From the Mixed-Up Files, AKA MUF

I am lucky enough to be part of a wonderful group of people who are as excited about middle grade books as me. When I was first invited to join the blog From the Mixed-Up Files… of Middle Grade Authors I already knew I would say yes when I heard the name! That’s because it’s a play on the name of one of my favorite books from childhood—From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. In it a girl named Claudia and her brother Jamie run away from their home and hide out in a famous museum in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art—and even solve a mystery. When I used to read this book I would dream of visiting the museum myself–and maybe even living in New York City one day. This is a dream that came true! Although I don’t live in New York anymore, I did live there for 18 years and visited the Met many times. I still love New York, but now I live in London—another exciting city of museums and adventure.    

I love the MUF blog because it is a wealth of resources, giveaways, STEM segments, articles, interviews and all things celebrating books for 8-12-year-olds. I love writing for the MUF blog because I get to interview fabulous middle grade authors and sometimes write blog posts about ideas and issues relating to children’s books and publishing that I’ve been thinking about. Check it out!

The Sydney Taylor Shmooze

I already mentioned winning the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award but there is a very important and prestigious award for books that are already published called the Sydney Taylor Book Award which recognizes outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. The Sydney Taylor Shmooze is a mock award blog created to encourage discussion of books eligible for the Sydney Taylor Book Award over the course of the year. Different people (me being one of them) volunteer to read and review the books that might be considered for the Award and at the end of the year everyone votes. Of course, the real Award Committee make their own choices but this is a fun way to read, learn about and discuss new books. Here are some of my reviews: 

Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award

Before I had an agent or anyone agreed to publish Honey and Me, but my book felt as good as I could get it (after many, many revisions*,) I sent Honey and Me off to a competition for a manuscript award and I won! 

*P.S. It’s gone through many, many more revisions since 🙂

The award is named after Sydney Taylor who wrote the All-of-a-Kind Family series. These books were a huge influence on me growing up. Not only did I love them and read them over and over again, but when I began reading them to my own daughter it made me wonder if I could write something that had the same sensibility as them, but set in today’s world. So it was not only a big honor to win the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, but it was an especially meaningful one. 

Here is a podcast in which I am interviewed about Honey and Me after winning the award.

A New Yorker in London

Before I started writing fiction, I did lots of other kinds of writing, but all non-fiction. I worked for a not-for-profit organization where, for example, I wrote speeches for my bosses, as well as press releases and articles about all the great work the organization was doing. After I started having children I did a lot of freelance writing, especially for parenting magazines and Jewish newspapers. When I first moved to London I was sad and lonely; I really missed my friends and all the things that had been familiar to me in New York. So I wrote this personal essay about what it was like to drive around London as a new person—and it helped me feel better.