Featured post

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 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

Episode 25: Immigrant & Refugee MG Stories

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 Discussion
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
Front Desk series by Kelly Yang
One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman
The Only Road & Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz

Pick 6: Tips for introducing kids to other cultures

  1. Try a new ethnic restaurant and randomly order off the menu
  2. Learn how to pronounce someone’s name correctly
  3. Goog It! Research a country you know nothing about
  4. Learn to say “hello” in other languages
  5. Celebrate a holiday from another country
  6. Order it on Amazon! Search for candy, drinks and snacks from other countries and try them
  7. Bonus: Visit an international market or grocery store

Episode 24: Middle Grade Preppers

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 McAnulty

96 Miles by J.L. Eslpin

Pick 6: Summer Reading Recommendations 

1.     Historical Fiction: Gone to the Woods, Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

2.     Mystery: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

3.     Adventure: The Mutant Mushroom Takeover & Attack of the Killer Komodos by Summer Rachel Short 

4.     Realistic Fiction: Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas

5.     Science Fiction: The Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia

6.     Humor: My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

Show Reference Links:

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

twolitmamas.com

Episode 23: Fat Acceptance in Middle Grade Lit

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 Baron
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Jelly by Jo Cotterill
Husky by Justin Sayre
Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes
Dumplin by Julie Murphy

Pick 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 Panteleakos
For mamas with savant or math genius kids:
Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
For mamas with bi-cultural kids: 
Marcus Bega Does Not Speak English by Pablo Cartaya
For mamas with kids who have gender or orientation questions:
Rick by Alex Gino
For 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 Bell
For mamas with adopted kids: 
Greenglass House by Kate Milford 

Reference Links:
Lisa Damour article about teen eating disorders in the pandemic
Untangled by Lisa Damour
Angry Chef Blog 
Piers Anthony Xanth Series books

www.twolitmamas.com