• 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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  • What the Mixed-Up Authors Think About…Characters Like Us


    I thought our readers might like to get to know the Mixed-Up Authors a little better by learning about the characters that are like us.  You can learn a lot about someone by finding a character to compare them to.

    For example, when I was younger, a neighbor whom I admired very much told me I reminded her of Anne Shirley from L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.  Some may have wondered if that was a compliment or not, but I was pleased by the comparison.  I had always secretly felt like a modern version of Anne.  And I spent my childhood summers at my own version of Green Gables (my grandparents’ small farm in Idaho, where my grandmother ruled much like Marilla did, and my grandfather was exactly like Matthew), so I understood Anne’s world.

    Recently I sat down with some of the Mixed-Up Authors and asked them which characters they had a lot in common with.  Some responses surprised me…and others didn’t.  Read on to learn more about us than you ever thought you could…and more than you probably wanted to.

    When Anastasia Krupnik was ten, she grew a pink wart on her left thumb and later in the story, when the wart fell off, she was sad. During my tenth summer, growing up in the Louisiana swamps, I noticed a brown mole growing on my collar bone. As the summer passed the mole kept getting bigger and more interesting. Then one day, I was absentmindedly picking at it and it fell off. As I held it in my hand it started to crawl around! My mole was actually a tick! I was sad to have to flush my summer mole down the toilet.–Jennifer Duddy Gill

    I wanted to hang out with Beezus and Ramona. Beezus, because I understood her pain–I was that big sister with an embarrassing little sister–and Ramona because you never knew what she was going to do next!–Karen Schwartz

    I wish my best friend had been Alan Mendelsohn, the eponymous character from Daniel Pinkwater’s Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars. The real hero of the book is Leonard Neeble, a pudgy, nerdy kid who is having trouble adjusting to junior high school until he meets Alan. Alan is completely indifferent to the opinions of others, happy and confident and subversive. Everybody wants to be Alan’s pal, but he chooses to hang out with Leonard. What they have in common is intellectual curiosity and a sense of adventure, which leads to some extraordinary developments. I see Alan as the perfect friend — he sees what’s cool about Leonard that no other kid sees, and helps bring out the best in him. Of course, I would have also liked to know Leonard.–Kurtis Scaletta

    One of my favorite characters of all time is Jay Berry in “Summer of the Monkeys”. I’m pretty convinced that I was Just. Like. Him when I was younger. Boys were yicky, my best friend was my hound dog and I spent all my time in the river bottoms of Oklahoma. Yep. Me and Jay Berry? LIKETHIS.” –Jen K. Blom

    I had so many favorite characters as a voracious reader. Pippi Longstocking, the heroines from the Chronicles of Narnia and from A Wrinkle in Time.

    All of them faced very different challenges, but one thing makes them the same and made me love them. I wanted to be just like them because each one had a disregard for doing exactly what was expected of them. And through their individuality went on to save the day (or the worlds, as it were.)

    When I was young, I was so scared about breaking the rules, their freedom was refreshing and exciting for me. I often wished I could stand up for things like they did.–Wendy Martin

    I was Margaret in Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. Like Margaret I wasn’t “any religion” and I grew up sampling my friends’ churches, hoping to find a place I fit in. I never could understand how Judy knew so much about me when I lived in small-town Wisconsin and she and all of her characters lived in far-away New York.” –Laurie Schneider

    Which character is just like you?  Please tell us in the comments below!



    1. Jana  •  Jan 7, 2011 @1:00 pm

      Jennifer’s story about the tick has me cringing and laughing at the same time. Hoe very funny/gross! How very 10 year old though!

    2. deniz  •  Jan 7, 2011 @2:53 pm

      Oh! I loved Anastasia Krupnik!

    3. Katie  •  Jan 7, 2011 @3:10 pm

      The first character that came to mind for me was Peter Hatcher from the Fudge books. I was the oldest in my family, and a pretty serious-minded kid, which often led to exasperation with my younger sister. I had very little tolerance for antics or breaking rules, and I hated that she always got more attention than I did (or so it seemed).

      I also really related to Jill Brenner from Blubber, also by Judy Blume. She witnessed bullying, participated in it, and became a victim of it, which are all things that happened to me during fourth and fifth grade.

      I loved this post. I like thinking of the world in terms of fictional characters!

    4. Karen Schwartz  •  Jan 7, 2011 @3:58 pm

      love these stories!

    5. Sayantani DasGupta  •  Jan 7, 2011 @7:17 pm

      great post – fabulous stories!

    6. Jan Gangsei  •  Jan 7, 2011 @7:40 pm

      Fun question, Elissa! Count me in as another “Margaret” who also wondered how Judy Blume managed to get a window into my brain when I was eleven (heck, I even had the grandma who knit me sweaters and, um, absolutely no use for a “training” bra ;-). And before that, I was (okay, make that Really Wanted To Be), Nancy Drew. Too bad nobody wanted to hire a mystery-solving eight-year-old on a yellow banana seat bike…

    7. Pragmatic Mom  •  Jan 8, 2011 @7:39 am

      I wanted to be Nancy Drew!

    8. Jennifer Duddy Gill  •  Jan 8, 2011 @12:14 pm

      It was a fun question and I loved learning more about my fellow Mixed Up File authors. But I have to admit, after reading my own answer over again I’m a little grossed out. :)

    9. Linda Andersen  •  Jan 9, 2011 @10:38 am

      What fun! I loved reading biographies and imagining that I could do something special some day. George Washington’s ability to find so many uses for the peanut amazed me. I don’t have the science skills required for that type work.

      Personally, I’d say I was more like Mary from Little House on the Prairie. I was the oldest and didn’t get into the trouble Laura did.

      Could someone contact me about permission to spotlight this blog on Write2Ignite’s blog. I write for “Thrift and Gift” and feature a different writer’s resource each week.

      Linda A.

    10. Linda Andersen  •  Jan 9, 2011 @10:46 am

      Correction–I meant to say George Washington Carter instead of George Washington. Oops!

      Linda A.

    11. Katie Schneider  •  Jan 10, 2011 @3:11 pm

      Harriet the Spy. I was a snoop. I wasn’t particularly considerate about people’s feelings. I wore glasses and had a bowl haircut. She wasn’t the one character I liked the best, but the one I’m most like. (And I used to lick my own knee in the summer to smell my own warm, wet skin AND once had to be told to wash my hair after 10 days of not showering, so I’m not judging about the tick business.)

    12. Cali  •  Jan 19, 2011 @1:24 pm

      I’ve never commented before but I love reading this site! It’s always loaded with interesting information and stories plus I usually leave with an ideas for a story of my own. Grin


    13. Elissa Cruz  •  Jan 19, 2011 @3:06 pm

      Thanks, everyone! (Sorry I’m replying so late…but I’m here now!) I’m glad to see so many people loved this post. I appreciate all the support! And I’m happy to see it’s inspired a story of your own, Cali.