Tag Archives: KidLit

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 29: New Middle Grade Fantasy Books

The Mamas’ fantasies are flying in Episode 29 with two hot Middle Grade fantasy picks. Following the book chat, the Mamas share six more MG fantasies from their TBR Lists for 2021. So, if animals talk to you, you should listen in because you’re in good company, or at least not alone in your fantasy world!

 Book Chat:

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

Pick 6: MG Fantasies from the Mamas 2021 TBR lists

  1. The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (A Greenglass House Story) by Kate Milford
  2. The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman
  3. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
  4. Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot
  5. The Anti-Book by Raphel Simon
  6. Arlo Finch Series by John August

Episode 28: Kid Entrepreneurs in MG Lit

Two of the Mamas’ fave authors (yes, ones from the Franzia List) are back in the book chat with financially-focused Middle Grade characters who discover how to run a business and manage money in the most fantastic settings. Listen as the Mamas WERK IT, doing what they love—chatting about great Middle Grade Lit and natural disasters (yes, they get waaaay off topic).

Book Discussion:

Middle School’s a Drag You Better Werk by Greg Howard

Millionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnulty


Pick 6: The Mamas break down their worst jobs and their best work moments

The Worst:

1.     Pushing corpses to the crematorium

2.     Making the donuts

3.     Wrecking a house with two little kids

4.     Ruining wedding gowns

The Best:

5.     Making a golem with Philip Glass

6.     Making $400 on Mother’s Day and spending it all on clothes


Show Reference Links:

Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

Lawn Boy and Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen

Lemonade Wars series by Jacqueline Davies

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill

www.lemonadeday.org

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

Episode 26: Happy Pride Month!

In this episode of Two Lit Mamas podcast, the Mamas join forces with Uncle Johnny to discuss the latest in LGBTQIA+ books for Middle Graders. They look at how far we’ve come and how far we have to go through the lens of two great novels about love, loss and growing up queer in America. 

Book Discussion:

One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock

The Whispers by Greg Howard

Pick 6: Grown Up Books We’re Reading Now (Yes, we read do read them)

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  2. Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz
  3. The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune
    1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  4. The Sacred Band by James Romm
  5. When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister
  6. My Life with Women by Thomas E. Kennedy

Reference Links:

Trockadero Ballet

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Pose TV Show

Ep 19 Divorce & Blended Families in Middle Grade Lit

In this episode, the Mamas tackle tough topics, including divorce, blended-up families, and sick kiddos with their middle grade, realistic fiction pics. Maybe not the best topics to cover during a pandemic but the mamas grip their calming stones and carry on through two important and wonderful reads written by diverse authors. Then the Mamas share six new releases they’re looking forward to reading this summer. 

Books discussed:

Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood 

(sequel out this summer: Forever This Summer)

How to Make Friends with the Sea by Tanya Guerrero 

(second book out this summer: All You Knead is Love

Pick 6: New releases to check out this summer

  1. The Double Life of Danny Day by Mike Thayer
  2. The Last Windwitch by Jennifer Adam
  3. The Last Shadow Warrior by Sam Subity
  4. Weird Kid by Greg Van Ekkhout
  5. Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie
  6. Down to Earth by Betty Culley

World Mythology Stories for Middle Grade

After grumbling about the weather like two old ladies, the mamas dive into Iberian, Bengali, Egyptian and Greek mythology stories for middle grade readers. The stories aren’t for fainthearted parents since most adults have disappeared at the beginning of the books. Fear not, the kids do rescue them, of course only after falling for crushes, exploring secret worlds, and becoming warriors. Connect with your inner goddess and will yourself to join the mamas on this mythic adventure.     

Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Trident by Ann Searle Horowitz  

Show Reference Links:

Jinn Netflix TV Show

www.twolitmamas.com

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

Episode 12: Gift Guide Part 1, Picture & Chapter Books

Happy Holidays! The mamas flipped the script this episode to bring you their Pick 6 gift guides upfront. Not surprisingly, the opinionated broads have gobs of recommendations for their favorite 2020 picture books and chapter books so, get out your quills and parchment paper and let the mamas help kickstart your holiday shopping.

Heather’s 2020 Picture Book Faves

1. Over and Under the Rainforest by Kate Messner, art by Christopher Silas Neal

2. Vote for our Future by Margaret McNamara, art by Micah Player

3. On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex

4. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith, by Madeline Kloepper

5. Soaked by Abi Cushman

6. We Walk Through the Forest by Lisa Ferland, art by Yana Popova

Heather’s Fave Diverse Picture Books

1. Blue Cat by Charlie Eve Ryan

2. What I Like Most by Mary Murphy, art by Zhu Cheng-Liang

3. Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, art by Juana Martinez-Neal

4. La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, art by Juana Martinez-Neal

5. Crown, an Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, art by Gordon C. James

6. Mae Among the Starts by Roda Ahmed, art by Stasia Burrington

Margie’s Fave Chapter Book Series

1. Mac B Kid Spy Series by Mac Barnett, art by Mike Lowery

2. Mia Mayhem Series by Kara West, art by Leeza Hernandez

3. Big Foot and Little Foot Series by Ellen Potter, art by Felicita Sala

4. Pocket Pirates by Chris Mould

5. Sam Wu is Not Afraid Of Series by Kate and Kevin Tsang 

6. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Chapter Book Series 

Other resources for book recommendations:

Imagination Soup

Afoma Umesi All My Beautiful Things

Colby Sharp

Avery & Augustine

From the Mixed-Up Files

Kidlit411

Episode 8: Back to School Creativity

Whether your family is doing e-learning, homeschooling, unschooling, striking, or hiding out in a bunker to avoid the latest natural disaster, you need The Creativity Project book to fill your time and sparkle your creativity. If you’re not sure if this book is for you, listen as the mamas give the hard sell (no, there’s no money in it for them although they’ll take your money if you’re offering) for literary advocate Colby Sharp and his unique prompt-response anthology along with tips to keep your kids learning, growing and creating. 

The Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp

This collection of prompts and responses from dozens of well-known children’s authors is the brainchild of teacher and literary advocate Colby Sharp (5 Questions with Mr. Sharp), who invited some of the best storytellers in Kidlit to share a prompt. Then the artists swapped prompts and let their imaginations run wild. The results appear in The Creativity Project book in the form of stories, drawings, poems, and comics. A section titled Prompts for You, is a call to action at the end that encourages readers to create their own awesome works of art. 

The Mamas couldn’t call out every contributor in the book, but they did discuss the works of these authors and illustrators: Sherman Alexi, Kate Messner, R.J. Palacio, Dav Pilkey, Minh Le, Victoria Jamieson, Lemony Snicket, Jennifer L. Holm, Chris Grabenstein, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Adam Gidwitz, Sophie Blackall, Kate DiCamillo, and Kat Yeh.

Pick 6: The mamas’ tips for sparking creativity at home or school

  1. Poetry Friday Anthology
  2. Scholastic Story Starter Scrambler
  3. Story Prompts from Think Written and Squibler
  4. Painting with ice
  5. Ice Play
  6. Airport Stories

Episode Reference Links:

Tomie’s Little Book of Poems by Tomie dePaola

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler