Middle grades literature to get its own designation on the New York Times Bestseller List.

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The New York Times Bestseller List Will Now Separate YA and Middle Grade Titles!

by Lee Wind

As reported in publisher’s lunch, The New York Times will now “…split its children’s Chapter book bestseller lists into separate middle grade and young adult lists…”Here’s a screen shot (courtesy of Author John Green’s tumbler) of the YA and middle grade lists:

Both lists, including the series bestseller lists, will include ebook sales, while the picture book bestsellers list will continue to report hardcover unit sales only.

This means ten more MG and YA books get to be on the New York Times bestseller list every week, which can only be good for all of us who create MG and YA books!  (And it’s good for readers, too – as they get more information about the age category they’re interested in.)


Real People

This project fascinates me.

The Pioneer Girl Project

Who’s real? How real?

We know that many of the characters in the Little House novels are based on real people—and sometimes in interesting ways. Take, for example, the notorious Nellie Oleson, a girl so persistently odious that you just know (or hope) that she cannot have been “real” in quite that way. As it turns out, this character is an amalgam of no less than three unpleasant people of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood acquaintance; Nellie as we know her combines all of their unpleasantnesses into a perfect triune arch-nasty.

The example of Nellie Oleson is well known, but the research and editorial team for the Pioneer Girl Project are probing the real basis of even the most occasional characters in Laura’s autobiography, Pioneer Girl. Historians wonder about any good story: Who’s real? How real? The answers are frequently gratifying, sometimes puzzling, and occasionally—well, occasionally, there’s no answer at…

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Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is a quick, compelling read.


Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

James L. Swanson

Swanson’s book  has been on my shelf for a while, patiently waiting its turn to be read.  It jumped to the top of the stack on Friday when I noticed one of my students reading it.  When she finished, she had that look…the one that says the reader has been away for a while and is reentering the present.  I asked her for a critique to which se replied, “Awesome!”  She then asked to go to the library to check it out again for the weekend.

I purchased Chasing Lincoln’s Killer after a family trip to Washington D.C. and our visit to Ford’s Theatre which is a must see.  The theater, a working theater, and the museum below are fascinating for kids and adults alike.  This book makes me want to go back and visit.

This is Swanson’s first YA book based on his adult version Manhunt which was a New York Times bestseller. Swanson grabs his young readers with the first paragraph where he assures readers that what they are getting ready to read is true.  I was hooked from page one.  There are photos, sketches and maps to give readers an idea of what life was like at the time of Lincoln’s presidency.

There is so much more to the story of Lincoln’s assassination than I ever remember hearing before. Swanson does an excellent job of laying out the pieces and the players in away that is reader friendly.  He also includes details that make the reader feel compassion for a president who struggled to keep the nation and his family intact.  The author’s description of Lincoln as the Civil War ended, his relief and happiness, the compassion conveyed for Mary Todd Lincoln at her husband’s side after he was shot, all give modern day readers the human side of the event.

The author, born on Lincoln’s birthday, tells us that he has been fascinated by the Lincoln assassination since he was ten.  He tells the story, using newspapers, diaries, court transcripts and other primary sources.  His passion for history is clear and readers benefit from his efforts.

I highly recommend this book to YA readers and adults.  History presented in a compelling way, you’ve got to love that!