

      Michele,
      I’ve struggled the past few weeks with hitting a groove in my writing time, so your post was just the perspective I needed. And now, since the dishes are done and the laundry is (pretty much) caught up, I do believe it’s time to crank on that WIP!

    2. Michele Weber Hurwitz  •  Jan 8, 2014 @4:51 pm

      Glad I could help! Now if I could just follow my own advice…

    3. Jen Swanson  •  Jan 8, 2014 @6:14 pm

      Great post Michele! And, yep, I’m an “up and at ‘em in my jammies” type of writer. :)

    4. Michele Weber Hurwitz  •  Jan 8, 2014 @9:24 pm

      Thanks, Jen! I will have to try the jammies thing one day!

    5. Hillary Homzie  •  Jan 9, 2014 @8:34 pm

      I love the Patterson quote. For a busy mom, it was a loving sort of reminder. Great article on balance, Michele. I’m still looking for it…

    6. Greg R. Fishbone  •  Jan 10, 2014 @10:49 am

      I’d like to work on my time management skills, I just need to block out a few hours to get it done. :P

    7. Amie Borst  •  Jan 15, 2014 @2:46 pm

      Oh Michele, it’s like you were staring through a looking glass at my life! Sometimes I feel so alone in this crazy writing venture – but hearing that there are others like me, helps me feel like I can get through another hectic day….and still find time to write! Thanks for an insightful topic.
      Think I’ll post the quote near my writing desk, too. You know, as a reminder :)