OhMG! Middle-grade News Archives

We can’t bear to part with our old news snippets, and so they end up here when our OhMG! Middle-grade News sidebar gets too full.  So now you can stroll through middle-grade’s recent history.  Enjoy!


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 …
 

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, read more…

 

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…

 

December 14, 2012: Never to Soon to Think Newbery

School Library Journal bloggers Jonathan Hunt and Nina Lindsay are at it again, discussing this year’s crop of Newbery hopefuls on their “Heavy Medal” blog…

 

December 10, 2012: From Zombie Kids to Marble Queens

Check out all the new books releasing in December…

 

December 6, 2012: The Paulsens Two

Author Gary Paulsen and his son Jim Paulsen talk about fathers and sons, dogs, the perils of home improvement, and their new collaborative novel, Road Trip (Wendy Lamb Books), in this Q&A from Publishers Weekly…

November 27, 2012: Connecting Across Time 

Newbery-winning author Karen Cushman talks about historical fiction, boy protaganists, her writing process, and her latest novel in a Q&A with Publishers Weekly today.

Set in Elizabethan England, Cushman’s new book, Will Sparrow’s Road, is about a boy who finds a home among the “oddities and prodigies” at a Renaissance fair. Says Cushman, “I think for readers historical fiction is important because it helps them to see beyond the boundaries of their own experience. It helps them to stretch and to see what life is like for others. This helps illustrate both how we are the same and how we are different, and can give readers more empathy.”

For more…

 

November 15, 2012: Goblins Win NBA

Goblin Secrets, a steampunk adventure story by William Alexander, was named the National Book Award winner in the young people’s literature category at the National Book Foundation’s gala awards ceremony last night.

From Indiebound’s description: “In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around–much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared. Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan–because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.”

For more…

 

November 14, 2012: Weird, Wild, Wonderful

Vancouver, B.C. author Susin Nielsen has won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award in the children’s category for her middle-grade novel The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen.  The jury says of the winning novel, “The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is an engaging grief story. Thought-provoking and relevant, it addresses the effects of bullying in a realistic, compelling, and compassionate way…. Henry’s journey is moving and weirdly, wildly funny.”

For more…

 

November 14, 2012: We’re Thankful for…

New books in November! Check out a few of the titles releasing this month. 

 

October 31, 2012: Reading Up

Middle-grade author and Mixed-up Files member Rosanne Parry considers the pleasures and perils of “reading up” in the Nov./Dec. issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Parry writes, “Reading up is not as simple an issue as I’d once supposed. I’ve noticed a tendency among people in the book professions to scorn parents who advocate withholding older books from younger readers, painting them as rigid, conservative, and insensitive to the needs of the child. I thought so myself at the start, but now have some sympathy for the longer view of trying to nurture a lifelong reader and not just a temporarily precocious one.” Parry is the author of Heart of a Shepherd and Second Fiddle.

For more…

 

October 22, 2012: Charlotte Turns 60

The Boston Globe published this tribute to E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web today.

“It may seem a curious thing to say about a book full of talking barn animals, but Charlotte’s Web is intensely realistic. White does not talk down to his readers, nor does he spare them from the facts of life on earth — above all that it is temporary and frequently pitiless, but that it can be ennobled through friendship, love, and sacrifice.”

 

October 10, 2012: One of These Books Will Win the NBA

Finalists for the National Book Award for young people’s literature were announced today. On the shortlist:

• Goblin Secrets by William Alexander

• Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos

• Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

• Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

• Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

The winner will be announced November 14.

For more…

 

October 2, 2012: Autumn Reads

Check out these titles releasing in October…

 

September 26, 2012: There and Back Again

On the eve of the publication of J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults, The Atlantic looks at other children’s authors who detoured into writing adult books only to return to writing for kids.  Featured are A.A. Milne, L. Frank Baum, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Judy Blume, and R.L. Stine.

For more…

 

September 26, 2012: Batty for Betsy

Perry Klass, professor of journalism and pediatrics at NYU, writes about her ongoing fascination with Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books in this piece from the Sunday New York Times Book Review.

 

September 20, 2012: Kate DiCamillo Countdown 

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kate DiCamillo’s next novel, The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses,will be published by Candlewick in September of 2013. The story was inspired by a line from Rumi: “The grief armies assemble/ but I’m not going with them.” DiCamillo describes it as “a book about joy and laughter, about moving away from grief and turning toward love. Additionally, it is a book about seal blubber.”

For more…

 

September 10, 2012: Children’s Books—Alive and Well

In an Aug. 26 column about the state of publishing, Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times writes,”For years, the book industry has been mired in debates about the plight of independent booksellers, the rise of Amazon and the fate of print as it struggles with the relentless march of technology. But doom-and-gloomers forecasting ‘the end of books’ probably haven’t strolled through the children’s section lately or considered what’s coming this season, from picture books through titles for teens.”

For more…

 

 

September 8, 2012: Dog Day Books

Sad to see summer go? Take a break from homework and curl up with one of these September new releases…

 

August 29, 2012: Hollywood Calls

The LA Times recently published a list of middle-grade novels optioned for film. Among the movie possibles are Angie Sage’s Magyk, Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek, and Colin Meloy’s Wildwood. 

For the complete list…

 

August 27, 2012: Going YA

How much difference is there between MG and YA? Kekla Magoon, author of the middle-grade novels The Rock and the River and Camo Girl, talks about her recent switch to YA in this blog post. 

She writes, “Publishing MG as opposed to YA means your book will emerge into a different marketplace, cater to a different readership, and follow an entirely different set of rules to make it successful within that market, and to make it accessible to that younger readership.”

 

 

August 18, 2012: Does Diversity Dwindle When Times Are Lean?

According to the Cooperative Children’s Books Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison the number of main characters of color in kids’ books has dropped during the recent recession despite the fact that the minority population has grown.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports, “The center found 3.6 percent of children’s literature published last year featured black authors, main characters or themes and 1.7 percent featured Hispanics, both the lowest proportions over the past decade. During that time the black population has held steady at about 13 percent while the Hispanic population has increased from 13.4 percent to 16.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

For more…

 

August 16, 2012: Splendors and Glooms

Newbery medalist Amy Schlitz talks with Sue Corbett of Publishers Weekly about her new book Splendors and Glooms, a middle-grade gothic thriller that combines two of her loves, Charles Dickens and marionettes. For more…

 

August 9, 2012: Are Your Characters Keeping You Awake?

MG author Amy Goldman Koss ponders the creative process in this blog post about creating credible children’s bookcharacters
August 6, 2012: News from LA

If you weren’t able to attend SCBWI’s annual get together in LA this year, they’re publishing a conference blog to keep you abreast of tips, trends, and hot topics in children’s writing/publishing. In her Aug. 4 keynote address on market news, longtime editor Deborah Halverson noted that “middle grade seems to be doing stronger than YA” and that there’s “paranormal and dystopian fatigue.”

For more, from the conference…

August 5, 2012: Bank Street Suggests…

Bank Street College of Education has published their best-of lists for readers of all ages, including middle-grade recommendations in every genre…

 

August 4, 2012: Cowabunga!

Check out the last wave of this summer’s new releases…

 

July 28, 2012: New Award to Bring Diversity to MG Mystery & Fantasy

Lee & Low Books recently announced the establishment of a new award for a middle-grade or young-adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. According to the announcement, “the award is a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of speculative fiction, a genre that would benefit greatly from more diversity.”

The winning manuscript will be published by Lee & Low’s “Tu Books” imprint. The New York-based Lee & Low is an independent publisher specializing in diversity. Their books have won numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the Pura Belpré Award Honor, the Parents’ Choice Award, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.

For more…

July 20, 2102: Farewell Encyclopedia Brown

Donald Sobol, author of the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, died July 11 at age 87. The popular series, which debuted in the 1960s, has been translated into a dozen languages and sold millions of copies.

“Thanks to Donald, generations of children have learned to read and solve mysteries alongside Encyclopedia Brown, one of the most iconic characters in children’s literature,” says Don Weisberg, president of Penguin Young Readers Group.

For more…

 

July 19, 2012: Vanished to Appear on TV

Today Show personality Al Roker’s latest pick for his Book Club for Kids is…drum roll…Vanished, by our very own Mixed-up Files author Sheela Chari.

Chari will appear on the Today Show later this year to be interviewed by a group of Al’s young critics. Earlier this yearVanished was a finalist for the Edgar Award, presented to the best mystery of the year. Vanished tells the story of 11-year-old Neela who must travel to India to solve the mystery of a prized stringed instrument that has gone missing.

For more…

July, 18, 2012: Fiddlesticks!

Author/blogger Rhonda Saunders offers her take on cussing in middle-grade books in her provocative July 17 post. She writes, “A recent #MGLitChat discussion on Twitter about profanity in middle-grade books got me (and my agent) put into time-out. It also got me thinking more about what ‘middle grade’ even means, today, in terms of appropriate language. Where is the line? Who draws it? Why?” In conclusion, she says, “I don’t think we’re saving kids by completely censoring and sanitizing language in MG books. We’re excluding some of them by writing for the kids we want them to be instead of for the kids they are.”

For more…

 

July 16, 2012: What About the Prince?

Author Christopher Healy talked to Publishers Weekly recently about the “princess fatigue” that inspired him to write The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (Walden Pond). While readers often complain about helpless princess syndrome, what about vacuous princes, he wondered. Prince Charming is “so inconsequential,” Healy says. “He’s presented as the ideal man, but he has no personality. If princesses are going to fall in love with princes shouldn’t we care about who these men are?”

For more…

 

July 14, 2012: Great Escapes

The Horn Book recently recommended four titles they refer to as “Great escapes (some quite literal!) for middle-grade summer reading.” Featured books are—

Tracing Stars by Erin E. Moulton, one of our very own Mixed-up Files authors

• Summer in the City by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

• Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

• Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

For more…

 

July 13, 2012: Take Me to Your Leader

Science fiction aficionado Bill Joel is looking for writers interested in contributing short stories to a sci-fi anthology for middle-grade readers.  Titled They’re Here, the theme of the collection will be “aliens amongst us.” All proceeds will go to RIF (Reading Is Fundamental). Stories should be 2500-5000 words.

“This anthology was born out of a need…to get more quality sci-fi into the hands of middle grade readers,” says Joel. “Also, I see it as a vehicle to show off the talents of many writers, and give something back as a donation to RIF.”

For more information, contact Joel at illumen@optimum.net.

 

July 7, 2012: A Room of Your Own

Have you been dreaming of time to write and a room of your own? How about four weeks and your own furnished apartment?

Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, is taking applications for their 2013 Children’s Writer in Residence program. The summer residency includes a four-week stay in the historic boyhood home of author/humorist James Thurber and a chance to teach in Thurber House’s summer writing camp. Past residents have included middle-grade authors Lisa Yee, Alan Silberberg, and Donna Gephart. Deadline to apply is November 2.

For more info…

 

July 7, 1012: Sizzling Summer Reads

Check out these titles releasing in July…

 

July 1, 2012: Mixed-Up Files on Oprah…? Almost!

If you think stories are just for kids, check this out. Middle-grade author and Mixed-up Files member Sayantani Dasgupta was featured in the July issue of O, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, in an article titled “How Storytelling is Changing The Way Doctors Treat Illness.” Dasgupta, who also teaches narrative medicine at Columbia University, advises patients to think of their health history as a story. “Choose the turning points that you want to highlight—the ups and downs you’ve experienced over time. Who are the main characters? A supportive partner? An unsupportive boss? Mention the dramatic tensions. You might be concerned about meeting work deadlines, or caring for a sick parent. These details will help your doctor treat your illness in the context of your life.”

For more…

 

June 28, 2012: Beyond Beach Reads

To keep reading skills sharp during the summer, middle-school reading enrichment teacher Claire Needell Hollander recommends teachers add nonfiction titles to students’ summer reading lists. In her June 23 New York Times op-ed piece she writes, “I propose focusing on accessible nonfiction guaranteed to increase world and verbal knowledge.”

Her suggested titles for middle schoolers are:

• Facing the Lion by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton with Herman Viola

• A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

• Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo and Ann Leonori (a novel about a real kid)

For more…

 

June 22, 2012: What’s Your Favorite Summer Read?

Bookseller Hannah Johnson-Breimeier talks about her favorite middle-grade novel of the summer—Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage—in the current edition of Publishers Weekly’s “Children’s Bookshelf” newsletter. “I love recommending it to girls who just want a ‘normal’ story,” she says. “I think Three Times Lucky will appeal to them, but it’s a little unusual, too. It’s set in a small town in the south, Mo has an untraditional family, and there’s a mystery. She’s not just whining about middle school; she’s spending her summer setting up a detective agency. She reminds me of an older, more modern-day Ramona, someone who’s always getting into trouble because she thinks it’s a good idea.”

For more…

 

June 15, 2012: Tooting the Horn

Winners of the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature were announced June 7 at Book Expo America. The top prize for fiction went to No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Carolrhoda Lab). The award for nonfiction went to Chuck Close: Face Book, written and illustrated by Chuck Close (Abrams Books for Young Readers).

For a complete list of winners and honor books…

 

June 12, 2012: Skyped!

Pragmatic Mom, a prolific blogger, literacy advocate and longtime Mixed-up Files reader, describes a recent Skype visit from Mixed-Up Files author Sheela Chari to her daughter’s 4th grade classroom in this June 11 blog post. If you’re considering scheduling a Skype visit for your classroom, library, or book club, her post provides a good introduction to the process – from setup to the actual visit.

“I thought the set up for the Skype visit was very successful,” she says. “Our librarian projected Sheela onto a large screen and had the kids come up to the laptop camera to ask questions. We could hear her clearly and the kids were riveted by her story of how she became a writer and wrote this story, her debut chapter book and first children’s book, as a birthday present to her niece.”

Sheila’s Skype visit was one of twenty such visits we’ve given away on the Mixed-up Files this past year.

For more…

 

June 12, 2012: Going on a Road Trip this Summer?

Judith Shulevitz recommends her favorite audiobooks for listeners of all ages in this May 20 New York Times piece on the pleasures of reading in the car.

Her suggestions for middle schoolers:

• Bloomability by Sharon Creech

• Flush by Carl Hiaasen

• The Joey Pigza series by Jack Gantos

• Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

• Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

For more…

 

June 5, 2012: Engaging Middle Schoolers

“Middle school students are a ‘hormonally charged’ bunch who are ‘full of complex contradictions’ and just ‘want a voice,’” according to a panel of authors who participated in School Library Journal’s “Day of Dialog” June 4 at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center as a part of Book Expo America. Visit the SLJ website for more coverage of the panel which included authors Sharon Creech, Joan Bauer, Eoin Colfer, James Dashner, and Rebecca Stead.

 

June 4, 2012: Summertime Reads 

Check out these new releases for June…

 

June 3, 2012: Dogs, Dragons, and More

Looking for a good dragon story or something to recommend to a Harry Potter fan? The “About.com” website offers a series of video booktalks by kid-lit luminaries such as Betsy Bird of School Library Journal and Marc Aronson of the Rutgers School of Library Science. Videos (and printable lists) cover dragon stories, dog stories, classics, books about science, US history, and books for Harry Potter fans.

For more…

 

June 1, 2012: Wonder Crosses the Pond as Adult Book

R.J. Palacio’s debut novel Wonder, published as a middle-grade book in the US, is being released in children’s and adult editions in the UK, with the adult edition hitting bookshops on June 7. Wonder tells the story of a boy born with severe facial deformities who is starting fifth grade after years of homeschooling.

Says Annie Eaton of Random House UK, “It was one of those books that we felt so passionate about that it passed round the office very fast. We’d all read it within 24 hours of the first person liking it….” Eaton passed the title on to Random House’s adult division, where managing director Larry Finlay also fell in love with it. “[The book] reminded me of how cruel children can be and of how amazingly kind they can be,” he says. “I rarely cry, but this time I was so moved not only by the character of Auggie but also by his sister Via and by the other children that I just couldn’t stop.”

For more

 

May 24, 2012: Amber Brown Is Back

Publishers Weekly announced today that Putnam will be releasing a new Amber Brown chapter book in September titledAmber Brown Is Tickled Pink. Paula Danziger, author of the original Amber Brown books, passed away in 2004, always intending to continue Amber’s story, a real-life sort of girl with real-life trials and tribulations. The new book, along with two others, were written by Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy, close friends of Danziger.  “It was truly fun, but we missed Paula every day,” says Coville of the writing process. “At the best times, we felt as though she was in the room with us. And we were fairly convinced that she’s delighted we’re doing this—but pissed off that she’s not here to do it herself.”

For more on the new books…

For a tribute to Paula Danziger…

 

May 17, 2012: Her Side of the Mountain

Award-winning author and naturalist Jean Craighead George passed away May 15 at age 92. George was the author of more than 100 books for young people, among them Julie of the Wolves, which won the Newbery Medal in 1972, and My Side of the Mountain, a Newbery Honor book in 1959. Ice Whale, her latest novel, will be published next year by Dial.

For more…

 

May 12, 2012: The Kids Have Voted

Votes have been tallied for the 2012 Children’s Choice Book Awards. Winner in the 5th/6th grade category was Okay for Now, Gary Schmidt’s companion novel to his Newbery Honor-winning The Wednesday Wars. Illustrator of the year went to Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck, and author of the year went to Jeff Kinney for Cabin Fever, the latest installment in hisWimpy Kid series.

For a complete list of the winners…

 

May 10, 2012: Happy Children’s Book Week!

In honor of National Children’s Book Week, award-winning author-illustrator Matt Phelan posted this review of Polly Horvath’s new book on his blog…

For more about Children’s Book Week…

 

May 5, 2012: Oh Me, Oh May

Check out all the new books releasing in May…

 

May 5, 2012: Be a Fourth-Grade Somebody

One lucky fourth-grade classroom will win a Skype visit from author Judy Blume this month. To participate, all you have to do is have your students write a sentence or two on why they like fourth grade. The contest, which ends May 15, is sponsored by School Library Journal.

For details…

 

May 5, 2012: Sturm und Drang for Kids

Guardian columnist Julia Eccleshare tackles the question “Why are so many highly praised children’s books gloomy?” in thisApril 30 article…

May 1, 2012: It’s No Mystery

The Edgar Award for the best juvenile mystery of the year was presented this past weekend to Matthew Kirby for Icefall(Scholastic, 2011). Publishers Weekly said of Kirby’s Viking suspense novel, “Readers may be drawn in by the promise of action, which Kirby certainly fulfills, but they’ll be left contemplating the power of the pen versus the sword—or rather the story versus the war hammer.”

For more on the award…

To read a Mixed-up Files interview with Kirby… 

 

May 1, 2012: Crystal Clear

Winners of the 2012 Crystal Kite Awards, the only peer-given awards in children’s publishing, were announced this week. The awards are voted on by members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Middle-grade winners include The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson and The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine.

For a complete list of winners…

 

April 30, 2012: Does a Pineapple Have Sleeves?

What happens when a Daniel Pinkwater story is adapted for use in a statewide standardized test? The New York Timesreports on the kerfuffle here…

 

April 30, 2012: More than One Path to Publication

The lines between traditional and self-publishing continue to blur as more and more traditionally published authors find ways to utilize the flexibility and freedom that self publishing offers. Author Kate Milford recently announced in Publishers Weekly that her new fantasy, The Broken Lands, which will be published by Clarion in September, will be accompanied by the release of a self-published novella, The Kairos Mechanism.

Says Milford, “I want to experiment with self-publishing as a way to promote and enhance traditional releases by providing extra content to readers in the form of complete, related tales. I also want to use resources that support independent bookstores.” As an added bonus Milford is planning a special digital edition of her self-published work that will include illustrations by 10 teen readers.

For more…

 

April 14, 2012: It’s Raining, It’s Pouring!

Check out all the new books releasing in April…

 

April 12, 2012: The Greatest Girls 

Jen Doll, columnist for The Atlantic Wire, talks about “The Greatest Girl Characters of Young Adult Literature” in this April 5 article, the first in a series called “Y.A. for Grownups.” Among the characters Doll mentions are a number of middle-grade favorites, including Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time and Claudia Kincaid of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

For more… 

 

April 12, 2012: Moss Aims to Pick Up Where Tricycle Left Off

Berkeley-based children’s author and illustrator Marissa Moss, best-known for her Amelia’s Notebook series, is starting a new West Coast publishing venture called Creston Books. Says Moss, “The idea’s been percolating for years. It came to a head after Random House bought Ten Speed and threw Tricycle away.” Moss got her start with the quirky, risk-taking Tricycle Press, which published Amelia’s Notebook at a time when traditional publishers were unsure what to do with the illustrated diary format.  “New York publishing is about: what’s the next Harry Potter, what’s the next Twilight?” says Moss. “When I’ve approached people, I’ve asked, ‘What is the book you’ve been dying to do, but New York won’t do?’ I want the books that they think won’t sell—because I think they will.”

Creston’s first books are due to release Fall 2013. In the meantime, Moss is seeking kickstarter funds to help back the project. For more…

 

April 10, 2012: After Chrestomanci

An online celebration of the life of British author Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011) will kick off April 12 with a two-week blog tour. In conjunction with the tour a special blog has been set up where fans can share their favorite books, quotes, stories, characters, covers, and memories of Diana with fellow fans around the world.

Wynne Jones was the author of dozens of popular titles, including the Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving Castle,which was made into an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki in 2004.

For details…

 

April 6, 2012: Game Over!

The Battle of the Books has ended. And the winner is…

I’m not telling! You’ll just have to click on over to the School Library Journal site and read Jonathan Stroud’s incredible analysis of the three finalists—Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet; Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys; and Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.

 

March 31, 2012: Hiaasen Says There’s No Fooling Kids

Newbery-honor winning author Carl Hiaasen talks about writing for kids versus writing for adults in this March 6 School Library Journal interview. Says Hiaasen, “The idea that you’re fooling kids is crazy. That’s the way I’ve been able to connect to and go between adult and young adult books. Kids love sarcasm and the idea of bursting a grown-up’s bubble. It’s a question of calibrating the story to the young adult market. Once I did that with Hoot and it worked, it opened up a new and rewarding way of writing for me.”

Hiassen’s new middle-grade book, Chomp, was released this week.

For more…

 

March 29, 2012: What’s the Buzz in Middle-grade Fiction?

A panel of editors will share their predictions for this fall’s breakout titles when BookExpo America convenes June 5-7 at the Javits Center in New York City.  You don’t have to wait until June to catch the buzz, though. According to the BookExpo on-line news, titles to watch are:

• Malcolm at Midnight by W. H. Beck (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

• The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (HarperCollins)

• Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin (Little Brown)

• Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman (Quirk)

• With Love From Paris: Mira’s Sketchbook by Marissa Moss (Sourcebooks)

For more…

 

 

March 26, 2012: Lindgren Winner Announced

Dutch author Guus Kuijer has won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award given by the Swedish Arts Council to honor an author whose body of work is in the spirit of Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren. The winner receives 5 million Swedish crowns (more than $700K), making it the richest prize in the world for children’s literature. Past winners include Katherine Paterson, Sonya Hartnett, Maurice Sendak, and Shaun Tan.

Kuijer was selected by an international jury of experts who praised his “razor-sharp realism,” “subtle humor,” and “visionary flights of fancy.” Kuijer is author of more than 30 titles, most of them for young teens. Sadly, only one of his books has appeared in English—The Book of Everything, a slim but haunting novel published by Arthur Levine Books in 2006.

For more…

 

March 20, 2012: No Grownups Allowed

It’s time for kids to vote for their favorite books of the year in this year’s Children’s Choice Awards. Winners will be announced during Children’s Book Week, May 7-13, 2012. The awards are sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, which celebrates the transformative power of literacy. Kids can vote individually or librarians, teachers, and booksellers can log on to record their students’ votes.

Finalists for the 3rd-4th grade Book of the Year are:

• Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel

• A Funeral in the Bathroom and other School Bathroom Poems by Kalli Dakos

• The Monstrous Book of Monsters by Libby Hamilton

• Sidekicks by Dan Santat

• Squish #1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer and Matthew Holm

Finalists for 5th-6th Grade Book of the Year are:

• Bad Island by Doug TenNapel

• How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz

• Lost & Found by Shaun Tan

• Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

• Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein

For more about Children’s Book Week…

To vote …

 

March 20, 2012: In Like a Lion, Out Like a…Book?

Check out these new books releasing in March…

 

March 17, 2012: Just for Laughs…

Martha Parravano recommends three wacky books for middle-graders in this month’s online edition of “Notes from The Horn Book:” Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire by Sophie Blackall; Cold Cereal by Adam Rex; and I Don’t Believe It, Archie! by Andrew Norriss.

For more…

 

March 16, 2012: Kidlit Crossover

Adults and children reading the same books? An article in The Globe and Mail looks at crossover reading. Writes Jeet Heer, “Every child aspires to learn more, so she can push herself through difficult texts. Conversely, every adult was once a child and can, through reading, recapture some of the wonder and purity of earlier life.”

For more…

 

March, 16, 2012: Multi-platform Mutiny

Scholastic unveiled the cover of A Mutiny in Time this week, the first book in their new 38 Clues-style series entitled Infinity Ring. Penned by Maze Runner author James Dashner, the first book will release on August 28. The same day Scholastic will also launch “The King of Diamonds,” the first episode of Infinity Ring’s online game. Five more books written by five different authors will follow every few months, capped off by a seventh volume written by Dashner.

For more…

 

March 8, 2012: The Gloves Are Off

Round one of School Library Journal’s “Battle of the Books” begins March 13. The battle is billed by SLJ as “a competition among 16 of the very best books for young people of the year, judged by some of the biggest names in children’s books.”

Among this year’s judges are middle-grade authors Matt Phelan, Marc Aronson, Jeff Kinney, Chris Lynch, Lauren Myracle, Sarah Weeks, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Barbara O’Connor. The final round will be decided by last year’s battle champion, Jonathan Stroud, author of the Bartimaeus Trilogy.

Regardless of who wins or loses, the judge’s comments are always insightful. To view the brackets and follow the bouts…

 

March 1, 2012: Michael and Molly Talk Middle-Grade

Literary agent Michael Bourret talks about the middle-grade market with HarperCollins editor Molly O’Neill on the Dystel and Goderich Literary Management blog today.

Says O’Neill, “A couple days ago, literary agent pal Michael Bourret and I got to talking about middle grade books–about what makes the great ones so great, and about how we’re both eternally hungry to discover that kind of memorable middle grade for our own respective lists. And the more we chatted, the more we thought it would be an interesting conversation to have ‘out loud.’”

The second installment of their discussion will appear on O’Neill’s blog in a week or so.

 

March 1, 2011: Authors Soar with Golden Kites

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the winners of the Golden Kite Awards and the 2012 Sid Fleischman Award.

The Golden Kite Awards are given to the most outstanding children’s books published during the previous year, written or illustrated by members of the SCBWI.  This year’s winner for fiction is Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys. Winner for nonfiction is Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, by Candace Fleming.

Winner of the 2012 Sid Fleischman Award, presented to an author whose work exemplifies excellence in the genre of humor, went to Chris Rylander for The Fourth Stall. 

The awards will be presented in Los Angeles this summer at SCBWI’s 41st Annual Conference on Writing and Illustrating for Children.

For more…

 

February 27, 2012: Story Water

Author, teacher, and Mixed-up files member Sayantani DasGupta writes about the “Cultural Wellsprings of Storytelling,” in the current issue of Hunger Mountain, the online literary journal of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Noting the popularity of contemporary books that draw on older stories— like Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Rick Riordan’sPercy Jackson series—she likens storytelling to “dipping one’s drinking gourd into the eternal stream of stories. The storyteller gives the tale shape and form, but the essential life force comes from somewhere else entirely.”

For more…

 

February 26, 2012: Hit the Road, Jack…and Christopher…and Dan….

Harper Collins announced this week they’ll be sending nine middle-grade authors on the road next fall to visit schools and bookstores across the country. Authors will travel in pairs with each team going to three cities where they will visit a bookstore and do an emceed school event. Highlight of the school visit will be a “Best in Class” game with students getting a chance to compete to send their designated author to the top of the class.

The nine authors and the books they’ll be promoting are Christopher Krovatin (Gravediggers), Jon Scieszka (Guys Read),Dan Gutman (The Genius Files), Jeramey Kraatz (The Cloak Society), Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (The Familiars), Nils Johnson-Shelton (Otherworld Chronicles), Tim Green (Unstoppable), and Adam Rex (Cold Cereal).

For tour details…

 

February 23, 2011: All Things Rowling

While some people were thrilled today to hear that J.K. Rowling had secured a book deal for her first adult novel, others pondered the fate of Pottermore, the interactive website for Harry Potter fans, that was slated to go live this past fall. For more…

 

February 20, 2012: Aloud and Proud!

World Read Aloud Day is right around the corner—March 7. How will you celebrate?

According to Litworld, the nonprofit organization sponsoring the event, 793 million people worldwide remain illiterate today. “World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults around the world to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.”

For more about Litworld and for suggestions on how to participate…

February 16, 2012: Yolen Grant Honors Mid-list Authors

Publishers Weekly reported today that author Jane Yolen and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators have established a new grant honoring mid-list authors.

Says Yolen, “In these difficult book times, well-reviewed and honored authors often find themselves stalled in their writing lives and find they are having trouble selling new work. In our attention to up-and-coming authors, we, the reading public, often ignore these mid-list writers who struggle to remain true to their personal vision and craft. This grant is to say: SCBWI honors you, we recognize you, we are paying attention to your work.”

The first grant was awarded to Mary Whittington, author of Carmina Come Dance, The Patchwork Lady, Troll Games, andWinter’s Child. Nominations for the 2013 grant will be taken June 1-November 3.

For more information…

 

February 4, 2012: Sweet Reads

Check out these February new releases…

 

January 29, 2012: Tweet Tips 

Coming soon to a Twitter feed near you…

The #MGlitchat team—which includes Mixed-up Files founder Elissa Cruz—will be hosting a series of Twitter chats in February called “Tips from the Pros.” Each week, authors, agents, editors and publicists will share their tips about writing and publishing MG books in today’s market. Want to join the fun? Check the MGlitchat blog for a list of dates, times, and guest experts.

 

January 26, 2011: Ring! Ring!

What’s it like to win the Newbery? “I picked up the phone, and it was like history changed,” Jack Gantos says of the call informing him he’d just won the Newbery Medal for his novel Dead End in Norvelt. For more about his reaction, check out this article in Publishers Weekly. It was a busy week for Mr. Gantos, who also won the 2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

 

January 26, 2012: Jewish-Themed Books Honored

Winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced January 17. The award is given annually to new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the All-of-a-Kind Family series.

The gold medal in the older readers category went to Susan Goldman Rubin for Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein. Honor books were Lily Renee, Escape Artist: from Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins with illustrations by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh; Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg: Baseball Pioneer by Shelley Sommer; and Irena’s Jars of Secrets by Marcia Vaughan.

For more…

 

January 23, 2012: The Newbery Medal Goes to…

Jack Gantos for his middle-grade novel Dead End in Norvelt!

According to the publisher, Dead End in Norvelt tells the “entirely true” and “wildly fictional” story of two months in the life of a kid named Jack Gantos, “whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is grounded for life by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets.”

Newbery Honors went to two books: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai, which also won the National Book Award last year, and Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin.

Other winners today were:

• Kadir Nelson, who won the Coretta Scott King Book Award for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans;

• Joan Bauer, author of Close to Famous, and Brian Selznick, author of Wonderstruck, who received The Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience;

• Susan Cooper, author of the classic The Dark Is Rising Sequence, who won The Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults; and

• Guadalupe Garcia McCall, who won the Pura Belpré Author Award for Under the Mesquite.

For a complete list of winners and honorees in all categories, visit the ALA Web site…

 

January 23, 2012: Mixed-up Files Authors Honored at ALA

A huge shout out to Wendy Shang and Sheela Chari, two of our very own Mixed-up Files members, who were honored at today’s ALA winter meeting. Shang was awarded The Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature for her middle-grade novel The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. Sheela Chari, author of Vanished, a middle-grade mystery, received the honor in the same category. The awards, which are selected by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, recognize works of exceptional literary and artistic merit that highlight Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage.

For more on the awards…

January 22, 2012: Esme’s Picks

Esme Raji Codell, author of Sahara Special and other fine middle-grade titles, discusses her picks for the Newbery medal…

 

January 19, 2012: The Mystery Revealed

Finalists for the 2011 Edgar Award have been announced. The award, given annually by the Mystery Writers of America, is widely considered to be the most prestigious in its genre. In the running for best middle-grade mystery are:

Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger

It Happened on a Train by Mac Barnett

Vanished by Sheela Chari

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

Special congratulations to finalist and Mixed-up Files member Sheela Chari, who launched Vanished on our blog this summer!

For more on Sheela and Vanished

For a complete list of Edgar finalists in all categories, including young adult and adult…

 

January 18, 2012: The OWL Hoots in March

Jill, a 7th grade English teacher and blogger, is looking for authors, readers, and other bloggers to join her in celebrating March Middle-grade Madness on “The O.W.L.” blog (Outrageously Wonderful Literature for the Middle Grades).  Says Jill, “I’m putting together a fun March where I’ll do nothing but highlight middle-grade books, but I need a little help.” Visit The OWL to learn more about writing a guest post, posting a review, or hosting a giveaway.

 

January 16, 2012: The Medals Are Coming! The Medals Are Coming!

Betsy Bird, New York City public librarian and School Library Journal blogger, reveals her predictions for the 2011 Newbery and Caldecott Awards here…. The actual awards will be announced January 23 at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. Stay tuned!

 

January 4, 2012: Narrowing the Field

Finalists for the 2011 CYBIL awards were announced this week. Awards will be given across a wide range of categories including fiction, nonfiction, fantasy and science fiction, graphic novels, and poetry. On the short list for middle-grade fiction is The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by our very own Mixed-up member Wendy Shang.

For the complete list of CYBIL finalists…

For more on Wendy and The Great Wall of Lucy Wu…

 

January 4, 2012: Blogger Picks Indie Bests 

Children’s author, editor, and “Rogue Librarian” blogger Edward T. Sullivan lists his picks for the best books from independent publishers in 2011…

 

January 3, 2012: Author and Ambassador: Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers, five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and two Newbery Honors, has been named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Myers, who succeeds author Katherine Paterson, has chosen “Reading Is Not Optional” as the theme of his two-year term of service.

“Walter Dean Myers is one of America’s preeminent authors of books for young people,” says Dr. Billington. “He is a lifelong advocate for reading for young people, and he has practiced what he preaches in schools and detention centers across the country.”

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is named by the Librarian of Congress based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children. The position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

For more about Myers…

For more about the award…

 

December 23, 2011: Christmases Past 

Award-winning authors Richard Peck and Jack Gantos share favorite holiday recollections in this online article at School Library Journal…

December 23, 2011: Watsons the NPR Pick for January

Calling the book a modern classic, NPR book club host Michele Norris explains why she chose Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963 as her January pick for the Back Seat Book Club:

“My family roots reach back to Birmingham, and I have turned to this book to help explain to my own children how a city I love was once so riven by hate that segregationists were willing to harm children to keep the races separate. This book has the ability to entertain and inform young readers as the country remembers the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. for the national holiday in his name. It also provides some powerful lessons about following your dreams. Christopher Paul Curtis spent years working in automobile plants in Flint, Mich. He made a comfortable living, had job security and enviable employee benefits. But he yearned to be a writer….  He would write in his head on the assembly line, and then write like the wind on paper during his break. Curtis eventually took time off from his job and holed up every day at a children’s library, writing his story out in longhand…. The result was a stunning debut. The Watsons won a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King award.”

For more…

December 15, 2011: Heavy Medal

The conversation is hot and heavy over at School Library Journal’s “Heavy Medal” blog where bloggers Jonathan Hunt and Nina Lindsay discuss the current crop of Newbery hopefuls. Lots of astute comments from blog readers, too.

For more…

 

December 8, 2011: Ready, Set, Write!

Do you dream of writing the next Newbery winner? Middle-grade author Kurtis Scaletta (Mudville/Mamba Point) is offering an online writing class devoted to middle-grade fiction through The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.  The class, which will include live chats and critiques, will run from March 5 to April 29. “Participants will explore some of the qualities that make a book a hit with young readers, with an emphasis on developing a character-driven story,” says Scaletta.

For details and to register…

 

December 6, 2011: Toot! Toot!

Horn Book’s Fanfare lists the best books of the year for kids of all ages…

 

December 4, 2011: Words and Pictures

Looking for a few good graphic novels? School Library Journal lists this year’s top ten…

 

December 3, 2011: Books for the Navajo Nation

Litworld, a nonprofit organization that promotes worldwide literacy, is teaming up with the Pearson Foundation’s “We Give Books” program to donate 5,000 books to families of the Navajo Nation. To contribute a book (or two or three), visit the “We Give Books” website. For each free book you read on-line at the site between now and January, one book will be donated to the Navajo Nation.

For details…

 

December 2, 2011: The Times Recommends

The New York Times 2011 holiday gift guide includes this list of notable middle-grade books:

• Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming

• Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

• Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein

• The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer

• Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson

• Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

• Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

• Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck

• Seriously, Norman! by Chris Raschka

• Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

For the complete list, including young adult titles and links to reviews…

 

October 28, 2011: Kids Books Considered

All Things Considered, the popular National Public Radio show, will kick off their new children’s book club today with an interview with Neil Gaiman, author of the Newbery-winning Graveyard Book.

Says club host Michele Norris, “I wanted to do something special for our passive listeners, the so-called ‘prisoners of NPR’ who are listening because their parents listen. And I wanted it to be interactive so that kids can develop a relationship with the authors they love.”

The new club, called “The Back-Seat Book Club,” will feature one book a month for readers aged 9-14. Both classics and new titles will figure into the mix, says Norris. The NPR book selection team will be on the lookout for books with “playground/lunchroom buzz, the books that kids are talking about, the ones that come back to the library dog-eared and well-loved.”  Featured book for November will be The Phantom Tollbooth.

For more…

Listen to ATC…

 

October 25, 2011: Are Today’s Books Too Dark?

In a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, Maria Tatar, chair of Harvard’s folklore and mythology program, asked whether too much adult anxiety is infiltrating children’s literature.

“…It is hard not to mourn the decline of the literary tradition invented by [Lewis] Carroll and [J.M.] Barrie,” she wrote. “No other writers more fully entered the imaginative worlds of children—where danger is balanced by enchantment—and reproduced their magic on the page.”

For more…

October 20, 2011: Moving Boys to Read

Publishers Weekly has announced the launch of Move Books, a new publishing house focused on middle-grade fiction for boys. The company is the brainchild of Eileen Robinson, former executive editor of Children’s Press at Scholastic, who was inspired by her nine-year-old son, a struggling reader. “It was difficult to find books that would grab his attention, make him laugh, and make him want to read on his own. He and his friends seem to be drawn more to nonfiction, and like a lot of boys, they tend to read for information more than for pleasure. I am hoping that the novels Move Books publishes will provide that pleasure, and will encourage boys to pick them up rather than turn to a video game.”

 

The company is based in Beacon Falls, Conn. and the first titles are slated to appear in Fall 2012.

For more…

 

October 12, 2011: Coming to a Classroom Near You… The National Book Award

Finalists for the 2011 National Book Award have been announced by the National Book Foundation. This year’s nominees for the award in young people’s literature are:

• Franny Billingsley for Chime (Dial)

• Debby Dahl Edwardson for My Name Is Not Easy (Marshall Cavendish)

• Thanhha Lai for Inside Out and Back Again (Harper)

• Alfred Marrin for Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (Knopf)

• Gary D. Schmidt for Okay for Now (Clarion/HMH)

For the inside scoop on the nominees, a special teen press conference will be held Nov. 15 in which middle and high school students will get a chance to direct questions to the five finalists. The press conference will be moderated by author-editor David Levithan and streamed live, enabling students across the country to participate online. Winner of the NBA will be announced the following day, Nov. 16.

For more information and to register for the on-line press conference…

 

October 12, 2011: New for Fall

Check out one of these great new October releases…

 

October 3, 2011: Scrabble Magic

Author and Scrabble aficionado Meg Wolitzer takes on the world of competitive youth Scrabble (with a touch of magic) inThe Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman (Dutton, 2011), her first novel for young readers. In a wide-ranging Q&A with Publishers Weekly Wolitzer talks about Scrabble, favorite books from her childhood, and growing up in a family of writers.

For more…

 

September 28, 2011: Teacher Seeks Author

Jordan Kimmerly, a sixth grade teacher in Washington state, is looking for a middle-grade author who might be interested in sharing his or her revision process with a group of eager and astute 12-year-olds. Says Kimmerly, “I’m trying to make the writing process real for my students and I think that having the opportunity to be a part of the revising and editing of a book that they could see in the shelves on a bookstore would be an incredible experience.  I have a great group of kids who would be able to write letters to an author that reflect honest opinions and critical questions.”

If you have a work-in-progress you’d like to share, contact Ms. Kimmerly at Jordan.Kimmerly@highlineschools.org

 

September 21, 2011: The Flashlight Under the Covers

Journalist Karen Springen writes about how a birthday present of an iPad turned her 12-year-old daughter into a reader in this article from Publishers Weekly. 

For more…

September 21, 2011: Can Celebrities Write Good Books for Kids?

Supermodel Tyra Banks and alt-musician Colin Moloy joined the ranks of celebrity authors this fall with new teen and MG releases. The Atlantic looks at celebrity books in this Sept. 12 online article by Betsy Morais.

For more…

 

September 19, 2011: Reading Rainbow Revived

Publishers Weekly announced this week that LeVar Burton, host and producer of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, is launching a new line of digital titles through RRKidz. Titles will be available as a subscription service through a free app for the iPad and some Android devices.

According to Burton, RRKidz will launch in November or December and will include both front and backlist titles, but with a special emphasis on the backlist. Says Burton, “Reading Rainbow taught me that a good book will always be a good book, and there’s a trove of books that brick and mortar stores can’t display. The backlist is full of gold and this is an opportunity to provide generations to come with access to books that traditional publishing doesn’t always allow for.”

For more…

 

 

Sept. 6, 2011: Back-to-School Books

Fall into reading with these September new releases…

 

August 31, 2011: Econ. 101

An article in the Aug. 21 New York Times looks at the economics lessons hidden in children’s books. Want to know more about capital vs. labor? Economics reporter Motoko Rich suggests reading The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. What’s a cartel? Read The Pushcart Wars by Jean Merrill. How about organized labor? Try Doreen Cronin’s Click, Clack, Moo. For consumer greed, there’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Want to know what life would be like without specialization? Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom recommends Little House on the Prairie. “Pa built his own house, they grew their own food, they sewed their own clothes. You realize how easy it is to live now.”

For more…

 

August 28, 2011: ABA’s New Voices

The American Bookseller’s Association has announced their “New Voices” picks for 2011, ten middle-grade and ten young-adult titles by first-time authors. The titles were selected by a committee of 14 children’s booksellers.

“The great thing about the New Voices project is that indie booksellers came together to do what they do best—find the great hidden gems from new authors,” said New Voices committee chair Cathy Berner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston.

Among those honored were Mixed-up Files author extraordinaire Wendy Shang for her debut novel The Great Wall of Lucy Wu.

The top ten middle-grade titles and their genres are:

• Aliens on Vacation (Hyperion/Disney), fantasy/sci fi by Clete Smith

• The Dagger Quick (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster) adventure/pirates by Brian Eames

• The Dragon of Cripple Creek (Amulet/Abrams) fantasy/magic by Troy Howell

• The Great Wall of Lucy Wu (Scholastic) realistic fiction by Wendy Wan-Long Shang*

 Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (Amulet/Abrams) realistic fiction by Julie Sternberg

• Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes (Amulet/Abrams) fantasy/magic by Jonathan Auxier

• The Visconti House (Candlewick) historical fiction/mystery by Elsbeth Edgar

• Wild Wings (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster) realistic fiction/animals by Gill Lewis

•
With a Name Like Love (Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux) mystery/family story by Tess Hilmo

• The Wizard of Dark Street (Egmont USA) mystery/fantasy by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

For details…

 

August 21, 2011: Now That’s Olympic!

Publishers Weekly reported this week that The Son of Neptune, the latest installment in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympusseries, will have a first printing of three million copies, the largest in the history of Disney Worldwide Publishing. In conjunction with the book’s October release Disney will be hosting outdoor celebrations in New York City and Los Angeles along with seven bookstore events that Riordan will attend.

For more…

 

August 18, 2011: Sooner Showdown

Middle-grade students in Oklahoma have until Sept. 19 to enter “The Great Oklahoma Showdown,” a statewide contest being held by Mixed-up Files author Jen Blom to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Possum Summer. Currently living in Berlin, Germany, Blom plans to travel to Oklahoma for the grand prize and first-place parties where she’ll present the kids–and their teacher–their prizes. Why Oklahoma? Blom says, “It’s where I grew up, where I went to school and where I developed my love of reading and writing.”

For details…

 

August 17, 2011: Soccer Saves

To celebrate the release of her new novel, Beyond Lucky, Mixed-up Files author Sarah Aronson is hosting an online auction and fundraiser/party to benefit Grassroot Soccer. Grassroot Soccer is a nonprofit organization that uses the power of soccer to help prevent the spread of AIDS and save lives among those with the highest rates of new infection–youth in Africa.

For more information…

 

August 12, 2011: Are You There? It’s Me, Judy Blume!

Conference-goers got a nice surprise when best-selling author Judy Blume stepped in as a last-minute keynote replacement at the 2011 SCBWI International Summer Conference held in Los Angeles last week. In an impromptu interview with SCBWI founder and fellow author Lin Oliver, Blume talked about technology and the writing process, along with her current film project, an adaptation of her 1981 novel Tiger Eyes, scheduled to be released later this year.

When asked if writing had gotten easier for her over the years, the 73-year-old Blume replied, “It never gets any easier, except I know how to do it now. I still keep a notebook for each book filled with notes and scribbled ideas as I go along. You just have to find what works for you.”

For more…

 

August 10, 2011: True Stories

The current issue of “Notes from the Horn Book” spotlights new nonfiction, including Marc Aronson’s Trapped, about the recent Chilean mining disaster and rescue; Jim Ottaviani’s Feynman, a comic-strip biography of the Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman; and Karen Blumenthal’s Bootleg, a history of Prohibition.

For more…

 

August 7, 2011: Selznick’s Wondertome

Brian Selznick, author of the Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret, discusses his latest novel, Wonderstruck, in a recent Publishers Weekly interview. Selznick jokes that Wonderstruck, at 642 pages, makes Hugo Cabret seem slim in comparison. “I actually do feel bad,” he says, “especially about kids lugging these books around.”

Critics seem to think Wonderstruck is worth its weight, though. The book has already received four starred reviews.

For more…

 

 

August 3, 2011: Registration Open for Simmons Colloquium

Children’s book lovers from Boston and beyond are invited to attend a one-day colloquium at Simmons College in conjunction with the 2011 Boston Globe—Horn Book Awards ceremony September 30 and October 1.

The colloquium offers librarians, educators, and other children’s literature professionals a chance to discuss critical issues relevant to children’s and young adult literature. Horn Book Award-winning authors Tim Wynne-Jones (Blink & Caution),Steve Sheinkin (The Notorious Benedict Arnold), and Salley Mavor (Pocketful of Posies) will be attending the colloquium along with speaking at the ceremony.

For info and to register…

 

August 3, 2011: Hot August Reads

Check out our list of this month’s new releases…

 

July 31, 2011: Comics for Kids

For a round-up of soon-to-be-released comics and graphic novels for kids, check out Publishers Weekly’s coverage of last weekend’s 42nd annual Comic-Con in San Diego.

 

July 15, 2011: Another Bosom Buddy for Anne

Kate Middleton, the newly minted Duchess of Cambridge, was presented with a copy of Anne of Green Gables, a girlhood favorite, during a recent visit to Prince Edward Island.

For more…

To see the video…

 

July 13, 2011: Horn Book Recommends

The July edition of “Notes from the Horn Book” includes blurbs for four new MG novels: Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach; Invisible Inkling by Emily Jenkins; The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davis; and Mother Number Zero by Marjolijn Hof.

For more…

 

July 8, 2011: MG vs. YA: Viva la difference!

In a recent blog post Aussie editor, teacher, and reviewer Judith Ridge had this to say about what she sees as a dearth of interest in and respect for literature aimed at younger readers:

“YA gets vastly more of the blog space, media attention and arguably, reviews…. And increasingly, I’ve noticed that when a children’s novel does get critical attention, it’s suddenly claimed as being young adult.”

“If it’s longer than 200 pages, if it has serious ideas and challenging language, it has to be for young adults—almost seemingly regardless of the age of the protagonists and the thematic interests of the story. And it bothers me enormously that the gifted, devoted, passionate child reader doesn’t seem worthy of our attention any more.”

Her post goes on to discuss why recent Newbery winners like Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me are children’s books and not young-adult books, or even—heaven forbid—“young young-adult books.”

Read more…

 

July 3, 2011: Cool Books for Hot Summers

Celebrate your independence with one of these new July releases…

 

 

June 23, 2011: Pottermore—New Online World for Harry’s Fans

J.K. Rowling announced details today of a new site for Harry Potter fans—www.Pottermore.com—that will go live in October. Along with being the exclusive source for the e-book and digital audio versions of Harry Potter, the site will be interactive and give fans free access to additional material relating to Harry’s world that Rowling claims to have been hording for years.

To view Rowling’s video announcement….

 

June 16, 2011: More Wind, More Willows

Publishers Weekly announced today that Jacqueline Kelly, author of the Newbery honor book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, is working on a sequel to The Wind in the Willows. The sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic will be published by Henry Holt in 2012.

Kelly says re-imagining Grahame’s original animal characters wasn’t difficult. She first read the book when she was eight years old sick in bed with the flu and has re-read it numerous times over the years. “…I’d heard those voices in my head for a long time. They were there for me.”

For more…

 

June 13, 2011: News from The Horn Book

Don’t miss the June edition of “Notes from the Horn Book,” which features an interview with Jeanne Birdsall, author of The Penderwicks series, along with blurbs on some great new middle-grade fiction and biographies.

For more…

 

June 8, 2011: Tweens on Screen

A recent article in the New York Times looked at how tween heroines from popular middle-grade novels are portrayed on the big screen. Among the leading ladies mentioned are Ramona, Nancy Drew, Hermione Granger, Ella (from Ella Enchanted), Kit Kittredge (from the American Girl series), and Judy Moody. According to the article, “In bookstores preteenage girls…have propelled series upon series of realistic fiction and middle-grade fantasy onto the best-seller lists. But those heroines rarely translate into feature-film success.”

The article’s assessment of Hollywood’s discomfort with girls’ so-called “awkward years” is particularly interesting.

For more…

 

 

June 6, 2011: Calpurnia Sounds Off

The Brilliance Audio recording of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, written by Jacqueline Kelly and read by Natalie Ross, was recently awarded the 2011 Audie Award for best audiobook for readers age 8-12.

“Ross delivers this first-person story with a bouncy lilt that fits Calpurnia’s inquisitive spirit,” according to one reviewer. “Also noteworthy are Ross’s portrayals of Calpurnia’s social-climbing mother and the transformation of her grumpy grandfather into an admiring science partner.”

For more on the Audies and a list of the winners…

 

May 31, 2011: In Others’ Words

Anthea Bell, the English translator for Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart novels, spoke recently with Publishers Weekly about her work on Ruby Red, the first in a time-travel trilogy by German author Kerstin Gier. Bell, who has translated both fiction and nonfiction for adults, says translating children’s books are no different: “It’s finding the voice from each book. I do think you should never, ever write down to children, let alone translate down to them.”

For more…

 

May 27, 2011: The Buzz from Book Expo

A panel of five editors talked about their favorite soon-to-be released titles at the first-ever “Middle-Grade Editors Buzz Panel” at Book Expo this week. According to the report in Publishers Weekly, “The five editors…confirmed what most devotees already know: middle-grade fiction can have all the action, wonder, and power as books published for older readers.”

The five books and their release dates are:

 The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (Aug. 2011, Simon & Schuster)

• Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellils (Aug. 2011, Balzer + Bray)

• Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby (Oct. 2011, Scholastic)

• The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, illustrated by Ian Schoenherr (Oct. 2011, Putnam)

• The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson (Aug. 2011, Random House)

For more coverage of the BEA panel…

 

May 26, 2011: The Next Hero

Kids hungry for the second installment of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series can get a sneak preview of the cover and read the blurb for book number two, The Son of Neptune, on Riordan’s website. The book is due to release October 4.

To see the cover…

To read the first chapter…

 

May 21, 2011: Words in the Dust on TV Book Club

Words in the Dust, a novel of contemporary Afghanistan, was recently selected one of “Al’s picks” for Al Roker’s Book Club for Kids on NBC’s Today Show. Author Trent Reedy appeared on the May 20 show to talk about his book, which tells the story of Zulaikha, an Afghan girl who yearns to get along with her stepmother and to read the poetry that her mother loved, and perhaps one day have her cleft palate fixed. The story is based on the author’s experience in Afghanistan while serving with the Iowa National Guard.

To watch the video…

 

May 21, 2011: Américas Award

Winners of the 2011 Américas Award were announced this week. The award is given in recognition of books published in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the US.

Top awards went to:

Clemente! (Holt), written by Willie Perdomo and illustrated by Bryan Collier; and

• The Dreamer (Scholastic), written by Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrated by Peter Sis.

Winning an Honorable Mention was The Firefly Letters (Holt) by Margarita Engle.

Winners will be honored at a ceremony this fall during Hispanic Heritage Month at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  For more on the award and a full list of this year’s commended titles…

 

May 16, 2011: The Scoop on Spring Sequels

This issue of “The Children’s Bookshelf,” the on-line newsletter from Publishers Weekly, reveals the stories behind some hotly anticipated middle-grade sequels. Click the link to find out—

• How classroom menace Doug Sweiteck ended up narrating Okay for Now, Gary Schmidt’s follow-up to The Wednesday Wars;

• How Jeanne Birdsall beat the third-book curse with The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, her follow-up to The Penderwicks on Gardam Street; and

• How the current economic downturn inspired Jennifer Holm to revisit May Amelia’s family in The Trouble with May Amelia,the sequel to the Newbery-honor winning Our Only May Amelia.

For more…


May 12, 2011: Tony Hawk’s Magic Goes Middle-grade

Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk will launch a new middle-grade adventure series this summer aimed at Hawk’s core fan base – preteen boys. According to Publishers Weekly, the 900 Revolution series, published by Stone Arch Books, will tell the story of a group of teenagers on a quest to restore the power of Tony Hawk’s magical skateboard after it was shattered by a mysterious force.

Each 128-page novel will include standard text as well as a 16-page graphic novel section. The first four volumes will be released in August. After that, four titles will be released per season, with 24 in all. An interactive website will launch May 23.

For more…

 

May 12, 2011: More Weenies on the Way

Fans of David Lubar’s wacky/scary weenie tales will be happy to hear that his latest collection, Attack of the Vampire Weenies: And Other Warped Creepy Tales, is due out May 24.

According to Publishers Weekly, two more collections are in the works from Tor/Starscape for 2012 and 2013.

Says Lubar of his stories: “I didn’t set out to write for the reluctant reader audience. I write what I like to read—stories with action, humor, dialogue—and if it turns out that that is what reluctant readers like, that’s great. There was no grand scheme on my part, but I do get a huge amount of satisfaction hearing stories of even one child who didn’t read but now does.”

For more…

 

May 7, 2011: Google Doodle Inspired by Newbery Winner

Third grader Diya Cherian was named one of 40 regional finalists in the “Doodle 4 Google” contest. Her entry was inspired by Rules, a middle-grade novel by Cynthia Lord that was awarded a Newbery Honor in 2007. Rules tells the story of 12- year-old Catherine and her younger brother, David, who is autistic.

Diya’s image, titled “A Chance to Dream,” is a drawing of children who are reaching for their dreams—playing basketball from a wheelchair, becoming a ballerina, a scientist, a violinist, a teacher, and an astronaut. Eight-year-old Diya says when she grows up she would like to help children with special needs reach their dreams.

For more information and to vote for your favorite doodle…

 

May 3, 2011: The Children Have Spoken

Winners of the 2011 Children’s Choice Book Awards were announced last night. Voted Author of the Year by more than 500,000 children was – drum roll – Rick Riordan, whose latest addition to the Kane Chronicles was released this week. David Weisner was voted Illustrator of the Year.

Winning title for 3rd/4th grade was Jarrett Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown.

Winner for 5th/6th grade was Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles: Book 1).

For more…

 

May 2, 2011: First Crystal Kites Announced

The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the winners of the inaugural 2011 Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards. The awards are given to recognize great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world.  Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers.

Winning middle-grade titles, authors, and their SCBWI regions are:

• Selling Hope (Feiwel and Friends) by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb; Kansas/Louisiana/Arkansas/Tennessee/  Kentucky/Missouri

• Saraswati’s Way (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Monika Schröder; Middle East/India/Asia

• Sugar and Ice (Walker Books) by Kate Messner; New York

• Mockingbird (Philomel Books) by Kathryn Erskine; Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey/Wash DC/Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland

• Stolen Child (Scholastic Canada) by Marsha Skrypuch; The Americas (Canada/Mexico/Central & South America)

• Tall Story (Random House) by Candy Gourlay; UK/Europe

Also winning a Crystal Kite was Mixed-Up Files member Sydney Salter for her young-adult novel Swoon at Your Own Risk(Harcourt) from the Nevada/Arizona/Utah/Colorado/Wyoming/New Mexico region.

For more…

 

May 2, 2011: After the Red Pyramid

Rick Riordan fans take note: the second book in Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series, The Throne of Fire, releases tomorrow, May 3. Read the first chapter here….

 

April 30, 2011: The Tollbooth Turns 50

The April 21 New York Review of Books blog features an essay by Michael Chabon on Norton Juster’s middle-grade classic The Phantom Tollbooth. The essay was drawn from the introduction Chabon wrote for the 50th anniversary edition ofTollbooth that will be published in October by Knopf.

For more…

 

April 29, 2011: Authors and Readers to Aid Darfur

In September 2011, G.P. Putnam’s Sons will publish What You Wish For, a collection of short stories and poetry by eighteen of today’s best-known authors for children and young adults. All proceeds will go to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, to develop libraries in Darfuri refugee camps in Eastern Chad. Participating authors include Jeanne DuPrau, Cornelia Funke, Ann M. Martin, Jane Yolen, Karen Hesse, R.L. Stine, Meg Cabot, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Copies of the book are available for preorder. If you donate $20 by Saturday, April 30 (tomorrow!), your name—and your child’s—will appear in the finished book under a special section for donors.

For details…

 

April 28, 2011: The Right Words

Editorial guru Deborah Halverson, who writes the DearEditor.com blog, has this to say in response to a question regarding middle-grade novels. More important than the length of the story is finding the right words, she says, making sure that “the story express[es] concerns that reflect a middle grader’s way of viewing the world. Kids that age are typically focused inward, struggling to find out who they are. They shouldn’t sound too self-aware by analyzing themselves or others. Let them judge and act quickly—and then face the fallout.”

Halverson, the author of two young-adult novels, also worked as an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books for ten years.

For more…

 

April 28, 2011: Wimpy Claus?

According to Publishers Marketplace, the sixth installment of Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series will go on sale in November. No news on the title yet, but Abrams, Kinney’s publisher, says it will have a winter theme and “feature the Heffley family being snowed in.”

 

April 24, 2011: Gary Schmidt Going Live

Two time Newbery Honor-winning author Gary Schmidt will answer questions and talk about his writing on a live webcast from the New York City Public Library, Monday, May 9 at 1 pm EST. Schmidt is the author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars. His latest book, Okay for Now, a companion novel to The Wednesday Wars, was released April 5.

To register for the webcast…

 

April 20, 2011: Toronto Kids to Pick Winning Title

The 2011 short list for the 35th annual Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards was revealed today. The $6,000 award recognizes artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature. The winners are selected by a jury of young readers. This year’s jurors, five students from grades 7 and 8 at the Agnes Macphail Public School in Toronto, will select the recipient of the young adult/middle reader award. The winner will be announced at the school on May 26.

Finalists in the young adult/middle reader category are:

Grease Town,
by Ann Towell (Tundra Books)

Half Brother, by Kenneth Oppel (Harper Collins)

No Safe Place, by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books)

I am Canada: Prisoner of Dieppe, by Hugh Brewster (Scholastic Canada)

Think Again, by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Kids Can Press)

For more…

 

April 18, 2011: Horrors!

Zombie lovers take note: author Ty Drago launched his new middle-grade adventure series, The Undertakers, with an event at Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA, last week. The first book in the series, Rise of the Corpses, was released April 11 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Will Ritter, the middle school protagonist of Corpses, opens the story this way: “On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my next door neighbor was the walking dead.”

For more…

 

April 13, 2011: Ramona Forever

Book Review editor Pamela Paul writes about the enduring popularity of the Ramona books in the April 8 New York Timeson the occasion of Beverly Cleary’s 95th birthday. Says Cleary of her success, “[Today’s] children want the same things my generation wanted—a home with loving parents, and children to play with in safe neighborhoods,” and, she added, “funny books about children like themselves.”

For more…

 

April 8, 2011: Bartimaeus Battles to the Win

Jonathan Stroud’s latest Bartimaeus book, The Ring of Solomon, was selected winner of this year’s “Battle of the Books,” sponsored by School Library Journal. Newbery medalist Richard Peck, judge of the final round, selected Stroud’s book overKeeper, by Kathi Appelt and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner.

Read Richard Pecks’ eloquent rationale here…

 

April 7, 2011: MG Apps

Lynn Andriani reviews two middle-grade apps in this week’s online version of Publishers Weekly.

Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential Graphic Novel (Free Spirit Publishing/Electric Eggplant) is based on Book 1 of the Middle School Confidential series by teen expert and anti-bullying activist Annie Fox.The iPad app features sound effects, music, and “Meet the Cast” pages that let readers e-mail their favorite characters and share their own stories.

Alex Rider Ultimate Gadget, a free app for the iPhone and iTouch (Penguin Group), is based on the bestselling series by Anthony Horowitz and features tools such as x-ray, infrared, and night vision goggles; a lie detector; and excerpts from all nine books in the series.

For more…

 

April 5, 2011: Grow a Global Poem

LitWorld, a global literacy organization, is celebrating the power and spirit of words during April (National Poetry Month), by inviting poets young and old to help compose a Global Poem for Change.

The poet Naomi Shihab Nye has contributed the first line:

I send my words out into the air, listening for yours from everywhere.

What words do you send out? What words do you listen for? Readers/writers can submit a line of their own atwww.litworld.org/poem. Follow the growing poem at www.litworld.org/poemblog.

 

March 31, 2011: Why Write MG

In April, authors of the recently launched “Smack Dab in the Middle” blog will be blogging about why they chose to become middle-grade authors.

Meet the authors and follow their stories here…

 

March 28, 2011: Video Resource for Teachers

Teachers and students alike will be inspired by the videos and podcasts available on the Academy of Achievement website which aims to bring “students face-to-face with the extraordinary leaders, visionaries, and pioneers who have helped shape our world.” The site features video interviews of leaders from the arts, sciences, business, sports, and public service. Currently featured are videos of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King.

Read more…

 

March 24, 2011: Selznick Strikes Again

Fans of Brian Selznick, whose lavishly illustrated novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the 2008 Caldecott Medal, will be excited for a sneak peek at the cover art for Selznick’s latest novel, Wonderstruck, which is set to release September 13.

Where Hugo told a single story in words and pictures, Scholastic executive editor Tracy Mack says, “Wonderstruck tells two independent stories—one told in words, the other in pictures. The structure is wholly original, the transitions between stories are awe-inspiring, and how the two stories ultimately come together is tender and resonant.”

For more…

 

March 24, 2011: Tweens, Dorks, and Spaceheadz Online

Simon & Schuster has announced a partnership with Everloop, a new social media company that offers an online community platform for kids between the ages of eight and 13. According to the announcement in Publishers Weekly, S&S will host an interactive book club experience called “S&S In the Book Loop,” giving Everloop members access to two free middle-grade books each month via a Web view e-reader. The club’s first offerings are Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell and Spaceheadz (SPHDZ) Book #1 by Jon Scieszka.

“Social media is a perfect technology to connect children to their reading passions in a way that is entertaining and meaningful, and we are excited to create an online community where tweens can read and talk about books,” says, Lucille Rettino, director of marketing for Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Read more…

 

March 23, 2011: Welcome Back, Dear America

A recent article in School Library Journal by Joy Fleishhacker looks at Scholastic’s re-launch of Dear America, a series of historical middle-grade novels told from the point of view of girls living in different times throughout American history.

The re-launch includes reissues of classic titles with updated covers, along with all-new titles, like Kirby Larson’s The Fences Between Us (2010), “a story that takes place in the Pacific Northwest during World War II that focuses on the internment of Japanese Americans, and Lois Lowry’s Like the Willow Tree (2011), a novel set in 1918 that describes the experiences of an 11-year-old girl orphaned by the deadly Spanish influenza and raised in a Shaker community.”

There is also a new interactive website with historical content from the Library of Congress.

For the full SLJ article…

For the Dear America website for kids…

For the Dear America website for educators…

 

March 23, 2011: Wimp Out!

To celebrate the opening of their second Wimpy Kid movie, Rodrick Rules, 20th Century Fox has all new Wimpy Kid content on their website, including a “Wimp Yourself” cartoon that allows you to create your own wimpy avatar.

For more…

 

March 21, 2011: Hothead

Baltimore Oriole Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. talks about the parallels between his new middle-grade novel, Hothead, and his own early career in baseball in this Q&A from yesterday’s New York Times…

 

March 17, 2011: Before the Boxcar

This just in from Publishers Weekly: Albert Whitman & Company announced that Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan has signed on to write a prequel to Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children series. The decision to tap MacLachlan for the authorial task was easy, says senior editor Wendy McClure. “We thought of Patricia right away, since she writes in such a thoughtful, insightful way about families—and about families coming together in unusual ways.”

Says MacLachlan of the project, “It is kind of daunting, but of course very exciting at the same time. Daunting because it is such a very popular series. I’ve read a number of these novels, and the siblings are resourceful, independent, and most of all, incredibly kind to one another. I really like these children, and for the prequel I’ve tried to think of what kind of parents they must have had. They have such a strong sense of family—somebody clearly gave them that.” The novel will be released September 2012.

Read more…

 

March 16, 2011: Good Books Are for All Ages

The New York Times introduced their new children’s book editor, Pamela Paul, in the March 13 Sunday Book Review section. Says Paul, “Established adult novelists are turning to middle-grade fiction writing. And young adult literature—vampires, dystopia, teenage angst and all—appeals to high school students and their parents alike. This is good news for all readers. After all, the best books are for grown-ups, too.”

We at the Mixed-up Files concur.

Read more…

 

March 15, 2011: Judging by the Cover

Jacket Knack, a blog devoted to children’s book covers, looks at boy-girl character pairings on middle-grade book jackets in their March 14 post. Other posts run the gamut, from the use of silhouettes in cover art to pioneering illustrators of color. Betcha’ can’t read just one entry.

For more…

 

March 15, 2011: Novelists Take Note

Milkweed Editions is accepting submissions for their 2012 Prize for Children’s LIterature. The winning author will receive a $10,00 cash prize and publication of their novel by Milkweed Editions. Manuscripts must be written for children ages 8 to 13.

For more information on the prize and past winners….

 

March 14, 2011: One Child, One Vote

The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for their fourth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards program. Thirty books were chosen in six categories, including Author and Illustrator of the year.

The Children’s Choice Book Awards is the only national children’s book awards program where winning titles are selected by young readers. Children and teens may cast their votes at bookstores, school libraries, and online at www.BookWeekOnline.com until April 29, 2011.

Winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 2 at The Lighthouse in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 2-8, 2011).

FInalists for the 3rd-4th grade Book of the Year are:

Babymouse Burns Rubber (#12) by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray: The Uproar at the Front Door by Nick Bruel

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods & Heroes by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda

Finally by Wendy Mass

Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Finalists for the 5th-6th grade Book of the Year are:

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce

It’s a Book by Lane Smith

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Zebrafish by Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision

For more information on the Children’s Book Council…

For information on voting…

 

March 11, 2011: Children’s Books Across the Pond

Guardian.co.uk has launched a lively new website devoted to children’s books. Check out their middle-grade home pagehere.

Thanks to School Library Journal blogger Betsy Bird (aka Fuse #8) for the link.

 

March 10, 2011: Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Books

Sixteen children’s books will go head-to-head in School Library Journal’s third annual Battle of the Books, which kicks off March 14.

Preliminary judges include notable middle-grade authors Susan Patron, R.L. Stine, Grace Lin, Karen Hesse, Laura Amy Schlitz, Karen Cushman, Mitali Perkins, and Patricia Reilly Giff. Newbery medalist Richard Peck will choose the ultimate winner on April 4. Regardless of the final outcome, the judges’ comments are always fascinating and sometimes controversial.

For a ringside seat, follow the battle on SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books Web site…

 

March 10, 2011: School Bus Secrets

Fans of Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus series will want to check out this recent interview—”Five questions for Joanna Cole”—published in the March edition of Notes from the Horn Book

 

March 9, 2011: Out Loud

Today is World Read Aloud Day. Find a friend, or two, or three, and share a favorite book.

To learn more, check out this article in School Library Journal…

 

March 7, 2011: Writing the Middle-Grade Novel

Highlights Foundation will be offering a workshop on writing middle-grade novels this coming April 7-10 in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The workshop is aimed at helping you shape and intensify your novel-in-progress through group critiques, writing exercises, and consultation with novelist and editor Rich Wallace. Wallace is the author of two middle-grade novels,Sports Camp and War and Watermelon, and has also written two series—The Winning Season and Kickers. Topics will include narrative voice, action, realistic dialogue and internal monologue.

For more information…

 

March 7, 2011: Spring Reads

Spring into reading with one of these great new March releases…

 

March 4, 2011: Bloggers’ Honors

Winners of the 2010 Cybil Awards were announced last month. The awards are presented annually by children’s and young adult bloggers. Winning middle-grade titles were:

Fiction

Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Poetry

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

Graphic Novel

Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga

Fantasy

The Shadows—The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1, by Jacqueline West

For the full list of winners…

 

February 14, 2011: Farewell to Redwall

Brian Jacques, author of the bestselling and much-loved Redwall series, died on February 5. He was 71.

Since the first volume appeared in 1986 the Redwall books have been published in more than 20 countries and sold more than 20 million copies. The 22nd and final Redwall title, The Rogue Crew, will be published by Philomel in May.

According to Michael Green, president and publisher of Philomel: “For almost 25 years, Brian Jacques lived up to the label of ‘master storyteller.’ His Redwall novels have touched multi-generations within families and given them something to share, a legacy at which one can only marvel and smile. His greatest legacy, however, remains that of giver. He initially wrote Redwall to entertain the children at Liverpool’s Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he would read aloud, giving voice to the many accents, giving aroma and flavor to the famous Redwall Abbey feasts, and giving life to a world in which mice and hares were heroes to the end. The world has lost not only a talented author, but a truly gifted entertainer and champion of children.”

Read more…

 

February 10, 2011: Aloud and Proud

LitWorld, a nonprofit organization dedicated to global literacy, will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day March 9, 2011. The organization encourages individuals, groups, and entire communities to get together on that day to celebrate the power of words and stories.

According to LitWorld, “nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name.” For more information about the March 9 event…

 

February 10, 2011: MG Authors Teach Teens

Teen writers in Utah will have a chance to work with notable middle-grade (and young-adult authors) in an upcoming “boot camp” writing workshop to be held in Orem this April. Among the presenters will be Mixed-up Files member Sydney Salter, author of Jungle Crossing, who will be talking about heroes and villains, and Matthew Kirby, author of The Clockwork Three,who will be presenting on voice.

For more information…

 

February 8, 2011: Literary Valentines

Need a gift for your valentine or a new book to warm a winter day? Check out one of these February new releases…

 

February 3, 2011: Twenty Questions for Tuck

Natalie Babbitt, author of the classic middle-grade novel Tuck Everlasting (1975), surprised a class of fourth-graders in Virginia recently when she sent a long typewritten response to a list of questions three students sent her about Tuck. Among her thoughtful responses:

  • Do I think that Winnie should have drunk from the spring? Certainly not, but there’s no right or wrong way to feel about it since everlasting life is something that can’t happen in any case. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t disagree with me. But you may find that you feel differently about it at different times of your life.
  • The ideas from my story come from questions I started asking when I was lots younger than you are now. That’s true for most of my stories, but I believe that everyone asks the same questions and asks them very early.

Read more…

 

January 31, 2011: Today’s Book

Al Roker announced his latest pick for “Al’s Book Club” on this morning’s Today Show: Tony DiTerlizzi’s The Search for Wondla (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Described as a futuristic fairy tale, Wondla takes readers on a journey with Eva Nine, a young girl striving to find others like her in a strange and alien world.

Read more…

 

January 23, 2011: Parents Hold the Power…and the Purse

 

According to a recent survey of book-buying habits summarized in Publishers Weekly, parents and those close to children are more influential than ever in selecting book purchases. The study was undertaken by Bowker/PubTrack and the Association of Booksellers for Children. The survey examined consumer attitudes toward purchasing children’s books in three categories: adults buying for children ages 0-6, adults buying for children ages 7-12, and teen consumers ages 13-17.

Survey results show that for children under seven, friends, and family are the number one determinant of which books to buy, followed by browsing at bookstores. Even for teens, the choice of what book to read was most heavily influenced by parents, teachers, and close friends, in that order.

Read more…

 

 

January 23, 2011: Good Morning, Japan

A Japanese television crew recently traveled to Duluth, Minnesota, to film a piece on author Margi Preus, whose novel,Heart of a Samurai, won a Newbery Honor earlier this month. The piece, which featured Preus speaking with students at a local middle school, aired Jan. 18 on a program called “Ohayo Nippon” [Good Morning Japan] before an estimated 10 million viewers.

For more…

 

January 20, 2011: Jude’s Clues

Fans of the The 39 Clues series will want to read this interview with Judy Blundell. Blundell, who won the National Book Award in 2008 for her YA novel What I Saw and How I Lied, is also author of volumes 4 and 6 of The 39 Clues under the pen name Jude Watson.

Read more…

 

January 20, 2011: More-igami

Fans of Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (and who isn’t?) will be pleased to know that a sequel is on its way from Amulet in summer 2011 – Darth Paper. Angleberger, who discusses the series in this interview with Publishers Weekly, says he chose Darth Vader for his followup based on responses to a poll on his blog.

Read more…

 

January 13, 2011: The Call

What’s it like to win a Newbery Award? Clare Vanderpool, author of the medal-winning Moon Over Manifest, talks about the early-morning phone call she received from the ALA awards committee in this online article at www.publishersweekly.com.

 

January 13, 2011: From the Ambassador

Author Katherine Paterson talks about being toasted and roasted in this Publishers Weekly report on her life as the nationalAmbassador for Young People’s Literature.

Read more…

 

January 10, 2011: The Newbery and More

 

The American Library Association announced the winners of the 2011 youth media awards at their mid-winter meeting in San Diego today.

The 2011 Newbery Medal went to Moon over Manifest, an historical novel by Clare Vanderpool, set in 1936 Kansas.

Newbery Honor books were:

  • Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus
  • Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen
  • One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia

 

One Crazy Summer also won the Coretta Scott King Book Award.

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for middle-grade readers (ages 11-13) was After Ever After, by Jordan Sonnenblick.

The Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the US, was The True Meaning of Smekday written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin.

The Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience went to The Dreamer, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrated by Peter Sis.

 

The Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children went to Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, written by Sy Montgomery and featuring photographs by Nic Bishop.

For information on the rest of the awards, including the Caldecott Medal and Printz Award, visit the ALA website…

January 5, 2011: Killer Year for Kinney and Riordan

According to Nielsen BookScan the top-selling juvenile title of 2010 was Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth with 1.66 million copies sold. Overall, 4.4 million Wimpy Kid-related titles were sold this past year and books by Kinney held the number 4, 6, 8, and 12 slots on the list of top-15 bestsellers.  Rick Riordan’s Lightning Thief and Red Pyramid series also dominated the list, with more than 4.56 million books sold. Titles by Riordan held the number 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14 spots on the list.

 

January 4, 2011: Winner of the 2o11 Scott O’Dell Award Is…

 

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Established in 1982 by the author Scott O’Dell, the annual $5000 award is given for a distinguished work of historical fiction for young people set in South, Central, or North America and published by a US publisher.

Set in Oakland, California in 1968,One Crazy Summer tells the story of 11-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters as they get to know the mother who left them years earlier.

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book and chair of this year’s O’Dell committee writes, “Williams-Garcia’s exploration of the nascent Black Power movement is always rooted in the particulars of the girls’ experience. In her sturdy self-reliance, Delphine recalls the heroine of a book she has brought along for the summer—Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. Readers won’t be able to forget her.”

For the rest of Roger Sutton’s announcement…

For information on the award and a list of past winners…

 

January 1, 2011: New Year/New Books

Get a head start on your New Year’s reading with one of these January releases…

 

December 23, 2010:  Flying Starts

 

 

Three debut middle-grade authors are in the spotlight in Publishers Weekly’s semi-annual “Flying Starts” feature. The three authors and their books are “Adam Gidwitz, whose A Tale Dark and Grimm inventively combines retold tales with new material, with Hansel and Gretel in starring roles; …Matthew Kirby, author of The Clockwork Three, an historical fantasy set in the 19th century that mixes fantasy and steampunk elements; and Sarah Dooley, whose Livvie Owen Lived Here paints a memorable portrait of the interior world of an autistic girl.”

Read more…

 

December 23, 2010: Off the Shelf

Josie Leavitt, “ShelfTalker” forPublishers Weekly talks about her picks for the Newbery in this Dec. 20 blog post.

Read more…

 

December 13, 2010: Boston Globe’s Bests

Boston Globe correspondent Anita Silvey named her top ten books for kids in the Dec. 5 edition. Middle-grade titles were:

  • The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M.T. Anderson
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
  • Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
  • Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

For more…

 

December 13, 2010: Newbery Buzz

On Monday morning, January 10, 2011, the American Library Association will honor the best books of the year for children’s and teens with a host of awards including the Newbery Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Schneider Family Award. For official news, check in with the ALA.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out some of the Mock Newbery blogs highlighted here by our own Mixed-up Files member Beverly Patt, whose book, Best Friends Forever: A WWII Scrapbook, is on the Allen County Mock Newbery List. The discussion is always lively over at Nina Lindsay’s “Heavy Medal” blog on the School Library Journal site, too, where Tricia Springstubb’s What Happened on Fox Street (another Mixed-up Files debut) has been mentioned as a Newbery hopeful.

 

December 12, 2010: Booksellers Look Ahead

With 2010 winding down, booksellers are looking ahead to 2011. Find out what titles they can’t wait to hand sell in this December 9 Publishers Weekly article. Among the MG titles receiving raves are Gary Schmidt’sOkay for Now, a companion novel toThe Wednesday Wars, and Mixed-Up Files member Bobbie Pyron’s A Dog’s Way Home.

 

Read more…

 

December 8, 2010: Top Ten Trends

The folks at Scholastic have posted a list of the top-ten trends in children’s books this year:

  • The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience
  • The year of dystopian fiction
  • Mythology-based fantasy
  • Multimedia series (e.g. The 39 Clues)
  • A focus on popular characters – from all media (e.g. Fancy Nancy)
  • The shift from picture books to Beginning Reader books
  • The return to humor
  • The rise of the diary and journal format
  • Special-needs protagonists
  • Paranormal romance beyond vampires

Read the article and join the discussion…

 

December 1, 2010: Holiday Gotta-Haves

Looking for a last-minute gift? Check out these December new releases…

 

November 22, 2010: SLJ Weighs In

School Library Journal unveiled their “Best Books of 2010” in this November 17 posting.

The fiction…

The nonfiction….

 

November 18, 2010: Mockingbird Wins NBA

Mockingbird, a middle-grade novel by Kathryn Erskine, was awarded the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature at a gala ceremony in New York last night.

Mockingbird tells the story of eleven-year-old Caitlin, a girl with Asperger’s syndrome. For Caitlin, everything is black or white, good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff her older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.

For more…

 

November 12, 2010: PW’s Best of 2010

Huzzah! Publishers Weekly has announced their list of the best children’s books of 2010. Among the middle-grade titles are:

 

  • Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
  • A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
  • The Death-Defying Pepper Rouxby Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
  • Octavia Boone’s Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything by Rebecca Rupp
  • Countdown by Deborah Wiles
  • One Crazy Summer by
 Rita Williams-Garcia
  • The War to End All Wars: World War I , by Russell Freedman

For the rest of the list…

 

November 4, 2010: Should She or Shouldn’t She?

Novelist Naomi Alderman and children’s writer Frank Cottrell Boyce debate whether or not J.K. Rowling should write another Harry Potter book in the Oct. 31 online issue of The Observer. Alderman says no: “It was beautiful. And now it’s over.” Boyce says yes. “The very fact that I can’t imagine what form another Potter book would take is the best reason for saying she should write one. I can’t imagine it. And isn’t that what writers are for?”

For more…

November 4, 2010: Fall Into Books

Curl up with one of these November releases.

For more…

October 28, 2010: Middle-grade on Stage

The theatrical adaptation of Locomotion, Jacqueline Woodson’s 2003 novel, premiered October 23 at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater in Washington, DC. Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson, the play runs through October 31.

Locomotion, which was a National Book Award finalist and won a Coretta Scott King Honor, centers on an 11-year-old boy nicknamed Locomotion for his high energy. Struggling in foster care after the deaths of his parents, Locomotion discovers that poetry helps him express his feelings about that tragedy, his sister, and his new life.

Says Woodson, a three-time Newbery honoree, “In the play, the external action plays out traditionally on stage, while Locomotion recites his poetry directly to the audience. That way, I was able to show both of his worlds.”

Read more…

October 28, 2010: Catching Up With Kinney

Abrams Books for Young Readers’ Amulet imprint has announced tour dates for the Wimpy Kid Bus in support of The Ugly Truth, the last book in Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series. First stop will be Austin, Texas, on launch day, November 9. From there the bus will travel to Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Birmingham.

In addition, wimpy kid Greg Heffley will make his debut as a balloon at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For details…

October 21, 2010: Farewell to Eva

Eva Ibbotson, author of more than 20 novels for children and adults, died October 20 at her home in Newcastle, England. She was 85. Her titles for middle-grade readers include The Great Ghost Rescue; Which Witch; The Secret of Platform 13; Island of the Aunts; Journey to the River Sea; The Star of Kazan; and The Dragonfly Pool. Her latest book, The Ogre of Oglefort, was shortlisted for the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and will be published in the US by Dutton in summer 2011.

In a recent interview with Guardian writer Michelle Pauli (Guardian.co.uk) Ibbotson joked about her career and her latest book: “When I get stuck in a book now, I usually try putting an aunt in…. I find it difficult to write a book without aunts. With The Ogre I had to put in three aunts, if I remember rightly.”

Pauli goes on to note that “The Ogre of Oglefort does indeed boast a three-aunt count. It also features an ogre having a nervous breakdown, a hag, a troll, a hen-pecked wizard – and a shortlisting for the Guardian children’s fiction prize.”

For more…

October 13, 2010: Countdown to the NBA

Finalists for this year’s National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature
 category include two middle-grade novels:

  • Kathryn  Erskine, Mockingbird (Philomel Books)
  • Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer (Amistad)

The other finalists are Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker (Little, Brown); Laura McNeal, Dark Water (Knopf); and Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown (Amistad)

The winner will be announced at the National Book Awards ceremony to be held Wednesday, November 17 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

For more…

October 1, 2010: Books Like Leaves

Looking for a great autumn read? Pick one…or two… or three from our list of October new releases.

For more…

* * *

September 30, 2010: Shining Phoenix

Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novel The Shining Company, originally published in 1990 by Farrar/Straus/Giroux,has been awarded the 2010 Phoenix Award from the Children’s Literature Association. The Phoenix Award goes to an author (or their estate) for a distinguished children’s book published 20 years previously that didn’t win a major award at the time of publication.

British author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920–1992) published more than 50 historical novels during her lifetime. The Shining Company was one of her last.

According to the CLA announcement, The Shining Company tells the story of Prosper, a young Celtic shield bearer in 600 AD, “whose life begins in a narrow Welsh valley and ends, through the dislocations of a tragic war, in Constantinople,” The story “evinces [Sutcliff’s] characteristic awareness of the fragility of human culture.”

The Phoenix Award recognizes older books, like Sutcliff’s, that still have the power to draw in today’s young readers.

For more on the Phoenix award and past winners…

For School Library Journal blogger Fuse #8 Betsy Bird’s perspective on the Phoenix Award…

September 20, 2010: Dunderheads Take PEN Award

Paul Fleischman’s The Dunderheads (Candlewick), in which the world’s most tyrannical teacher takes on the world’s toughest class, has won this year’s PEN USA 2010 Literary Award for Children’s/YA Literature.

Finalists were:

  • Kate DiCamillo for The Magician’s Elephant (Candlewick Press)
  • Benjamin Alire Saenz for Last Night I Sang to the Monster (Cinco Puntos Press)
  • Liz Garton Scanlon for All the World (Beach Lane Books)

For more…

September 4, 2010: Indie Booksellers Announce Autumn Picks

Among the top ten middle-grade picks in the Autumn ’10 “Kids’ Next” flyer are:

  • Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon (Candlewick)
  • On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells (Candlewick)
  • Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic)

Inside the flyer, bookseller Becky Anderson recommends What Happened on Fox Street (Balzer + Bray), by our very own Mixed-Up Files member Tricia Springstubb.

Read more…

June 30, 2010: Play Ball!

Baseball’s “Iron Man,” Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr., will soon have a new accomplishment to add to his long list of achievements: middle-grade author. Publisher’s Marketplace announced today that Disney-Hyperion will be publishing a new middle-grade baseball series co-authored by Ripken and Baltimore Sun sportswriter Kevin Cowherd. The series kicks off Winter 2011 with Hothead, the story of a third baseman with a temper problem, and will feature characters from a Babe Ruth League team called the Orioles. Stephanie Owens Lurie is the editor.

June 24, 2010: Double Medals

Neil Gaiman has won the 2010 CILIP Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book, the UK equivalent of the Newbery Medal. Gaiman also won the 2009 Newbery medal for The Graveyard Book, making him the first author in history to have won both for the same book.

Read more…

June 23, 2010: Stellar Books

Elizabeth Bluemle, author of the “Shelf Talker” blog for Publisher’s Weekly, recently updated her list of children’s books receiving starred reviews this year. The list includes books reviewed by Publishers Weekly, the Horn Book, School Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and VOYA.

Leading the list with six stars is a middle-grade novel: Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic (HarperCollins/Walden Pond).

Also on the list is Mixed-Up Files member Beverly Patt’s Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook (Marshall Cavendish) and Kurtis Scaletta’s Mamba Point (Knopf).

Read more…

June 14, 2010: New in June

Looking for a new read?  Check our list of new MG books releasing this month.  Read more…

June 14, 2010: Indie Booksellers’ Top Picks for Summer

Top middle-grade picks from IndieBound:

  • The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. I: The Shadows by Jacqueline West (Dial)
  • Dark Life by Kat Falls (Scholastic)
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (Amulet)
  • The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Knopf)
  • How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog) by Art Corriveau (Amulet)
  • Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Philomel)

Read more…

June 9, 2010: Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Announced

The winners are:

  • Fiction: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb/Random House)

A seamlessly constructed tale of friendship and time travel set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the late 1970s.

  • Nonfiction: Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge (Viking)

A dramatic account—told in searingly immediate photos and compelling prose—of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights for African Americans.

  • Picture book: I Know Here by Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James (Groundwood)

A sensitive exploration of the feelings of a little girl contemplating her family’s move in the early 1960s from the wilds of northern Saskatchewan to the big city of Toronto.

2010 Honor Books are:

  • Fiction: The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sís (Scholastic); and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
  • Nonfiction: Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol (Roaring Brook/Flash Point); and Smile by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/Graphix)
  • Picture book: It’s a Secret! by John Burningham (Candlewick); and The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown)

The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, chosen by an independent panel of judges appointed by the Editor of the Horn Book, are among the most prestigious honors in the field of children’s literature. Acceptance speeches of the award winners will be published in the January/February 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Read more…

June 5, 2010: New England Picks

The New England Children’s Bookseller’s Advisory Council has released their top ten picks for Spring 2010. Middle-grade picks are:

  • As Simple as It Seems, by Sarah Weeks, Harper Collins, June 2010.
  • Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Harper Collins, January 2010.
  • Countdown, by Deborah Wiles, Scholastic, May 2010.
  • Crunch, by Leslie Connor, Katherine Tegen, April 2010.
  • How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life, by Art Corriveau, Abrams, May 2010.
  • Middleworld, by J&P Voelkel. Egmont, May 2010.
  • The Tweenage Guide to NOT Being UNPopular (Amelia Rules 5), by Jimmy Gownley, Atheneum, April 2010.

Read more…

June 4, 2010: Indie Bests

ForeWord Reviews announced their 2009 “Book of the Year” winners at BookExpo America last month. ForeWord is a review trade journal devoted exclusively to books from independent houses.

Winners for juvenile fiction were:

  • Gold: The Contest by Caroline Stellings, 7th Generation/Book Publishing Co
  • Silver: The Kalevala Tales of Magic and Adventure by Kirsti Makinen, Simply Read Books
  • Bronze: Artsy-Fartsy by Karla Oceanak, Bailiwick Press
  • Honorable Mention: By Freedom’s Light by Elizabeth O’Maley, Indiana Historical Society

Read more…

June 2, 2010: Folio Announces “Folio Jr.”

Literary agents Marcy Posner and Emily van Beek have joined Molly Jaffa at Folio Literary Management to expand Folio’s presence in the children’s book market.  “Folio Jr.” will be building a list devoted to middle-grade and young adult fiction, along with selective children’s picture books.

Read more…

June 2, 2010: Move Over, Percy; Meet Carter and Sadie Kane

Readers hungry for a taste of Rick Riordan’s latest middle-grade fantasy adventure can read the opening chapter of his new book, The Red Pyramid, on Disney’s Kane Chronicles website, complete with animated page-turns. “We only have a few hours, so listen carefully. If you’re hearing this story, you’re already in danger….”

As in Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles brings contemporary kids face-to-face with ancient gods.

Read more…

May 12, 2010: Children’s Choice Book Awards

Children across the U.S. cast more than 115,000 votes to select this year’s winners of the Children’s Choice Book Awards. James Patterson was voted Author of the Year for Max (A Maximum Ride Novel) and Peter Brown was selected Illustrator of the Year for his picture book, Curious Garden.

Other winners and their categories are:

  • K-2nd Grade Book of the Year: Lulu the Big Little Chick, written and illustrated by Paulette Bogan(Bloomsbury USA)
  • 3rd-4th Grade: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka(Knopf/Random House)
  • 5th-6th: Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-so-fabulous Life, written and illustrated by Rachel Renee Russell(Aladdin/Simon & Schuster)
  • Teen Book of the Year: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)

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April 22, 2010: Children’s Book Week

Observed since 1919, Children’s Book Week will be celebrated this year on May 10-16. Administrated by Every Child a Reader and sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, 2010’s CBW includes several brand-new events and initiatives as well as the third annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala, at which this year’s awards will be presented.