• 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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  • A Dog’s Way Home: The Journey

    Learning Differences

    It’s been three years since author Bobbie Pyron wrote the first draft of the book which eventually became A DOG’S WAY HOME which starts its journey into the world today! Three years, many drafts, many rejections, many title changes. But today is the day the book officially comes out! We managed to stop the author’s Happy Dance long enough to ask her a few questions about the path this book took to publication.

    Bobbie and book!

    What inspired you to write A DOG’S WAY HOME?

    When I was a child, my over-riding passions in life were dogs and reading. I read all the great classic dog stories–LASSIE COME-HOME, THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY and many others. I read those books over and over, even as an adult! So I like to say my book is my personal love letter to all those great classics that meant so much to me. It’s also a celebration of the remarkable bond that exists between dogs and their people. And I do have a huge soft spot in my heart for Shetland sheepdogs!

    What was your process and timeline, from the first kernel of idea until you held a copy of the book?

    Years! I first started hearing the narrative voice in my head about three years ago, maybe a bit more. It took me about eight months to write a pretty tight first draft. Then, based on the feedback I got from my wonderful critique group, I started a second revision. After that, I started taking it to various workshops–Asilomar, Pacific Coast Children’s Writers workshop, local SCBWI conferences. Some of the critiques at those workshops and conferences were encouraging, some–not so much. But I kept revising and kept holding true to what I knew: the book had to be written from alternating points of view. Finally, about a year and a half ago, I submitted to Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media. I was thrilled when I got an email back from her saying she wanted to represent me and my book! But still, there were many more revisions and rejections to come. Finally, in fall of 2009, the book was sold (at auction!) to Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of Harper Collins. I was so lucky to be able to work with Molly O’Neill as my editor. More revising, more titles changes, but now, here it is!

    Teddy, my sheltie muse

    You live in Utah, yet your story is set in North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Why? Did you travel to those areas for research?

    That’s a good question! I did live in western North Carolina for many years and spent a lot of time hiking and camping near the Blue Ridge Parkway where much of the story takes place. I have a deep and abiding love for that part of the world–the people, the mountains, the music, the language. When the story first “came” to me, that’s where it was set. It was not a conscious decision on my part. It’s where the story wanted to be told. I don’t know how else to explain it! But even though I know that area very well, I still did a lot of research on the flora and fauna of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was important to me to not say a particular tree or bird was in the Virginia part of the Blue Ridge Parkway if they’re actually found in the Georgia section. I guess that’s the librarian in me!

    You alternate points of view in the book, from first person (Abby’s chapters) and third person for Tam’s (the dog’s) chapters. What thoughts went in to your decision about this?

    Not to make it sound like a mystical or “woo woo” kind of experience, but that’s the way the story came to me. At first, I tried writing Abby’s chapters in third person too, but it just didn’t work for me. I felt like I wasn’t getting close enough to her. And then I didn’t want to change Tam’s chapters to first person talking-dog narration. I’m not overly fond of talking animal stories (although some have been done very well). So I went with my gut and wrote it the way I really felt it had to be written. There were many times as I piled up rejections, many based on that POV choice, I questioned my sanity. But I was lucky enough to have a critique group that supported my decision and then, eventually, find an agent and an editor who trusted my instincts and shared my vision.

    Your characters (including Tam, the shetland sheepdog) made me laugh, shed a tear, hold my breath, and cheer. Were they hard to let go when you completed the book?

    Yes! I had really become attached to the characters, especially some of the secondary characters like Abby’s two friends Olivia and Cheyenne Rivers, the old woman, Ivy Calhoun, who saved Tam at a certain point, and, of course, Tam and Abby. I still find myself thinking about them. I think it’s different with each book. When I finished my first book, THE RING, I was really done with it. And the book my agent now has I don’t think about that much beyond the last page (although I think readers will). But A DOG’S WAY HOME is still with me.

    Congrats on your starred review from Publishers Weekly! What was the first thing you did when you found out?

    Thanks! I let out a whoop, danced with one of my shelties, emailed my friends my good news, and then tried to explain to my husband why a starred review is so important.

    Read us one tidbit from your book, maybe your favorite passage:

    Tam watched the moon rise above the far ridge, hanging full and golden between two peaks. All the night creatures stirred around him, beginning their ancient agreement between predator and prey. A fox barked in the hollow below the road.

    Many times, Tam had watched the moon with his girl. Sometimes, they had watched from the front porch, with the sound of crickets and the big man’s fiddle. Other times, they’d watched from the window seat in her bedroom. Tam had never known why the girl watched the moon with such longing. It had not mattered to him. He loved the moon because he loved the girl, the girl who held him close as she gazed into the night sky. He listened to her steady breathing, the thump thump of her heart. Her heartbeat filled his world.

    A DOG’S WAY HOME is now available! To find out more about Bobbie and her books (and her dogs) visit her at www.bobbiepyron.com

    *Want a signed copy of A DOG’S WAY HOME? You know you do! Leave a comment below and enter a chance to win!*



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