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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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  • Unworkshop Scholarship Opportunity: Unplug and Retreat

    friendships, Inspiration, Writing MG Books

    In 2008, nine writers gathered for a retreat at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania. So inspired by the experience, they decided to offer a scholarship to a Highlights Foundation’s Unworkshop during various dates throughout 2014.

    highlights giftThank you, Alma Fullerton, Kristy Duncan Dempsey, Katy Traffanstedt Duffield, Kathy Erskine, Sara Lewis Holmes, Anne Marie Pace, Tanya Goulette SealeLinda Urban, Cassandra Reigel Whetstone!

    These wonderful women took the time to answer some questions:

    MUF: It’s been six years since you first gathered at Highlights. Do you return every year?

    ALL: Unfortunately we haven’t returned all together but many of us have been to other valuable Highlights conferences. With our schedules and responsibilities, as well as the fact that we are far-flung across North and South America, it’s hard to find dates that work for all of us to return together. But we keep trying!

    MUF: What is it about writing alone together that is so great?

    ALL: The best part of each day, besides all the writing we accomplished, was meeting together toward the end of the afternoon for conversation. We talked about what we had written, what we were struggling with, breakthroughs we’d had. We read from our manuscripts and cheered one another along. Our specific goals and work styles might have been different, but having a roomful of cheerleaders is empowering.

    The most important thing to note is that we did not all know each other before we went on our retreat. So the door is open for the recipient of this scholarship to meet new people who will be new ears and eyes and become new supporters in this writing journey.

    MUF: Tell me your favorite thing about the Highlights Foundation space—the natural setting, the food, the cabin?

    ALL: All of it! But more even than the setting and food and being completely taken care of is the magic of the place, the synergy with other writers there, the support you feel from the folks at Highlights who take your goals seriously. It’s as if you’re an ambassador at the UN for Children’s Writers because that’s how you’re treated—you’re important, what you’re doing is important, and writing quality literature for children is almost like saving the world because, in some way, that’s we’re trying to do for kids by giving them great stories to make them think, make them laugh, and give them hope.

    MUF: What prompted all of you to offer this scholarship?

    ALL: Katy Duffield threw out the idea of doing something to promote the Highlights Unworkshops because our retreat was so significant for each of us. Then in the conversation, we realized we could pool resources to be able to provide a retreat for someone. And we were off and running with the idea of a scholarship, along with the extras of writing prompts, encouragement, and potential Skype conversations during the retreat.

    MUF: How will you choose the winner?

    ALL: We’ll read the author statements, choose the ones that speak to each of us individually and then we will decide together on one recipient from those finalists.

    MUF: Unplugging is so hard these days. How can we create unworkshop-like experiences at home.

    ALL: Linda Urban has shared a wonderful idea to help with unplugging—and all you need is a timer. Simply set the timer for 45-60 minutes and focus on your writing task. Sounds too easy to be true, doesn’t it? It IS easy, but it’s also amazingly effective. Every time I’ve used the timer, I’ve written for a lot longer than the 60 minutes. You can read more here.

    The nitty gritty details: To qualify for consideration for this prize, send a statement by March 31, 2014 to retreat scholarship@gmail.com explaining why this retreat could be important to you as a writer/illustrator of children’s literature. Share a little about the project you would plan to work on during the retreat and your experience writing or illustrating for children. The winner receives 5 nights stay at a Highlights Foundation Unworkshop, daily writing prompts/encouragement from the members of our retreat group (picture book, non-fiction, middle grade, and young adult authors) for the length of your workshop, and hopefully even a Skype gab session with one or more of us during your Unworkshop (depending on dates and availability). You would be responsible for your own transportation to Boyds Mills. The recipient will be announced on April 15, 2014.

    1 Comment

    1 Comment

    1. tricia  •  Mar 26, 2014 @12:39 pm

      This past fall I had a fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center and it was magic for all the reasons described here (plus, it was VERMONT in October!) I’d encourage any writer to try to do something like this if she can.