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On the eve of Mother’s Day, the Mamas are packing their bags for Mars. They’ve got their motion sickness cures and their poopoo spray tucked in travel bags; and they’re looking forward to a few days of weightlessness in the silence of space. Join the club so the Mamas aren’t left angry walking (or floating) alone.Book Chat:Packing for Mars for Kids by Mary Roach Pick 6: Books for a Quiet (and less disappointing) Mother’s DayJane Austen’s Table: Recipes Inspired by the Works of Jane Austen: PIcnics, Feasts and Afternoon Teas By Robert Tuesley AndersonBalanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. HanscomCraft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew SalessesInto the Wild by Jon KrakhauerLet’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny LawsonEducated by Tara Westover & Educating by LaRee Westoverwww.twolitmamas.com
After a break, the Mamas are back with a fun way to boost your summer reading: pairing a gown-up book series with a Middle Grade book series that share the same world and characters in the spirit of Spin-Offs that only kids of the 80's and 90's could love! Inspired by their cold beach walks, the Mamas jumped on an ocean-themed book series for Middle Graders that ties into a series of grown-up books with the same characters and overall themes. Parent/child book club, anyone?Book Chat:Grown-Up Book: Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne WhiteMiddle Grade Book: Fins by Randy Wayne White randywaynewhite.comPick 6: More Book Spins-Offs We Love!1. Alexander McCall-Smith's chapter book The Great Cake Mystery has the same MC as his adult series the #1 Ladies Detective Agency2. Carl Hiaasan’s Chomp, Hoot, Scat, Flush, Skink and Squirm are MG books that are styled like his adult books3. Famous adult author Terry Pratchett's MG book, Only you Can Save Mankind4. Finishing School Series is a steampunk MG series by Gail Carriger who also has adult steampunk books5. Death Comes to Pemberley is a book and movie based on the Pride and Prejudice characters by Jane Austen written by famous mystery author P.D. James6. The whole family can join the fun with Little House on the Prairie Picture Books that match up to themes and scenes in the Middle Grade series by Laura Ingalls Wilderswww.twolitmamas.com
The Mamas celebrate Women’s History Month in Episode 43, by sharing new middle grade biographies about fierce women: one covers an early 1800s highflyer and the other a 1960s Sci-Fi writer. Both books include detailed info of the dramatic times that influenced the women’s childhoods, making them perfect options for use in the classroom. The Mamas also share their favorite women authors of grown-up books. Believe it or not, they read those too.   Book Chat:Lady Icarus: Baloonomania and the Brief Bold Life of Sophia Blanchard by Deborah NoyesStar Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi ZoboiPick 6: Women Authors of Grown-Up Books We HeartJennifer RaffDonna Barba HigueraRuta SepetysAlissa NuttingMelissa BroderElif Shafakwww.twolitmamas.com
The Two Lit Mamas celebrate Middle Grade March with random selections from their TBR piles before they collapse and crush them. Margie went for funny superheroes, of course, while Heather dug into a survival story that was a little too real. Listen in as the Mamas gush over poetry (shocker, right?), get on their soap box in defense of graphic novels (not a shocker), and share their favorite female MCs from middle grade books in honor of Women’s History Month (totally on brand). Book Chat:The Super Villain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt WallaceAlone by Megan E. FreemanBat Pig Series: When Pigs Fly by Rob HarrellPick 6: Favorite Female MCs from MG books1.     Margaret from Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Bloom2.     Jesse Keyser from Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix3.     Iris from Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly4.     Esperanza from Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan5.     Ada from the War that Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley6.     Mimi Mackson from Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca www.twolitmamas.com
In this episode, The Mamas celebrate Black Authors in Middle Grade Lit. (Really it’s more like worshipping, bordering on stalking, you know how they can get, but anyway…) The Mamas showcase some of their favorite writers across diverse genres including, fantasy, historical fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, and horror (oh, my!). Get ready to grow your TBR piles!Book Chat:The Girl in the Lake by India Hill BrownSome Places More Than Others by Renee WatsonRoot Magic by Eden RoycePick 6: More Fantastic Books 1. Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes2. Amari & the Great Game by BB Alston      (Amari and the Night Brothers reviewed here)3. The Hill We Climb, Change Sings & Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman4. Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles5. Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi6. When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura www.twolitmamas.com   
In todays book chat, the SciFi loving Mamas are giddy about two new time travel Middle Grade books (for 8-12 year olds) that take them back 5 years and 500 years. But, before they get started the Mamas share their fantasy time travel vacays, including sipping tea with Abigail Adams and throwing down with the magnificent Ottomans. Don't worry! The Mamas won't let you get stuck in the past (especially the '80s) so jump aboard the time machine and laugh along with Two Lit Mamas.Book Chat:DaVinci's Cat by Catherine Gilbert MurdockOperation Do-Over by Gordon Korman www.twolitmamas.com
Arrrrr, the Mamas uncover buried treasure with three pirate-themed books for Middle Grade 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:The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn MoriartyDark Waters by Katherine ArdenPirate Queens: Dauntless Women Who Dared to Rule the High Seas by Leigh Lewis, illustrated by Sara Gomez WoolleyPick 6: How the Mamas beat the winter blahsLots of carbs, including homemade bread, French pastries, and pretzels. Yes, please!Get cozy with Danish Hygge and throw another log on the fire.Game the system with games.Embrace the Swedish mantra "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."Murder in books, movies, TV shows and podcastsMake your family mission statement "Always Be Learning."  
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 ChainaniPick 6: Our 2022 Obsessions1.     Trashy Reality TV2.     Bigelow Green Tea with Elderberry3.     Maker Spaces & Loose Parts Play4.     Welcome to Earth with Will Smith on Disney Plus5.     The World According to Jeff Goldblum on Disney Plus6.     Prepping for High School graduationwww.twolitmamas.com
Need gift suggestions for your kiddos this holiday? The Mamas have your back with board book, picture book, and chapter book recommendations. And, if book recommendations from Two Mamas isn’t enough for you, we’ve invited a Third Mama, author Rebecca Mullin, to help us get this holiday party started. Board Book Recommendations (ages 0-3):The Lovely Haze of Baby Days by Lindsay Kellar-MadsenThe Night is Deep and Wide by Gillian Sze, illustrated by Sue Todd  One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin, illustrated by Anna Mullin Picture Book Recommendations (ages 3-7): Inside Cat by Brendan WenzelPhoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Alea MarleyA Vote for Susanna, the First Woman Mayor by Karen M. Greenwald, illustrated by Sian JamesHow to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps by Peggy Porter Tierney, illustrated by Marie Letourneau. Chapter Book Recommendations (ages 6-9):  The Secret Explorers series by SJ King The Ninja Kid series by Anh DoJD the Kid Barber Series by J DillonThe Pug Who Wanted to Be….. by Bella SwiftDefinitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jennings Show Links:Bookshop.orgTwolitmamas.com
The Mamas are ready for the holidays (or at least ready for soccer season to be over). To get you in the mood for gift giving, the Mamas recap the best books in some of their favorite categories: Top Faves from 2021:Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos (Episode 15) City Spies Series by James Ponti (Episode 20)The Whispers by Greg Howard (Episode 26)Fave Fantasy Reads:The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant (Episode 29)The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta RimingtonFave Sports-themed BooksTen Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie. (Episode 32)Chunky by Yehudi Mercado Fave Mythology Stories:Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston (Episode 18)Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo. (Episode 17) Fave Nonfiction Books: Poisoned Water by Candy J Cooper and Marc Aronson (Episode 21)   I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present by Cerrie BurnellA History of Dessert by Victoria Grace ElliotFave Fiction Books for Foodies:All you Knead is Love by Tanya Guerrero (Episode 27)Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca (Episode 27)Fave Older Series: (grab the box set)The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly BlackThe Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stuart (Episode 30)The Greystone Secrets series by Margaret Peterson HaddixMoon Base Alpha Series by Stuart Gibbs (Episode 31
In this 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 hottest new horror ticket in Chi-town. Plus, sinister cats! Book Chat:Scritch Scratch by Lindsay CurrieWhat Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie Pick 6: More scary books for your MG devil babiesThe Thirteenth Cat by Mary Downing HahnRoot Magic by Eden RoyceThe Mothman’s Curse by Christine HayesNightbooks by J.A. WhiteSmall Spaces by Katherine ArdenDead Voices by Katherine Arden(Bonus) Dark Waters by Katherine Ardenwww.twolitmamas.com
In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, the Mamas were thrilled to chat about two Middle Grade books oozing with Mexican mythology and Día de los Muertos inspired adventures. So, gulp down some Pan de Muerto, grip your calavera, and let the Mamas make you cringe with fright (and hopefully not from their Spanish pronunciations).   Book Chat:Loteria by Karla Arenas ValentiCece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera  Pick 6: Latinx Children’s BooksBoard Books: La Catrina seriesBoard Books: Life of series by Lil LibrosPicture Book: Dreamer by Yuyi MoralesYoung Adult: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal MaldonadoMiddle Grade: The Sea-Ringed World by Maria Garcia Esperon, Curse of the Forgotten City by Alex AsterChapter Books: Definitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jenningswww.twolitmamas.com
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 ShepherdThe Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez Pick 6: Resources for Horse-Themed Learning ActivitiesHorse Illustrated Online Magazine’s young rider tabThe EquinestHorseloversmath.comHorsecrazygirls.com science fair horse projectPrzewalski’s Horse at the National ZooStacy Gregg’s Ponies A-Z www.twolitmamas.com
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:Chirp by Kate MessnerTen Thousand Tries by Amy MakechnieBefore the Ever After by Jacqueline WoodsonPick Six: Sports-Themed ActivitiesFine Motor Skills: Basket TossLanguage & Sensory: Mystery Bag with Sports ItemsLarge Muscle Movement: Skiing on 2x4 BlocksMath: Add and Subtract Game ScoresScience: The Physics of Football video and The Impossible Kick Ted TalkGeography: Pin Team Pennants to the City, State or Country on a Map Show Links:twolitmamas.com
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 BurtMoon Base Alpha Series by Stuart GibbsWeird Kid by Greg Van EekhoutThe Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn HeiderPick 6: The Mamas favorite Sci-Fi short storiesThe Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model by Charlie Jane Anders Kin by Bruce McAllister Bloodchild by Octavia E. ButlerThere Will Come Soft Rains by Ray BradburyHarrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  The Lottery by Shirley JacksonReference Links:Rethink ELAwww.twolitmamas.com
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+ SeriesThe Mysterious Benedict Society book series Pick 6: If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Mamas recommend these seriesMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenArtemis FowlMr. Lemoncello seriesSisters GrimmN.E.R.D.S.Savvy, Scrumble & SwitchShow References:www.twolitmamas.com
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 MerchantThe Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan Pick 6: MG Fantasies from the Mamas 2021 TBR listsThe Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (A Greenglass House Story) by Kate MilfordThe Gilded Girl by Alyssa ColmanCece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela RiveraDragons in a Bag by Zetta ElliotThe Anti-Book by Raphel SimonArlo Finch Series by John Augustwww.twolitmamas.com
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 HowardMillionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnultyPick 6: The Mamas break down their worst jobs and their best work momentsThe Worst:1.     Pushing corpses to the crematorium2.     Making the donuts3.     Wrecking a house with two little kids4.     Ruining wedding gownsThe Best:5.     Making a golem with Philip Glass6.     Making $400 on Mother’s Day and spending it all on clothesShow Reference Links:Lunch Money by Andrew ClementsLawn Boy and Lawn Boy Returns by Gary PaulsenLemonade Wars series by Jacqueline DaviesThe Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrillwww.lemonadeday.orgwww.twolitmamas.com
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 LaRoccaAll You Knead is Love by Tania GuerreroA Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura ShovanWhen Life Gives You Lemons Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing Pick 6: Kid-Friendly Recipes1.     Soft Pretzels2.     Baked Alaska3.     Fruit Sauce & Fruit Soup (Fruktsoppa)4.     Stuffed Grape Leaves (Margie might die if we share this recipe)5.     Homemade Pizza Dough6.     Avocado Pasta Show Reference Links:www.twolitmamas.com
In episode 26, 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 HitchcockThe 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 Klune2.     Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz3.     The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune3.5  Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston4.     The Sacred Band by James Romm5.     When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister6.     My Life with Women by Thomas E. Kennedy Reference Links:Trockadero BalletAnnie on My Mind by Nancy Gardenwww.twolitmamas.com
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