Category Archives: Show Notes

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!

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  

Episode 54: Who Knew the End Times Could be Fun

The end is near unless a few resourceful and persistent middle grade heroes can stop the apocalypse in three fun books for 8–12-year-olds. For this episode, The Mamas have jumped into a big pile of raked up spooky season, careful not to spill their pumpkin spice lattes, to bring you their opinions on all things dystopian ­– just in time for Halloween. 

Book Chat:

Fenris & Mott by Greg Van Eekhout

It’s the End of the World and I’m in my Bathing Suit by Justin Reynolds

Apocolypse Taco by Nathan Hale


Pick 6: Our Fave Halloweeny Shows

  1. My Best Friend’s Exorcism
  2. Hocus Pocus 1 & 2
  3. Escape to Witch Mountain
  4. Halloween ‘78
  5. Sleepy Hollow 
  6. Tales from the Crypt 

Episode 54: Delightfully Dark Sci-Fi for Middle Grade

The Mamas are ready for the spooky season after reading two Sci-Fi novels for Middle Graders (ages 8-12). The MC of one has an experimental brain implant and the other is a human/cockroach hybrid. What more could you want? Oh, and both heroes are battling evil corporations. So deliciously dark – just how the Mamas like it. 

Book Chat:
Maximillion Fly by Angie Sage
Trex by Christyne Morrell

Pick 6: Writing craft resources

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty Moore 

Telling Your Story with Joyce Maynard (podcast)

MasterClass.com/articles

Literaryterms.net

Episode 53: Historical Hayride

The Mamas are dreaming of hot cider, apple pie and cool nights so join them on an historical hayride as they travel back in time to the not-so distant past (Can the 70s really be considered historical fiction?!?) and fall in love with fantastic, new historical fiction for Middle Graders (ages 8-12).

Book Chat:

Yonder by Ali Standish

Show Me A Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Pick 6: More Great Historical Fiction for MG

Daring Darleen: Queen of the Screen by Anne Nesbet

Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos

Pies from Nowhere by Dee Romito

Marika Marches for Equality by Salima Alikhan and Andrea Rossetto

Escape from East Berlin by Andy Marino

Escape from Chernobyl by Andy Marino

Episode 52: Back to School with Middle Graders

The summer flew by and sadly it’s time to get back in school mode. The Mamas are here to help with a back to school book chat about The School For Whatnots by Margaret Peterson Haddix (or MPH if you gangsta). Listen to the Mamas fangirl about their author idol and goddess to kid robots everywhere. 

Book Chat: 
The School For Whatnots by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Pick 6:
The Mamas share their favorite tropes in Middle Grade fiction.