• 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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  • NaNoWriMo – Let the writers begin!


    NaNoWriMo Logo

    (Note: This is the second of a five-part series about NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program.  Click the following links to read Part 1Part 3Part 4, and Part 5 of the series.)

    To many writers, the month that comes after October is now called NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. Last week I posted about the young authors at my elementary school who have decided to take the challenge of completing a novel in November. The ages of our writers ranges from five to eleven.

    Wait, did that say FIVE? Kids as young as five years old are going to write a book?

    Yep. Of the twenty students in our NaNoWriMo group, there are six kids in Kindergarten and first grade. They are just learning when to capitalize a word and to put periods at the ends of their sentences. They don’t spell very well and the words “main character,” “conflict,” and “plot,” were new to them. So how the heck are they going to write a whole book? I wondered the exact same thing. But my fearless NaNo teaching partner, whom I’ve nicknamed WigMo, assured the doubtful me that it could be done. And she was right!

    On November 1st, when the actual book writing began, WigMo and I separated our students. About fourteen of them will be writing their books independently while the youngest will be writing collaboratively. It’s hard to imagine six creative minds – and, boy, these kids have some incredible ideas! – coming together to form a single story. But the last three days have proven that it’s possible.

    They are writing the story of Cleopatra, the goddess of work, who is trapped inside a whale with her friend, Phil, the barn owl. We had worked on these characters and settings during our October warm-up and watching the kids put the story together with these elements has been fascinating. The novel unfolds one sentence at a time. For example, in the story, Cleo and Phil were traveling in their teleporter to Australia when they heard a loud clunk sound and their teleporter crashed. As the students dictated, I wrote their words and wondered what was going to happen next.

    When I asked how we should begin the scene after the teleporter crash, Milo said, “Cleo and Phil find a note.”

    “What does the note say?” I asked.

    Theo answered, “It says, ‘I was not here.’”

    I scratched my head. “Who wrote the note?” I asked.

    Kaatje answered, “Lucy wrote it.” Lucy is the 3000 foot snake that the students created as the villain of the story.

    Six pairs of eyes blinked at me as if I was a numb-skull. What was wrong with me that I wan’t understanding the twist in the story? I was fearful of losing their respect, but I had to ask, “Why would Lucy write the note?”

    Miranda laughed as if my question were silly. Then she answered, “So Phil and Cleo wouldn’t know it was her fault that the teleporter broke.”

    “Now she won’t get in trouble,” Aya added.

    Right! Of course! If Lucy tells them she wasn’t there, how could they suspect her? It makes perfectly good sense if you think about it.

    So, there you have it. Whether it is good luck, serendipity, or great five- and six-year-old minds thinking alike, the story is coming alive as smoothly as if it were written already.

    Next week we’ll check in with our older writers and see what they’ve come up with.



    1. Karen Schwartz  •  Nov 4, 2010 @2:27 pm

      Love their collaborative writing!

    2. Laurie Beth Schneider  •  Nov 4, 2010 @5:33 pm

      Lucy. Of course! Cheers to you and WigMo. How delightful.

    3. sheelachari  •  Nov 5, 2010 @7:53 am

      This is adorable!

    4. Stephanie Rous  •  Nov 5, 2010 @8:12 pm

      It always amazes me at the stories my fourth graders invent during NaNoWriMo, an with over 170 of them, they cover every genre and even invent a few new genres! I love the idea of working collaboratively with kindergartners and first graders and am going to try that next year! Happy NaNo-ing!

    5. Jennifer Duddy Gill  •  Nov 6, 2010 @10:18 am

      Wow, Stephanie! 170 NaNo-ers! It sounds like you all are having fun. Will you help all of them with the editing process too?

    6. WigMo  •  Nov 6, 2010 @11:53 am

      Only you could inspire such a wonderful story. I’m happy that Lucy isn’t evil, just clumsy and curious.