• OhMG! News


    July 11, 2014: Apply for a Thurber House residency!

    Thurber House has a Children’s Writer-in-Residence program for middle-grade authors each year and  guidelines and application form for the 2015 residency were just released.

    This unique residency has been in existence since 2001, offering  an opportunity for authors to have time to work on their writing in a fully furnished apartment, in the historic boyhood home of author and humorist, James Thurber. Deadline is October 31, 2014. For details, go to READ MORE

    July 10, 2014:

    Spread MG books in unexpected places 7/19
    Drop a copy of your own book or of another middle-grade favorite in a public place on July 19 -- and some lucky reader will stumble upon it.
    Ginger Lee Malacko is spearheading this Middle Grade Bookbomb (use the hashtag #mgbookbomb in social media) -- much in the spirit of Operation Teen Book Drop.  Read more ...

June 16, 2014:
Fizz, Boom, Read: Summer reading 2014

Hundreds of public libraries across the U.S. are celebrating reading this summer with  the theme Fizz, Boom, Read! Find out more about this year's collaborative summer reading program and check out suggested booklists and activities. Read more ...

April 30, 2014:
Join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and help change the world

The conversation on diversity in children's books has grown beyond book creators and gate keepers to readers and book buyers. What can you do? Take part in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign May 1 though 3 on Tumblr and Twitter and in whatever creative ways you can help spread the word to take action. Read more ….

April 11, 2014:
Fall 2014 Children's Sneak Peek
A peek at forthcoming middle grade books (as well as picture books and YA books) in a round-up from Publisher's Weekly. First printed in the February 22 issue, but now available online. Time to add to your to-read list. Read more ...

April 9, 2014:
How many Newbery winners have you read?
You could make a traditional list of all the Newbery Medal Award-winning Children's Books you've read, but there's something so satisfying when you check them off and get a final tally on this BuzzFeed quiz. Read more ...

March 28, 2014:
Middle Grade fiction is hot at 2014 Bologna Children's Book Fair

For the second year in a row, publishers are clamoring for middle-grade, reporters Publishers Weekly. "I’ve been coming [to Bologna] for 12 to 15 years, and I’ve never had as many European publishers asking for middle-grade," said Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. Read more ...

February 14, 2014:
Cybils Awards announced
Ultra by David Carroll (Scholastic Canada) wins the Cybil for middle grade fiction; Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Hyperion) wins for Speculative Fiction. Read more.

January 27, 2014: And the Newbery Medal goes to ...
Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal for "Flora & Ulysses"; Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Author award for "P.S. Be Eleven." Newbery Honor awards to authors Vince Vawter, Amy Timberlake, Kevin Henkes and Holly Black. For all the exciting ALA Youth Media Award News ... READ MORE

November 12, 2013:
Vote in the GoodReads semifinal round

Readers' votes have narrowed the middle-grade semifinals down to 20 titles. Log in to your GoodReads account and vote for your favorite middle-grade (and in other categories, of course). Read more ...

November 9, 2013:
Publishers Weekly Top Children's Books of 2013

Middle-grade and young adult titles selected by the editors of Publishers Weekly as their top picks of the year. Let the season of "top ten books" begin! Read more ...

October 14, 2013:
Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids debuts January 2014

Shelf Media Group, publisher of Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine, will launch a new free digital-only publication for middle-grade readers. The debut issue features interviews with such notable authors as Margaret Peterson Haddix and Chris Grabenstein as well as reviews, excerpts, and more. Middle Shelf will be published bi-monthly beginning in January 2014.
Read more ...

September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

Dream of time and space to focus on your own writing project? Applications now being accepted (11/1/2013 deadline) for The Thurber House Residency in Children's Literature, a month-long retreat in the furnished third-floor apartment of Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Read more ...

September 18, 2013: Vermont College of Fine Arts Scholarship opportunity

Barry Goldblatt Literary launches The Angela Johnson Scholarship, a talent-based grant for writers of color attending the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at VCFA. Up to two $5,000 grants will be awarded each year. Read more ....

September 16, 2013:
National Book Awards longlist for youth literature

For the first time, the NBA is presenting lists of 10 books/authors on the longlist in each category. The 2013 young adult literature list includes five middle grade novels and five YA. Read more ...

Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
Check out Publishers Weekly roundup of upcoming children's books to be published in spring 2014. Read more...

August 21, 2013:
Want to be a Cybils Award Judge?

Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31! Read more ...

August 19, 2013:
S&S and BN reach a deal
Readers will soon be able to find books from Simon & Schuster at Barnes & Noble. The bookstore chain was locked in a disagreement with the publisher over how much it was willing to pay for books. Read more ...

August 6, 2013:
NPR's 100 Must-Reads for Kids
NPR's Backseat Book Club asked listeners to nominate their favorite books for readers ages 9 to 14. More than 2,000 people nominated titles, and a panel of Newbery authors brought the list to 100. Most are middle grade books. Read more ...

July 2, 2013:
Penguin & Random House Merger

The new company, Penguin Random House, will control more than 25 percent of the trade book market in the United States. On Monday, the newly formed company began to take shape, only hours after a middle-of-the-night announcement that the long-planned merger had been completed. Read more ...

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  • Differences Between Middle Grade and Young Adult

    Miscellaneous, Writing MG Books

    The Wikipedia definition of Young Adult Fiction is, fiction marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or a child. The subject matter and story lines are typically consistent with the

    The Lovely Bones

    A YA in which a 14-year-old is the protagonist

     age and experience of the main character, but beyond that YA stories span the entire spectrum of fiction genres.

    If you look for the Wikipedia definition for Middle Grade fiction, you won’t find one.

    Some of the defining points between MG and YA are the age of the protagonist, intended audience, subject matter, and word count.

    Age of the protagonist and intended audience:  Typically, middle grade is intended for readers ages 8-12, with the protagonist at the higher end of the age range.  The reason for this:  while an 8-year-old would have no problem reading about a 12-year-old protagonist, a 12-year-old may be reluctant to read a book about an 8-

    Dork Diaries

    Dork Diaries is an MG with a 14-year-old protagonist


    Subject Matter: MG readers are learning about who they are, what they think, and where they fit in. They do well with books they can relate to. They are still focused inward and the conflicts in MG books usually reflect this. The themes can range from school situations, friendships, relationships with peers and siblings, and daily difficulties that may seem ordinary to the rest of us. The parents are usually seen and have some sort of an influence. Kids at this age are also easily distracted,  so you want a faster pace and short chapters.

    Young Adult novels deals with underlying themes and more complicated

    Harry Potter

    JK Rowling was an exception and a success

    plots. It allows teens to examine deeper issues, what their role in life is, the differences a person can make, the importance of relationships, coping with tragedy, etc.  Protagonists are usually searching for their identity, figuring out who they are as an individual and where they fit in. These books generally are more gritty and realistic and the teens choices and actions drive the story. You see less parental influence.
    Word Count:  Middle Grade used to be 20,000-40,000 words, some say around 50,000 words.

    Young Adult is generally more around 55,000 to 80,000 words.

    Exceptions:  So while there are defining differences, there are also exceptions. 

    Harry Potter and the Twilight series definitely exceeded the word count.

    The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold has a fourteen-year-old protagonist in what is considered a higher end YA or even adult novel.

    Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish, although intended for a much younger audience, the protagonist is an adult, a literal

    Amelia Bedelia
    An adult protagonist? It works well here!

     –minded housekeeper, and it definitely works for this series, making it a fun classic!

    And what about those hybrid graphic novels that are so hot right now? I’m betting those fall under the normal word count, making room for all the illustrations.

    With so many cross-over genre books for these age-ranges, there’s something for everyone to read and write. What differences do you notice most in MG and YA?



    Rose Cooper is an author and illustrator with Random House Publishing. Her upcoming middle-grade humor series, Gossip from the Girls’ Room, A Blogtastic! Novel, will be published  January 11, 2011. Be sure to snoop out Rose’s website at www.Rose-Cooper.com.



    1. Karen Scott  •  Oct 4, 2010 @1:15 pm

      I think some of the difference I’ve noticed over the last few years involves the intricacy of plot (much more complex issues — political, relationships, effective world-building for fantasy for YA). Of course, the love stories are also very different. MG can still have puppy love, tug at your heartstrings kind of love stories — much more innocence than fire. But the YA today is all fire when it comes to romance!

    2. Natalie Aguirre  •  Oct 4, 2010 @7:34 pm

      I agree with your differences. I think there are some books like Harry Potter, or The Red Pyramid or Janice Hardy’s The Shifter, that are upper middle grade books. They are a little more serious than those for 8-9 year old kids, but not as old and full of romance as YA books.

    3. Margaret Nevinski  •  Oct 5, 2010 @11:45 am

      Rose, this is a good breakdown. I think another differentiating factor between YA and MG is voice, with YA protagonists often having a sassy or sarcastic voice. POV might be another factor. A lot of successful YA novels are in 1st person, reflecting that sense of identity you talked about.

    4. Amber Keyser  •  Oct 7, 2010 @11:09 am

      I think that MG protagonists are often trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into their world against a background of family. YA protagonists are trying to figure the transition into adulthood.

    5. Backlinks  •  Oct 10, 2010 @3:31 pm

      I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. :)

    6. karen Hallam  •  Jan 24, 2011 @1:54 pm

      I am still unsure if my almost 13 year old protagonist is for YA or MG audiences. My word count is at 80,000–though it is a mystery, somewhat paranormal fiction. I’ve had several adult readers say they liked it too. There is political and unpopular beliefs within the story as well.