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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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  • Happy Pi Day!

    Holiday

    I’ve decided there’s not enough math in my life.

    As an author, I deal in words, artwork, character development, and plotlines–but I’m rarely if ever called on to solve a quadratic equation. Perhaps once a year, when I hit that one line item on the income tax form where you have to solve for x2+3x-7 and put the result in Box 32, and even then I use a program that does the heavy lifting for me.

    It wasn’t always that way, though. Back in elementary school, I loved math. I loved math even more than I loved writing stories. I gave myself bonus questions to solve because it was such a disappointment when my homework assignments ended. Math and I were best buds until 7th grade, when math, completely unprovoked, suddenly started to punch me in the face on a regular basis. Algebra. Geometry. Trig. Calculus. Math jabbed me with blow after blow until I gave up the fight and enrolled in law school, where math is statutorily barred from the building.

    But every once in a while, I miss my old friendship with math. Especially at this time of year. March 14th–3.14–is also known as Pi Day, when the date resembles history’s most famous transcendental number.

    I’d love to review all the dozens of pi-themed novels on my bookshelf, but the closest thing I have is Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, and that book doesn’t actually contain much math, unless you count Pi’s calculation of a safe circumference around a waterlogged tiger. Likewise, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen both have a lot less math (and more Nazis) than you would imagine from their titles.

    Instead, celebrate Pi Day by checking out the middle grade “Do the Math” series by Wendy Lichtman. For older readers there are math-focused YA characters in John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, younger readers will enjoy Jon Scieszka’s Math Curse, and adults can bake pies with a circumference-to-radius ratio of 3.14159 (hint: think round). If you have any additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

    I like pumpkin.

    I’m frankly surprised that more authors haven’t turned to math for inspiration. For example, consider the fact that pi is non-terminating and non-repeating. That means it never ends and never repeats itself. If we could make a book accomplish that same feat, it would literally be impossible to put down. Ever.

    If you can’t get enough of this year’s Pi Day festivities, you can start preparing for Tau Day–named for a constant with the value of roughly 6.28–coming up on June 28th. And get excited for 2015, just one year away, when we will celebrate 3/14/15 9:26:54, both AM and PM, the only two moments in an entire century represented by pi’s first ten digits.

    4 Comments

    4 Comments

    1. Heather Villa  •  Mar 15, 2014 @9:36 am

      Happy Pi Day to you.
      It’s amazing how much a truly part of our daily lives.
      In writing there’s an element of math – A balance between words, a sequence of events, and an overall pattern.
      Apple pie is my favorite.
      Thanks for your post.

    2. Deb Marshall  •  Mar 16, 2014 @10:29 am

      Apple pie is my favorite, too…and whoa on the PI book! A belated happy pi day to you.

    3. PragmaticMom  •  Mar 16, 2014 @12:07 pm

      Don’t forget Navigating Early by Clare Vandepool to add to your chapter books for Pi Day!!

    4. PragmaticMom  •  Mar 16, 2014 @12:08 pm

      Here’s my contribution for Pi Day: Pi Tells Stories

      http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2014/03/how-pi-tells-stories/