Two Lit Mamas

First Circle Press

A KidLit Podcast for Parents, Teachers and Writers created by two mommy blogger friends who discuss upper and lower middle grade books, children's books, chapter books, and picture books, as well as, topics such as parenting, homeschool, writing, teaching, cooking, holidays, and more.

All Episodes

Need gift suggestions for your kiddos this holiday? The Mamas have your back with board book, picture book, and chapter book recommendations. And, if book recommendations from Two Mamas isn’t enough for you, we’ve invited a Third Mama, author Rebecca Mullin, to help us get this holiday party started. Board Book Recommendations (ages 0-3):The Lovely Haze of Baby Days by Lindsay Kellar-MadsenThe Night is Deep and Wide by Gillian Sze, illustrated by Sue Todd  One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin, illustrated by Anna Mullin Picture Book Recommendations (ages 3-7): Inside Cat by Brendan WenzelPhoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Alea MarleyA Vote for Susanna, the First Woman Mayor by Karen M. Greenwald, illustrated by Sian JamesHow to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps by Peggy Porter Tierney, illustrated by Marie Letourneau. Chapter Book Recommendations (ages 6-9):  The Secret Explorers series by SJ King The Ninja Kid series by Anh DoJD the Kid Barber Series by J DillonThe Pug Who Wanted to Be….. by Bella SwiftDefinitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jennings Show Links:Bookshop.orgTwolitmamas.com

Nov 24

54 min 28 sec

The Mamas are ready for the holidays (or at least ready for soccer season to be over). To get you in the mood for gift giving, the Mamas recap the best books in some of their favorite categories: Top Faves from 2021:Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos (Episode 15) City Spies Series by James Ponti (Episode 20)The Whispers by Greg Howard (Episode 26)Fave Fantasy Reads:The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant (Episode 29)The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta RimingtonFave Sports-themed BooksTen Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie. (Episode 32)Chunky by Yehudi Mercado Fave Mythology Stories:Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston (Episode 18)Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo. (Episode 17) Fave Nonfiction Books: Poisoned Water by Candy J Cooper and Marc Aronson (Episode 21)   I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present by Cerrie BurnellA History of Dessert by Victoria Grace ElliotFave Fiction Books for Foodies:All you Knead is Love by Tanya Guerrero (Episode 27)Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca (Episode 27)Fave Older Series: (grab the box set)The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly BlackThe Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stuart (Episode 30)The Greystone Secrets series by Margaret Peterson HaddixMoon Base Alpha Series by Stuart Gibbs (Episode 31

Nov 10

47 min 39 sec

In this Halloween episode, the Mamas admit they share a brain (FYI, it’s kept in a jar in a mad scientist’s lab). How do they know they share a brain? Because they each picked a Middle Grade horror book from the same author without realizing it. Fortunately, they were creeped out in the best possible way by an author who’s the hottest new horror ticket in Chi-town. Plus, sinister cats! Book Chat:Scritch Scratch by Lindsay CurrieWhat Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie Pick 6: More scary books for your MG devil babiesThe Thirteenth Cat by Mary Downing HahnRoot Magic by Eden RoyceThe Mothman’s Curse by Christine HayesNightbooks by J.A. WhiteSmall Spaces by Katherine ArdenDead Voices by Katherine Arden(Bonus) Dark Waters by Katherine Ardenwww.twolitmamas.com

Oct 27

51 min 27 sec

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, the Mamas were thrilled to chat about two Middle Grade books oozing with Mexican mythology and Día de los Muertos inspired adventures. So, gulp down some Pan de Muerto, grip your calavera, and let the Mamas make you cringe with fright (and hopefully not from their Spanish pronunciations).   Book Chat:Loteria by Karla Arenas ValentiCece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera  Pick 6: Latinx Children’s BooksBoard Books: La Catrina seriesBoard Books: Life of series by Lil LibrosPicture Book: Dreamer by Yuyi MoralesYoung Adult: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal MaldonadoMiddle Grade: The Sea-Ringed World by Maria Garcia Esperon, Curse of the Forgotten City by Alex AsterChapter Books: Definitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jenningswww.twolitmamas.com

Oct 13

48 min 51 sec

Margie hates it but Heather’s inner horsey girl catches her stride in Episode 33 as the Mamas share their childhood memories of horses and explore Middle Grade books and resources in the horsey genre. The Mamas also get on their high horses and rant about banned books. Saddle up and hold on tight!Book Chat:The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan ShepherdThe Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez Pick 6: Resources for Horse-Themed Learning ActivitiesHorse Illustrated Online Magazine’s young rider tabThe EquinestHorseloversmath.comHorsecrazygirls.com science fair horse projectPrzewalski’s Horse at the National ZooStacy Gregg’s Ponies A-Z www.twolitmamas.com

Sep 29

51 min 22 sec

The Mamas embrace their inner Sporty Spice (or Benchwarmer Spice) to share reviews of Middle Grade novels (ages 8-12) about gymnastics, football and soccer, as well as, the personal and family trauma that can sometimes be associated with sports. The Mamas also share six sports-themed activities for the classroom and home. Put on your athletic supporters and let's get started! Book Reviews:Chirp by Kate MessnerTen Thousand Tries by Amy MakechnieBefore the Ever After by Jacqueline WoodsonPick Six: Sports-Themed ActivitiesFine Motor Skills: Basket TossLanguage & Sensory: Mystery Bag with Sports ItemsLarge Muscle Movement: Skiing on 2x4 BlocksMath: Add and Subtract Game ScoresScience: The Physics of Football video and The Impossible Kick Ted TalkGeography: Pin Team Pennants to the City, State or Country on a Map Show Links:twolitmamas.com

Sep 15

1 hr 7 min

In this episode, the Mamas get extra nerdy exploring the final frontier in the latest Middle Grade science fiction novels and short stories. So grab your communicators and listen in as they cover hermetically sealed post-pandemic apartments, talking heads, shape-shifting aliens, and murder on the moon.  Oh, it gets creepy, gross and dark, but you're gonna love it.Science Fiction MG Book Chat:Cleo Porter and the Body Electric by Jake BurtMoon Base Alpha Series by Stuart GibbsWeird Kid by Greg Van EekhoutThe Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn HeiderPick 6: The Mamas favorite Sci-Fi short storiesThe Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model by Charlie Jane Anders Kin by Bruce McAllister Bloodchild by Octavia E. ButlerThere Will Come Soft Rains by Ray BradburyHarrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  The Lottery by Shirley JacksonReference Links:Rethink ELAwww.twolitmamas.com

Aug 25

1 hr 4 min

The Mamas don their Siskel & Ebert disguises and debate the pros and cons of the Mysterious Benedict Society’s new Disney+ series vs. the OG book series. Although you can probably guess what the lit-loving Mamas have to say (hint: the book is ALWAYS better), you might enjoy the Middle Grade series recommendations at the end, especially if you’re in love with Mr. Benedict and his society of kid geniuses, like two middle-aged spies we know (yes, we’re talking about the Mamas).    Book Discussion: The Mysterious Benedict Society Disney+ SeriesThe Mysterious Benedict Society book series Pick 6: If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Mamas recommend these seriesMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenArtemis FowlMr. Lemoncello seriesSisters GrimmN.E.R.D.S.Savvy, Scrumble & SwitchShow References:www.twolitmamas.com

Aug 11

1 hr

The Mamas’ fantasies are flying in Episode 29 with two hot Middle Grade fantasy picks. Following the book chat, the Mamas share six more MG fantasies from their TBR Lists for 2021. So, if animals talk to you, you should listen in because you’re in good company, or at least not alone in your fantasy world! Book Chat:The Hatmakers by Tamzin MerchantThe Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan Pick 6: MG Fantasies from the Mamas 2021 TBR listsThe Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (A Greenglass House Story) by Kate MilfordThe Gilded Girl by Alyssa ColmanCece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela RiveraDragons in a Bag by Zetta ElliotThe Anti-Book by Raphel SimonArlo Finch Series by John Augustwww.twolitmamas.com

Jul 27

50 min 31 sec

Two of the Mamas’ fave authors (yes, ones from the Franzia List) are back in the book chat with financially-focused Middle Grade characters who discover how to run a business and manage money in the most fantastic settings. Listen as the Mamas WERK IT, doing what they love—chatting about great Middle Grade Lit and natural disasters (yes, they get waaaay off topic).Book Discussion:Middle School’s a Drag You Better Werk by Greg HowardMillionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnultyPick 6: The Mamas break down their worst jobs and their best work momentsThe Worst:1.     Pushing corpses to the crematorium2.     Making the donuts3.     Wrecking a house with two little kids4.     Ruining wedding gownsThe Best:5.     Making a golem with Philip Glass6.     Making $400 on Mother’s Day and spending it all on clothesShow Reference Links:Lunch Money by Andrew ClementsLawn Boy and Lawn Boy Returns by Gary PaulsenLemonade Wars series by Jacqueline DaviesThe Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrillwww.lemonadeday.orgwww.twolitmamas.com

Jul 13

1 hr 2 min

Find out what’s cooking in Middle Grade lit as the Two Lit Mamas drool­–err–chat about the latest novels with kid bakers and chefs. If you aren’t hungry now, you will be by the time the Mamas finish dishing their foody opinions and kid-friendly recipes. Bon Appetit! Book Discussion: Midsummer's Mayhem by Rajani LaRoccaAll You Knead is Love by Tania GuerreroA Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura ShovanWhen Life Gives You Lemons Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing Pick 6: Kid-Friendly Recipes1.     Soft Pretzels2.     Baked Alaska3.     Fruit Sauce & Fruit Soup (Fruktsoppa)4.     Stuffed Grape Leaves (Margie might die if we share this recipe)5.     Homemade Pizza Dough6.     Avocado Pasta Show Reference Links:www.twolitmamas.com

Jun 30

1 hr 10 min

In episode 26, the Mamas join forces with Uncle Johnny to discuss the latest in LGBTQIA+ books for Middle Graders. They look at how far we’ve come and how far we have to go through the lens of two great novels about love, loss and growing up queer in America. Book Discussion:One True Way by Shannon HitchcockThe Whispers by Greg Howard Pick 6: Grown Up Books We’re Reading Now (Yes, we read do read them)1.     The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune2.     Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz3.     The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune3.5  Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston4.     The Sacred Band by James Romm5.     When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister6.     My Life with Women by Thomas E. Kennedy Reference Links:Trockadero BalletAnnie on My Mind by Nancy Gardenwww.twolitmamas.com

Jun 16

1 hr 1 min

On their one year anniversary, the Mamas share their favorite heartwarming and hard hitting immigrant & refugee novels for Middle Graders. Since Margie's life is one big immigrant story and Heather's small, rural world was widened by international students who came for the holidays, the topic of immigration and refugees is close to their hearts. So, think globally but listen locally as the Mamas discuss ways to introduce kiddos to other cultures through books and much more!Book DiscussionThe Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. RaufFront Desk series by Kelly YangOne Good Thing About America by Ruth FreemanThe Only Road & Crossroads by Alexandra DiazPick 6: Tips for introducing kids to other culturesTry a new ethnic restaurant and randomly order off the menuLearn how to pronounce someone's name correctlyGoog It! Research a country you know nothing aboutLearn to say "hello" in other languagesCelebrate a holiday from another countryOrder it on Amazon! Search for candy, drinks and snacks from other countries and try themBonus: Visit an international market or grocery storeShow Links:www.twolitmamas.com

Jun 1

1 hr 10 min

In Episode 24, the Mamas discuss two middle grade novels that take very different approaches to prepping from a kid’s perspective: one is apocalyptic and the other is fake news, but both are intensely entertaining and involve drinking toilet water. If you can hang with that, then grab your bug-out bag, dust off your survival skills, and join the Mamas in the bunker. Just don’t forget the Franzia. Book Discussion:The World Ends in April by Stacy McAnulty96 Miles by J.L. Eslpin Pick 6: Summer Reading Recommendations 1.     Historical Fiction: Gone to the Woods, Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen2.     Mystery: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson3.     Adventure: The Mutant Mushroom Takeover & Attack of the Killer Komodos by Summer Rachel Short 4.     Realistic Fiction: Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas5.     Science Fiction: The Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia6.     Humor: My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner Show Reference Links:Hatchet by Gary Paulsentwolitmamas.com 

May 19

1 hr 8 min

According to recent reports, the pandemic has stirred up body image concerns in teens, leading to a rise in eating disorders, so for this episode The Mamas turn to Middle Grade fiction to help kids, parents and teachers tackle the topic in a positive way. Catch the wave of change that's coming and leave body shaming far behind with this list of fat acceptance novels: All of Me by Chris BaronStarfish by Lisa FippsJelly by Jo CotterillHusky by Justin SayreGarvey's Choice by Nikki GrimesDumplin by Julie MurphyPick 6: Happy Mamas' Day! Here are 6 (and a few more)  books for mamas of unique and wonderful kiddos with links to the podcast episodes where the mamas discuss them in great (really too much) detail.For mamas with kids on the spectrum: Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole PanteleakosFor mamas with savant or math genius kids: Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnultyFor mamas with bi-cultural kids: Marcus Bega Does Not Speak English by Pablo CartayaFor mamas with kids who have gender or orientation questions:Rick by Alex GinoFor divorced mamas: Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood & How to Make Friends with the Sea by Tanya Guerrero For mamas with budding activists: The Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea BellFor mamas with adopted kids: Greenglass House by Kate Milford Reference Links:Lisa Damour article about teen eating disorders in the pandemicUntangled by Lisa DamourAngry Chef Blog Piers Anthony Xanth Series bookswww.twolitmamas.com

May 5

1 hr 6 min

The mamas have so much to share for Earth month, from middle grade environmental nonfiction and eco-fiction novels, to nature picture books, articles, contests, book festivals, PBS specials, and more. Whew! Now, put on your green jeans and let’s get started!Book Discussion:How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein and Rebecca StepoffGirl Warriors, How 25 Young Activists Are Saving the Earth by Rachel SarahBeyond the Bright Sea by Lauren WolkThe Last Wild by Piers TordayPick Six: Nature Picture Books1.     A Leaf Can Be… by Laurie Purdie Salas and Violeta Dabija2.     Water Can Be… by Laurie Purdie Salas and Violeta Dabija3.     In a Garden by Tim McCanna and Aimee Sicuro4.     One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin and Anna Mullin5.     Outside In by Deborah Underwood and Cindy Derby6.     Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark and Madeline Kloepper Show Links:Color-Cut-Create contest for kidsOhioana Book FestivalTeen Vogue article by Isabella FallahiNew Yorker article about Moms Battling Climate ChangeGreta Thunburg PBS SpecialTwo Lit Mamas website

Apr 21

1 hr 4 min

In honor of Earth Day, the Mamas do a deep dive (insert eye roll here) into the importance of clean water. Using her love language, Margie breaks down water treatment issues into dorky layman's terms, as the Mamas discuss their first nonfiction and graphic novel middle grade reads. If the mamas haven't hooked you with the lighthearted topic of water pollution, you might want to give this episode a pass because even the Pick 6 is more of the same. But, if you're up for an important cause, take the water protection oath and join the Mamas in this episode on water warriors. Books:Poisoned Water by Candy J. Cooper and Marc AronsonThe Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea BellPick 6:A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkFlush by Carl HiaassenRising Water by Marc AronsonWe Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela GoadeThe Water Walker by Joanne RobertsonLittle Turtle & the Changing Sea by Becky Davies and Jennie PohReference Links:Margie's Love Language Blog PostNova's Flint DocumentaryFrontline Flint DocumentaryDry by Neil ShustermanTwoLitMamas.com

Apr 7

53 min 16 sec

For Episode 20 of Two Lit Mamas Podcast, the Mamas pry-bar themselves into black Spandex to get their spy game on. Yes, that IS your shoe phone ringing. Answer it and join the Mamas on a not-so-secret mission to hack into the latest middle grade books with kid spies. From chubby spy geniuses to petticoated, steampunk femme fatales, the Mamas chase the MacGuffin to bring you the best in MG-Lit. Spread the word before this podcast self-destructs. City Spies by James PontiThe Double Cross by Jackson PearceEtiquette and Espionage by Gail CarrigerPick 6:Top Secret - A handbook of codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing by Paul B Janeczko.The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy  by Peter Earnest and Suzanne HarperHow to Be an International Spy by Andy Briggs for Lonely Planet KidsCIA - Spy Kids  - Background on the CIA, history of missions and really cool online games to build spy power.    Spy Science: 40 Secret-Sleuthing, Code Cracking, Spy Catching Activities for Kids by Jim WeiseNetflix - SpycraftShow Links:Gail Carriger's FREE Educators Guide to the Finishing School Seriestwolitmamas.com

Mar 24

43 min 17 sec

Happy Middle Grade March! In celebration of this very special month, the mamas threw together a BONUS episode on their fave topic – Middle Grade books. The Mamas break down the category for fellow mamas and papas who need help finding appropriate reading material for their middle schoolers. Resources for finding great middle grade books:Read BrightlyImagination SoupFrom the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade AuthorsMr. SharpReading Middle GradeTwo Lit Mamas Podcast

Mar 17

46 min 13 sec

In this episode, the Mamas tackle tough topics, including divorce, blended-up families, and sick kiddos with their middle grade, realistic fiction pics. Maybe not the best topics to cover during a pandemic but the mamas grip their calming stones and make it through two important and wonderful reads written by diverse authors. For Pick Six, the Mamas share new releases they’re looking forward to reading this summer.Books Discussed in this Episode: Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood (sequel out this summer: Forever This Summer)How to Make Friends with the Sea by Tanya Guerrero (second book out this summer: All You Knead is Love) Pick 6: New releases to check out this summer1.     The Double Life of Danny Day by Mike Thayer2.     The Last Windwitch by Jennifer Adam3.     The Last Shadow Warrior by Sam Subity4.     Weird Kid by Greg Van Ekkhout5.     Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie6.     Down to Earth by Betty Culleywww.twolitmamas.com

Mar 10

54 min 42 sec

The snowbound, quarantining mamas are starting to get a little stir crazy, obvi – the cry-laughing was a dead giveaway – but fortunately they found some great middle grade fantasy reads about American myths to distract them. Join the mamas in beating off the winter blues, especially if you’re a sasquatch or a ghost mastodon. Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger Lemons by Melissa Savage Pick 6: 1. Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates2. Atlas of Cursed Places3. Radio Garden4. Finding ‘Ohana5. Dora and the Lost City of Gold6 Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Feb 24

1 hr

After grumbling about the weather like two old ladies, the mamas dive into Iberian, Bengali, Egyptian and Greek mythology stories for middle grade readers. The fictional stories aren’t for fainthearted parents since most adults have disappeared at the beginning of the books. Fear not, the kids do rescue them, of course only after falling for crushes, exploring secret worlds, and becoming warriors. Connect with your inner goddess and will yourself to join the mamas on their mythic adventure.  Show Links:    Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows by Ryan CalejoThe Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGuptaRed Pyramid by Rick RiordanTrident by Ann Searle Horowitz  Jinn Netflix TV Showwww.twolitmamas.com

Feb 10

55 min 58 sec

Put on your parkas and two face masks. You’ll need them for warmth as the mamas chill with a couple of Middle Grade survival adventure books set in the dead of winter. In one book our young hero lives in a frozen fjord just as life is about to go berserk, and in the second book the hero, plucked from the fjord and relocated to the prairie, battles a blizzard. If you can handle the cold, hang on until the end for a chat about reading in the time of COVID. Icefall by Matthew KirbyBlizzard on the Plains by Heather Kauffman-PetersPick 2:A Middle School Teacher’s Creative Way of Framing the Pandemic for ChildrenHow Reading Habits Have Changed During the COVID-19 LockdownReference Links:Minnie FreemanAmanda GormanJoseph Campbell

Jan 27

57 min 33 sec

The mamas launched the new year discussing two awesomely-abled middle grade characters – one’s a math savant, one’s autistic, both make exciting leads and reads. Then the mamas switched gears and got real about homeschool life. The mamas urge you to ignore the news for an hour, Irish up your coffee, and listen in!Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnultyNorth Carolina 7th grader, Lucy, was struck by lightning when she was young and was diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome which made her a math genius. She’s been homeschooling since then and has advanced her education to college level. Lucy makes a deal with her grandmother, who’s worried about her social skills, that she will spend a year in middle school before moving on to college. Afterall, “if you can survive a bolt of lightning, you can survive middle school, right?” Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole PanteleakosTwelve-year-old Nova is a non-verbal, autistic girl who has been bouncing through foster care with her older sister Bridget for about 7 years. Through everything, their shared love of space exploration has kept the sisters going. The upcoming launch of the Challenger sending the first teacher in space, who happens to be from their home state, is a driving force in Nova's life. When the girls get separated, Nova counts down the days until she see's Bridget again because her sister promised they would watch the Challenger Launch together - no matter what. But Nova finds some things are beyond anyone's control. Pick 6: Homeschool Resources 1. Class Dismissed movie2. John Holt3. Pat Farenga4. Village Home Learning5. Sir Ken Robinson6. Sandra DoddReference Links:Challenger documentaryPsychology Today article

Jan 13

1 hr 2 min

Happy Holidays from Two Lit Mamas! The holidays may not be the same this year but don’t cancel Christmas like Margie did in 2008! Instead, the mamas encourage you to start a new tradition of sharing and gifting books. Choose from the mama’s Middle Grade recommendations that will make you laugh and give you a fright while bringing your family closer together.  In a farewell to 2020, the mamas snuggle in with festive stories that are perfect for reading aloud by the fire.  Greenglass House by Kate MilfordIt’s almost Christmas and 12-year-old Milo is ready for a quiet winter break with his parents in the family’s inn, Greenglass House, which is normally guest free at that time of year. But as guest after guest begins to arrive out of nowhere, Milo realizes this Christmas break might be better spent trying to untangle the web of mystery surrounding Greenglass House and the unusual guests within. Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross MontgomeryEleven-year-old Lewis finds himself in a little jam after breaking a window but he’s hopeful that after completing his penance by serving Christmas Eve dinner at Soul’s College all will be fine. But the evening takes a creepy turn when the room fills with monsters and Lewis’ new hope is to make it out alive.Top Elf by Caleb Zane Huett. Ollie and his BFF Celia are elves and they are very good at their jobs. But when Santa decides that the long-held method of family lineage determining who should be Santa, is unfair, everything changes. Suddenly Ollie and Celia, as well as every other elf or human in the land are now in competition to become the next Santa. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt HaigNikolas lives a hard-knock life in the woods of Finland, but he knows he’s loved and that gets him by until his father goes missing. Nikolas then travels to the North Pole to find him. Along the way, Nikolas meets a cast of characters including a cranky reindeer, a troublemaking troll, and a village of elves who have troubles of their own. Nikolas may be the only one who can fix things for them and himself. The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt HaigAmelia has a special relationship with Father Christmas or so she thought. When her Christmas wish is ignored, she ends up in a workhouse where the adults are cruel, and the food is gruel. Soon Amelia stops believing in the magic of Christmas all together just when Father Christmas is counting on her to save the day. The two must save each other before magic can return to the world.   Episode Links:Young Hoosier Book AwardsTwo Lit Mamas Blog 

Dec 2020

54 min 38 sec

3-2-1 Shop! In this episode, the mamas share many – let’s face it, probably too many – gift recommendations. Concentrating on upper and lower middle grade books, these crazy, wined-up Santa’s helpers go to town on their faves. From series and standouts to interactive finds, the mamas have got your holiday book shopping covered.The mamas faves from past episodes:We’re Not From Here by Geoff RodkeyStand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica KimSong for a Whale by Lynne KellyThe Creativity Project edited by Colby SharpMurder Most Unladylike by Robin StevensFantasy Recs:Glitch by Laura MartinTristan Strong Punches a Whole in the Sky by Kwame MbaliaSeries Recs:America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, Complete Baking Book for Young Chef, Complete DIY Cookbook for Young ChefsDiary of a Wimpy Kid, Deep End by Jeff KinneyUnicorn Rescue Society by Adam Gibwitz New Release Recs:Murder Most Puzzling by Stephanie Von ReistwitzMary Underwater by Shannon DoleskiMiddle Schools a Drag You Better Werk by Greg HowardShow Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotteCloser to Nowhere by Ellen HopkinsEnola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy SpringerCut, Color, Create books by Merrill Rainey Show Reference Links:NaNoWriMoEdge of Extinction Series by Laura MartinRowley Series by Jeff Kinney www.twolitmamas.com

Dec 2020

52 min 52 sec

Happy Holidays! The mamas flipped the script this episode to bring you their Pick 6 gift lists at the front of the show. Not surprisingly, the opinionated broads have gobs of recommendations for their favorite picture books and chapter books of 2020 so, get out your quills and parchment paper and let the mamas kickstart your holiday shopping. Heather’s 2020 Picture Book Faves1. Over and Under the Rainforest by Kate Messner, art by Christopher Silas Neal2. Vote for our Future by Margaret McNamara, art by Micah Player3. On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex4. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith, by Madeline Kloepper5. Soaked by Abi Cushman6. We Walk Through the Forest by Lisa Ferland, art by Yana PopovaHeather’s Fave Diverse Picture Books1. Blue Cat by Charlie Eve Ryan2. What I Like Most by Mary Murphy, art by Zhu Cheng-Liang3. Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, art by Juana Martinez-Neal4. La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, art by Juana Martinez-Neal5. Crown, an Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, art by Gordon C. James6. Mae Among the Starts by Roda Ahmed, art by Stasia BurringtonMargie’s Fave Chapter Book Series1. Mac B Kid Spy Series by Mac Barnett, art by Mike Lowery2. Mia Mayhem Series by Kara West, art by Leeza Hernandez3. Big Foot and Little Foot Series by Ellen Potter, art by Felicita Sala4. Pocket Pirates by Chris Mould5. Sam Wu is Not Afraid Of Series by Kate and Kevin Tsang 6. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Chapter Book Series  Resources for more book recommendations:Imagination SoupAfoma Umesi All My Beautiful ThingsColby SharpAvery & AugustineFrom the Mixed-Up FilesKidlit411

Nov 2020

47 min 57 sec

If you’re in need of a distraction (and we KNOW you are), join the mamas for some mutating, eco-horror, dystopian fun. In the 11th episode of Two Lit Mamas, killer plants have taken over the world and it’s up to a few smart middle grade heroes to save the day. (If only they could save our country while they’re at it.) In 2020, nature may be out to get us, but look on the bright side, the year is almost over. Hit play and hang in there, folks! Book Discussion:Bloom by Kenneth OppelMysterious seeds begin arriving via rainstorms first on an isolated Canadian Island and then worldwide. Massive, black, thorny vines sprout seemingly overnight and begin to take over. Three teens soon find that their strange health issues are giving them immunity to the power of these plants and soon they learn they are far more connected to these plants than anyone could have guessed.Forgotten City by Michael FordKobi has spent his entire life hiding from the deadly Waste that destroyed the world. Together, he and his father have managed to remain the lone survivors hiding from the plants and animals mutated by the Waste. But when his father disappears, Kobi learns that not only is he not the lone survivor, he's facing dangers far worse than mutated plants.  Pick 6: The Mamas’ Favorite Sci-fi Classics 1.     Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne2.     Brave New World by Aldous Huxley3.     The Time Machine by H.G. Wells4.     Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert C. O’Brien5.     The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld6.     Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Show Reference Links: The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson5th Wave by Rick YancyThe Always War by Margaret Peterson HaddixCommon Sense Mediawww.Twolitmamas.com 

Nov 2020

41 min 18 sec

Put on your pointy, black hats and join the witchy mamas for a bone-chilling discussion about Middle Grade books with ghosts, creepy dolls, and other frights trapped within their pages. Halloween celebrations may not be the same in 2020, but with Two Lit Mamas’ help you can still have a good cackle and curl up with a scary tale (or tail).  Scary Books:Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing HahnThis well-known ghost story from master of suspense Mary Downing Hahn may have been written in 1986, but it’ll still scare your middle schoolers’ Walkman headphones right off. The story is of a blended family that moves into an old church in the countryside. The grounds, of course, come with an old cemetery that attracts Molly’s strange, young stepsister, Heather, who is found talking to what she claims is a ghost named Helen.    Doll Bones by Holly BlackFrom the author of The Spiderwick Chronicles comes this creepy story of three friends who anger an antique doll that then threatens to haunt them until they return it to its home several states away. Zach and his friend Alice go along with their friend Poppy’s weird story about the doll, unsure if it’s just another story she’s made up or if the doll really will destroy their lives. The Bone Garden by Heather KassnerIrreelle knows she's not quite real and not dead either but as long as she keeps Miss Vesper happy, she will be allowed to stay. While collecting bone dust from the tunnels below the cemetery for Miss Versper's potions, Irreelle meets her predecessor Guy and soon her replacement, Lass. The three make a deal with Miss Vesper that if they find something she's been searching for, she will 'magic them real' but can Miss Vesper really be trusted?Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay HeidickerTwo fox kits, Mia and Uly, are torn from their mothers in two very different ways, forcing them to get to their golden eye time all alone. In converging stories, the kits face such horrors as a witch who wants to taxidermy a young kit, a ghost that haunts the woods, zombie foxes, and massive beasts that dwell beneath the water. Will they survive long enough for their eyes to turn gold? The young kits, who are listening to their stories and hoping to have a white spot scared into their tails, sure hope so.   Pick 6: The Mamas Favorite Halloween Traditions1.     Pumpkin Windows2.     Dog Costumes3.     Monster Windsocks4.     Toasted Pumpkin Seeds5.     Homemade Costumes6.     Handing Out Candy (in an empty house) Show References:Margie’s Blog: Laughter is Better than ProzacTwo Lit Mamas Blog 

Oct 2020

46 min 18 sec

In the longest episode yet, the mamas just can’t stop yakking about the great and not-so-great (Judge Judy’s in da house!) Middle Grade books with deaf and hard of hearing characters. The mamas find authors to stalk and characters to love while advocating for the deaf community. And that’s not all. The BFFs end the show with science, history and math related books that will help parents and caregivers survive e-learning and homeschooling in 2020. The struggle is real, but the mamas have your back. MG Books with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Characters:Song for a Whale by Lynne KellyIris is a Deaf girl in a hearing world who is acutely aware of how it feels to be disconnected, especially since her Deaf grandfather passed. When she learns of a whale struggling with the same disconnection, she’ll risk anything to make sure he knows he’s not alone.  Wonderstruck by Brian SelznikWonderstruck is two stories, from two different times with stunning similarities. Ben’s story of searching for answers in 1977 is told in words while Rose’s story of searching for freedom in 1927 is told through stunning illustrations. Each is determined to find what they need but can they handle their journeys?Harriet Versus the Galaxy by Samantha BainesHarriet recently moved in with her grandmother and isn’t too excited about it. But when she learns her hearing aids can translate the language of the alien under her bed and that her grandmother is a secret agent, she realizes staying at Grandma’s is nothing like she expected.El Defo by CeCe BellIn this classic graphic novel, Cece wants to connect with her classmates and make a best friend. The only obstacle is the huge hearing device she wears around her neck called the Phonic Ear. Without it Cece can’t hear but with it she feels like a sore thumb.Hello Universe by Erin Entrada KellyVirgil would like to befriend Valencia but she’s smart, independent and Deaf, all things Virgil is not. Karori promises she can use her psychic powers to help him but before she can connect the two, the universe, in the form of the class bully, gets in the way. Pick Six: Fiction that Supports Science, Math and History Subjects1.     Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt2.     Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich3.     Prairie Cooks by Carrie Young4.     Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty5.     Counting by 7s by Holly Golberg Sloan6.     The Tornado by Jake Burt7.     Bonus Pick: The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for KidsVisit the Two Lit Mamas Blog

Oct 2020

1 hr 3 min

Whether your family is doing e-learning, homeschooling, unschooling, striking, or hiding out in a bunker to avoid the latest natural disaster, you need The Creativity Project book to fill your time and sparkle your creativity. If you’re not sure if this book is for you, listen as the mamas give the hard sell (no, there’s no money in it for them although they’ll take your money if you’re offering) for literary advocate Colby Sharp and his unique prompt-response anthology along with tips to keep your kids learning, growing and creating. The Creativity Project, edited by Colby SharpThis collection of prompts and responses from dozens of well-known children’s authors is the brainchild of teacher and literary advocate Colby Sharp (5 Questions with Mr. Sharp), who invited some of the best storytellers in Kidlit to share a prompt. Then the artists swapped prompts and let their imaginations run wild. The results appear in The Creativity Project book in the form of stories, drawings, poems, and comics. A section titled Prompts for You, is a call to action at the end that encourages readers to create their own awesome works of art. The Mamas couldn’t call out every contributor in the book, but they did discuss the works of these authors and illustrators: Sherman Alexi, Kate Messner, R.J. Palacio, Dav Pilkey, Minh Le, Victoria Jamieson, Lemony Snicket, Jennifer L. Holm, Chris Grabenstein, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Adam Gidwitz, Sophie Blackall, Kate DiCamillo, and Kat Yeh. Pick 6: The mamas’ tips for sparking creativity at home or school1.     Poetry Friday Anthology2.     Scholastic Story Starter Scrambler3.     Story Prompts from Think Written and Squibler4.     Painting with ice5.     Ice Play6.     Airport Stories Episode Reference Links:Tomie’s Little Book of Poems by Tomie dePaolaWhere the Sidewalk EndsHank Zipzer by Henry Winkler 

Sep 2020

51 min 1 sec

Grab your shawl, pour yourself a spot of tea and get cozy. For Episode 7 of Two Lit Mamas, the ladies dig into all things murderous. From traditional British cozies to inspired African American mysteries, the mamas share their favorite TV shows and grown up murder mysteries while uncovering fab mysteries for middle graders. So, take a bun break and Greek out with the mamas or Miss Fortune will find you.     Middle Grade Cozies:Taylor & Rose Secret Agents, Peril in Paris by Katherine WoodfineIn 1911, two young detectives, Sophie Taylor and Lillian Rose, shift their focus from sleuthing to the fast-paced world of espionage as they take on a case for Britain’s mysterious Secret Service Bureau. While Lil has been sent on a special mission, Sophie is tasked with uncovering why Bureau agent, Professor Blaxland, was found murdered in his Paris apartment. Although the City of Lights is beautiful and alluring, doom lurks around every corner.Murder Most Unladylike by Robin StevensIn this first Wells and Wong mystery, detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong get their chance to solve a real crime at their boarding school, The Deepdean School for Girls. After Hazel discovers their science teacher, Miss Bell, dead in the gymnasium, she rushes to get her partner but by the time they return, the body is gone. The girls have to find the killer before he or she strikes again.The Clubhouse Mysteries, The Mystery of the Buried Bones by Sharon M. DraperIn this first book in the series by best-selling author Sharon M. Draper, four friends have to find a way to spend their summer after finding their basketball court destroyed. The boys decide to use some salvaged fencing supplies and build a clubhouse for their new club, The Black Dinosaurs. When the boys discover a box of bones, they agree to solve the mystery inside which takes them on an unexpected journey and leading them to finally understand why Mr. Green has been lurking around, singing, “Dem bones gonna rise again.”The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith This book is the first of three cozy mysteries for kids exploring the origins of Detective Precious Ramotswe, from Smith’s long-time cozy mystery series, The #1 Ladies Detective Agency. In this tale, Precious lives with her father in a small Botswanan village. When sweets go missing before snack time at the village school, everyone assumes it was Poloko, their “traditionally built” classmate. But the young sleuth, Precious, disagrees and constructs the perfect trap to find the real perpetrator and clear Poloko’s name.Pick Six: The Mamas Fave Grown Up CoziesLucy Stone by Leslie MeierGreek to Me Series by Susannah HardyMiss Fortune Series by Jana DeLeonInspector Barnaby Series by Caroline GrahamMr. Parker Pyne by Agatha ChristieMurder She WroteReference Links:Masterclass.com cozy murder parametersMasterpiece Mystery TheaterSt. Trinians movieDown the Rabbit Hole PodcastTwo Lit Mamas Blog

Sep 2020

46 min 23 sec

Gear up, middle grade writers! The mamas have invited YA novelist John Petrie to join the podcast for episode 6. Petrie breaks down his process for researching sports romances while sharing with our cis gender mamas amazing insights into the history of queer books. Put on your mask, open your mind, and walk in someone else’s shoes as the Two Lit Mamas and One Lit Godfather chat about middle grade books full of LGBTQIAP+ characters and culture.  Rick by Alex GinoRick knows middle school is new and intimidating. He knows he’s the last one at home now that his siblings are in college. He knows he’s not a jerk like his best friend Jeff. But sometimes Rick worries those are the only things he knows. With the help of some new friends and an amazing grandparent, Rick learns that not knowing is perfectly fine. My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer GennariJune Farrell’s pies are some of the very best in Vermont, even if she’s only 12 years old. June plans to showcase her skills in the upcoming Champlain County Fair until arguments over Vermont’s civil union laws put her family and their livelihood in danger. But it takes more than some bullies to deter June from her making pies and embracing her new family. Meet the Guest Star: John PetrieJohn Petrie grew up in Boston and now lives in the Bronx, NY. He's spent most of his life around books, from his days as a teenage library assistant to over twenty years as a bookseller and writer. His work has appeared in True Romance magazine as well as in his two most recent YA books for Harmony Ink Press:The Quarterback's CrushBuried Secrets He can be reached at johnrpetriewrites@gmail.com and on twitter at johnpetriewrite Episode Reference Links:John Petrie’s podcast: Don’t Sue Us Please PodcastTrying Hard to Hear You by Sandra ScoppettonePeter by Kate WalkerSome Day This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter CameronFive Six Seven Nate and Better Nate Than Ever by Tim FederleTwo Lit Mamas Blog 

Aug 2020

48 min 44 sec

Join the Two Lit Mamas as they disappear into their favorite Middle Grade series and forget about the dumpster fire that is 2020 for a while. The mamas talk Star Wars, supernatural powers and even exchange a recipe for Café de Olla, all while giving big props to genius authors who make parents cringe and kiddos cheer. So, go ahead, get lost in a neighborhood of make believe with the mamas. You might feel better – at least for 30 minutes. Margie’s FavesA New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken,  So You Want to Be a Jedi by Adam Gidwitz and Return of the Jedi, Beware The Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger are three very different retellings of the original Star Wars movies from the 1970s and 80s. Though completely different in style, the three books fit together to tell the stories, from Luke Skywalker's and Princess Leia’s meet cute (ewww, they’re brother and sister) to the defeat of their faaather.The Genius Files is a series of five books by Dan Gutman following the McDonald twins, Coke and Pepsi, on a pop culture filled cross-country road trip. While their parents are enjoying the sights, the twins find themselves being hunted by a team of bad guys because Coke and Pepsi are no ordinary kids. The twins have been chosen for a secret government organization known as The Genius Files.Heather’s FavesWar usually brings death and devastation but, for Ada, it might save her from abuse and misery. Set in the English countryside during WWII, The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, complete a coming of age story about a 10-year-old girl who learns to love life at a time when bombings and German spies are a normal part of living. Watch out world, the Beatumont children are coming into their powers and they can’t control them. Will there be a new mountain range in Kansas or a great lake in the desert? Anything is possible in this three book fantasy adventure series by Ingrid Law which includes Savvy, Scumble and Switch. Each book follows a new family member on the wild ride of discovering his or her powers. Pick 6: Great Shows Based on BooksMatildaThe House with a Clock in the WallsAnne with an EHolesDiary of a Wimpy KidSeries of Unfortunate EventsShow Reference Links:VIA Character Strengths SurveyCafé de Olla40th Anniversary Star Wars article with Adam GidwitzOrigamiyoda.comJedi AcademyCommon Sense MediaTwo Lit Mamas Blog

Aug 2020

37 min 13 sec

Two Lit Mamas: A kid-lit podcast for parents, teachers and writersEpisode 4: Diverse Summer ReadsYou might want to pour a glass of wine for this one. Heather and Margie dive into diverse American stories and get on their soap boxes about the importance of representation, true patriotism, letting sassy children lead us, and the power of mamas’ boys. They aimed for light summer beach reads but happily landed on more important books about black girl magic and the kindness of Latinx boys – much more fitting for the summer of 2020.   Summer Reads Book Discussion:A Song Below WaterBy Bethany C. MorrowThis modern fantasy about two friends, Tavia and Effie, is set in Portland, Oregon where sirens and other magical creatures live among humans. In addition to dealing with racism and sexism, the play sisters also have to hide their magical abilities out of fear of attack after a siren murder trial rocks the nation. As if that isn’t enough, the young women also struggle with normal teen troubles like boys and hair. In the end, their strong friendship gets them through it all.  Marcus Vega Does Not Speak SpanishBy Pablo CartayaMarcus Vega is a 6-foot, 180-pound middle schooler and while he might tower over most kids at his school, to his mom and brother, he's just a big, overprotective softie. After a fight at school provides Marcus with some unexpected "time off," Marcus' mom decides it's time for him to reconnect with his family in Puerto Rico. However, Marcus thinks this is the perfect time to search for the father who left them ten years ago. Through a series of adventures in Puerto Rico, Marcus learns that family is never quite the way you imagine it.Pick Six Read the Book, Skip the Movie: 1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey2. The Giver by Lois Lowry3. Artemis Fowl by Eion Colfer4. Wonder by R.J. Palacio5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle6. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Jul 2020

37 min

Two Lit Mamas: A Kid-Lit podcast for parents, teachers and writers Episode 3: Multicultural Middle GradeIn Episode 3 of Two Lit Mamas, Margie and Heather chat about heavy metal t-shirts, flower pictures, and flying teenagers before diving into a discussion on first gen Americans, language misconceptions, unfounded fears of the other, and the right kind of rule breakers. Margie even gets misty about her Turkish, immigrant husband – you don’t want to miss it! Multicultural Middle Grade Book Discussion:We're Not From Hereby Jeff RodkeyAfter the human race obliterates Earth, middle schoolers Lan and Ila are living on Mars with their parents. Unfortunately, Mars' resources are nearly exhausted, but the far-off planet Choom has agreed to take on human refugees. Unfortunately, during the 20-year journey to Choom, the government changed and no longer has any interest in taking a ship full of violent human refugees. With little food and fuel left and the remainder of the human race counting on them, Lan and family have been given a chance to prove to all of Choom that humans are not as bad as they seem. No pressure.Stand Up, Yumi Chung!by Jessica KimEleven-year-old Yumi Chung is a shy Korean American girl who struggles at her fancy L.A. private school where students call her names and she eats lunch by herself in the bathroom. Her one solace is her favorite comedians’ how-to videos and her notebook full of jokes. In a case of mistaken identity, Yumi joins a summer comedy camp without the permission of her over-protective parents. During that time to learns to fail forward and stick up for herself. Eventually she uses her comedy skills to save the day. Pick Six Multicultural Books:1.     Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan2.     Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis3.     Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson4.     Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes5.     The First Rule of Punk by Celia Pérez6.     The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson  Show Reference Links: Teacher Guide for We’re Not From Here #ownvoices The Book Sommelier 11 Contemporary Diverse Novels for Middle Grade Readers on ReadBrightly.com https://coloursofus.com 

Jul 2020

35 min 3 sec

In Episode 2 of Two Lit Mamas, Margie and Heather surprise each other with book reports on two Middle Grade novels the other one hasn’t read. Listen along as the mamas introduce each other to bog monsters, butter cows, wish granters, and Jan Brady books. What the heck is a Jan Brady book, you ask? Hit play and let Margie explain it to you.  Margie’s Surprise-Me Books:Eventownby Corey Ann HayduEventown follows eleven-year-old twins, Elodee and Naomi as they move from their urban home to Eventown following a heartbreaking loss. Eventown promises to be a new start where nothing is good or bad but only even. Memories fade, both good and bad and everything is replaced with a perfect state of calm. The problem is, what makes things better for one sister, doesn’t always work for both. *Note* Contains references to teen suicide.Sliderby Pete HautmanDavid Miller is a fourteen-year-old who is stuck in the middle. He’s the middle child living in the middle of Iowa and the only thing he seems to be good at is competitive eating. When a mess-up on an online auction site threatens to get him grounded for life, David has to break out of the middle and find a way to shine, even if it’s by eating two dozen pizzas.Heather’s Surprise-Me Books:The Girl Who Drank the Moonby Kelly BarnhillThe Girl Who Drank the Moon is a 2017 Newbery Medal winner about a young girl named Luna who becomes magical after a witch, who saves her from abandonment in the forest, feeds her moonlight. The witch, Xan, then raises Luna as her own along with the help of a bog monster and a tiny dragon. On the other side of the mountain, in Luna’s hometown of the Protectorate, a young man vows to put an end to the evil witch who demands a sacrificial baby each year, but the real evil is waiting to be uncovered.     Grantedby John David AndersonGranted is a middle grade novel about Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets, a Granter fairy who’s been given her first wish-granting assignment. To complete her mission, she must leave the safety of the Haven for the first time. Her mentors warn her that the human world is a dangerous place, but Ophelia isn’t afraid. She’s packed everything she could possibly need and is ready to make one girl’s wish for a new bike come true ­– or, so she thinks. Show Reference Links:Artist Duffy and the history of Iowa State Fair butter cowsMore Middle Grade farm books from The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors More about bog ecosystems from National GeographicMs. Bixby’s Last DayTeacher Guides from Pete Hautman   

Jul 2020

33 min 43 sec

Heather and Margie, two KidLit obsessed moms, share their middle grade author crushes. The discussion quickly devolves as the BFFs defend fart jokes, thumb their noses at boring classics, and disparage men who take credit for the work of goddesses. If you’re a KidLit snob, you might want to give it a pass, but, if you’re in need of some good book lovin’, give it a shot. Eh, why not? Margie’s Top 5 MG Crushes:Dan Gutman Not only for the most fun chapter books around, the Weird School series, but also for the Genius Files which are also, genius.Carl Hiaasen For writing kid lit that is as fun, wild and exciting as his adult books, just without the naughty parts.Margaret Peterson Haddix Because she challenges kids’ views of the world and makes them want to explore other worlds as well.Jeff Kinney For making storytelling with graphics mainstream and making it ok to be a total nerd. Beyond that, for creating a bookstore – An Unlikely Story, in Plainfield, Mass. – that is a haven for kid-lit and the best place in the world to spend an afternoon.Judy Blume For being the Grand Dame of telling important stories and making so many of us want to write for kids too.Heather’s Top 5 MG Crushes:Richard Peck For writing about my hood with humor, love and respect in the A Long Way from Chicago books and for writing about a mouse in England that made my little, anglophile heart happy. Madeline L’Engle For making this nerd think big thoughts that led to bigger worlds, ideas, and experiences than a farm girl ever could have imagined. Pam Muñoz Ryan For shining a brilliant light on the Latinx experience and for writing horse stories that a horse-loving girl like myself cherished. Can’t wait to read Mañanaland.  Christopher Paul Curtis For saying, “I’m the kind of person who is excruciatingly slow to come to taking a risk but once I decide to, I’m all-in” and for creating Bud Caldwell and his Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself. Can we hang out, Mr. Curtis? I seriously love the way your brain works.  Margaret Peterson Haddix For using a journalism career as a jumping off point for a unique and fascinating children’s lit collection that captivated my son, as well as me.    Show Reference Links:One Question with Mr. Sharp YouTube channel Mr. Sharp interview with Margaret Peterson Haddix M. Night Shymalan vs. Margaret Peterson Haddix Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson Storyteller Academy Arree Chung  

Jun 2020

20 min 6 sec