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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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  • Waiting is the Hard Part

    Authors, Book Lists, Inspiration, Librarians, Parents, Teachers, Writing MG Series

    So when you read the title of this post did Tom Petty’s song “Waiting is the Hardest Part” come to mind? If not, it probably did now. (Cue music in your head).

    We all have problems with waiting. Well, why not? In this fast-paced world you can get emails instantly, text someone across the world and receive an answer a few seconds later, and you can even have a face-to-face chat as you are walking down the street. Why should we have to wait anymore?

    But, alas, waiting is a part of life. And it’s not fun.

    In my house at the moment, we are waiting for something big — college acceptance letters! For those of you who haven’t experienced this, it is a stressful time. It is the first time in your life where your child’s future cannot be influenced by you. Always before you could perhaps guide the outcome of something- perhaps by talking to a teacher when a paper is late, or maybe smoothing over differences with a coach when your child is upset. But college admissions offices don’t want to deal with parents or guardians any more. It’s all up to them. They decide the fate of your child. In or out. That’s all you get.

    As I watch and wait with my daughter, I am struck by how similar applying for college is like writing. In very simplistic terms the stories we write are sort of like our own babies. We have stayed up late with them, we have nurtured them — sometimes for years — before they are ready, and when we push send on the email or place the stamp on the envelope, we are sending them off into the world. Much like college admissions offices, the agents and editors that receive our carefully crafted manuscripts don’t allow any kind of “parental” interference. The wait can seem interminable, and quite frankly, sometimes it is. It can be weeks or months before you hear about your manuscript. Or, unfortunately, you may never hear anything.

    Having gone through the college process once before, with my son, we know how the waiting can wear on you. First of all, everyone asks – so where are you going to college. Those questions start at Christmas your senior year in high school. Yeah, most schools don’t start sending out acceptances until late March or early April. In teenage years, that’s an eternity.

    So the big question, is what do you do while you are waiting?

    I did a Google search of “waiting” and came up with 207 billion (that’s with a ‘B’) results. Wow! A LOT of people must be talking about or thinking about waiting.

    I went to Amazon and did a search on “Waiting” under children’s books and came up with 267 results. That’s a lot of books about waiting.

    This was the book that came up as the #1 selection :


    Which was funny, because this book is the very one I received from my parents when I graduated from high school. How cool is that?  Of course at the time, I thought it was kind of cheesy. I mean who gets a high school graduate a children’s book, as a gift?  Still, I remember reading it and thinking, well, that was nice… I guess.

    Little did I know that all these years later, that little children’s book was a symbol of things to come.  At the time, being a children’s author was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted to be a doctor. What happened? Things change. And now I’m here. But WOW what a journey and what a wonderful job this is. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Even as I sit and wait every time I send out a new submission. Isn’t it funny that sometimes while we are waiting, the answer comes to us. Not always in the form that we want, but maybe in something new and different.

    As we wait to hear from the colleges my daughter applied to, we discuss all the possibilities. What if she gets in college A? That would mean a big change– a new climate and environment. But college B would mean a really big school with lots of kids. College C, well, that one is great but very expensive. The opportunities are endless, as are the challenges. Whatever her ultimate decision is,  we are confident it will be the best one for her. Waiting can be hard, but in the end, it is worth it because it gives you time and perspective.

    And as the saying goes, sometimes the best things come to those who wait. :)

    So, tell me, what do you do while you are waiting for things to happen?

    ****
    Jennifer Swanson is the author of over 14 fiction and nonfiction books for kids. She is a true science geek, a mystery book freak, and finds it hard to wait for things — especially  a new book in the series she is reading.
    1 Comment

    1 Comment

    1. Sheela Chari  •  Mar 25, 2014 @9:27 am

      What do I do while I wait? I agitate!

      I don’t have a good solution for this obviously! :)