The Weekly 411 (8/4/23)


© Ella English

August 4, 2023 vol. 31

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updatesAre you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations and camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Ella English.

Kid Lit News

The Shifting Middle Grade Market

Illustrator Spotlight

We are pleased to feature author-illustrator Kitty McCarthy and her website banner design for Kidlit411. Read about her work and her book, A Yarn About a Tree (Weirwood LLC 2021) and enter win a copy in the Rafflecopter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Middle Grade Giveaway

We are excited to host a giveaway of the nonfiction middle grade book,  Phone Book, by Jessica Speer (Familius) out on August 8. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!

Cover design: Mara Harris; illustrator: Leslie Imgart


About the Book: So . . . you got a phone! You can text your friends, play games, and take cool pictures! You have the whole world in your pocket—power to be used as a force for good or, um, not so good. But have no fear —The Phone Book is here! Packed with research-based explanations, techy tidbits, and stories, this book explores healthy screen habits and ways to stay safe online. Plus, fun activities and secret codes reveal the power of your phone and your superpowers to wield it as a force for good.

About the Author: Jessica Speer is the author of books for kids and teens, including the award-winning, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships and Middle School - Safety Goggles Advised, both of which grew out of her work with kids. Blending social science, stories, and fun activities, her writing unpacks tricky stuff that surfaces during childhood and adolescence. She has a Master's Degree in Social Sciences and a knack for writing about complex topics in ways that connect with kids. For more information, visit

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Picture Book Giveaway

We are pleased to host a giveaway of the picture book, Astrid Finklecorn Gets Inspired, by Victoria Marble (Young Dragon Press) coming out on Aug. 7. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!


About the Book: Astrid Finklecorn is on a mission to find her lost inspiration. As she searches her home, she discovers new and imaginative ideas along the way. Exploring every corner, Astrid finds hidden treasures and uncovers the magic in everyday objects. With her determination and creativity, she shows us that inspiration can be found everywhere if we look closely. This delightful story encourages us to embrace our own creativity and never give up, reminding us that inspiration is all around us, waiting to be discovered and shared with the world.

About the Author-Illustrator: Victoria Marble is an illustrator specializing in character & narrative design, with a particular emphasis on children, animals, insects, & floral designs. Victoria's love for drawing led her to pursue a well-rounded artistic background with courses completed in a wide range of concepts and media, including drawing and composition, figure drawing, painting, illustration, multimedia, and game design. She holds a general studies associate of arts degree with an emphasis on arts & humanities, as well as an associate of science in electronic game art & design. Her artwork has won various awards. Victoria adores creating art that emphasizes the beauty of nature- and particularly birds, fish, insects, and floral designs, along with cute children and animal characters.

Readers: are you interested in being a part of Astrid Finklecorn's launch team? If so, fill out this form!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Aughost - for the month of August, create ghostly art according to a prompt (on Mastodon)

  • What: apply for fellowship
  • Who: Oregon writers
  • Award: eight fellowships of $3500 each (at least 1 for writer of color); two literary career fellowships of $10,000 each (1 for writer of color)
  • What: submit a flash fiction 
  • Who: Oregon writers
  • Award: eight fellowships of $3500 each (at least 1 for writer of color); two literary career fellowships of $10,000 each (1 for writer of color)

  • What: apply for a cash prize
  • Who: any author or illustrator with a book traditionally published or self published in 2023 promoting compassion and respect for animals
  • Award: $2500 first place, $1,000 honor prize
  • What: design a banner for Kidlit411
  • Who: anyone over age 13
  • Prizes: cash ($175/ $125/ $75 for first, 2nd, 3rd places) plus 9 honorable mentions; an Illustrator Spotlight; use of banner on website, in Facebook group, and in newsletter


  1. Wow! So many interesting takeaways from the Publishers Weekly article about MG books and the market. Hope to share with other MG readers and writers. Original article entitled Finding a Middle Grade, 6/19/23.

  2. Thank you for the opportunity =)

  3. Intrigued by the art in the yarn picture book!!

  4. These are all new books to me. Thank you for featuring them.

  5. These books look great, my twins will love them!

  6. I LOVE the illustration by Ella English. Charming. Thanks for the info on the book and for all the great llinks.

  7. I am so taken by the clever title of this book "A Yarn About a Tree" - and the cover illustration is so brilliantly eye-catching! I want to read this book so badly!

  8. Great info and books, as always. Thanks, Sylvia!


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