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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 50: Summer Stories for Budding Environmentalists

The Mamas go all Eco Warrior this month with Middle Grade fiction (for 8-12 years olds) that is destined to inspire next gen environmental scientists and animal lovers. They get a little weepy discussing manatee injuries, great white shark invasions, themes of loss, and fantastic debut fiction authors. Then, the Mamas share 6 healthy screen time options for summer learning. Put on your Birkenstocks and join the fun! 

Book Chat:
Where the Sky Lives by Margaret Dilloway
Manatee Summer by Evan Griffith
The Line Tender by Kate Allen 

Pick 6: Screen Time Parents Can Feel Good About
www.savethemanatee.org 
www.nps.gov
https://www.epa.gov/students/games-quizzes-and-videos-about-environment
https://ypte.org.uk/topics/home-learning-packs
https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/marine-biology

Episode 49: Adventure on the High Seas

The Mamas dive into the big blue sea with Middle Grade (ages 8-12) seafaring fiction in this episode. Margie chases down her white whale while Heather dives for train treasure. Grab your snorkel and join the fun! We’re in vacay mode on the Two Lit Mamas podcast. 

Book Chat:

Arch of Bone by Jane Yollen

Treasure Tracks by S.A. Rodriguez

Pick 6: The Mamas’ Vacay Reads

  1. My Name is Red by Orham Pamuk
  2. A Passion for Killing by Barbara Nadel
  3. Turkish Delight Mystery Series by Mehmet Murat Somer
  4. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill 
  5. Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
  6. Grown & Flown by Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington

Episode 48: Book vs. Movie – Better Nate Than Ever

In episode 48, the Mamas are joined by everyone’s favorite uncle to celebrate Pride month and chat about Tim Federle’s middle grade character, Nate Foster, a theater lover who stars in a book series and a new Disney musical. The trio follows up the book vs.movie discussion with 6-ish adult and kid books that turned them into readers (or book nerds as Margie no-so-lovingly puts it). Johnny also spills the tea on Margie’s grad school years from a century ago. Get your hot goss here!

Book Chat:

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Pick 6: 
Books That Turned Us into Readers

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tokein
  3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  5. Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman
  6. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  7. The Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Episode 47: Diverse Realistic Fic for Middle Grade

The Mamas may not sound like themselves in this episode but they’re serving up great diverse reads for 8 to 12 year olds just like normal. Heather even discovers a way to love Realistic Fiction while Margie’s just hoping to survive the Great Pollening. Join the Mamas for a fun chat and be grateful that the only thing contagious through your speakers are the laughs. 

Book Chat:

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Raúf

Pick 6: 
The Mamas chat about 6 things they’re looking forward to this summer! 

Episode 46: Diverse Fantasy Books for Middle Grade

The Mamas are split over their MG Fantasy Reads (for ages 8-12) but it’s not surprising since Heather loves flying horses and all things magical while Margie would rather read true crime stories unless a Sasquatch is involved. Find out where your loyalties lie by joining the debate. Plus, you can jump start your summer reading with six great new recommendations for all ages from the Mamas. 

Book Chat:

Solimar by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the World by Samira Ahmed


Pick 6: Summer Reads for All Ages

Margie’s Picks:

  1. Lower Middle Grade: The Orphans of St. Halibuts by Sophie Wills
  2. Teen/YA: Just Our Luck by Julia Watson
  3. Grown Ups: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers

Heather’s Picks:

  1. Preschool: Roar! I’m a Dinosaur by Merrill Rainey
  2. Middle Grade: Northwind by Gary Paulsen
  3. Grown Ups: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Episode 45: Pack Your Bags, We’re Going to Mars

On the eve of Mother’s Day, the Mamas are packing their bags for Mars. They’ve got their motion sickness cures and their poopoo sprays tucked into travel bags; and they’re looking forward to a few days of weightlessness in the silence of space. Join the Mama’s space club so you aren’t left angry walking (or floating) alone.

Book Chat:
Packing for Mars for Kids by Mary Roach

Pick 6: 
Books for a Quiet (and less disappointing) Mother’s Day

  1. Jane Austen’s Table: Recipes Inspired by the Works of Jane Austen: PIcnics, Feasts and Afternoon Teas By Robert Tuesley Anderson
  2. Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom
  3. Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew Salesses
  4. Into the Wild by Jon Krakhauer
  5. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  6. Educated by Tara Westover & Educating by LaRee Westover

Episode 44: Spins-Off for Adults & Kids

After a break, the Mamas are back with a fun way to boost your summer reading: pairing a gown-up book series with a Middle Grade book series that share the same world and characters in the spirit of Spin-Offs that only kids of the 80’s and 90’s could love! Inspired by their cold beach walks, the Mamas jumped on an ocean-themed book series for Middle Graders that ties into a series of grown-up books with the same characters and overall themes. Parent/child book club, anyone?

Book Chat:

Grown-Up Book: Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne White
Middle Grade Book: Fins by Randy Wayne White 
randywaynewhite.com

Pick 6: More Book Spins-Offs We Love!

1. Alexander McCall-Smith’s chapter book The Great Cake Mystery has the same MC as his adult series the #1 Ladies Detective Agency

2. Carl Hiaasan’s Chomp, Hoot, Scat, Flush, Skink and Squirm are MG books that are styled like his adult books

3. Famous adult author Terry Pratchett’s MG book, Only you Can Save Mankind

4. Finishing School Series is a steampunk MG series by Gail Carriger who also has adult steampunk books

5. Death Comes to Pemberley is a book and movie based on the Pride and Prejudice characters by Jane Austen written by famous mystery author P.D. James

6. The whole family can join the fun with Little House on the PrairiePicture Books that match up to themes and scenes in the Middle Grade series by Laura Ingalls Wilders

Episode 43: Middle Grade Biographies

The Mamas celebrate Women’s History Month in Episode 43, by sharing new middle grade biographies about fierce women: one covers an early 1800s highflyer and the other a 1960s Sci-Fi writer. Both books include detailed info of the dramatic times that influenced the women’s childhoods, making them perfect options for use in the classroom. The Mamas also share their favorite women authors of grown-up books. Believe it or not, they read those too.   

Book Chat:

Lady Icarus: Baloonomania and the Brief Bold Life of Sophia Blanchard by Deborah Noyes

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

Pick 6: Women Authors of Grown-Up Books We Love

Jennifer Raff

Donna Barba Higuera

Ruta Sepetys

Alissa Nutting

Melissa Broder

Elif Shafak

Episode 42: Happy Middle Grade March

The Two Lit Mamas celebrate Middle Grade March with random selections from their TBR piles before they collapse and crush them. Margie went for funny superheroes, of course, while Heather dug into a survival story that was a little too real. Listen in as the Mamas gush over poetry (shocker, right?), get on their soap box in defense of graphic novels (not a shocker), and share their favorite female MCs from middle grade books in honor of Women’s History Month (totally on brand). 

Book Chat:

The Super Villain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace

Alone by Megan E. Freeman

Bat Pig Series: When Pigs Fly by Rob Harrell

Pick 6: Favorite Female MCs from MG books

  1. Margaret from Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Bloom
  2. Jesse Keyser from Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  3. Iris from Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly
  4. Esperanza from Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  5. Ada from the War that Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  6. Mimi Mackson from Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Episode 41: Celebrating Black Authors in Kidlit

In this episode, The Mamas celebrate Black Authors in Middle Grade Lit. (Really it’s more like worshipping, bordering on stalking, you know how they can get, but anyway…) The Mamas showcase some of their favorite writers across diverse genres including, fantasy, historical fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, and horror (oh, my!). Get ready to grow your TBR piles!

Book Chat:

The Girl in the Lake by India Hill Brown

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

Root Magic by Eden Royce

Pick 6: More Fantastic Books

 1. Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes

2. Amari & the Great Game by BB Alston 
     (Amari and the Night Brothers reviewed here)

3. The Hill We Climb, Change Sings & Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

4. Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles

5. Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

6. When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura