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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 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

Episode 40: Time Traveling Middle Graders

In todays book chat, the SciFi loving Mamas are giddy about two new time travel Middle Grade books (for 8-12 year olds) that take them back 5 years and 500 years. But, before they get started the Mamas share their fantasy time travel vacays, including sipping tea with Abigail Adams and throwing down with the magnificent Ottomans. Don’t worry! The Mamas won’t let you get stuck in the past (especially the ’80s) so jump aboard the time machine and laugh along with Two Lit Mamas.

Book Chat:

DaVinci’s Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Operation Do-Over by Gordon Korman

Episode 39: Pirates in Middle Grade Books

Arrrrr, the Mamas uncover buried treasure with three pirate-themed books for Middle Graders readers (aged 8-13) in the 39th episode of Two Lit Mamas Podcast. Their high seas discussions quickly freeze over with six tips for beating the winter blahs that don’t include walking the plank. Join them if you dare!

Book Chat:

  1. The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
  2. Dark Waters by Katherine Arden
  3. Pirate Queens: Dauntless Women Who Dared to Rule the High Seas by Leigh Lewis, illustrated by Sara Gomez Woolley


Pick 6: How the Mamas beat the winter blahs

  1. Lots of carbs, including homemade bread, French pastries, and pretzels. Yes, please!
  2. Get cozy with Danish Hygge and throw another log on the fire.
  3. Game the system with games.
  4. Embrace the Swedish mantra “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
  5. Murder in books, movies, TV shows and podcasts
  6. Make your family mission statement “Always Be Learning.”

Episode 38: Twisted Fairy Tales for Modern Middle Graders

For the first episode of the new year, the Mamas are kicking it at the back of the class, reading twisted fairy tales, passing notes about their latest obsessions (we’re looking at you Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum); while keeping their heads down and hoping to stay under the radar of Mrs. 2022’s evil glare. Come join the rebels in the back – this is your two-minute warning!

Book Chat: 

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani

Pick 6: Our 2022 Obsessions

  1. Trashy Reality TV
  2. Bigelow Green Tea with Elderberry
  3. Maker Spaces & Loose Parts Play
  4. Welcome to Earth with Will Smith on Disney+
  5. The World According to Jeff Goldblum on Disney+
  6. Prepping for High School graduation

Episode 37: Holiday Gift Guide for Ages 0-9

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-Madsen

The 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 Wenzel

Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Alea Marley

A Vote for Susanna, the First Woman Mayor by Karen M. Greenwald, illustrated by Sian James

How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps by Peggy Porter Tierney, illustrated by Marie Letourneau. 

Chapter Books (ages 6-9): 

The Secret Explorers series by SJ King 

The Ninja Kid series by Anh Do

JD the Kid Barber Series by J Dillon

The Pug Who Wanted to Be…..  by Bella Swift

Definitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jennings

Show Links:

Bookshop.org

Twolitmamas.com

The first two people to leave a comment on this blog post will receive a free copy of One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin, illustrated by Anna Mullin!!