July 11, 2014: Apply for a Thurber House residency!
Thurber House has a Children’s Writer-in-Residence program for middle-grade authors each year and guidelines and application form for the 2015 residency were just released.
This unique residency has been in existence since 2001, offering an opportunity for authors to have time to work on their writing in a fully furnished apartment, in the historic boyhood home of author and humorist, James Thurber. Deadline is October 31, 2014. For details, go to READ MORE
July 10, 2014:
Spread MG books in unexpected places 7/19
Drop a copy of your own book or of another middle-grade favorite in a public place on July 19 -- and some lucky reader will stumble upon it.
Ginger Lee Malacko is spearheading this Middle Grade Bookbomb (use the hashtag #mgbookbomb in social media) -- much in the spirit of Operation Teen Book Drop. Read more ...
June 16, 2014: Fizz, Boom, Read: Summer reading 2014
Hundreds of public libraries across the U.S. are celebrating reading this summer with the theme Fizz, Boom, Read! Find out more about this year's collaborative summer reading program and check out suggested booklists and activities. Read more ...
April 30, 2014:
Join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and help change the world
The conversation on diversity in children's books has grown beyond book creators and gate keepers to readers and book buyers. What can you do? Take part in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign May 1 though 3 on Tumblr and Twitter and in whatever creative ways you can help spread the word to take action. Read more ….
April 11, 2014: Fall 2014 Children's Sneak Peek
A peek at forthcoming middle grade books (as well as picture books and YA books) in a round-up from Publisher's Weekly. First printed in the February 22 issue, but now available online. Time to add to your to-read list. Read more ...
April 9, 2014: How many Newbery winners have you read?
You could make a traditional list of all the Newbery Medal Award-winning Children's Books you've read, but there's something so satisfying when you check them off and get a final tally on this BuzzFeed quiz. Read more ...
March 28, 2014: Middle Grade fiction is hot at 2014 Bologna Children's Book Fair
For the second year in a row, publishers are clamoring for middle-grade, reporters Publishers Weekly. "I’ve been coming [to Bologna] for 12 to 15 years, and I’ve never had as many European publishers asking for middle-grade," said Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. Read more ...
February 14, 2014: Cybils Awards announced Ultra by David Carroll (Scholastic Canada) wins the Cybil for middle grade fiction; Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Hyperion) wins for Speculative Fiction. Read more.
January 27, 2014: And the Newbery Medal goes to ... Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal for "Flora & Ulysses"; Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Author award for "P.S. Be Eleven." Newbery Honor awards to authors Vince Vawter, Amy Timberlake, Kevin Henkes and Holly Black. For all the exciting ALA Youth Media Award News ... READ MORE
November 12, 2013:
Vote in the GoodReads semifinal round
Readers' votes have narrowed the middle-grade semifinals down to 20 titles. Log in to your GoodReads account and vote for your favorite middle-grade (and in other categories, of course). Read more ...
November 9, 2013:
Publishers Weekly Top Children's Books of 2013
Middle-grade and young adult titles selected by the editors of Publishers Weekly as their top picks of the year. Let the season of "top ten books" begin! Read more ...
October 14, 2013: Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids debuts January 2014
Shelf Media Group, publisher of Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine, will launch a new free digital-only publication for middle-grade readers. The debut issue features interviews with such notable authors as Margaret Peterson Haddix and Chris Grabenstein as well as reviews, excerpts, and more. Middle Shelf will be published bi-monthly beginning in January 2014.
Read more ...
September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House
Dream of time and space to focus on your own writing project? Applications now being accepted (11/1/2013 deadline) for The Thurber House Residency in Children's Literature, a month-long retreat in the furnished third-floor apartment of Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Read more ...
September 18, 2013: Vermont College of Fine Arts Scholarship opportunity
Barry Goldblatt Literary launches The Angela Johnson Scholarship, a talent-based grant for writers of color attending the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at VCFA. Up to two $5,000 grants will be awarded each year. Read more ....
September 16, 2013: National Book Awards longlist for youth literature
For the first time, the NBA is presenting lists of 10 books/authors on the longlist in each category. The 2013 young adult literature list includes five middle grade novels and five YA. Read more ...
Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
Check out Publishers Weekly roundup of upcoming children's books to be published in spring 2014. Read more...
August 21, 2013:
Want to be a Cybils Award Judge?
Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31!Read more ...
August 19, 2013: S&S and BN reach a deal
Readers will soon be able to find books from Simon & Schuster at Barnes & Noble. The bookstore chain was locked in a disagreement with the publisher over how much it was willing to pay for books. Read more ...
August 6, 2013: NPR's 100 Must-Reads for Kids
NPR's Backseat Book Club asked listeners to nominate their favorite books for readers ages 9 to 14. More than 2,000 people nominated titles, and a panel of Newbery authors brought the list to 100. Most are middle grade books. Read more ...
July 2, 2013: Penguin & Random House Merger
The new company, Penguin Random House, will control more than 25 percent of the trade book market in the United States. On Monday, the newly formed company began to take shape, only hours after a middle-of-the-night announcement that the long-planned merger had been completed. Read more ...
You entered the book giveaway for The Healing Spell, and the random number generator has selected you, yes you! to win this fabulous book!
The author would love to personalize her signature for you; please email kglittle at msn dot com and let Kimberley know to whom she should sign the book. Include your mailing address, and The Healing Spell will be headed your way. Congratulations!
Welcome! We’re excited to celebrate the book release of one of our very own members—Kimberley Griffiths Little’s The Healing Spell published by Scholastic Press launches TODAY!
July 1 is the perfect pub date for The Healing Spell because the final chapters in the story take place during the 4th of July weekend. Those last scenes include a shotgun, a wedding, a death, a confession, a storm and a very cute boy. But not in that order.
We caught up with Kimberley for an interview and a bonus—a giveaway of a signed hardcover of The Healing Spell! Leave a comment to be entered! The winner will be announced Saturday, July 3rd.
From the jacket flap: Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it’s crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother’s coma, but she can’t tell anyone. It’s up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.
Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption.
Livie’s powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.
Welcome to From the Mixed-Up Files, Kimberley!
We’re curious how a writer who grew up in San Francisco, lived a couple of stints in Oklahoma and Utah, and now makes her home on the banks of the Rio Grande happened to write such a convincing story about a girl growing up in the swamps of Louisiana.
I can answer that question in four words: A Family Road Trip.
About twelve years ago, my family and I drove the corridor of Highway 10, stopping in Louisiana and New Orleans for several days to explore. We met with a Cajun tour guide whose enthusiasm and knowledge and fascinating stories immediately captivated me. We also took a boat into the bayous and swamps with another guide who showed us where he lived along the banks and hunted and fished and took us out to his crawfish traps.
Four more words: I fell in love. Hard. I couldn’t stop thinking about my experiences in Louisiana and the magic I felt there and the people of the bayous. I started reading dozens of books, everything I could get my hands on—from native Louisiana writers, memoirs, professors writing about the history—to fisherman and wildlife photographers.
I returned again and again, staying in a cabin on the bayou, eating crawfish, dancing to live Cajun bands, visiting all the museums, watching documentaries. Last year I did a two week road trip with a friend from the South and we met with seven different traiteurs in their homes to hear about their experiences as a traiteur – a religious folk healer tradition that goes back three hundred years in the Cajun culture when they first arrived in the Louisiana swamps.
Unusual settings have always been a springboard for my work.
How many times did you revise the book, and did you end up taking out anything you loved?
When the story and my characters were bursting in my mind and I knew I was ready to begin writing, I wrote the first draft in a little more than three weeks during the summer when it was hot and muggy—the same season as the book. I felt like I was *living* Livie’s story right along with her. It was a bit surreal.
I spent 3-5 years revising—which included breaks to write and revise other manuscripts–but I kept going back to The Healing Spell because I loved it so much and the characters were so alive in my mind. I had a lot of interest from various editors, but the story was finally ready when an editor at Scholastic stayed up all night to finish reading the manuscript. The next morning she made an offer to my agent, as well as offering on two other manuscripts for a three-book deal.
I didn’t take out anything that I loved during the writing—or the editorial process. I actually got to add more depth to many scenes, especially the ones with T-Jacques Landry, a boy Livie knows down the bayou, as well as a whole new chapter. (Chapter Twelve, in case you’re curious!)
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
No one in particular, but many of the Cajun people and their stories in Greg Guirard’s book, Cajun Families of the Atchafalaya were incredibly inspiring to me. Then I had the most unusual experience last April of 2009 when I was introduced to a man who fit the character of Livie Mouton’s daddy—so perfectly it was like destiny to meet him and his wife.
Mr. Elward Stephens is an older version of J.B. Mouton, Livie’s daddy, in The Healing Spell.
He lives in a house that he built himself on Bayou Long, fishing out the back door, making his own cypress pirogue (small canoe-like boat), growing up barefoot in the woods and swimming in the bayou as a kid—and speaking French and listening to French music while we danced in his living room! He and his wife are two of my favorite people in Louisiana.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing a companion book to The Healing Spell, which is already under contract with Scholastic, but the publication date is not firm yet. Miz Mirage Allemond, the folk healer traiteur who lives in the swamp that Livie meets, is such an intriguing character that I wanted to know more about her. The new project is from the viewpoint of Shelby Jayne, Miz Mirage’s eleven-year-old daughter. Plus it has a ghost! And secrets! The title is still To Be Decided.
Thank you, Kimberley, and Happy Book Release Day!
Readers, we hope you enjoyed the interview!
If you’d like to a chance to win a hardcover of Kimberley’s new book, make sure you post in the comments section. Tweets and Facebook and Blog posts earn you more entries. The winner will be announced Saturday!
Kimberley is celebrating ALL DAY today so leave questions; she’ll answer, and let’s have a good time! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.
In 1968, E. L. Konigsburg’s middle-grade novel, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, won the coveted Newbery Award for Excellence in American Children’s Literature.This site is named in honor of her beloved book.We hope you approve, Ms. Konigsburg.And thank you.Your book has touched generations of readers, and, if we have anything to say about it, will continue to do so for generations to come.