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Middle Grade Mavens

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Middle Grade Mavens

Julie Grasso+Pamela Ueckerman

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The Middle-Grade Mavens are two Australian authors reviewing middle-grade children's books. We also chat with authors and illustrators about their inspiration, processes and experience and sometimes we interview publishers and agents to find out more about the industry. Whether you're a writer, school librarian, teacher, or just a book fan, this is for you. Julie Anne Grasso is the author of the Frankie Dupont Mystery series, cupcake enthusiast and part-time library book wrangler. Pamela Uec ...
 
Rob Kent interviews fellow authors, editors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals to discuss the craft and business of producing middle grade and young adult novels. New episode every Saturday. MiddleGradeNinja.com. Rob Kent is the author of BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES . He runs the popular blog for writers, Middle Grade Ninja, which features interviews and guest posts from authors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals. He also hosts the Middle Grade ...
 
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The Hollow

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The Hollow

Gen-Z Media | Wondery

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Commemorating the 200th anniversary of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” The Hollow is a modern take on the timeless story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. When three 6th graders at Sleepy Hollow Middle School stumble upon a real-life ghost story, they find themselves on the trail of the Headless Horseman himself. Is he truly a terrifying ghoul, or has he been misunderstood for all these years? The Hollow is produced by Gen-Z Media. For more great Gen-Z podcasts v ...
 
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We Should Talk About That

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We Should Talk About That

Jessica Buchanan and Jessica Kidwell

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NYT bestselling author of Impossible Odds, Jessica Buchanan, along with fellow writer Jessica Kidwell, attempt to unpack the uncomfortable topics that nobody is talking about, but definitely should. With intention to hold real, authentic, conversation about EVERYTHING, the Two Jess(es) bring their humor and a healthy dose of self-deprecation to the table as they unpack issues relating to PTSD, grief, imposter syndrome, body image, middle age, the plight of the working mom and more.
 
Coverage of the goals, objectives, and curriculum of the middle school/intermediate school. Explores the unique educational and social needs of boys and girls 10-15 years of age who are in grades 5-9. The nature of children in this age group is analyzed in terms of changing times and trends. Prerequisite: Admission I, Educational Foundations 235, Child and Adolescent Development, or equivalent and Educational Foundations 380, Educational Psychology.
 
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show series
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "The What On Earth Institute of Wonder," by Lisa Nichol, and "My Brother Ben," by Peter Carnavas, and Julie reviews, "The Magic of Magnolia Moon," by Edwina Wyatt, and "Shadowghast," by Thomas Taylor. Plus Andy Griffiths stops in for an interview about his latest book with Terry Denton, "The 143 Story T…
 
My friend, Sarah J. Schmitt, and I discuss her path to publishing IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH her newest novel, WHERE THERE’S A WHISK, and why you should never give anyone else power over your art. She shares how she found her editor on Twitter, how she secured her literary agent, and how she survived the collapse of her publisher. We also chat about au…
 
In this supportive, life-saving resource, the New York Times bestselling author of The Gift of Failure helps parents and educators understand the roots of substance abuse and identify who is most at risk for addiction, and offers practical steps for prevention. Jessica Lahey was born into a family with a long history of alcoholism and drug abuse. D…
 
Meet Zach Gottlieb, the "TEEN Instagrammer" who is getting guys and other teens to talk about their mental health, in particular those issues related to male feelings and toxic masculinity. In this episode, the Two Jess(es) are blown away by this teen's articulate way of expressing his experiences and observations around his own mental health, as h…
 
Gayle Forman and I discuss her career from a journalist for SEVENTEEN to a celebrated YA novelist and the launch of her first MG book, FRANKIE AND BUG. She describes the experience of having IF I STAY adapted into a film and tells an excellent ghost story. We chat about WE ARE INEVITABLE, writing to get out of poverty, how there is no promised land…
 
Gila Pfeffer is more than just the mom who knew too much, she takes the bull by the horns in every part of life, including her health- and she was going to make damned sure she was going to laugh the whole time too! While in the throes of motherhood, Gila, who lost her mother and grandmother in their 40's from breast cancer, found out she did indee…
 
Two-time Newberry Award winner and one of my childhood heroes, Katherine Patterson, and I discuss how she transformed from a “mediocre writer” to a Living Legend (so designated by the Library of Congress in 2000). We chat about her newest novel, BIRDIE’S BARGAIN, how Hollywood demanded a sequel to BRIDGE TO TERABETHIA, the time she kissed Robert Pa…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "Dragon Skin," by Karen Foxlee, and Julie reviews, "Seven Wherewithal Way," by Samantha-Ellen Bound. Plus Karen and Sam both stop by in for an interview. About: Dragon Skin: How to save a dragon:1)Assemble equipment. Water, Weet-Bix, sugar, syringe, sticky tape, scissors.2)Believe in everything.Pip neve…
 
Rajani LaRocca and I discuss the importance of finding a community of writers and how that led her to publication, as well as her newest novel, MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL. We talk about the “slight fairytale” that led her to finding her literary agent, her time as a pitch wars mentor, plantsing, coordinating publicity and school visits (even during a …
 
We’ve launched a hilarious new Gen-Z Media show that features some of the world’s best improv comedians. Here’s the first episode, and there’s plenty more over on the Nice To Meet You feed so be sure to head on over and subscribe!On his private space station high above Earth, Professor Burkhead has begun conducting a ground-breaking social experime…
 
This episode is a little different as the Two Jess(es) play a different role. JessK interviews JessB on her newest project, The Project You Collective, along with her two business partners, Rebekah Gregory, survivor of the Boston Marathon Bombings, and Loren Buchanan, creative director and founder of Buchanan Creative Group. A transformational coac…
 
Yep, that's right. The WeSTAT guest this week is JessK- and she is sharing her heart behind her newest project, Neuroversity Podcast- a solo podcast that aims to dive deeper into the areas of neurodivergence, giving a voice to those who might not normally get to speak up and speak out about neurodiversity and all that entails. This episode is infor…
 
Jessica Vitalis and I chat about her debut novel, THE WOLF’S CURSE. And we have a detailed discussion about the six-figure, two-book deal her agent, Sara Crowe, negotiated for her. We also talk about how Erin Entrada Kelley fell in love with Jessica’s book and helped her secure that vital representation. And we chat about the time Jessica was visit…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "Night Ride Into Danger," by Jackie French, as well as "The Wolf's Howl by A.L. Tait. And Julie reviews, "Treasure In the Lake," by Jason Pamment, who also stops in for an interview!Buy books: Night Ride into Danger by Jackie French | 9781460758939 | BooktopiaThe Wolf's Howl, A Maven & Reeve Mystery Boo…
 
This week, The Two Jess(es) sit down with Rachel Peru, a curvy, silver-haired model, and body confidence activist, hailing from the UK. Rachel started her modeling career at 46, and offers so many insights about body image, aging, and her feelings around honoring her body by wearing beautiful, sexy lingerie. Life is the special occasion- so why wai…
 
Becky LeJeune and I chat about how she went from being a criminal justice major while working in a Walden Books to an editor and now a literary agent with the Bond Literary Agency. We talk about how she evaluates manuscripts, why you don’t want to convince an agent to represent a genre they’re not currently selling in, advice about finding comp tit…
 
You may know her from her years as a part of the cast of Grey's Anatomy- but today Kate Anthony is here to answer (and ask!) some tough questions, in her newest role, a coach and mentor for cis-hetero women who are contemplating divorce and asking one of the most important, and difficult questions of their lives. Should I stay, or should I go? From…
 
Sara Pennypacker and I discuss tips for writing from the perspective of a fox in her long-anticipated sequel to the classic novel PAX, PAX: JOURNEY HOME. We chat about how she interviews animals and how she addresses darker subjects such as the full cost of war in children’s literature. We also talk about the novelization of SHARK TALE, how focusin…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "The Song of Lewis Carmichael," by Sophie Laguna and Illustrated by Marc McBride, plus Sophie and Marc stop by for a chat. Sites Pamela mentions: www.Littlescribe.com StoryKids | Victoria Together Books Julie mentions: "Anemone is not the Enemy," Honour Book for the 2021 CBCA Awards Book of the Year for…
 
Dr. Rachel is BACK. And she is sharing, once again and so generously, her expertise, the latest research, and personal experiences with the WeSTAT community. Jess and Jess first sat down to chat with Dr. Orscheln 18 months ago, and to date, it is still the most highly downloaded episode in WeSTAT history! No one would have guessed that we would be …
 
Chris Negron and I discuss how he became an author, how his Parkinson’s disease makes him a better writer, and his newest book, THE LAST SUPER CHEF. We wonder if writers ever actually retire and how learning alternate titles of great works might forever change them. We chat about choosing an audiobook narrator, the Atlanta writers club, UFO disclos…
 
Anyone out there ever have your kid trigger you when you least expect it? No? Just us? Didn't think so. The Two Jess(es) sit down for a very vulnerable conversation with the hosts of the extremely popular podcast, https://notyourmotherspodcast.co/ as well as their partner in creating Raising Children You Like (https://raisingchildrenyoulike.com/hom…
 
Marie Lamba and I discuss her terrible experience with her own novel that led her to become an agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency for the past decade. We talk about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, each of us sharing our tales. We also chat about the pandemic’s effect on publishing (and its future effects), an age…
 
We're back!!! Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "The Boy Who Stepped Through Time," by Anna Ciddor, as well as, Renee Treml's "The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea." Julie has some hot tips about Kidlitvic post conference malaise. As well as announcing a new Instagram account called RedWritingElf_On_LibraryShelf which will showcase the…
 
The Two Jess(es) start off Season 3 with a bang, and get really vulnerable about.....their faces. JessB gets really honest about what she sees going on under her eyes, and while way back in Season 1, she waxed poetic about aging and her right to eye bags, she has decided, she's done. In their quest for hearing all sides of the skincare story, and i…
 
John David Anderson and I talk about a little bit of everything in this far-ranging conversation between two Hoosier authors who like STAR WARS and Kurt Vonnegut. We chat about Anderson’s newest novel, STOWAWAY, as well as his classic, MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY. Also discussed: writing two novels a year, leaving your heart on the page, space pirates, co…
 
Uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure. This (according to the GREAT Brene Brown) is the definition of vulnerability. Sounds like a great way to kick off Season 3, right? In true WeSTAT fashion, the Two Jess(es) have decided to pick a theme to carry them through, along with their guests, this season of conversation and topic exploration. The heavy a…
 
To commemorate the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Kathleen Burkinshaw and I discuss her novel, THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM. This is one of the most important conversations I’ve ever had and I’ll be thinking about it for the rest of my life. Parts of it broke my heart and may break yours as well. You will hear my most awkward, deflecting …
 
As we approach (what we HOPE!) is a more normal start to the school year, returning to the office IN PERSON, and juggling this *post/mid* COVID life, we are bringing ringmaster of the modern woman's world, Jenn Folsom BACK! Offering many pieces of practical advice on managing the circus of what we call life, Jenn shares her perspective as a working…
 
Alyson Gerber and I discuss how to talk about food and diet for teens and creating sympathetic parent characters in her newest YA novel, TAKING UP SPACE. We also chat about how her ADHD is helpful to her as an author, the benefits of a background in acting, her writing workday, how wearing a back brace as a teen helped prepare her for the pandemic,…
 
Introducing, Iowa Chapman and the Last Dog the next great show from Gen-Z Media launching August 2nd, and our very first feature-length podcast. What does that mean? It means that it’s one single download, no episodes to wait for, it’s quite literally an epic three-hour audio movie for your ears. Set hundreds of years in the future, when our planet…
 
Do you over-drink? Do you feel ashamed about your drinking habit? Are you concerned that your habit is turning into a problem, especially when 5 o clock rolls around and you reach for that bottle of Pinot without even really thinking about it anymore? Jess and Jess have decided its time to have a conversation about their alcohol habits, and so they…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Julie chats to Samone Amba, author of The Good Times of Pelican Rise, released on July 27 2021 by Affirm Press, and Illustrated by Lucy Zhang. The idea for this series came to Samone while she was shelving books in the middle-grade section of Beaumaris Library. Her creative license wants to add that a book fell on her …
 
Melissa Hope and I discuss her popular YouTube channel for authors, HOPEFUL HAPPENINGS, and how it paved the way to publish her debut novel, SEA OF KINGS. We chat about how she taught herself to write, collaborating with her marine biologist husband, working with Jolly Fish Press, finding beta readers, scheduling time to read while raising three ki…
 
Failure. It's a scary word in general, but when it comes to our kids and letting them 'fail' we are a generation of parents that will go to great lengths to keep that from happening. Maybe it's the way Gen Xers were parented (or not parented) or our need to achieve or just our general fear of upsetting the proverbial apple cart- one thing is clear:…
 
Nicole Kornher-Stace and I discuss classic science fiction and her new middle grade novel, JILLIAN VS PARASITE PLANET. We also talk about the importance of portraying platonic friendships and not just romantic relationships in fiction, parasites, parenting, homeschool during a pandemic, anxiety, big dumb action movies as inspiration, video games, t…
 
Summer Sabbatical for WeSTAT continues! This time, we revisit one of our favorite episodes about (ahem) one of our favorite places, VAGINA TOWN with Dr. Gopi Pillai- a pelvic health physical therapist who is incredibly knowledgeable about all things having to do with your vagina, and entertaining.as.hell. :-) Dr. Gopi takes this episode to a whole …
 
Ali Standish and I discuss her writer’s journey, which included an MFA in children's writing from Hollins University and an MPhil in Children's Literature from the University of Cambridge, as well as working in the same building as her future literary agent (and sitting in her chair). We talk about Ali’s newest novel, THE MENDING SUMMER, writing an…
 
All through the month of July, The Two Jess(es) will be re-airing some of their favorite conversations from the very beginning of WeSTAT. This particular conversation on motherhood, the high highs, and the low lows- and everything in between, from season one, is definitely one to revisit. Considering this original conversation took place prior to t…
 
Erin Entrada Kelly and I chat about her writing habits and how she learned to focus on what her creative spirit wants her to do. We discuss how she won a Newberry Award and immediately quit her day job, as well as her newest middle grade novel, MAYBE, MAYBE MARISOL RAINEY. We talk about how she always remembers an affinity for the characters and th…
 
Jen Griswold is a woman with a mission, and always has been. From the very beginning of her military career, Jen has been committed to sharing the hard won lessons she has learned with those around her- especially military spouses. With the arrival of children, Jen found herself in the role of "support services" while her husband was deployed, and …
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, we have special guests Annabel Barker and Sally Kim, in conversation about the changing trends in the US market and international rights management. We found this chat utterly fascinating and we know you will too! Plus Annabel opens her submission up in July, so get subbing folks! About Annabel: Annabel Barker Agency i…
 
Mary C. Moore and I discuss her career from zookeeper to literary agent with Kimberly Cameron and Associates, as well as the types of projects and clients she’s looking to represent. We talk about the difference between a large agency and a smaller one, the ways in which she evaluates manuscripts and authors, the support she provides writers both d…
 
After the birth of her daughter, Ilsa Manning left the fragrance industry to focus on her family. After a dinner with girlfriends, Ilsa came home one night with the realization that while her time with her daughter was finite, her potential to model what she was capable of as a mother, a woman, an entrepreneur was in fact not finite- but that the p…
 
Jasmine Warga and I discuss her newest novel, THE SHAPE OF THUNDER, as well as gun violence in schools and mental health in youth. We also talk about her process of pantsing and revising to find her stories, how storytelling rekindled her love of science, how she overcame her habit of hoping between stories, how she learned to make time for writing…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "Elsewhere Girls," by Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, and Julie reviews, "The Right Way To Rock," by Nat Amoore. Plus Pamela chats to Emily and Nova and Julie chat's to Nat. Author's Website: Emily Gale | Author of Junior & Young Adult Fiction (emilygalebooks.com) Authors Website: Nova Weetman Elsewhere Gi…
 
From dinners and homework to holiday card photos and summer vacations, Nikki DeBartolo and Ben Heldfond have created a tight-knit, enviable family. They work and play well together, from the smallest daily tasks to the biggest life events—and it only took a divorce to get them there. Though their marriage has been over for over a decade, they still…
 
Sailaja N. Joshi, Amy Maranville, Payal Doshi, and I discuss Mango + Marigold Press and their newest release, REA AND THE BLOOD OF THE NECTAR. We talk about the cycle of their book from submission to acquisition, editing and revising, marketing and promotion, all the way to its launch and beyond. We discuss the importance of increasing diversity in…
 
In celebration of the diversity and accomplishments that have taken place in the LGBQTIA community amidst so much historical adversity and discrimination, the Two Jess(es) have the extreme privilege of sitting down with one of the most thought-provoking journalists working today. Hari Ziyad, author of Black Boy Out of Time, candidly shares their ex…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Julie chats to Annabel Barker about her new literary agency, international rights and some great new books to give some extra love to. Annabel Barker Agency is a small agency with a global vision. With many years experience working in international rights at some of the world’s leading children’s publishing houses, Ann…
 
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