Browsing the archives for the Alyssa Eisner Henkin tag.

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    April 11, 2014:
    Fall 2014 Children's Sneak Peek
    A peek at forthcoming middle grade books (as well as picture books and YA books) in a round-up from Publisher's Weekly. First printed in the February 22 issue, but now available online. Time to add to your to-read list. Read more ...

    April 9, 2014:
    How many Newbery winners have you read?
    You could make a traditional list of all the Newbery Medal Award-winning Children's Books you've read, but there's something so satisfying when you check them off and get a final tally on this BuzzFeed quiz. Read more ...

    March 28, 2014:
    Middle Grade fiction is hot at 2014 Bologna Children's Book Fair

    For the second year in a row, publishers are clamoring for middle-grade, reporters Publishers Weekly. "I’ve been coming [to Bologna] for 12 to 15 years, and I’ve never had as many European publishers asking for middle-grade," said Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. Read more ...

    February 14, 2014:
    Cybils Awards announced
    Ultra by David Carroll (Scholastic Canada) wins the Cybil for middle grade fiction; Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Hyperion) wins for Speculative Fiction. Read more.

    January 27, 2014: And the Newbery Medal goes to ...
    Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal for "Flora & Ulysses"; Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Author award for "P.S. Be Eleven." Newbery Honor awards to authors Vince Vawter, Amy Timberlake, Kevin Henkes and Holly Black. For all the exciting ALA Youth Media Award News ... READ MORE

    November 12, 2013:
    Vote in the GoodReads semifinal round

    Readers' votes have narrowed the middle-grade semifinals down to 20 titles. Log in to your GoodReads account and vote for your favorite middle-grade (and in other categories, of course). Read more ...

    November 9, 2013:
    Publishers Weekly Top Children's Books of 2013

    Middle-grade and young adult titles selected by the editors of Publishers Weekly as their top picks of the year. Let the season of "top ten books" begin! Read more ...

    October 14, 2013:
    Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids debuts January 2014

    Shelf Media Group, publisher of Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine, will launch a new free digital-only publication for middle-grade readers. The debut issue features interviews with such notable authors as Margaret Peterson Haddix and Chris Grabenstein as well as reviews, excerpts, and more. Middle Shelf will be published bi-monthly beginning in January 2014.
    Read more ...

    September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

    Dream of time and space to focus on your own writing project? Applications now being accepted (11/1/2013 deadline) for The Thurber House Residency in Children's Literature, a month-long retreat in the furnished third-floor apartment of Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Read more ...

    September 18, 2013: Vermont College of Fine Arts Scholarship opportunity

    Barry Goldblatt Literary launches The Angela Johnson Scholarship, a talent-based grant for writers of color attending the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at VCFA. Up to two $5,000 grants will be awarded each year. Read more ....

    September 16, 2013:
    National Book Awards longlist for youth literature

    For the first time, the NBA is presenting lists of 10 books/authors on the longlist in each category. The 2013 young adult literature list includes five middle grade novels and five YA. Read more ...

    Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
    Check out Publishers Weekly roundup of upcoming children's books to be published in spring 2014. Read more...

    August 21, 2013:
    Want to be a Cybils Award Judge?

    Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31! Read more ...

    August 19, 2013:
    S&S and BN reach a deal
    Readers will soon be able to find books from Simon & Schuster at Barnes & Noble. The bookstore chain was locked in a disagreement with the publisher over how much it was willing to pay for books. Read more ...

    August 6, 2013:
    NPR's 100 Must-Reads for Kids
    NPR's Backseat Book Club asked listeners to nominate their favorite books for readers ages 9 to 14. More than 2,000 people nominated titles, and a panel of Newbery authors brought the list to 100. Most are middle grade books. Read more ...

    July 2, 2013:
    Penguin & Random House Merger

    The new company, Penguin Random House, will control more than 25 percent of the trade book market in the United States. On Monday, the newly formed company began to take shape, only hours after a middle-of-the-night announcement that the long-planned merger had been completed. Read more ...

    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

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


    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

    Check out these titles releasing in March...


    March 5, 2013: Catch the BEA Buzz

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

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

    Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward

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

    The Tie Fetch by Amy Herrick

    For more Buzz books in other categories,


    February 20, 2013: Lunching at the MG Roundtable 

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

    Read about their thoughts...


    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

    Check out these new titles releasing in February...


    January 28, 2013: Ivan Tops List of Winners

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

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

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

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

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

    For a complete list of winners…


    January 22, 2013: Biography Wins Sydney Taylor

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

    For more...


    January 17, 2013: Erdrich Wins Second O'Dell

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

    For more...


    January 15, 2013: After the Call

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


    January 2, 2013: On the Big Screen

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


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An Interview With Author Lisa Greenwald

Authors, Interviews, New Releases

In Lisa Greenwald’s 2009 debut middle grade novel, My Life in Pink & Green, 12-year old Lucy Desberg saves her family’s pharmacy by winning a grant to create an eco-spa. Now Lucy’s back in a sequel, My Summer of Pink & Green, which came out on March 1. The book already has been named to the spring 2013 Kids’ Indie Next List.

A bit about the story: Work has already begun on the eco-spa but things are anything but calm in Lucy’s life. Her older sister is home from college — with a boyfriend — and their investor’s irritating daughter and a bossy spa coordinator are complicating Lucy’s plans. This time, will a good makeover save the day…or not?

Lisa is also the author of Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes, and Reel Life Starring Us. We’re thrilled to have Lisa visiting with us today!

MUF: Hi Lisa, and welcome to the Mixed-Up Files!

LG: Hello! I am so happy to be here!

lisa_greenwald[1]MUF: Did you always plan to write a sequel to My Life in Pink & Green? Tell us how it came about.

LG: I didn’t always plan on it. I had it in the back of my head and sort of always hoped that I’d write a sequel. I love the characters and feel so close to them, and it felt great to reunite with everyone.

MUF: Was it a challenge to get back into Lucy’s voice and continue the story from where it left off?

LG: It wasn’t really a challenge. To be honest, I had so much fun writing this book. It takes place in the summer, which is my favorite season! I loved writing about beach trips and flip-flops and ice cream. I was also thrilled to be back in Lucy’s world.

MUF: Lucy is such an earnest, positive, optimistic girl. We have to ask, is she anything like yourself?

LG: Hmmm. :) Well, I guess I can say that I aspire to be more like Lucy. I try to be optimistic and positive, but I can’t say that I’m always that way. I guess Lucy is the kind of friend I wished I had when I was in middle school.

MUF: You work as a school librarian in addition to being an author and the mother of a preschooler. How do you balance everything? When do you find time to write?

LG: It’s not easy! I write during my daughter’s naps during the school year and then I have two writing days a week during the summer. I have to be very strategic about my writing time and I can’t waste it on Facebook or Twitter. It’s hard, but I manage to get it done.

9781419704130[1]MUF: Can you tell us what your writing process is like?

LG: When I’m in the process of writing a first draft, I try to write ten pages every writing day. I always write a fast first draft. I know as I’m writing it that it will need a great deal of revision, but I power through until I get to the end. I rarely re-read it as I’m going. Then when I’m finished, I share it with my fabulous agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin. She’ll give me notes and I’ll fix it up before I send a draft to my wonderful editor Maggie Lehrman.

MUF: What has been one of your best author moments?

LG: Every time I get an email or a letter from a reader, I am thrilled. I love to know that I’m making a small difference in these kids’ lives.

MUF: What are you working on now?

LG: I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m working on another book that takes place in the summer! And it involves dogs!

MUF: Can you share any advice to aspiring writers? What’s the most important advice you ever received?

LG: You must have a thick skin. It’s the only way to survive. You will receive so much criticism and some of it will be useful and some won’t. Just stay positive and focus on your writing.

Thank you Lisa, for visiting the Mixed-Up Files! Find out more about Lisa and her books at To order My Summer of Pink & Green, click here.


Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of Calli Be Gold (Wendy Lamb Books 2011), which is a 2014 Bluestem Book Award nominee (the Illinois Children’s Choice Award). Visit her at



Alyssa Eisner Henkin Giveaway Winners


Thanks for all the wonderful comments on my interview of agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin! And a huge thank you to Alyssa for sharing such great info about the changing market and for offering such amazing giveaways.

First up, is the winner of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

And the winner is…

Patricia J. Murphy


The winner of up to a 20 page critique of a middle grade novel is…

Pam Beres

Congrats, winners!  I’ll send each of you an e-mail soon.  For those of you who entered the second critique giveaway through the link at the bottom of the interview, the winner will be announced this weekend as a comment on the original post for that giveaway.

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Agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin Interview and Giveaway

Giveaways, Interviews

I’m thrilled to welcome agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin to the Mixed-Up Files.  Alyssa is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Trident Media Group in December of 2006, she spent seven years at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, where she edited the New York Times bestselling LITTLE QUACK, as well as the popular THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, and THE WEDDING PLANNER’S DAUGHTER. Alyssa is currently seeking commercial middle grade and young adult novels, as well as projects with crossover appeal in women’s fiction.


Thank you for visiting us!  Between all your editorial and agenting experience, how has the market changed, how did you adapt to it, and what new changes do you think agents might make in the future? 

While we’re in a climate of great change, I think publishers are choosier now more than ever. I’ve heard a refrain lately of people looking for books that have a very unique and lyrical voice, but at the same time are “not so different” that they can’t comp to other popular books.

Additionally, authors now have the ability to publish their own books through Amazon and other etailers without a major publisher backing them. While it’s still often a long road between independently publishing one’s book and getting a publisher to notice it and pick the book up in a big deal, it’s definitely a strategy that I’ve seen already, and one that I suspect we’ll see more and more of in the months ahead. Editors and agents are often “trolling” the highest ranked books on Amazon and B& and figuring out if there is a way to expand those brands beyond just the ebook arena by publishing them in hardcover, paperback in foreign markets, selling film rights.


It’s amazing to see how many middle-grade books are being self-published now.  What do you think about the quality of those books, and when do you believe it’s okay for a writer to consider that route?

I love the fact that self-publishing no longer has the stigma associated with it that it did at earlier times. Not only are the John Lockes and the Amanda Hockings of the world making money by selling their ebooks online, but plenty of mid list authors as well as newbies are making considerable cash as well.

While self-publishing ebooks might not be the right strategy for every book, and particularly not for every MG book, considering that a lot of the readers in that age group are not yet reading on e-readers, nor are they on Facebook in the same way that teens are, it is definitely the right strategy for some.

My own wonderful client, Adam Glendon Sidwell made a huge foray by independently publishing his MG book EVERTASTER, which hit #52 overall in books on and #1 in children’s mystery books on his first day of publication. A veteran of the special effects film industry, Adam decided to take this route after I could not sell his fun, funny, clever, and page-turningly delicious book EVERTASTER to a major publisher. I had gotten close to selling the book to 2 different major publishers, but while the editors championed the book, sales came back and said it was too quirky. And yet these rejection letters we were receiving sounded more like sell sheets for the book! One editor said “this was like GOONIES meets RATATOUILLE meets THE DA VINCI CODE, and kids would literally eat this up.”

While EVERTASTER is certainly a quirky story. It’s also a very commercial one. It’s both a mystery and adventure in which the worlds pickiest eater goes in search of The Gastronomy of Peace, a recipe so delicious, that one who finds it will never want to eat anything else. And it’s a battle to the finish, since evil forces are in search of this rare delicacy, too. And securing its ingredients takes Guster and his brainy sister across the globe from jungles to icy peaks to medieval castles.

Shortly after the submission rounds concluded, my agency, Trident Media Group, launched its own ebook publishing platform. We serve as advisors to our clients who wish to publish their own books and consult on marketing and price strategies, covers, copyediting, and every other facet of eBook making. Adam and I agreed that EVERTASTER seemed like the perfect first MG with which to launch Trident’s impressive roster of original eBooks. The fact that he and I had been editing and revising it for the better part of two years definitely spoke to the quality of the work as well.


What are some great ways for authors to promote themselves and their books?

I think the more authors can do to utilize online resources, the better. In the case of EVERTASTER, Adam and his brand team (i.e. family members) spent two months prior to publication building up a huge fan-base for the book on Facebook and Twitter. He also created a blog and a trailer, sought out quotes from other authors and interviews on influential blogs. And he kept his growing fan base in the loop every step of the way, by tweeting and posting on FB every time something new happened with the book. He also sponsored contests on Goodreads, did cross-promotion with a pie company, and even put up the first chapter page-by-page on Facebook.

While the ebook is launching with a splashy and fabulous trailer, the paperback version of EVERTASTER already made huge waves on Amazon on June 14th. Adam specifically created a trade paperback so he could have something to take to schools, as opposed to just creating an ebook. Thanks to Adam’s great story AND his ability to strategically use social networking, EVERTASTER was successful right out of the gate. Picking the right meta-data categories to put one’s book in when selling it online is essential, too. Otherwise, it might not be found in a search.


What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen authors make? 

I think authors should utilize editors and copyeditors to make sure their book is in great shape before they put it up online. I also personally think that authors should take advantage of as much free online publicity as they can, and not outlay a lot of cash for banner ads or other expensive advertising until they at least are in the black and have some revenue from their first phase of sale to invest.


I’d love to know the titles of some of your favorite middle-grade novels, and why you love them so much.

NUMBER THE STARS and THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry both top my charts. Both so beautifully-written and astute, yet each so different.

I’m also a huge fan of THE LEMONADE WARS by Jaqueline Davies. It teaches math in a very subtle way, while also telling a very compelling and heartfelt story.

I also greatly enjoyed THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE: The Shadows by Jacqueline West and found it a great balance between spooky adventure and a very relatable character.


Do you have a manuscript wish list?   

I definitely am on the watch for more MG then ever, since I feel the industry is skewing to YA for its own good and that there’s a lot of room to grow in the MG cannon. I often find submissions in MG often tend to skew either very voice-driven or very plot-driven, and so I’m looking, like so many agents are, for a very fresh voice that grabs hold of the reader, but one in which high-stakes develop organically throughout the story, and don’t feel tacked on. I’m a huge fan of THE ORIGAMI YODA branding strategy, and would also like to figure out what the next “Yoda” is…J


Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?  

When you get positive feedback on a book, even if it’s by way of a rejection letter, don’t dismiss it. Had Adam not listened to the kind praise he was securing as well as thought about ways to sell his book in an outside the box manner, he’d never be among the top-selling MG mystery books on the market.


A lucky winner will receive a copy of WONDER written by R. J. PALACIO, one of Alyssa Eisner Henkin’s clients.  Indiebound says: In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.  R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. This wonderful book has made the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, UK, and Indie bestseller lists, and inspired the Choose Kind anti-bullying campaign.  Leave a comment below and our random generator will choose a winner on Saturday, June 30. 

Alyssa Eisner Henkin is also offering a second giveaway…a critique of up to 20 pages of a middle grade novel manuscript!  Please let us know in your comment if you want to be included in this extremely generous giveaway.

***For both giveaways, you’ll receive extra entries for sharing a link on your blog, Facebook, an online forum, or Twitter.  Please mention each link in a new comment so the generator will add your extra entries.  The WONDER winner must live in the US or Canada.  Good luck!

In addition to these awesome giveaways, Alyssa Eisner Henkin is also offering one more chance for writers to win a critique from her (and this giveaway is open for one picture book manuscript or up to 20 pages of an MG or YA).  Click here for more information! 

Mindy Alyse Weiss writes humorous middle-grade novels and quirky picture books.  She’s constantly inspired by her eleven and fourteen year-old daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer pup who was recently rescued from the Everglades.  Visit Mindy’s blog or Twitter to read more about her writing life, conference experiences, and writing tips.

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