October 1, 2015:
Middle Grade Books Honored by Environmental Group
The Nature Generation bestowed the national 2015 Green Earth Book Awards to five books which teach kids to protect the environment. Winner for middle grade in the fiction category was Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly. The non-fiction winner was Plastic Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman and Annie Crawley.
July 26, 2015:
Middle Grade Book Podcast
Next time you're in the car with your middle grade reader, listen to the podcast Book Club for Kids, featuring a trio of middle grade kids chatting about the book of the month, short conversations with authors, and readings by celebrities like L.A. Laker Tarik Black and Washington D.C. representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. Author guests include Kwame Alexander, Anthony Horowitz, Henry Neff and Kami Garcia. Click
for the latest show.
June 2, 2015:
Book Buzz at BEA
What were the hot in-demand advance copies at Book Expo America? Publishers Weekly offers a round-up of the books publishers and booksellers were talking about. The piece includes YA, middle grade and picture books coming later this summer and fall. Read more ...
May 31, 2015:
Walter Dean Myers Grant
Submissions are open for the Walter Dean Myers #WeNeedDiverseBooks Grant for authors (or aspiring authors) of color, Native American authors, LGBTQIA+ authors, authors with a disability or authors from a marginalized religious or cultural minority. The deadline is June 21, 2015. Read more ...
April 13, 2015
Report from AWP conference
More than 12,000 writers took part in three intense days of writing programs at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. Publishers Weekly reports on several sessions and the Art and Business of Writing for Children. Read more ...
April 11, 2015:
International Book Fair: Looking for that something special
The 2015 Bologna Book Fair didn't have a must-acquire "book of the fair." Instead, publishers seemed to be seeking out books that would standout from the back, either because of an inventive format, narrative hook, or an element of diversity …. read the Publishers Weekly report ....
January 8, 2015:
Why No Sci Fi For Middle Graders?
A New York Public Library panel ponders the lack of science fiction for middle grade readers. Click here
to learn what the future holds for MG SF.
January 5, 2015:
Turning Kids Into Readers
As kids head back to school after winter break, here's how to make reading fun. Click here
to read Josie Leavitt's Shelftalker piece in Publishers Weekly.
November 4, 2014:
PW's Best of 2014: Children's books
We're entering list season in early November, with Publishers Weekly's picks for best middle grade books of 2014. (Best picture books and YA, too.) For the full list, read more ....
October 6, 2014:
Free issue of Publishers Weekly
You can read the entire issue of the 10/6/2014 issue of Publishers Weekly online. The magazine is offering complimentary access to this week's digital edition to coincide with the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair. Read more ...
September 15, 2014:
KidLitCon in October
Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children's Lit: What's Next? is the theme for the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Conference, a.k.a. KidLitCon, on Oct. 10 and 11 in Sacramento. "We blog, because blogging gives us a voice. We blog about diversity, because we've all got different voices …" Read more ...
Sept. 15, 2014
NBA finalists for 'young people's literature'
The 10 finalists for the 2014 National Book Award were just announced, including three middle grade titles. See the list of nominees read more.
Sept. 2, 2014:
Newly launched Eldin Fellowship for unpublished middle grade author
To honor Christine Elizabeth Eldin (1966-2012), an aspiring middle grade author and co-founder of the Book Roast book promotion site, the Eldin Fellowship will recognize a middle grade writer with a $1,000 award. To be eligible, writers must be unpublished in the middle grade market, but may be published in other areas. Full details are available here READ MORE
August 1, 2014: From the Mixed-Up Files is all Mixed-Up
You may have noticed our site isn't working properly. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but rest assured, we are working tirelessly to isolate the problem and get it fixed as quickly as possible. We hope to be back up soon!
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 ...
Check out the Oh!MG News Snippet Archive for more news snippets.
Category Archives: Nonfiction
Ready to FALL into some great reads? I’m especially looking forward to CONFESSIONS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND A MEMOIR BY JAQUES PAPIER by Michelle Cuevas and CRENSHAW by Katherine Applegate. Hey, I still have imaginary friends – lots of them! I’m also excited for HOT PINK, about revolutionary designer Elsa Schiaparelli, because in middle school I was voted “Most Likely to Become a Fashion Consultant.” (My kids have a hard time believing that one.) Look for these awesome books HOT off the press!
Let’s begin with our own Jen Swanson’s BRAIN GAMES: THE MIND-BLOWING SCIENCE OF YOUR AMAZING BRAIN that releases September 8th from National Geographic Kids! Congratulations, Jen!
QUICK: Name the most powerful and complex supercomputer ever built. Give up? Here’s a hint: It’s housed in your head and it’s the one thing that makes you YOU. Your brain is mission control for the rest of your body and steers you through life. Not bad for something the size of a softball that looks like a wrinkled grey sponge!
In this fascinating, interactive book — a companion to the National Geographic Channel hit show – kids explore the parts of the brain and how it all works, brainy news nuggets from a neuroscientist, plus fun facts and crazy challenges.
THE BLACKTHORN KEY by Kevin Sands from Aladdin, September 1st
“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn–with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.
HiLO BOOK 1: THE BOY WHO CRASHED TO EARTH a Graphic Novel by Judd Winick from Random House Books for Young Readers, September 1st
D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But that was before a mysterious boy came crashing down from the sky! Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a bad idea!) . . . But what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of his past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? And are D.J. and Gina ready to save the world?
HILO is Calvin and Hobbes meets Big Nate and is just right for fans of Bone and comic books as well as laugh-out-loud school adventures like Jedi Academy and Wimpy Kid!
THE SECRETS TO RULING SCHOOL (WITHOUT EVEN TRYING): BOOK 1 (MAX CORRIGAN) by Neil Swaab from Abrams/Amulet, September 1st
It’s the first week of middle school, i.e., the Worst Place in the Entire World. How do you survive in a place where there are tough kids twice your size, sadistic teachers, and restrictions that make jail look like a five-star resort? Easy: with the help of Max Corrigan, middle school “expert” and life coach. Let Max teach you how to win over not just one, but all of the groups in school, from the Preps to the Band Geeks. Along the way, Max offers surefire advice and revealing tips on how to get through universal middle school experiences like gym class, detention, faking sick, and dealing with jocks and bullies.
In an innovative format that is part narrative and part how-to, acclaimed illustrator Neil Swaab has created a hilarious new reading experience that is reminiscent of video games and sure to engage even the most reluctant reader.
HOT PINK: THE LIFE AND FASHIONS OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI by Susan Goldman Rubin from Abrams Books for Young Readers, September 8th
Shocking pink—hot pink, as it is called today—was the signature color of Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) and perhaps her greatest contribution to the fashion world. Schiaparelli was one of the most innovative designers in the early 20th century. Many design elements that are taken for granted today she created and brought to the forefront of fashion. She is credited with many firsts: trompe l’oeil sweaters with collars and bows knitted in; wedge heels; shoulder bags; and even the concept of a runway show for presenting collections. Hot Pink—printed with a fifth color, hot pink!—explores Schiaparelli’s childhood in Rome, her introduction to high fashion in Paris, and her swift rise to success collaborating with surrealist and cubist artists like Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. The book includes an author’s note, a list of museums and websites where you can find Schiaparelli’s fashions, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.
CONFESSIONS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND A MEMOIR BY JACQUES PAPIER by Michelle Cuevas from Dial Books, September 8th
Jacques Papier has the sneaking suspicion that everyone except his sister Fleur hates him. Teachers ignore him when his hand is raised in class, he is never chosen for sports teams, and his parents often need to be reminded to set a place for him at the dinner table. But he is shocked when he finally learns the truth: He is Fleur’s imaginary friend! When he convinces Fleur to set him free, he begins a surprising, touching, and always funny quest to find himself—to figure out who Jacques Papier truly is, and where he belongs.
THE ENTIRELY TRUE STORY OF THE UNBELIEVABLE FIB by Adam Shaughnessy from Algonquin Books, September 8th
“What is the Unbelievable FIB?” That’s the question eleven-year-old Prudence Potts discovers on a baffling card no one else in Middleton–except ABE, a new kid at school with a knack for solving riddles–seems to see. Then a mysterious man asks for ABE and Pru’s help investigating mythical beings infiltrating the town, and that’s just the first of many things Pru finds hard to believe.
Soon Pru and ABE discover another world beneath their quiet town, where Viking gods lurk just out of sight. And when the pair find themselves locked in a battle against a dangerously clever enemy, they must race to secure the Eye of Odin, source of all knowledge–and the key to stopping a war that could destroy both human and immortal realms.
THOMAS JEFFERSON GROWS A NATION by Peggy Thomas and Stacy Innerst from Calkins Creek, September 8th
Thomas Jefferson was more than a president and patriot. He was also a planter and gardener who loved to watch things grow—everything from plants and crops to even his brand-new nation. As minister to France, Jefferson promoted all things American, sharing corn and pecans with his Parisian neighbors. As secretary of state, he encouraged his fellow farmers to grow olives, rice and maple trees. As president, he doubled the size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase. Even in his retirement, Jefferson continued to nurture the nation, laying the groundwork for the University of Virginia. In this meticulously researched picture book for older readers, author Peggy Thomas uncovers Jefferson’s passion for agriculture and his country. And Stacy Innerst’s incredibly original illustrations offer the right balance of reverence and whimsy. This is Thomas Jefferson as he’s never been seen before! Back matter includes an author’s note on Jefferson’s legacy today; timeline, bibliography; place to visit (Monticello); and source notes.
THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick from Scholastic, September 15th
Two seemingly unrelated stories — one in words, the other in pictures — come together with spellbinding synergy! The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick’s storytelling prowess. Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and featuring Selznick’s most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story.
CRENSHAW by Katherine Applegate from Feiwel & Friends, September 22nd
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
I AM DRUMS by Mike Grosso from Egmont, September 22nd
While other kids dream about cars, sports, and fashion, all eleven-year-old Samantha Morris dreams about is playing the drums. But it’s hard to make her dreams come true when her parents are against it, she bangs on dictionaries because she can’t afford a real kit, and her middle school is cutting its music program.
Sam’s only hope to accomplish her dream is to find a private music teacher and pay for lessons herself — even if it means borrowing the family lawn mower without permission to make the money. But when one of her friends tells her she’s the worst percussionist in the band, she starts to wonder if she’s got what it takes. If Sam wants to become a real drummer, she must also overcome her own doubts if she wants to succeed.
JUMP BACK, PAULl: THE LIFE AND POEMS OF PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR by Sally Derby and Sean Qualls from Candlewick, September 22nd
Did you know that Paul Laurence Dunbar originated such famous lines as “I know why the caged bird sings” and “We wear the mask that grins and lies”? From his childhood in poverty and his early promise as a poet to his immense fame and his untimely death, Dunbar’s story is one of triumph and tragedy. But his legacy remains in his much-beloved poetry—told in both Standard English and in dialect—which continues to delight and inspire readers today. More than two dozen of Dunbar’s poems are woven throughout this volume, illuminating the phases of his life and serving as examples of dialect, imagery, and tone. Narrating in a voice full of admiration and respect, Sally Derby introduces Paul Laurence Dunbar’s life and poetry to readers young and old, aided by Sean Qualls’s striking black-and-white illustrations.
THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin from Little Brown, September 22nd
THE DOLDRUMS by Nicholas Gannon from Greenwillow Books, Septermber 29th
Archer B. Helmsley wants an adventure. No, he needs an adventure. His grandparents were famous explorers . . . until they got stuck on an iceberg. Now Archer’s mother barely lets him out of the house. As if that would stop a true Helmsley. Archer enlists Adelaide the girl who, according to rumor, lost her leg to a crocodile and Oliver the boy next door to help him rescue his grandparents. The Doldrums whisks us off on an adventure full of sly humor, incredible detail, and enormous heart.
What books are you looking forward to adding to your library this month?
Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD and IN TODD WE TRUST (Penguin/Razorbill).
When my son was 8, he invited a new friend to sleep overnight. As I was passing the kitchen the next morning, I overheard the following conversation:
Bjorn: So do you want pancakes, waffles, or eggs for breakfast?
Friend: Maybe scrambled eggs?
(Sounds of pans clattering, cupboard and refrigerator door opening)
Friend: Hey, what are you doing?
Bjorn: Making you scrambled eggs.
Friend: Umm…don’t you think we better wait for your mom?
Bjorn: Nah. You wouldn’t want her scrambled eggs. I’m a much better cook than she is.
And he was right. As the youngest of 5, he’d learned from the best – his older brother and sisters. Not me. Definitely not me.
So how did I end up with a family of cooks?
I accidentally discovered the secret when my oldest daughter was 3. Having a newborn and a toddler, I was a sleep-deprived mom. One morning I heard Tiffany banging around in the kitchen, but after being up all night with the other two, I was too exhausted to check out the noise. To my surprise, a short while later, my 3-year-old presented me with breakfast in bed, which included slices of French toast.
“Who made these?” I asked, wondering if my husband had stayed home from work.
“I did,” she said with a proud smile. “I watch you do it.”
“You cracked eggs? And–and used the stove?” My voice wasn’t only weak from lack of sleep.
I inspected her head-to-toe for burns, but other than syrupy stickiness on her hands, arms, toes, and hair, she was fine. Then picturing a kitchen fire, I tucked the baby and toddler under each arm and raced for the kitchen. It was a bit messy, but the stove was off. The pot was cooling in the sink. And I realized I’d just found my solution to more sleep in the mornings—teaching my kids to cook.
When they turned 3, they started cooking lessons. By the time they were in kindergarten, they were each responsible for making one dinner a week. They loved it, and so did I. Yes, it meant a messy kitchen and plenty of extra dishes, but by the time they were 8 or 9, they were pros in the kitchen.
So how do you get started if you’re a kid interested in cooking, or if you’re a parent or teacher who wants to cook with kids? Books with pictures and simple recipes are a great first step. If you’re a kid who’s already skilled in the kitchen, you can branch out with recipes from around the world or for specialty foods. And be sure to check out the bonus recipe below.
Oh, and if you want to connect books and cooking, Tami Lewis Brown has a great list of books and recipes to match.
This fresh, fun cookbook for kids ages 6 to 12 explains basic cooking techniques in kid-friendly language and offers recipes for making dozens of favorite foods from scratch, including muffins, biscuits, applesauce, fruit leather, goldfish crackers, tortilla chips, Buffalo chicken fingers, pizza, sushi California rolls.
Winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the Children/Youth/Family category, ChopChop offers nutritious, ethnically diverse, inexpensive dishes.
Large pictures and simple instructions for healthy recipes using ingredients such as whole wheat flour, plain yogurt, honey, oats, and nuts.
by Better Homes and Gardens
Each recipe includes a photo along with illustrations of characters who tell stories to complement the dishes. Special features cover cooking basics, kitchen safety, menu planning, basic nutrition information, and guidance on reading and understanding food labels.
The more than 150 recipes are divided into nine themed chapters (Breakfast, Soups and Salads, Light Bites, etc.) illustrated with DK’s usual large, colorful photos as well as easy-to-understand instructions. Also includes information on basic cooking skills such as how to cut safely or how to poach an egg along with some unique recipes not usually found in kids’ cookbooks.
by Jack Witherspoon and Sheri Giblin
Recipes developed by eleven-year-old Jack Witherspoon, who used cooking to raise money for cancer when he was battling leukemia. Clear directions and photographs make it simple to follow these tasty recipes.
Contains recipes from Italy, France, China, and Mexico illustrated with photos and pictures. Plan a taco party or make recipes from appetizers to desserts. Some of these recipes are more complicated, but will appeal to those who enjoy trying different foods.
by Mayo Clinic
This spiral-bound cookbook is easy to keep open while you cook. Because it’s from the Mayo Clinic, it emphasizes healthy recipes using vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. This cookbook offers clear directions and tips on how to prepare the raw ingredients.
by Sheila Griffin Llanas
For vegetarian cooks, Sheila Griffin Llanas includes a dozen recipes from Russian cabbage pie to Indian sabji. Check out other books in this Easy Cookbook for Kids series for various meals and snacks from around the world.
Rau includes a variety of recipes for meals throughout the day from different regions of China. Other books in this Cooking Around the World series contain recipes from countries such as India, Italy, and Mexico.
Here’s a simple recipe to try. If you don’t normally cook by yourself, have an adult help with the frying. Hot grease can spit and burn.
1 pop-open can of biscuits, unbaked
Sugar and cinnamon
Metal slotted spoon
1) Pop open the can of biscuits, separate them, and set them out on a cutting board.
2) Using the cap from a soda bottle, cut a hole in the center of each biscuit. Save the holes for frying too.
3) Heat about 2“ of oil in a deep frying pan.
4) While it’s heating, sprinkle sugar and a dash of cinnamon on a paper plate and mix it well with a spoon. Also spread two paper towels on another paper plate.
5) Wait for the oil to get hot enough. If you sprinkle one drop of water into the oil and it sizzles and spits, it’s ready.
6) Place several doughnuts into the pan, but don’t crowd them.
7) As soon as the bottom turns brown, flip them over with a metal slotted spoon. Watch carefully, because they brown quickly. And turn gently to keep the oil from spattering.
8) When both sides are brown, ladle them onto the plate with the paper towels & pat off the grease. Be careful because they’re hot.
9) Quickly roll them in cinnamon and sugar while they’re still warm.
Makes 8 doughnuts and 8 doughnut holes
Do you have any kid-friendly recipes to share or favorite cookbooks? We’d love to have you add them to the comments.
About the Author
When other parents discovered how well Laurie J. Edwards’s kids could cook, they asked her to teach their sons and daughters. That led to Cooking for Kids classes and a weekly cooking session at the small private school her kids attended. Laurie’s had many other fun jobs in her life, including owning a cake decorating business, being a children’s librarian, and writing for kids. Some of her recent and forthcoming book releases include Her Cold Revenge (Switch Press), The Forget-Me-Not Keeper (illustrations, written by Susanna Leonard Hill), Imperial China, West African Kingdoms, and Ancient Egypt (Cengage). Read more about Laurie and her books on her blog, her website, Facebook, and Twitter (@LaurieJEdwards).