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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Middle Grade Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 228
1. Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson: Book Review

Book received at no charge in exchange review.

It's been a month since Benjamin Putter's father passed away. It's hard for an eleven-year-old to describe what it feels like to lose a loved one but Benjamin is convinced the lump he feels in his throat is a golf ball caused by his loss. If that isn't enough, he hears his father's voice coming from his urn imploring him to scatter his ashes on the 18th hole of the famous Augusta National golf course. He has no idea how he's going to get there but he knows he must.

As he begins his journey, Benjamin meets up with a spunky girl named Noni who is determined to travel with him. Together they face obstacles that seem insurmountable. They also face the ugly inner demons of lingering racism and have to come to terms with what they see and hear as opposed to how they feel.

Strong writing and plot pacing make for a poignant and heart warming story. However, young readers may be turned off by the heart breaking subject matter. While it's written for middle grade, it may be too deep and unsettling for the younger end age group.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2016)
Pages: 336 hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1481448390
Ages: 8-12

This book can be purchase from the following retailer:

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2. in Chicago Tribune: the inherent wisdom of middle-grade books

A few months ago, I sat on the couch in my family room reading and re-reading middle-grade books. I had reached an end of sorts with young-adult fiction—had grown concerned about the divisions, the animosity, even, that had grown up among and between YA camps and were splitting writers from writers from (ultimately) readers. I wanted to feel the simple magic again of being a reader in a young person's world.

I read to be alive to the stories themselves. I read in search of binding patterns. I read, and I thought.

This essay, now published on Printers Row/Chicago Tribune, reports back on the thoughts I had.

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3. My Writing and Reading Life: Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Author of Just Like Me

Just Like Me, by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, is a funny, uplifting summer camp story about unlikely friendships and finding your place in the world from the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet.

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4. 5 Middle Grade Books to Love | Selected by Sarah Dooley, Author of Free Verse

It’s always difficult to narrow down the teetering pile of “Books I Loved” and the tottering pile of “Books to be Read” to a manageable number. Here are just a few middle grade novels author Sarah Dooley loved, and a few more she's looking forward to reading.

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5. A Curious Tale of the In-Between, by Lauren DeStefano | Book Review

A Curious Tale of the In-Between will appeal to young people who like ghost stories and the supernatural and who have issues of loss and unsolved mysteries in their own lives.

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6. Sky Jumpers, by Peggy Eddleman | Book Review

Sky Jumpers depicts a post-apocalyptic world after World War III. Its spunky heroine, Hope Toriella, her best friend, Aaren, and their acquaintance, Brock, are risk-takers who like to climb the cliff at the town’s edge, hold their breaths, and jump through the Bomb’s Breath.

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7. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, by Juliet T. Lamana | Book Review

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere will appeal to young people who have had to cope with catastrophe and its aftermath.

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8. The Defiant, by M. Quint | Book Review

The Defiant will appeal to middle grade and young adult readers interested in adventure, mystery, and eerie situations.

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9. Stay Where You Are & then Leave, by John Boyne | Book Review

Stay Where You Are & Then Leave will appeal to middle grade readers interested in twentieth century history, life in England during World War I; also anyone who has had to deal with a parent changed by trauma.

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10. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | January 2016

This month, El Deaf, a 2015 Newbery Honor book is the best selling middle grade book from our affiliate store. Our selection of books picked from the nationwide best selling middle grade list, as they appear on The New York Times, includes Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary.

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11. My Writing and Reading Life: Laurel Gale, Author of Dead Boy

Fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book will embrace this darkly funny debut novel from Laurel Gale about Crow, a dead boy, who has a chance at friendship—and a chance at getting his life back.

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12. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | December 2015

This month, our selection of books picked from the nationwide best selling middle grade list, as they appear on The New York Times, remain the same. We love the powerful story I Am Malala.

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13. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | November 2015

This month, our selection of books picked from the nationwide best selling middle grade list, as they appear on The New York Times, includes the powerful story I Am Malala.

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14. The Tournament at Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice: the Early Years) | Book Review

[A]s you dive into The Tournament at Gorlan, prequel to the series, you can imagine the author’s invitation: “curl up and get comfortable; I’ve got a story for you.”

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15. Voyagers Series | Book Giveaway

Enter to win this new multi-platform middle-grade series: VOYAGERS (Random House Children's Books, 2015). Get the full Voyagers experience! Giveaway begins October 26, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 25, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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16. Voyagers Series | Book Giveaway

Enter to win this new multi-platform middle-grade series: VOYAGERS (Random House Children's Books, 2015). Get the full Voyagers experience! Giveaway begins October 26, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 25, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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17. 5 Reasons Why Books with Characters of Diversity Are Important

I’m optimistic that, through literature that explores and celebrates diversity, all kids will be able to comfortably go on any adventure with any character to anywhere.

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18. KidLit Events October 20-27

Me & Sara K. JoinerAFTER THE ASHES by Sara K. JoinerI had a fun time hanging out at Blue Willow Bookshop Saturday for Sara Joiner’s launch for her debut MG novel, AFTER THE ASHES. Sara is a local librarian, and it was great to see so many of her fellow librarians show up to help her celebrate. I got to read an early version of this novel a couple of years ago during a Darcy Pattison workshop that was sponsored by SCBWI Houston. Even in its early stages, I loved this historical novel set in Indonesia in 1883 about two young Dutch girls struggling to survive the aftermath of a volcano. I knew it would be a hit! Kirkus calls it “heart-rending story of love and loss, family ties, and friendship” and Publishers Weekly says it’s a “breakneck, and often heartbreaking, coming-of-age survival story.” Here’s a review from Teen Reads!

 Here’s this week’s events:

Blue Willow Bookshop
Gitty Daneshvari, MG Author

Gitty Daneshvari will discuss and sign her new book for kids, THE LEAGUE OF UNEXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN. Are you average? Normal? Forgettable? If so, the League of Unexceptional Children is for you! This first book in a hilarious new adventure series is for anyone who’s struggled to be noticed in a sea of above-average overachievers.

Twelve-year-olds Jonathan Murray and Shelley Brown are completely average and forgettable until they are recruited to help the League of Unexceptional Children (a covert network that uses the nation’s most average, normal, and utterly unexceptional children as spies) save the Vice President of the United States, who has been kidnapped along with an important code.

Picture Book Critique Workshop, with Varsha Bajaj
COST $50-$70

Picture books seem simple to write, but they are deceptively simple, for it is challenging to create a story that has relatable characters, a strong plot, and a compelling premise in under 700 words. Picture books are wholly unlike other books, in that they are the marriage of pictures and words. While this fact makes writing picture books exciting, it also creates challenges unique to the genre. Despite the inherent challenges of writing picture books, the endeavor is well worth the work, for picture books alone introduce entire generations to the joy of the written word.

In this workshop we will read and analyze several beloved picture book classics and identify the elements that contribute to their magic. If you are an intermediate picture book writer with at least one year of experience attending critique groups and studying picture book craft and you would love the opportunity to explore how you can vitalize and deepen your manuscript with supportive fellow writers, then this is the perfect workshop for you.

The first six writers to register will get to have their picture book manuscripts critiqued.

OCTOBER 24, SATURDAY, 11:00 AMSANCTUARY by Jenny McKissack
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jenny McKissack, YA Author

Seabrook author Jenny McKissack will sign and discuss her new book for teens, SANCTUARY. After the untimely death of her aunt Laura, Cecilia Cross is forced to return to Sanctuary, a rambling, old French-Gothic mansion that crowns a remote island off the coast of Maine. Cecilia is both drawn to and repulsed by Sanctuary. The scent of the ocean intoxicates her, but she’s also haunted by the ghosts of her past — of her father who died at Sanctuary five years ago, and of her mother who was committed soon after. The memories leave Cecilia feeling shaken, desperate to run away and forget her terrible family history.
But then a mysterious guest arrives at Sanctuary: Eli Bauer, a professor sent to examine Sanctuary’s library. Cecilia is intrigued by this strange young man who seems so interested in her — even more interested in her than in the books he is meant to be studying. Who is he and what does he want? Can Cecilia possibly trust her growing feelings for him? And can he help her make peace with her haunted, tragic past?

OCTOBER 24, SATURDAY, 12:305:00 PM
Maud Marks Library, 1815 Westgreen Blvd., Katy
Celebrate Local Authors: More than 30 authors
Cost: FREE

Please join the Maud Marks Library for the second annual Celebrate Local Authors event. The theme is “Treat Yourself to a Good Book” and the event is FREE for all ages. More than 30 authors will be selling and signing their books. In addition, there will be book presentations throughout the day for various children’s, YA, and adult genres. Attendees will receive a door prize ticket for every 15-minute session they attend and will earn a bonus ticket if they come in costume.

Houston SCBWI members participating include: Carmen Bredeson, Mandy Broughton, Arlene Graziano, Dee Leone, Pat Miller, Trakena Prevost, Ana Maria Rodriguez, Nancy Shakespeare, Jenna Pashley Smith, Fleur Wiig, and Marion Young. For more information, visit Space City Publishing.

OCTOBER 27, TUESDAY, 6:00-8:00 PMA MAD ZOMBIE PARTY by Gena Showalter
Katy Budget Books

KBB will host three authors of creepy YA books for the Halloween season: Gena Showalter, Kady Cross, and Amy Lukavics! Seating is limited, so plan to arrive a little early. See the KBB website for complete information.

Gena Showalter: A MAD ZOMBIE PARTY
Ali Bell and Cole Holland’s crew of zombie slayers thought they’d won the war against Anima Industries, the evil company responsible for capturing and experimenting on zombies in an effort to discover the secret to immortality. In the last epic clash, the slayers lost many of their crew and closest friends. But Frosty, the ice man himself, has not recovered from one casualty in particular—the love of his life, Kat Parker.
On the path to self-annihilation, Frosty receives a message from beyond—Kat’s spirit returns, insisting he partner with rogue slayer Camilla Marks. Frosty will do anything for Kat. Except that. Camilla is the one who betrayed them all, leading to Kat’s death.
But when Anima rises from the grave to become a force the slayers may not have the strength to overcome, Frosty, Camilla and all the slayers will have to work together to survive. And one broken slayer will learn that sometimes, the line between hate and attraction is blurred…and the road to redemption isn’t through revenge, but in letting go of the past and grabbing hold of the future.

Wren Noble is dead—she was born that way. Vibrant, unlike other dead things, she craves those rare moments when her twin sister allows her to step inside her body and experience the world of the living.
Lark Noble is alive but often feels she belongs in the muted Shadow Lands–the realm of the dead. Known as the crazy girl who talks to her dead sister, she doesn’t exactly fit in with the living, though a recent suicide attempt and time in a psych ward have proved to her she’s not ready to join her sister in the afterlife.
Now the guy who saved Lark’s life needs her to repay the favor. He and his friends have been marked for death by the malevolent spirit of a vicious and long-dead serial killer, and the twins—who should know better than to mess with the dead—may be their only hope of staying alive.

DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS by Amy LukavicsWhen sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.
When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.


Soman Chainani will be upstairs in the seating area to discuss and sign his newest entry into the SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL series, THE LAST EVER AFTER. In this last book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy, everything old is new again, as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale. This B&N exclusive edition includes a double-sided timeline, which will let you display your Ever or Never pride!

Former best friends Sophie and Agatha thought their ending was sealed when they went their separate ways, but their storybook is about to be rewritten—and this time theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the forces of Good are in deathly peril. Will Agatha and Sophie be able to work together to save them? Will they find their way to being friends again? And will their new ending be the last Ever After they’ve been searching for?

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19. You’re Practically Grown Up…NOT!

Eighth-graders frequently seem confused about how grown up they are. And do you blame them? Not me. Twelve to fourteen-year-olds pay adult admission, and are about to make the giant leap into high school, yet they’re not allowed to drive or work. Bummer. Girls, already on the road in developing the forms and functions of grown women, deal with parents who one moment scold, “You’re practically grown up!” and then awhile later become hysterical when their princess ASKS about the ins and outs of dating. Boys, with their physical and sexual maturity just beginning to awaken, are suddenly surrounded by a horde of newly attractive and unnervingly gigantic girls. Yikes!

Most eighth-graders concerns are related to friends, family, and school. Honestly, it’s a social media nightmare at times. Are they going to be embarrassed? Will their BFF still be their friend tomorrow? Does he like me like me, or just like me? You get the drift.

So as a writer, how do you connect with such a tough audience, who’s not quite grown up, yet feel that all systems are go and are ready to wear bigger shoes? One way is to hook into their characteristics, and extract a much needed trait or a combination of traits to make your characters feel authentic to your readers. In order to do this, we need to take a look at what makes an eighth-grader tick.

Here are Eight 8th Grader Characteristics:

1. Can be touchy, and express anger easily.

2. Music is increasingly important to them, as is technology and the latest got-to-have gadget.

3. Sarcasm is a prevalent quality. (I use that one a lot!)

4. As their self-concept develops, they can be withdrawn or prone to challenging others. They struggle with a sense of identity.

5. Abstract reasoning skills are strengthening and expanding. 

6. May test limits and rules, but also develop ideals and choose role models.

7. Skin problems may be emerging, boys’ voices are changing, and girls are menstruating. Personal hygiene and self-confidence become issues.

8. May begin to experiment with sex and substances.

Remember, readers this age are looking for escape, to experience things they can’t in their own lives. Being attuned to how they think, and what they’re feeling is a step in the right direction to creating a story that will keep this age group turning page after page of your latest tween read!

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20. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | August 2015

This month, Connect the Thoughts, an innovative journal from Chronicle Books, is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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21. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | September 2015

This month, Girl to Girl: Honest Talk About Growing Up and Your Changing Body (Chronicle Books), a must-have for every girl navigating her way through the preteen years, is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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22. New Map ~ After the Ashes

I love getting snail mail, especially when it's a shiny new book with a map that I worked on earlier this year!

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23. The Imagined Life of Imaginary Things: Michelle Cuevas on Writing About Imaginary Friends

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, is the imagined life of imaginary things.

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24. The Girl from Felony Bay, by J. E. Thompson | Book Review

When twelve-year-old Abby Force found her attorney father unconscious, he was surrounded by jewelry taken from a secret hiding place in his library ceiling.

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25. My Writing and Reading Life: Eric Pierpoint

Eric Pierpoint is a veteran Hollywood character actor who’s begun a writing career with several screenplays in development. His ancestors came west on the Oregon Trail in the mid 1800s, so Eric and his dog, Joey, followed in their wagon wheel tracks and traveled cross-country researching The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole.

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