• 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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  • Celebrating Second Fiddle

    Book Lists, Giveaways, Historical Fiction, Interviews

    Today we are celebrating the launch of Rosanne Parry’s new novel, Second Fiddle. It has been chosen as a Spring Indy Next book by independent booksellers, so stop by your nearest indy bookstore and look for it today!

    Rosanne has a hardcover copy of Second Fiddle and a paperback of Heart of a Shepherd for one lucky commentator on the site. So leave your name in the comments and we’ll choose a winner next Tuesday.

    Here is the jacket flap:

    It is 1990 and the wall that separated Communist East Berlin from the capitalist West has finally come down. For Jody this means moving back the States with her dad who’s retiring from the army and saying goodbye the the two best friends she’s ever had.

    Before they part ways the three girls plan one last adventure a trip to Paris where they’ll compete in a classical music contest as a string trio.  Winning will (almost) make up for the fact that they’ll soon be separated. But as they walk home from their final music lesson the girls witness a terrible crime and must act to save a Soviet soldier’s life. Getting to Paris becomes urgent as the girls discover that the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.

    In this fast-paced tale of music, friendship and adventure, Rosanne Parry, author of Heart of a Shepherd, offers a sensitive portrayal of military families at a pivotal moment in history.


    What was your favorite part of the book writing process?

    I played violin from the age of 9 to 14. When I began researching Second Fiddle, I started playing my violin again to get my head into my main character, Jody. At first, I sounded awful, but once I got back in the habit of playing 20-30 minutes a day, I loved it. Even better, my younger two daughters, who play violin and piano, became old enough to play duets and trios with me. That was, and continues to be, the most amazing, wonderful thing! I love playing with my girls so much that I dedicated the book to them. It was a great insight into, not just Jody as a musician, but also the dynamic of girls making music together.

    I have a bunch of bookstore events coming up for Second Fiddle and at most of them I’ll bring my violin and have lots of kid musicians along to make music with me. I can’t wait!


    Why did you decide to make this story for middle grade readers?

    Second Fiddle could have become a YA novel. Jody and her friends are at the end of their 8th grade year. They accomplished musicians and travel abroad on their own; that would be pretty independent even for high school students, so my editor and I discussed the possibility of gearing the story for older readers. But when I reflected on the heart of my main character I found Jody was more interested in music than romance. She wasn’t trying to rebel or strike out on her own, she was just trying to do the right thing in a world where the rules about who is your friend and your enemy had dramatically changed.

    So we kept it at the older end of middle grade. Although the girls are frequently in real danger, they meet kind and helpful people everywhere they go. When they are confronted with “adult” situations—alcohol, inappropriate advances—they respond with a resounding middle grade “Eeww! Yuck!” What I love about this decision is that it keeps the focus clearly on Jody’s journey of claiming the title musician for her self.


    Can you share an excerpt from the book that gives us a flavor of your character’s voice? How did you find your character’s voice?

    The opening line of this book walked into my head one day quite early in the process of researching this book. I scratched it out on a scrap of paper because it told me almost everything I needed to know about my main character. She’s a sensible down to earth girl who’s trying to do the right thing, and has a clear sense of what it means to be an American living overseas at the close of the cold war.

    “If we had known it would eventually involve the KGB, the French National Police, and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, we would have left that body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen, but we were Americans and addicted to solving other peoples’ problems, so naturally we got involved.”


    Why did you choose the setting of your story?

    It was my privilege to live in Germany from 1990-1992 at the end of the cold war. It was a fascinating time because the Soviet Union was such a formidable enemy of the U.S. for so long, it was astonishing to see the cascade of changes that occurred across Europe because of the fall of the Berlin Wall. That uncertainty is the perfect companion for the uncertainty of the kid who moves all the time and the uncertainty of leaving grade school and entering high school. It gave me plenty of room to find conflict and all the fun of revisiting my memories of Germany and Paris.

    It’s a complete coincidence but the current events Egypt and North Africa are strikingly similar to the events at the fall of communism. I heard an American-born Egyptian on the radio, saying nearly exactly the same thing my Soviet soldier says about longing to be home in his own country helping to make it free.


    Rosanne Parry moved to Germany in the spring of 1990 just as the Berlin Wall was coming down. She ran away to Paris for one glorious weekend with her soldier husband, first-born baby and an enormous purple stroller. The three of them are best friends to this day. Rosanne is the author of Heart of a Shepherd, which has been honored as a Washington Post’s Best Kid’s Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of the Year and a Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year. She also plays the violin for which she has never been honored with a prize of any kind. She now lives with her husband in an old farmhouse in Portland, Oregon, where they raise four children, three chickens, five kinds of fruit and their voices in the occasional song. Visit Rosanne at rosanneparry.com.

    Rosanne does school visits for all ages from primary grades to high school, both in person and on Skype, and also adult writers workshops. You may contact her for an appearance at rosanneparry@comcast.net.

    If you are looking for some good companion reads for Second Fiddle, there are some recommendations here at her website.





    1. jone  •  Mar 22, 2011 @1:54 pm

      Happy Book Birthday, Second Fiddle. I cannot wait to read you as I loved your sibling Heart of a Shepherd. Thanks for a great interview on the creating of the book.

    2. Anamaria  •  Mar 22, 2011 @1:58 pm

      Very much looking forward to reading Second Fiddle–I too love Heart of a Shepherd (it was on my Newbery shortlist!), as well as Paris and the violin!

      Rosanne Parry Reply:

      @Anamaria, Hi Anamaria,
      If you happen to be in Portland on April 9th, I’ll be doing a book event at A Children’s Place bookstore on Fremont at 2pm. Some very talented members of the Metro Youth Symphony will be there to play some music with me. Bring your fiddle and play along with us!

    3. Kim Kasch  •  Mar 22, 2011 @2:29 pm

      Happy Bookday to You!

    4. Sherrie Petersen  •  Mar 22, 2011 @3:34 pm

      I love the potential for double meaning in the title. Sounds like a wonderful premise for a book.

    5. Kathleen  •  Mar 22, 2011 @4:48 pm

      I’m looking forward to Second Fiddle. I loved Heart of a Shepherd and have been anxiously awaiting another great story from Rosanne.

    6. Carol Riggs  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:12 pm

      Way to go, another book by Rosanne! I’d love to enter. Thanks for the nice interview. SECOND FIDDLE sounds like a great read. :)

    7. Natalie Aguirre  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:24 pm

      Great interview. It’s so interesting how Rosanne has tapped into her musical experiences and her experiences living in Europe to develop this story.

    8. Linda Andersen  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:40 pm


      I work at a School of Arts. Second Fiddle would be a great book to loan out. Now, I’m curious about Heart of a Shepherd also. Thanks for the great interview. Keep putting out quality reads.

      Linda A.

    9. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Mar 22, 2011 @5:56 pm

      Congratulations, Rosanne! Can’t wait to read another book by you – and it sounds gripping and wonderful.

    10. Rosanne Parry  •  Mar 22, 2011 @6:58 pm

      @Linda Andersen, One of the really fun things about writing this book was that my editor and agent are both musicians. We all have warm memories of making music with friends and really wanted to bring out a book that celebrates the uniquely empowering thing that music can be in a young person’s life.

      Your students are so lucky to have a school for the arts! I would have loved that for myself. I wish it was available to my own children.

    11. Cindy  •  Mar 22, 2011 @7:38 pm

      This sounds so good… I can’t wait to read it.

    12. Laurie Beth Schneider  •  Mar 22, 2011 @8:02 pm

      Sounds like a wonderful story, Rosanne. I hope to run into you–and your fiddle–one day.

    13. Penny Murray  •  Mar 22, 2011 @8:08 pm

      Haven’t read anything by this author, but, leave it to the Mixed Up Files to pique my interest about another book–books, actually! Will read both, thank you! ~a 4th and 5th grade teacher, Grass Lake, MI

    14. Teresa Meier  •  Mar 22, 2011 @8:25 pm

      Can’t wait to read it!

    15. Susan  •  Mar 22, 2011 @9:47 pm

      Put me down as another who loved Heart of a Shepherd and is looking forward to reading your new book. Congratulations, Rosanne! (And I even have an aunt named Rosanne. Do I get extra points for that??)

    16. Dianne White  •  Mar 22, 2011 @10:58 pm

      Terrific interview! I’m looking forward to reading Second Fiddle.

    17. Diana Greenwood  •  Mar 22, 2011 @11:22 pm

      I am going to love this book! Love that snippet of the MC’s voice. Tells all, indeed.

    18. Katie Schneider  •  Mar 23, 2011 @9:18 am

      Congratulations Roseanne! You rock! We’ll try to be there on the 9th!

    19. Bev Patt  •  Mar 23, 2011 @10:45 am

      Just wanted to stop by and say CONGRATS to my pal Rosanne AND to the lucky winner of SECOND FIDDLE. If it’s as terrific as HEART OF A SHEPHERD, the winner will be lucky indeed!
      I will be buying my own copy so don’t include me in the giveaway:)



    20. Michael Gettel-Gilmartin  •  Mar 23, 2011 @5:54 pm

      Yay, Rosanne! I wish SECOND FIDDLE every success.

    21. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Mar 23, 2011 @11:01 pm

      Congrats on the release of Second Fiddle! I can’t wait to read it. :)

    22. Barbara Baker  •  Mar 26, 2011 @6:45 pm

      Sounds like a great read! I can hardly wait to dig in.

    23. Barbara Baker  •  Mar 26, 2011 @6:46 pm

      Sounds like a great read! I can hardly wait to dig in.