Tag Archives: KidLit podcast

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 35: Middle Grade Horror

In the Halloween episode, the Mamas admit they share a brain (FYI, it’s kept in a jar in a mad scientist’s lab). How do they know they share a brain? Because they each picked a Middle Grade horror book from the same author without realizing it. Fortunately, they were creeped out in the best possible way by an author who’s the latest hot horror ticket. Plus, sinister cats! 

Book Chat:

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

Pick 6: More scary books for your MG devil babies

1. The Thirteenth Cat by Mary Downing Hahn

2. Root Magic by Eden Royce

3. The Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes

4. Nightbooks by J.A. White

5. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

6. Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

(Bonus) 7. Dark Waters by Katherine Arden

Episode 33: Middle Grade Books for Horse Lovers

Margie hates it but Heather’s inner horsey girl catches her stride in Episode 33 as the Mamas share their childhood memories of horses and explore Middle Grade books and resources in the horsey genre. The Mamas also get on their high horses and rant about banned books. Saddle up and hold on tight!

Book Chat:

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

The Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez

Pick 6: Resources for Horse-Themed Learning Activities

  1. Horse Illustrated Online Magazine’s young rider tab
  2. The Equinest
  3. Horseloversmath.com
  4. Horsecrazygirls.com science fair horse project
  5. Przewalski’s Horse at the National Zoo
  6. Stacy Gregg’s Ponies A-Z

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 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

American Myths in Middle Grade Books

The snowbound, quarantining mamas are starting to get a little stir crazy, obvi – the cry-laughing was a dead giveaway – but fortunately they found some great middle grade fantasy reads about American myths to distract them. Please join the mamas in beating away the winter blues, especially if you’re a Sasquatch or a ghost mastodon.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Lemons by Melissa Savage

Pick 6:

1. Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates

2. Atlas of Cursed Places

3. Radio Garden

4. Finding ‘Ohana

5. Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Episode 13: Holiday Gift Guide Part 2, Middle Grade

3-2-1 Shop! In this episode, the mamas share many – let’s face it, probably too many – gift recommendations. Concentrating on upper and lower middle grade books, these crazy, wined-up Santa’s helpers go to town on their faves. From series and standouts to interactive finds, the mamas have got your holiday book shopping covered.

The mamas faves from past episodes:

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey

Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Fantasy Recs:

Glitch by Laura Martin

Tristan Strong Punches a Whole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Series Recs:

America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, Complete Baking Book for Young Chef, Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Deep End by Jeff Kinney

Unicorn Rescue Society by Adam Gibwitz

New Release Recs:

Murder Most Puzzling by Stephanie Von Reistwitz

Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski

Middle Schools a Drag You Better Werk by Greg Howard

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins

Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer

Cut, Color, Create books by Merrill Rainey

Show Reference Links:

NaNoWriMo

Edge of Extinction Series by Laura Martin

Rowley Series by Jeff Kinney