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Welcome to the Two Lit Mamas Blog!

This is where you can find individual episodes, show notes, and transcripts, as well as recommended reading lists and other kid-lit related topics that support the Two Lit Mamas Podcast.

Please keep in mind that the book recommendations and commentary on the blog and podcast are solely the opinions of the hosts. Although Heather and Margie believe their opinions to be supreme, it’s perfectly fine to disagree. They’d love to hear from you as long as you’re not mean-spirited.

The mamas hope you enjoy reading and listening to kid-lit content as much as they love creating it! Thank you for visiting the Two Lit Mamas blog.

Episode 35: Middle Grade Horror

In the 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 latest hot horror ticket. Plus, sinister cats! 

Book Chat:

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

Pick 6: More scary books for your MG devil babies

1. The Thirteenth Cat by Mary Downing Hahn

2. Root Magic by Eden Royce

3. The Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes

4. Nightbooks by J.A. White

5. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

6. Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

(Bonus) 7. Dark Waters by Katherine Arden

Episode 34: Latinx Heritage in Middle Grade

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, the Mamas are thrilled to share two Middle Grade books oozing with Mexican mythology and Día de los Muertos inspired adventures. So, gulp down some pan de muerto and grip your calavera while the Mamas make you cringe with fright (and hopefully not from their Spanish pronunciations). 

Book Chat:

Loteria by Karla Arenas Valenti

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera   

Pick 6: Latinx Children’s Books

  1. Board Books: La Catrina series
  2. Board Books: Life of series by Lil Libros
  3. Picture Book: Dreamer by Yuyi Morales
  4. Young Adult: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
  5. Middle Grade: The Sea-Ringed World by Maria Garcia EsperonCurse of the Forgotten City by Alex Aster
  6. Chapter Books: Definitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jennings

Episode 33: Middle Grade Books for Horse Lovers

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 Shepherd

The Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez

Pick 6: Resources for Horse-Themed Learning Activities

  1. Horse Illustrated Online Magazine’s young rider tab
  2. The Equinest
  3. Horseloversmath.com
  4. Horsecrazygirls.com science fair horse project
  5. Przewalski’s Horse at the National Zoo
  6. Stacy Gregg’s Ponies A-Z

Episode 32: Sporty Stories for Middle Graders

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:


Pick Six: Sports-Themed Activities

  1. Fine Motor Skills: Basket Toss
  2. Language & Sensory: Mystery Bag with Sports Items
  3. Large Muscle Movement: Skiing on 2×4 Blocks
  4. Math: Add and Subtract Game Scores
  5. Science: The Physics of Football video and The Impossible Kick Ted Talk
  6. Geography: Pin Team Pennants to the City, State or Country on a Map 

Show Links:
twolitmamas.com

Episode 31: Middle Grade Books in Space!

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 Burt
Moon Base Alpha Series by Stuart Gibbs
Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout
The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

Pick 6: The Mamas favorite Sci-Fi short stories

  1. The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model by Charlie Jane Anders
  2.  Kin by Bruce McAllister
  3.  Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler
  4. There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
  5. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  
  6. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


Reference Links:
Rethink ELA

Episode 30: Book vs. Show: The Mysterious Benedict Society

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+ Series

The Mysterious Benedict Society book series

 Pick 6: If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Mamas recommend these series

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Artemis Fowl

Mr. Lemoncello series

Sisters Grimm

N.E.R.D.S.

Savvy, Scrumble & Switch

Episode 29: New Middle Grade Fantasy Books

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 Merchant

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

Pick 6: MG Fantasies from the Mamas 2021 TBR lists

  1. The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (A Greenglass House Story) by Kate Milford
  2. The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman
  3. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
  4. Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot
  5. The Anti-Book by Raphel Simon
  6. Arlo Finch Series by John August

Episode 28: Kid Entrepreneurs in MG Lit

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 Howard

Millionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnulty


Pick 6: The Mamas break down their worst jobs and their best work moments

The Worst:

1.     Pushing corpses to the crematorium

2.     Making the donuts

3.     Wrecking a house with two little kids

4.     Ruining wedding gowns

The Best:

5.     Making a golem with Philip Glass

6.     Making $400 on Mother’s Day and spending it all on clothes


Show Reference Links:

Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

Lawn Boy and Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen

Lemonade Wars series by Jacqueline Davies

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill

www.lemonadeday.org

Episode 27: Books with Middle Grade Cooks

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 LaRocca

All You Knead is Love by Tania Guerrero

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing

Pick 6: Kid-Friendly Recipes

1.     Soft Pretzels

2.     Baked Alaska

3.     Fruit Sauce & Fruit Soup (Fruktsoppa)

4.     Stuffed Grape Leaves (Margie might die if we share this recipe)

5.     Homemade Pizza Dough

6.     Avocado Pasta

Episode 26: Happy Pride Month!

In this episode of Two Lit Mamas podcast, 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 Hitchcock

The 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 Klune
  2. Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz
  3. The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune
    1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  4. The Sacred Band by James Romm
  5. When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister
  6. My Life with Women by Thomas E. Kennedy

Reference Links:

Trockadero Ballet

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Pose TV Show