For Teachers

Cover Reveal, Two Book Giveaways & Interview with Laurie Friedman

We’re lucky to have a cover reveal and two giveaways…for an exciting new middle grade novel by Laurie Friedman with illustrations by Heather Burns. Just wait until you see the full cover toward the bottom of this post. It’s amazing!!!

Laurie Friedman is the author of over fifty critically acclaimed picture books, chapter books, and novels for young readers including the bestselling Mallory McDonald chapter book series, The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair teen journal-format series, and many rhyming picture books, including the Love, Ruby Valentine series. She is also a frequent speaker at schools across the country. Her latest book, The Campaign, a middle-grade novel about two best friends who run against each other for class president will be available in libraries and through booksellers in September 2020.

You can find out more about Laurie and her books, get information on school visits, and sign up for her newsletter on her website. Interact with Laurie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit Mallory’s Facebook page.

 

Welcome back to the Mixed-Up Files, Laurie! We’re thrilled to reveal the cover of your upcoming middle grade novel, The Campaign. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. 

What inspired you to write The Campaign

 

Great question! With the upcoming presidential election, I started to think about campaigns and how I might write about them in a way that would be fun and meaningful for middle-schoolers. I also wanted to capture the sense of drama that inevitably surrounds all campaigns. What could be more dramatic than two best friends who run against each other for president of their class? As is the case in many elections, the gloves come off! I want readers to see that no elected position is worth having if you have to fight dirty to get it.

 

That definitely sounds dramatic—and something every tween should read.

What do you think are the best ways to teach children and teens about politics? Are there any websites you think teachers would like to use with their students? 

 

Another great question! I think it’s important for kids to realize that their voices and opinions matter. Getting involved with local issues that mean something to them—both at school and in their communities—is a great place to start. Also, following the news is something that can start at a young age. Many of the media outlets have websites dedicated to providing news to students. My personal favorites are CNN 10 which provides a ten-minute recap of important daily news stories and the New York Times Learning Network which has all kinds of classroom resources.

 

Thanks for the helpful resources! When will The Campaign be released…and what are you looking forward to the most during school visits? 

 

 

The Campaign will be out in September, just in time for the national election. I always look forward to school visits and talking to kids about two of my favorite topics–reading and writing. I incorporated bits of history and fun facts about past presidents and what they did as leaders into The Campaign. I’m looking forward to including a trivia quiz (with prizes!) into my school talks.

 

 

I’m sure teachers and media specialists will love all the fun facts. And your school talks sound both informational and fun!

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

 

Talking about books is one of my favorite topics, so I could go on all day! Ha! Don’t worry, I won’t. The bottom line here is that I feel strongly a leader should be a good listener and recognize when someone has a good idea that might be even better than their own. I don’t like polarization. Whether it’s a school or a country, we should all be working together, not against each other. My hope is that The Campaign will be viewed as a fun read that also gets that message across to students.

 

I wish everyone would work together instead of against each other, and am so glad you wrote The Campaign. Thank you for visiting us, Laurie—and revealing your amazing cover.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…the cover reveal of The Campaign! I absolutely love it. Congrats, Laurie. 

 

Amanda Adams has always dreamed of running for class president. Her mom is a member of Congress and her dad is a political strategist who manages her mother’s campaign. Politics is in her DNA. She has the perfect VP in mind for the school ticket—her best friend Meghan Hart. But when Amanda finds out that Meghan has political ambitions of her own, these two best friends suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of the aisle, and, as each girl mounts her campaign, it’s clear the gloves are about to come off. As the rest of their classmates begin to choose sides, the girls realize how they carry themselves over the coming weeks will have a lasting impact on the outcome.

 

Laurie Friedman is giving away TWO signed copies of The Campaign! The first Rafflecopter giveaway is open to everyone. The second is only open to teachers and media specialists. Laurie will send the books as soon as they’re available…and the lucky winners can read The Campaign before it’s released!

Giveaway winners will be posted on Saturday, February 8. Good luck!

*This giveaway is only available in the U.S. and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A tribute to E.L. Konigsburg

The eyes of the children’s literature world will be on Philadelphia on Monday, January 27 as the year’s most outstanding books for children are recognized at the American Library Association’s annual Midwinter Meeting.

Beginning at 8 a.m., more than 20 awards will be announced, including the Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Printz, Schneider Family, Pura Belpre and Stonewall awards.

The eyes of the authors and illustrators whose works are in contention will be on their phones, waiting for that predawn phone call, from one of the committee members involved in this momentous decision.

According to Newbery Medal winner Linda Sue Park, who received the award in 2002 for her beautiful story, A Single Shard, there are only five authors who have received that life-altering phone call twice. Yep, you read that right. Twice.

They are;

Joseph Krumgold, And Now Miguel, (1954) and Onion John (1960)

Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1959) and The Bronze Bow (1962)

E.L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1968) and The View from Saturday (1997)

Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia (1978) and Jacob Have I Loved (1981)

Lois Lowry, Number the Stars (1990) and The Giver (1994)

And, there is just one author who, when she picked up the phone in 1968, learned that she was not only the Newbery Medal winner, but also a recipient of the Newbery Honor book award as well for her title, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth.

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Shop your local indie bookstore

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Shop your local indie bookstore

That person is none other than the author who inspired and continues to inspire this group of middle-grade authors, E.L. Konigsburg.

She was born Elaine Lobl in New York City, one of three daughters. The family moved to various mill towns in western Pennsylvania. Elaine, who graduated at the top of her high school class, made a nontraditional choice (for women of that time) and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) and studied chemistry. She continued her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. A job opportunity in Florida for her husband led to a science teaching position at a private school. The nature of her career path changed as she both became a mother to three children, born between 1955 and 1959, and her growing family moved to Port Chester, N.Y. Elaine felt inspired to pursue a more creative path, revisiting her childhood passions for writing and painting. As Elaine offered in an interview in a piece in Reading Teacher in 1998, she wanted to “write something that reflected my own children’s growing up.”

The rest is history.

In The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Claudia says to Mrs. Frankweiler that “you should want to learn one new thing every day.”

Mrs. Frankweiler responds, “I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside of you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.”

Here’s to allowing all that we know to swell up inside of us until it touches everything.

As a side note, having written, Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller, note that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Mark your calendar to follow the ALA’s awards via live webcast on Facebook or by following #alayma on Twitter.

 

Diversity in MG Lit #13 A Look At the Numbers

I am so happy to be back at the Mixed Up Files after a hiatus of a few months. I wanted to kick off the new decade of my series Diversity in MG Lit with a look at the numbers. Many of you are familiar with this infographic from Reflection Press by Maya Gonzalez. I like this one because it shows both where we are and how far we need to go to achieve something that looks like equity.

The number of books published in a given year don’t tell the whole story. Here are some other statistics that give both a fuller and a more encouraging picture.
  1. The NY Public Library recently published its list of the 10 most checked out books in NYPL history. Obviously this structure gives great advantage to the oldest books. Even so the number one spot went to The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats first published in 1962.  Fifty-eight years ago it was the first picture boy to feature a black boy as a main character. It was popular immediately and has been ever since As a bookseller I listen to authors and illustrators a lot. Hundreds of them over the years and many of our most prominent POC writers and illustrators, black men in particular, have pointed to The Snowy Day as a seminal influence on their work and their belief that there was a place for them in the world of books.
  2. The Flying Start feature of Publishers Weekly is designed to highlight up and coming authors and illustrators. In 2019 the Spring Flying Start list featured  2 of 5 or 40% diverse writers including Tina Athaide for Orange for the Sunset and Carlos Hernandez for Sal & Gabi Break the Universe. The Fall Flying Starts included 4 of 6 or 66% diverse creators: Brittney Morris for Slay, Christine Day for I Can Make This Promise, Joowon Oh for Our Favorite Day, and Kwame Mbalia for Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky,
  3. Our newest National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature is Jason Reynolds, a brilliant choice. Even better, his selection makes 4 of the 7 people (57%) to hold this position Persons of Color. The others are Walter Dean Myers, Gene Luen Yang, & Jacqueline Woodson. 
  4. The American Booksellers Association holds its Children’s Institute every spring. In 2019 five out of seven (71%) keynote or featured presenters were POC. Of the 67 authors and illstrators that publishers brought to the conference to meet independent children’s booksellers from all over the country, 38 or 57% were of diverse backgrounds. (including disabled and LGBT+)
  5. The National Council of Teachers of English was held in November of 2019. Seven of their 10 keynote speakers were diverse. If you looked at all 28 of their featured speakers, you’d find 57% of them were POC.
  6. And finally the 2020 midwinter American Library Association will meet in just a few weeks. This year all six of their featured speakers are diverse. 100%!
I find those data points encouraging. We still have a long way to go, but it is nice to see that teachers, librarians and booksellers are taking leadership in demanding a more diverse representation at our professional conferences. And if you are wondering what you can do—just one person—to make a difference I have three suggestions.
  • Buy diverse books from an independent bookstore. Big box and on line retailers are never going to care about the welfare of authors or readers of any demographic. Indie booksellers do care and they have consistently over decades proven the best venue for making best sellers of little known or debuting authors.
  • Take a moment on social media to call out the folks that are working hard to help diverse books find parity. I’ll start: Hey fellow Portlanders our 2020 Everybody Reads author is Tommy Orange who wrote There There. He is Cheyenne and Arapaho and lives the urban Indian experience in California. His book is amazing! I can’t wait to talk about it with my neighbors and friends.
  • If you don’t see a diverse book you love in your school or library or bookstore, ask for it. Ask regularly. Schools, libraries and bookstores are here to serve you, the public. We spend a lot of time thinking and talking about what you want and what you need. Help us out! Change comes when we stand up and say something.