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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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  • The Thing about Birthdays

    Book Lists
                        b-day cake

    Two weeks ago, my daughter turned twelve. I celebrated the milestone by threatening to pluck out the eyes of any boys who happened to notice her climb toward womanhood.

    Not sure what I’ll do once she becomes a teenager.

    A week later, my son turned ten. I wrestled him to the ground and gave him a wedgie. I’m not getting any younger. He’s not getting any smaller. Figure I have to whoop him while I can.

    Anyway, all those birthdays got me thinking. While my middle-aged self grudgingly accepts each birthday as a reminder that my knees are getting achier and my hair is getting thinner, my kids’ birthdays remain highpoints of celebration and anticipation. A birthday-kid may only be one day older than the day before, but it feels bigger than that.

    And since birthdays hold a lot more significance for the middle-grade crowd than the middle-aged crowd, they often play a major role in middle-grade stories, too. Here are a handful of books where a kid’s “special day” helps get the story moving:

     Harry Potter

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

    by J. K. Rowling

    Come on, you’ve read this. Harry turns eleven. Everything changes.

    11 Birthdays

    by Wendy Mass

    Amanda Ellerby’s eleventh birthday doesn’t go so well. So it’s kind of a bad thing that when she wakes up every morning, it’s her birthday again.

    (Don’t neglect the other three birthday-based books in the Willow Falls series: Finally, 13 Gifts, and The Last Present.)

    11 birthdays

       the challengers

    Galaxy Games: The Challengers

    by Greg R.   Fishbone

    This is the first book of the Galaxy Games series by MUFs very own Greg R. Fishbone! For his eleventh birthday, Ty Sato has a star named in his honor. Only it’s soon discovered that Ty’s star is not a star at all—it’s a spaceship bringing news that will change Ty’s life…and maybe the world.

    Wringer

    by Jerry Spinelli

    This Newbery Honor book takes a twist on birthday-based stories because the protagonist, Palmer LaRue, isn’t looking forward to his tenth birthday at all. In fact, it’s something he dreads.

    wringer    

        Savvy

    Savvy

    by Ingrid Law

    Yet another Newbery Honor book, Savvy tells the story of Mibs Beaumont, an almost-thirteen-year-old who comes from a family with a secret—each member gets a supernatural talent when they turn thirteen.

    So what birthday-based stories have you read and enjoyed? Feel free to post a favorite title (or two or three).

    7 Comments

    6 Comments

    1. Jennifer Duddy Gill  •  Feb 24, 2014 @8:53 am

      A birthday book that I really like is called The Big One-Oh by Dean Pitchford. It’s about an unpopular boy who’s tenth birthday is coming up and he decides to throw a big party for himself.

    2. T. P. Jagger  •  Feb 24, 2014 @9:36 am

      Jennifer,
      Funny you should mention that book–I was trying to think of its title when writing this post! I could picture the cover and knew my daughter used to have it. Alas, I scoured her bookshelf to no avail, and my brain kept blanking on both the title and author. Thanks for sharing. My post now feels complete! :)

    3. Sheela Chari  •  Feb 24, 2014 @10:31 am

      Fun post! Birthdays are so portent in books – the whole idea of coming of age, being made privvy to some deep, dark family secret, or rite of passage.

      But strangely the only example I can think of is Liar, Liar….and that’s a movie!

    4. Kim  •  Feb 24, 2014 @12:48 pm

      Don’t forget what happened with Will Stanton in the “Dark Is Rising” when he turned 11. (I read that one at just the right age to really remember it–long before Mr. Potter was even conceived)

    5. T. P. Jagger  •  Feb 24, 2014 @2:05 pm

      I haven’t read that one. Thanks for sharing, Kim!

    6. tricia  •  Feb 24, 2014 @7:42 pm

      Natalie Standiford’s “Switched at Birthday” publishes this month and looks like a lot of fun.

      T. P. Jagger Reply:

      Thanks for the heads-up on that upcoming book, Tricia!