Episode 64: For the Birds

The Mamas are flying high with two lower middle grade books that helped them escape into fun fantasy worlds filled with talking parrots and pigeons who cooed and plucked their way into the Mama’s hearts. If you have a bird loving 8–12-year-old or just want to flip birds in your mind, join our flock and get carried away with the Mamas. 

Book Chat:

 The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo

 Coo by Kaela Noel

Pick 6: 
Six spring activities to get you and your kiddos outside

Episode 63: Happily Ever After

The Mamas went in search of lighthearted, feel-good reads to balance out the important yet difficult Middle Grade stories they’ve been consuming lately. Luckily they found them in a fantasy story and an historical fiction book. So, if you (or your kiddo aged 8-12) need some balance in your reading diet, join the Mamas for a laugh, a little harmless murder, and some happily ever afters.

Middle Grade Book Chat:

The Swifts, a Dictionary of Scoundrels by Beth Lincoln

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

Bonus Book Chat: Big Girl Books

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Circe by Madeline Miller 

Episode 62: Important Stories of Adversity

Episode 62 of the Two Lit Mamas podcast hits all the feels, including the good, the sad and the funny, with a book chat about two important diverse stories for middle grade (ages 8-12) that plumb the depths of tragedy and adversity through the agony  of racism and classism. The Mamas hope you will not back away. Then, the Mamas move on to  a fun new game called Two Books and a Fake. Will you be fooled?

Book Chat:

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

Episode 61: Censored Books in Middle Grade

The Mamas fight censorship and much more with the help of special guest, Staci Schwarz, who dazzles the Mamas with her witty book critique and the scrumptious details of her new Middle Grade Book subscription box. Listen in to get the deets. (Please ignore Margie’s violent tendencies. We’re blaming it on her new Hag-itude!)

Book Chat:

Attack of the Black Rectangles by A.S. King

Middle Grade Book Subscription Box:

Chapters Reading Club Book Box  

Next up on the Two Lit Mamas 2023 Reading Challenge:

Go on a grand adventure!

Join the Two Lit Mamas 2023 Reading Challenge!

The Mamas are excited to have listeners join them in their quest to read 24 books or more in 2023! So if you’ve resolved to read more Middle Grade books with your kids or on your own, check out the list below. The challenge follows the podcast topics for each month so you can add to the fun by listening to the Mamas as they share their reads and discuss current trends in books for your favorite 8-13 years olds.


Book 1: Choose a new series and read the first book in that series

Book2: Walk on the wild side with a banned book.


Book 3: Go on a grand adventure with a fantasy book

Book 4: Who did it best? Read any book that was made into a movie


Book 5: Read a Classic written before 1950

Book 6: Get off the planet with a Science Fiction or STEM book


Book 7: Read a book written during the pandemic

Book 8: Short and Sweet, read a short story collection


Book 9: Read a book from your childhood that influenced you

Book 10: Read a book by your favorite author


Book 11: Go on an epic journey

Book 12: Find a book with food in the title


Book 13: Find a book with an MC who has your dream job

Book 14: Read about aliens, any kind


Book 15: Work some magic with a book of magic

Book 16: Whodunit? Grab a mystery and find the perp


Book 17: Read a graphic novel

Book 18: Game on! Read a book that involves a game


Book 19: Read a Latinx author

Book 20: Read something spooky


Book 21: Go international with a book set outside the U.S.

Book 22: Listen to a good audiobook while you’re warming up for the Turkey Trot


Book 23: Get in the spirit with a book about the holidays

Book 24: Free Choice!

Episode 60: New Year, New Book Series

The Mamas started the New Year on the right foot with middle grade book series about gothic water parks, bubble aliens, and fart jokes! 2023 may or may not be a good year – the Mamas are sneaking in quietly so as not to provoke it – but, whatever the year brings, you can count on the Mamas to bring you book recommendations that the 7-12 year olds in your life will love! 

Book Chat:

The Area 51 Files Series by Julie Buxbaum and Lavanya Naidu

The Sinister Summer Series by Kiersten White

Two Lit Mamas 2023 Reading Challenge: 
Be a Rebel! Find a banned or challenged middle grade book and give it a read. We know you won’t be disappointed. Then listen to the next episode as the Mamas discuss censorship in middle grade. 

Episode 59: Parenting with an Accent

Happy Holidays! For the last episode of 2022, the Mamas are leaving listeners with a special gift – a visit from journalist Masha Rumor, the author of the new nonfiction book for adults titled, Parenting with an Accent, How Immigrants Honor Their Heritage, Navigate Setbacks, and Chart New Paths for Their Children. Laugh along with the Mamas as they dig into the importance of food, community and house slippers to cultural identity. You’ll definitely be Googling Herring Under a Fur Coat by the end of the episode. 

Treat yourself and listen in! 

Book Chat:
Parenting with an Accent, How Immigrants Honor Their Heritage, Navigate Setbacks, and Chart New Paths for Their Children by Masha Rumor

Episode 58: Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2

The Mamas are shopping again, and the books are piling up. This episode, our two favorite surly elves offer up gift buying guides for the Middle Grade (ages 8-12) and Young Adult (ages 13-18) readers in your life. So, eat until your fat pants are tight and then take advantage of Black Friday and Small Biz Saturday deals to snatch up some great books that will leave your big kids asking for more please, Oliver Twist style.    

Holiday Gift Guide:

Middle Grade (ages 8-12) books

Quest Kids and The Dragon Pants Gold by Mark Leiknes  

The Kwlade series by Emily Chenowith

The Confessions of a Dork Lord series by Mike Johnston

The Switch by Roland Smith

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

The Secret Letters by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Odder by Katherine Applegate

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

Spaceboy by David Walliams

Big Rig by Louise Hawes

Young Adult (ages 13-18) books

Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy Lin

Once Upon a Broken Heart and The Balland of Never After by Stephanie 

Gabe in the After by Shannon Doleski

I Must Betray You – Ruta Sepetys

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Episode 57: Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1

It’s beginning to look a lot like Giftmas and the Mamas are here for it with board book, picture book, chapter book, and activity book recommendations. Grab a hot toddy and fill your shopping cart while sharing a few laughs with your two BFFs.

Board Books

  1. Oink I’m a Pig and Roar I’m a Dinosaur by Merril Rainey
  2. This is a Book of Shapes by Kenneth Kraegel
  3. Rainy Days by Deborah Kerbel and Miki Sato
  4. Moon: A Peek-Through Board Book by Britta Teckentrup
  5. Odd Birds, Meet Nature’s Weirdest Flock by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Gareth Lucas

Activity Books

  1. The Highlights Books of Things to…
  2. Life Skills for Kids: How to Cook, Clean, Make Friends, Handle Emergencies, Set Goals, Make Good Decisions, and Everything in Between by  Karen Harris
  3. Edible Craft Kids’ Cookbook Ages 4-8 by Charity Mathews
  4. Upcycle It Crafts for Kids ages 8-12: Fun and Useful Projects to Recycle and Reimagine by Jennifer Perkins
  5. Brain Games Science books: Kitchen Science Experiments, Outdoor Science Experiments, Engineering Science Experiments

Picture Books

  1. Sunday Pancakes by Maya Tatsukawa
  2. The Path by Bob Staake
  3. Alphabedtime by Susanna Leonard Hill and Betsy Snyder
  4. Here We Come by Janna Matthies and Christine Davenier
  5. Three Little Vikings by Bethan Woollvin

Chapter Books

  1. Grumpy Monkey Freshly Squeezed by Suzanne Lang
  2. The Investigators series by John Patrick Green
  3. Max Meow series by John Gallagher
  4. The Agent Moose Series by Mo O’Hara and Jess Bradley
  5. Waffles and Pancake and the Castronauts by Drew Brockington

Join us next episode for Holiday Gift Guide Part 2: book recs for Middle Graders and Teens. 

Episode 56: MG Books to Read in the Dark

The Mamas celebrate spooky season with three books perfect for middle graders (ages 8-12) to read in the dark even if the two middle-aged Mamas read them in bright daylight (insert chicken noises here). The Mamas chat about witches, night beasts and ghosts. Oh my! And, debate if its okay to kill books by DNF-ing them. Listen in to find out who is a serial killer and who is a brain sucking zombie. 

Book Chat:

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

Witchlings by Claribel Ortega

The Clackity by Lora Senf