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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: middle grade, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,507
1. Sarah Davies: Writing Salable Middle Grade

Sarah Davies is the founder of The Greenhouse Literary Agency, which represents authors of YA, MG, and picture books.

Sarah loves literary fiction with a strong commercial hook. Middle grade fiction is really the first that immerses young readers in new worlds and introduces them to empathy. These books often are among the most important people read.

We are in a fabulous, golden time for middle grade. Librarians and educators play a bigger role in linking readers with books, and it's sometimes a slow process.

How can you raise the level of your writing and make your manuscript stand out?

She has identified eight common denominators of great, salable middle grade. Here are a few things she looks for:

1. Know your market. What is middle grade? Her submissions inbox tells her a lot of people don't know what they're trying to do or who they're writing for.

At the younger end, it's chapter books that are typically 15,000-25,000 words long and illustrated with line art. Her client Tricia Springstubb writes these. They can be character led or concept driven. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker is an example. The Magic Treehouse is concept driven.

Novels for older middle grade readers run 30,000-60,000 words. (If it's longer, ask yourself why.) These core middle grade novels are about characters from 10 to 13, with a sweet spot of 11 to 13. THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE by Kat Yeh is an absolutely delightful middle grade that received a lot of buzz.

There's also a "tween" category that tends to be pinker and fluffier and deals with crushes, clothes, and friendships. Aladdin does this sort of book well.

2. Know your reader. How is MG different from YA? The YA protagonist is older, with a protagonist who is 15 to 17. But it's not just simply about age. The interior world of the pre-teen child is different from the older teen. If all good fiction has some rite of passage in it, the older teen's right of passage is "who will I be as an adult." For a middle grader, it's about firsts, the beginnings of finding an identity separate from your parents. Asking who am I, what am I?

3. Voice. Her client Mark Maciejewski had a funny voice. His submission needed work, but that voice struck her. Sometimes she can hear the adult behind the voice--and adult who is trying to remember how they think children sound. "Can you access the real thing? If you can, you're two-thirds of the way there. If you can an agent will spot you."

Let your voice shine through in the opening, rather than dumping plot info up front.

Read a lot and listen to children speak and understand their phrasing and logic. "You've got to develop your voice muscle."



The Greenhouse Literary Agency
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2. The Green Bicycle – Diversity Reading, 2016

Title: The Green Bicycle Author: Haifia Al Mansour Publisher: Dial Books for young Readers, 2015 Age: 9-13 Themes: family, dreams, life in Saudi Arabia as a girl, coming of age, role of women/girls Opening: Wadjda wasn’t thinking about her ticket to heaven. You could see it on … Continue reading

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3. This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares and Laughing Dinosaurs by Gary Paulsen: Book Review

ARC received at no charge to facilitate review.

When author, Gary Paulsen, rescues an elderly poodle named Corky from animal shelter, he discovers a spunk and lack of fear that makes the dog an amazing guard dog who returns the favor of saving a life. Gretchen, a dog who drinks from a mug, convinces the author that animals have an understanding and way of communicating that goes beyond what our minds can fathom. Who knew a mare would actually have the capability of protecting a jackrabbit from coyotes or that a bird could not only mimic a president but maybe even feel lonely? Some fascinating insights into the relationships animals have with humans.

Overall, the book felt like a compilation of notes about animals that didn't quite make it into Paulsen's adventure novels. While not Paulsen's best work, the reluctant reader may love the different anecdotes on animals relation to man. With each chapter being a different experience, the older middle grade reader can merely enjoy the short stories rather than think through a plot.

Rating:

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4. MMGM Links (2/8/16)

Here's this week's  MMGM links!

- Reading Violet is caught up in THE WEDNESDAY WARS. Click HERE to see why.  
- Deb Marshall is really digging THE WORLD BENEATH . Click HERE to read her review. 
- Sonora at Destined 4 Weirdness is cheering for HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.  Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Jess at the Reading Nook is spreading some good luck for JUST MY LUCK. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Carl at Boys Rule! Boys Read! is tossing out some love for LEGENDS: THE BEST PLAYERS, GAMES, AND TEAMS IN FOOTBALL. Click HERE for his feature.
- Suzanne Warr is singing praises for BLUE BIRDS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is rooting for SWEET HOME ALASKA. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
 - Susan Olson is eager to open THE TRAP DOOR (Infinity Ring Book 3). Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is cheering for SOAR. Click HERE to read his thoughts. 
- Rosi Hollenbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--NANNY X RETURNS. Click HERE for all the fun.   
- Shari Larsen is revealing the cover for BLUES BONES--with a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for details.  
- Dorine White wants everyone to join THE DRAGON OF THE MONTH club. Click HERE to see why.  
- Jess at the Reading Nook is sharing THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Katie at Story Time Secrets is showing some spirit for SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN. Click HERE to read her review 
- Andrea Mack is raving about JACOB'S LANDING. Click HERE to learn more about it. 
- Sue Kooky is featuring STORY THIEVES. Click HERE to find her review.   
- Michelle Mason is *also* spreading some STORY THIEVES love. Click HERE to see why.  
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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5. Monday Mishmash 2/8/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Blues Bones Cover Reveal  I couldn't be more excited to share the cover of Blues Bones by Rick Starkey because this is the first book I offered on as an acquisitions editor for Leap Books, Seek. It's an AMAZING story, and the cover is just as awesome. Check it out and preorder the book here for a special discounted price. The book releases March 7th.
  2. Into the Fire's New Cover  Into the Fire's new cover has been revealed as well. This book has been heavily edited AND new content has been added. I'm really happy with the end result and think readers will be too. For now, check out my gorgeous cover designed by Deranged Doctor. And thank you to everyone who participated in the social media cover reveal this weekend.
     
    Preorder it here.
  3. Editing  More client edits and edits for Leap this week. :)
  4. The S-word  No, I don't mean spring, though I wish I did. I'd like snow if it was warm and melted within a few hours. ;) We're getting two storms this week and I'm not thrilled.
  5. Drafting  Because my editing schedule is crazy, I got an idea for another adult romantic suspense. Of course! So I'm literary jotting down snippets of dialogue and scenes while cooking, lying in bed at night, and any other time when I can spare a few minutes.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. Thursday Review: SECRET CODERS by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Summary: I've been meaning to review this one for an embarrassingly long time. I had looked forward to reading it ever since first hearing about it—we are huge fans of our own (relatively) local Gene Yang here at FW and have not only interviewed... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Thursday Review: SECRET CODERS by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes as of 2/4/2016 5:44:00 PM
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7. Blog Tour & Food From Fiction: Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Etsby Dagg


Today is my stop on the SWEET HOME ALASKA blog tour.  I adored this book and will be reviewing it in a couple days.  Today I am welcoming the author to my blog for a Food From Fiction post.  The main character, Terpsichore, loves to cook and bake and when we meet her she is the main cook for her family due to a deal she made with her mom.  A lot of food is mentioned in this book and more than once I got to thinking about making cookies after reading a few chapters.  I asked for a recipe from the author and she provided one that is discussed in the book.  Thanks for visiting today Carole!
Since the old-timer, Mr. Crawford, recommended this recipe and it is the star of Terpsichore’s best-selling cookbook at the Palmer Fair, the obvious choice is Jellied Moose Nose. 
After all, in the wilds of Alaska, you don’t want to waste a smidgen of the moose you just shot. 
If you actually make it and eat it, you will have earned the right to milk and cookies for the rest of your life. 

From the Recipe Book of Terpsichore Johnson 
Jellied Moose Nose 
Put a large kettle of water on to boil. 
Hack off the upper jawbone of the moose just below the eyes and boil it for forty-five minutes. 
Dip the jawbone in cold water and pluck the hairs from the nose. 
Wash the nose thoroughly. 
Boil the nose again in fresh water with chopped onion, garlic, and pickling spices until tender. 
Cool overnight in the water it was boiled in. 
The next morning, remove the meat from the broth and remove the bones and cartilage. 
Thinly slice the meat, pack it in a glass dish with high sides, and cover with the broth. 
Season with salt, pepper, or vinegar to taste. 
Refrigerate. 
As the mixture cools, it will jell so it can be sliced. 
P. S. I’m a pescatarian, so that’s my excuse for never having tried it.
 
I am not a pescatarian, but I still don't think I would try it because I am also not an adventurous eater!
Pick up a copy of Sweet Home Alaska today. You will enjoy thoroughly enjoy Terpsichore and her adventurous, positive spirit!

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8. MMGM Links (2/1/16)

Okay, seriously HOW IS IT ALREADY FEBRUARY????  AND HOW AM I STILL WRESTLING SO MANY DEADLINES???

Ahem.

Sorry. Just seriously, where is the pause button? Or the TARDIS??? Or my genie with three wishes????

Ahem again.

Anyway, before I get to the links, I have one quick, exciting piece of news: it was announced today that Keeper of the Lost Cities is nominated for the California Young Readers Medal, which is just... such an amazing honor. The two books it's nominated with sound amazing (and have now been added to my TBR pile) so I'm sure it'll be some stiff competition. But regardless of how it all works out next year, when all the votes are cast, it's seriously such an incredible thing to have my book on this list and to get this kind of support. So thank you California. Thank you thank you thank you!

And...that's enough Shannon-gushing. On to MMGM!

- Reading Violet joins the MMGM fun with a feature on ADVENTURE OF NANNY PIGGINS. Click HERE to welcome them to the group.  
- Deb Marshall is back, with a feature on 8th GRADE SUPERZERO. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Sonora at Destined 4 Weirdness is sweet on A MANGO SHAPED SPACE.  Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Sue Kooky is gushing about THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Jess at the Reading Nook is spreading some good luck for JUST MY LUCK. Click HERE to find her review. 
- Suzanne Warr things GILDED is golden. Click HERE to see why. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is teaching everyone that MURDER IS BAD MANNERS. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot is feeling LOST IN THE SUN. Click HERE for her review.
 - Susan Olson is championing FLIGHT TO FREEDOM: NICHOLAS FLUX AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Click HERE to see why. 
- Patricia Tilton is glad to have found THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY. Click HERE to see what she liked about it. 
- Greg Pattridge is cheering for RUBY LEE & ME.  Click HERE to read his thoughts. 
- Rosi Hollenbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--MY SECRET GUIDE TO PARIS. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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9. #817 – Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Heist by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie Dupont And The High Seas Heist SERIES: Frankie Dupont Mystery Series, Bk. #4 Written by Julie Anne Grasso Illustrated by Alexander Avellino Released  7/03/2015 978-0-9943216-0-2 132 pages      Ages 8—12 “Frankie Dupont seems to catch odd-ball cases in the most unlikely places. You would think he would be used to it by now. …

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10. Friday Feature: The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow (Review)



Fear Not the Unexpected.  


Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom. 


As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past. 


Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a strange picture of a red-haired lady are the first in a series of clues that takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure. 

For the first time ever, I'm bringing in someone to help me review this book. My eight-year-old daughter, Ayla, and I read this book together, so I figured it only made sense to review it together too. So here are our thoughts on The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow.

We loved the mystery right from the start with the old newspaper article. The Begonia House really came alive for us. Ayla loved how the noises from the house and the woman who made an appearance in Fairday's room were really creepy. It really made her want to know what was going to happen next, so much so that we read the book in just three days. Without giving away spoilers, we'll just say that we really enjoyed how the setting came to life, adding to the mystery and excitement of the story. Ayla also would like a pair of those magical ruby sneakers. ;) Overall, this is a fast-paced mystery with just enough creepiness to draw readers in and hold their attention to the very last page. It's also a great story about friendship, both old and new.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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11. #813-14 What was it Like, Mr. Emperor & Bowls of Happiness from The China Institute in America

Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. In celebration of differences, Kid Lit Reviews has two books on Chinese culture, life, and its emperors from the China Institute in America. These books (currently a set of 4), are written to share the Chinese way of life, and its history, with children around the world. What Was It …

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12. MMGM Links (1/25/16)

Super wiped from a busy weekend in AZ (which was so much fun, btw. Thanks to everyone who came to YAllapalooza).

And in case you missed this on my social media--THE TITLE FOR KEEPER #5 has been revealed. Behold:



















(And for those about to ask--I still have no idea when the cover will be revealed. I haven't even seen the final version yet)

Okay, on to MMGM!
- Sonora at Destined 4 Weirdness is reflecting on THE PALACE OF MIRRORS.  Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Sue Kooky is cheering for ALWAYS ABIGAIL. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Andrea Mack is spreading the word about THE SURVIVAL GUIDE TO BULLYING. Click HERE to learn more about it.
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot is spreading some love for THE GLASS GAUNTLET. Click HERE for her review.
 - Susan Olson is championing HURRY, FREEDOM. Click HERE to see why. 
- Shari Larson has chills for FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: 13 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR. Click HERE to see what she liked about it. 
- Greg Pattridge is spotlighting CRENSHAW.  Click HERE to read his thoughts.
- Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has a guest post from author Gregory Funaro--and a special Winner's Choice GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for details.
- Susan Olson is taking the LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM (Ranger in Time #3). Click HERE for her review
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (1/25/16) as of 1/25/2016 7:34:00 AM
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13. MMGM Links (1/18/16)

Argh--anyone else still typing "2015" for the year and having to change it? Or is that just me. :)

And I'm back to being the broken record about deadlines, so I'll spare you the whine and instead just give a quick reminder that I am actually leaving the house this weekend. I'll be in AZ for Changing Hands YAllapalooza at their Tempe store on Sat, from 4-6 pm. If you're in the area, I hope to see you there! More details on my events page.

Okay, on to MMGM!

- Sonora at Destined 4 Weirdness is featuring KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (*blush* That title sounds familiar...) :)  Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Sue Kooky is celebrating 11 BIRTHDAYS. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is singing praises for BLACKBIRD FLY. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot is rooting for THE BLOOD GUARD. Click HERE for her review.
 - Jess at the Reading Nook is spreading some love for CHLOE IN INDIA. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY-- MY TEACHER IS AN IDIOM. Click HERE for details. 
- Greg Pattridge is spotlighting I DON'T KNOW HOW THE STORY ENDS.  Click HERE to read his thoughts.
- Patricia at Children's Books Heal is championing MINNA'S PATCHWORK COAT. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Susan Olson is taking the LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM (Ranger in Time #3). Click HERE for her review
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (1/18/16) as of 1/18/2016 6:36:00 AM
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14. Monday Mishmash 1/18/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Curse of the Granville Fortune  I'm putting the finishing touches on the revamped Curse of the Granville Fortune this week. My hope is to have this book out the first week in February. If you missed the cover reveal on Friday, here's the new cover:
  2. Into the Fire Street Team  Only a few more days to apply to be part of the Into the Fire Street Team. The application closes on January 21, so get yours in now. Apply here.
  3. Editing  I'm working my way through my January edits. How I booked so many this month is beyond me, but so far so good. 
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. Day  My daughter is home today since it's a holiday. We're reading two Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and studying for math tests she has this week.
  5. Seeking Questions  I haven't gotten any requests for Writer Wednesday topics in a while, so what do you want to know about being on the other side of the editing desk? Pick my brain, people. ;) I'm willing to share tips from my editorial desk at Leap, so ask away.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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15. #806 – Claude, a Dog of the Sixties by Katherine L. Holmes

Congratulations to the 2015 Newbery Medal: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson. Last Stop on Market Street is also a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015 and a Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015.  To read an interesting piece on why the this year’s Newbery Medal is …

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16. Friday Feature: Curse of the Granville Fortune Cover Revamp


If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you know I took my rights back for my middle grade trilogy Curse of the Granville Fortune. I'm not going to go into why I did this, but I will say I think I'm doing what's best for my books. That's all that really matters, right?

Well, since I didn't have rights to my previous cover, I hired True Poison to create a new cover for me, and I love it. It's spooky, but not too spooky. It's a middle grade read after all. ;) So here's the new cover and the updated blurb because this book has been revamped. I got to work with one of my favorite editors to make the story even better. And you won't have to wait long to get your hands on it because it will be re-releasing very soon!


Twelve-year-old J.B.’s visions leave him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into a freak—or worse, going insane.
 
The visions stem from a family curse. An ancestor stole the Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer. To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property.
 
But he’s not the only one searching for the treasure. His journey leads to a dark forest where he’ll battle his worst fears. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.

I wanted two things for this cover. First, I wanted the background to really pop. The setting IS a character in the story, so I wanted it featured on the cover. Second, I wanted silhouettes because kids like to picture themselves as the characters. So I got exactly what I wanted, and I'm thrilled.

Stay tuned for the announcement of when the book is available in ebook and print.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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17. MMGM Links (1/11/16)

Somehow I ended up with four different deadlines this week--so things are DEFINITELY crazypants. But I still found time to throw together the MMGM links (sorry in advance if there are mistakes in them)

But before I get to that, a couple of quick update-ish things that aren't really updates at all. More like reminders. Or maybe pleas? Not sure. But here goes:

- I *know* you guys are dying for info on Keeper #5. I *know* you want to know the title and see the cover and have the plot description and basically you just want the book RIGHT NOW. And I LOVE your enthusiasm. BUT. I'm also seriously drowning in messages asking me for that kind of info. And the thing is, I'm still writing the book. I haven't seen the final cover. I do know the tile, but I'm not allowed to share it yet. So basically: PATIENCE. All will be revealed in time. :) 

- Related to that--I am officially more than a year behind on fanmail, and it's surely only going to get worse given the crazy schedule I have in the months ahead. SORRY. I'm *definitely* not saying that to discourage you from writing to me. I love your letters. And I will do my best to reply. But please make sure you plan on a loooooooooooooooong wait. (And side note: sending additional messages saying DID YOU GET MY MESSAGE--YOU HAVEN'T REPLIED?!?!? actually gets you a slower answer because of the way my email gets sorted. Every new message that comes in goes to the end of the line. And if it's related to another message, it gets linked with that and BOTH messages go to the end of the line. So I know it's an insanely long wait--and again, I'm super sorry. But please please please bear with me and wait for my reply without re-sending)

Okay, phew! Can we tell my inbox has been explode-y lately? :)

Now on to MMGM! 
- Sonora at Destined 4 Weirdness has chills for OF GIANTS AND ICE. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Sue Kooky is raving about GAME CHANGER. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Natalie Aguirre has a guest post by author Monica Tesler & her agent, David Dunton--and a GIVEAWAY of BOUNDERS. Click HERE for details.
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot is caught up in MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY. Click HERE for her review.
 - Katie at Story Time Secrets has a double feature this week: THE ICING ON THE CAKE and YOU'RE INVITED TOO. Click HERE to check it out.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY-- THE SEVENTH MOST IMPORTANT THING. Click HERE for details. 
- Greg Pattridge sees nothing stinky about A BLIND GUIDE TO STINKVILLE.  Click HERE to read his thoughts.
- Patricia at Children's Books Heal is championing MOUNTAIN DOG. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Laurisa White Reyes has a special love-fest for Harry Potter. Click HERE to read more.  
- Carl at Boys Rule! Boys Read! has a feature on Star Wars--The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary. Click HERE to check it out.  
- Susan Olson is highlighting VIKING IT AND LIKING IT. Click HERE for her review. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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18. Monday Mishmash 1/11/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Blues Bones Cover Reveal Signups  Signups are now open for the cover reveal for Blues Bones by Rick Starkey. This is the first book I acquired through Leap Books Seek and it's amazing. You can sign up here
  2. Curse of the Granville Fortune Cover Reveal  I'll be revealing the NEW cover of Curse of the Granville Fortune on Friday right here on my blog. Stay tuned!
  3. Editing  I'm editing for Leap Books Seek and my own clients this week. Last week I posted that I have a lot of edits on my plate and jokingly asked people on FB to send me dark chocolate, and the very sweet Beth Consugar showed up at the Pocono Writers Conference with dark chocolate for me. :) How nice is that?
  4. Pocono Writers Conference  I had a great time at the conference yesterday and I got to meet Megan Erickson, a fellow Corvisiero Literary Agency author, and Veronica Park, a Corvisiero Literary Agent. I also bought one of Megan's books. 
    Megan Erickson and me with her book Make It Count

    Megan Erickson, Veronica Park, and me (Veronica was talking when the picture was snapped, but all three pictures we took came out exactly the same. Sorry, Veronica! You still look lovely.)
  5. Big Announcement!  If you are a newsletter subscriber, you will hear my big announcement today, and if you are a Kelly's Coven member, you heard the announcement last week. Everyone else will hear it on Wednesday right here. Come back to find out the big news!
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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19. #798 – If Picasso Had a Christmas Tree by Eric Gibbons and 30 Art Teachers

If Picasso Had a Christmas Tree An Illustrated Introduction to Art History for Children by Art Teachers Written by Eric Gibbons Illustrated by 30 Art Teachers Firehouse Publications     9/09/2014 978-1-940290-33-1 100 pages   Ages  7+ “This book was conceived of, written by, illustrated by, and created by 30 art teachers from all over the …

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20. Classic MG discussion: Mary Poppins

Welcome to our Mary Poppins chat–the final classics discussion for the year! At the end of the post, you’ll find info on how to tally up your reviews if you participated in 2015, as well as what we think we’ll be doing going forward. Wendy: I’ve literally seen the movie Mary Poppins over a hundred times. (What can I say, as a child, when I loved things, I loved them intensely.) I can’t remember how far into those viewings that I decided to read the books, but I was surprised to find how much I loved them–just as a much, but in a very different way.  Layla: While I’ve definitely seen this movie several times, I don’t think I’ve ever read this book! So thanks for finally bringing this one to the front of my queue, Wendy. It was really different from what I was expecting, I’ve got to say –... Read more »

The post Classic MG discussion: Mary Poppins appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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21. MMGM Links (12/28/15)

Final MMGM links of the year--seriously where did 2015 go?!?! And I have some crazy deadlines at the moment so I'm just going to jump right into these:

(Oh, but remember, there's still a few days left for the Neverseen Superfan giveaway. Click HERE to see the prizes and learn how to enter.)

- Jess at the Reading Nook is sweet on SWEET HOME ALASKA. Click HERE to find her review. 
Greg Pattridge is cheering for CHASE TINKER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC.  Click HERE to read his thoughts. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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22. Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld, illustrated by Philippe Dumas, translated by Jeffrey Green

Early one morning, towards the end of WWII, a mother and son leave the ghetto and head towards the nearby forest.  There, she leaves her son Adam, 9, telling him not to be afraid, he knows the forest well from all the times he had visited it with his parents before the war came, and promising to come for him if she can that evening.  He is left with a blanket, a knapsack with food, a book and some jacks, 

Adam spends the day walking around the forest, thinking about it and his life with his parents and his dog Miro before the war and the ghetto.  His mother doesn’t return that evening.  

The next day, Adam meets Thomas, also 9, and also left in the forest by his mother with the same promise to return for him in the evening.  Adam and Thomas know each other from school, though they had not been friends there.  They spend the day in the forest, and that evening, their mothers again fail to return.

By day, Adam and Thomas forage in the forest for food, and talk to each other about their situation.  Their talks begin to take on a philosophical nature, about faith, God. and intellect.  Positive thinker Adam believes God will help get them through, negative thinker Thomas relies of study and education, which isn’t happening for him now.

Adam and Thomas decide to build a nest in a high tree for safety, partly because of the fugitives  running through the forest, pursued by Nazis shooting at them.  They both understand they will also be shot if found since they are Jewish.  Every day. the two boys wait for their mothers, who never come for them.  One day, however, while trying to help a wounded man attempting to escape the Nazis, they learn that the ghetto has been liquidated and everyone sent to Poland.  

Luckily, they also discover a cow in a meadow and begin to get some milk from her every day.  One day, a young girl their age comes to milk the cow.  It is also a girl from their class named Mina.  Mina is hiding from the Nazis in a peasant’s home.  After the boys try to make contact with her, Mina begins to leave food for them whenever she can. 

Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, and soon a kind peasant tells them the Red Army is not far away, the war could be ending, and, meanwhile, he also begins to leave food for the boys.  Then, one day, out of the blue, Adam’s dog shows up with a note from his mother attached to the underside of his collar.  

The weather begins to get colder and colder and soon, snow starts falling.  One day, the boys see a figure wading through the ever deepening snow, and realize it is Mina, who has been very badly beaten by the peasant she lived with and thrown out into the cold and snow.

How will the children survive the cold harsh winter, with only small amounts of food and no real shelter, and not even a fire to warm themselves by.  And can two young boys really nurse Mina back to health, or will it take a miracle to make that happen? 

I have to admit that I found Adam & Thomas to be a bit of a strange story.  It was originally written in Hebrew and loosely based on author Aharon Appelfeld's real life experiences.  It is also his first book for children.  The philosophical conversations between Adam and Thomas aren't so deep or adult that middle grade readers won't understand them, but they may be a bit disconcerting, since it isn't something young readers may be used to.  But there are not explanations for some things (like why was Mina beaten? And there is no closure to anything, including the ending).


That aside, Adam & Thomas is a compelling story about suffering, survival, optimism, friendship, and especially acts of kindness during some very dark, difficult days.  Appelfeld's writing is clear and simple, with short declarative sentences and few adjectives for the most part.  


The story of the two boys, including the animals and people they encounter, has a unrealistic quality to it.  Appelfeld says he writes from a dreamlike or artificial/imitative-like world in the kind of style used in the Bible, all of which, I think, is what gives Adam & Thomas its fable-like feeling.  But make no doubt about it, this is a story based on truth, on horrific circumstances and you never forget that while reading.


Adults and young readers interested in the Holocaust shouldn't miss this small but totally accessible and powerful book, which, I think, will also make an big impact on readers not particularly interested in WWII or the Holocaust.


This book is recommended for readers age 8+

This book was borrowed from the NYPL

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23. MMGM Links (1/4/16)

Ahhhh--I can't believe it's 2016!!! (And that I'm starting yet another year drowning in deadlines. I have a LOT of writing to do over the next two months, but I will do my best to keep up with MMGM.)

Anyway, here's the links for this week:

- Sonora at Destined 4 Weirdness joins the MMGM fun with a feature on SWITCH. Click HERE to welcome her to the group! 
- Sue Kooky is raving about UNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Mark Baker is spreading some love for THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot is COUNTING BY 7s. Click HERE for her review.
 - Katie at Story Time Secrets is cheering for LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS. Click HERE to see why.
Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY-- LOST IN THE SUN. Click HERE for details. 
- Greg Pattridge is struck by THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.  Click HERE to read his thoughts.
- Patricia at Children's Books Heal is championing THE BAKING LIFE OF AMELIE DAY. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Laurisa White Reyes is giving away a copy of THE STORYTELLERS. Click HERE for details. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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24. My Thoughts: Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

4 frosted brownies.

Cover Love:
Yes.  This has such a creepy feel to it.  I love the font and I love the tagline at the top.  It all works!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis caught my eye right away.  It seemed like such a weird and scary idea.  Here it is from GoodReads:
On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.
Romance?: We come in at the start of a possible romance between Line and Marin.

My Thoughts:
The world of YA and MG books has been so saturated with dystopian books that I forget there are straight up fantasy/sci-fi books that aren't dystopian.  This is a fantasy book, set in a world vastly different than ours.  It's not futuristic, it's just not our world.  And I loved that about this book!  I loved the setting and getting to know the rules right along with Line, Marin and Kana.  But I felt it moved a bit slowly in letting us learn anything.  It didn't dissuade me from wanting to know, though.  I just wish information would've come a little bit quicker.

I like the little added mystery, it was the kind that an experienced reader (adult) picked up on pretty quick, but a younger reader would be wowed with the twist!  I liked all three characters with Kana being my favorite.  The circumstances that lead up to them being left on the island were plausible.  The only thing that made me question is why they ever go back to the island.  They live 14 years away, why would they even both coming back after that time.

There was enough darkness and things that go bump in the constant night that I was having a few nightmares.  The ending was very satisfying for me and it wrapped everything up.  I would like another book in this world, but I don't have to have the same characters.  I would love to know why they feel the need to go back to the island after 14 years away!

To Sum Up:  This one is going to be a big hit in my library.  Creepy, but with some good twists, I think that middle schoolers will love reading this story!

Book from my personal and school library.

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25. #803 – The 5 Minute Brain Workout for Kids by Kim Chamberlin & Jon

The Five-Minute Brain Workout for Kids: 365 Amazing, Fabulous, and Fun Word Puzzles Written by Kim Chamberlin Illustrated by Jon Chamberlin Sky Pony Press 11/17/2015 978-1-63450-159-0 416 pages Ages 7+ “A PUZZLE A DAY KEEPS THE BRAIN FARTS AWAY” “Get ready to give your brain a full workout each day . . . you’ll find …

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