• From the Mixed-Up Files... > For Teachers/Librarians
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    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 ...

    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

     This year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the focus has shifted to middle-grade.  “A lot of foreign publishers are cutting back on YA and are looking for middle-grade,” said agent Laura Langlie, according to Publisher's Weekly.  Lighly illustrated or stand-alone contemporary middle-grade fiction is getting the most attention.  Read more...


    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

    Check out these titles releasing in March...


    March 5, 2013: Catch the BEA Buzz

    Titles for BEA's Editor Buzz panels have been announced.  The middle-grade titles selected are:

    A Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

    Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward

    Nick and Tesla's High-Voltages Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

    The Tie Fetch by Amy Herrick

    For more Buzz books in other categories,


    February 20, 2013: Lunching at the MG Roundtable 

    Earlier this month, MG authors Jeanne Birdsall, Rebecca Stead, and N.D. Wilson shared insight about writing for the middle grades at an informal luncheon with librarians held in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon "Middle Grade: Surviving the Onslaught."

    Read about their thoughts...


    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

    Check out these new titles releasing in February...


    January 28, 2013: Ivan Tops List of Winners

    The American Library Association today honored the best of the best from 2012, announcing the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, along with a host of other prestigious youth media awards, at their annual winter meeting in Seattle.

    The Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Honor books were: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

    The Coretta Scott King Book Award went to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

    The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award,which honors an author for his or her long-standing contributions to children’s literature, was presented to Katherine Paterson.

    The Pura Belpre Author Award, which honors a Latino author, went to Benjamin Alire Saenz for his novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was also named a Printz Honor book and won the Stonewall Book Award for its portrayal of the GLBT experience.

    For a complete list of winners…


    January 22, 2013: Biography Wins Sydney Taylor

    Louise Borden's His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, a verse biography of the Swedish humanitarian, has won the Sydney Taylor Award in the middle-grade category. The award is given annually to books of the highest literary merit that highlight the Jewish experience. Aimee Lurie, chair of the awards committee, writes, "Louise Borden's well-researched biography will, without a doubt, inspire children to perform acts of kindness and speak out against oppression."

    For more...


    January 17, 2013: Erdrich Wins Second O'Dell

    Louise Erdrich is recipient of the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for her historical novel Chickadee, the fourth book in herBirchbark House series. Roger Sutton,Horn Book editor and chair of the awards committee, says of Chickadee,"The book has humor and suspense (and disarmingly simple pencil illustrations by the author), providing a picture of 1860s Anishinabe life that is never didactic or exotic and is briskly detailed with the kind of information young readers enjoy." Erdrich also won the O'Dell Award in 2006 for The Game of Silence, the second book in theBirchbark series. 

    For more...


    January 15, 2013: After the Call

    Past Newbery winners Jack Gantos, Clare Vanderpool, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Stead, and Laura Amy Schlitz talk about how winning the Newbery changed (or didn't change) their lives in this piece from Publishers Weekly...


    January 2, 2013: On the Big Screen

    One of our Mixed-up Files members may be headed to the movies! Jennifer Nielsen's fantasy adventure novel The False Prince is being adapted for Paramount Pictures by Bryan Cogman, story editor for HBO's Game of Thrones. For more...


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For Teachers/Librarians

You love books, you love kids, and authors love you.   We’re pleased to offer teachers and librarians a wealth of resources to help you make middle-grade books an even more effective and engaging part of your classroom and library/media center!

Our first two entries are especially for you:  The collected MUF blog posts categorized for teachers and librarians!  The rest of this page is organized alphabetically by the following categories to help you find resources quickly: Author visits, Author websites with discussion/activity guides, Blogs for middle-grade reading/writing, Book clubs, Book lists, and General resources for teaching and literature.

MUF Posts for Teachers and MUF Posts for Librarians: We’ve captured the posts that are categorized for teachers and/or librarians in one convenient place.  The posts are organized by date, so “drop on by” any time to see what we’ve written with you in mind.


Most middle-grade authors and many illustrators love to visit schools and libraries.  Check their websites or their publishers’ sites for contact information. For a searchable list of authors and illustrators by region, check out The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

General Tips for a successful author/illustrator visit: Few experiences generate more reading and writing excitement than having a real live author interact with your students…. (read more)

MUF Posts on author visits: We’ve offered a great series of posts about author visits here at the Mixed-Up Files:

Virtual Visits: Like to have an author visit your school or library but can’t manage the logistics of an in-person visit?  There is another way… (read more)

AUTHOR WEBSITES with discussion/activity guides
Many authors provide discussion or activity guides for use in the classroom on their websites… (read more)

BLOGS (of special interest to teachers and librarians)
American Indians in Children’s Literature: Debbie Reese helps teachers and librarians find resources and consider issues related to the representation of American Indians in children’s books.

Charlotte’s Library ~ Weekly Round Up of New Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction: Charlotte will help you keep up with what’s new and hot in the world of middle-grade fantasy and science fiction so you can stay one step ahead of your young readers.

GreenBeanTeenQueen’s Tween Tuesday: A round up of great book talks for the upper end of middle grade.

Middle Grade Ninja: A blog about reading and writing middle grade that includes great interviews to enhance author studies.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: A weekly round up of book talks from middle grade authors, librarians, teachers and booksellers. From new releases to classics to graphic novels, they have all reading interests covered.

The Pirate Tree: Authors who explore books in the context of social justice themes, from violence to gender to race to poverty.

Project Mayhem: A group of well-known middle-grade authors blog about writing, life and reading. Great opportunity for students to see inside the mind of some of their favorite authors.

The Reading Tub: Extensive collection of middle grade and YA book review blogs

Smack Dab in the Middle: Middle-grade authors talk about their books, their journeys to publication, and themes of the month where the bloggers weigh in on different topics. Gives students a great opportunity to learn even more about the authors they read.

New! Top Teaching Blog by Scholastic:  Well regarded as a resource for literacy professionals everywhere, Scholastic also offers teacher-to-teacher support through the Top Teaching Blog.  Eight innovative teachers bring you right into their classrooms for ideas on how to enhance middle graders’ literacy experiences.  Even though summer is quickly waning, you’ll get some great ideas team member Shari Edwards in this post: a challenge to herself to read a children’s book a day

New! A Year of Reading:  Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn are classroom teachers and authors of acclaimed professional books on literacy.  The blog is rich with ideas and resources for bringing middle grade readers and good books together!  Check out Franki’s thoughts on selecting that all-important first read aloud of the school year.


MUF Blog Posts on Book Clubs

Book Club Central: Book suggestions for children and tweens with sample chapters and ideas for organizing a book club.

Book Clubs for Kids from PBS Parents:  Great resources for teachers and parents.

Literature Circles Resource Center: Resources and information on book clubs and literature circles from the College of Education at Seattle University.

Middle School Reading Activities: Suggestions for teachers and families to encourage reading using classroom reads, literacy projects or for engaging alternatives to traditional book reports.

National Public Radio’s Back-Seat Book Club: Offers a monthly book club selection that students read then have the option to send in questions to NPR. Some of those questions are given to the author when visiting the radio programme, All Things Considered at the end of the month.

Pragmatic Mom-Book Clubs for Kids: Excellent resource of tried and true book club strategies, including meetings, including the books used and the activities done. Includes many middle-grade titles.

MUF Book Lists: Check out our complete file of middle-grade book lists.

Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC): Recommended Book Lists

International Reaching Association (IRA) Children’s Choices Reading List

IRA Children’s Literature Special Interest Group Book Reviews:  Weekly reviews of books for grades K-12 organized by topic.

IRA Teachers’ Choices Reading List 

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Children: Annual list compiled by the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council

Outstanding Science Trade Books: Annual list compiled by the National Science Teachers Association

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2012: Children’s Fiction

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2012: Children’s Nonfiction

GENERAL RESOURCES for teaching and literature
American Library Association (ALA)

ALSC Blog: Programming ideas and literacy initiatives from this branch of the American Library Association.

Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)

Children’s Book Council (CBC)

CBC Diversity Committee

Exploring Diversity: Resources related to diversity compiled by author Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Horn Book Magazine: Resources for Educators

International Reading Association (IRA)

Middle Web: Resources for middle grade educators and parents

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

ReadWriteThink: Literacy resources for teachers at all levels.

Renaissance Learning Book Quizzes

Scholastic Teacher Resources: Search for both free and paid curriculum resources.

Scholastic Librarian Resources: Search for both fee and paid resources for your library.

School Library Journal 

TeachingBooks (Note: this service charges a membership fee after the free trial period has expired)

Teaching Tolerance: From the Southern Poverty Law Center, in-depth and free resources and book lists on a wide range of social justice issues for educators. You’ll find an extensive list of classroom resources, as well as “What We’re Reading,” culturally aware book lists for educators in Teaching Tolerance Magazine.  Subscriptions to the magazine (print or digital editions) are free for educators.

Themed Literature Units: Resources for teaching children’s literature using books with themes such as speaking out for justice, persevering to overcome obstacles, reaching out to others, and many more.

New!  Finding Common Themes in Fiction Texts: 3rd grade teacher Beth Newingham offers a wonderful array of strategies and resources (downloadable posters!) to help you guide  middle grade students to find and learn from the themes in good books.  This is a rich site from Beth’s classroom in Troy, Michigan — take your time and dig in!  Beth is also part of Scholastic’s Top Teaching Blog team, so we encourage you to visit her there as well!

MUF Blog Posts on Themed Literature Units

1 Comment

  1. Lisa Rogers  •  Jun 8, 2010 @3:20 pm

    Looking forward to a site that my students and I can really use! I’m hoping for great book lists that will pique my students’ interest and help teachers find what they need. Children move quickly from picture books to chapter books; thanks for providing information for this important niche.


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