• 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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  • Successful Author Visits—what teachers and librarians can do to prepare

    Learning Differences

    Last month I wrote a post about what an author can do to prepare for a school visit. Here are six things a school can do to get the most out of an author visit.

    1. Share with the author your hopes for your student’s experience.

    Authors revise all the time. Most will be willing to emphasize which ever aspects of their work best supports the curriculum. Have you got a state writing exam coming up and you want to inspire kids to believe they have something worthwhile to say? Speak up. Authors understand deadlines and the pressure to perform well. Do you have a particular writing skill you want to emphasize? Characterization? Plotting? Details? Your author wants to support your teaching, so let her know what you need the most.

    2. Prepare your students by reading part of an authors work.

    Students have no reason to pay attention to a complete stranger who comes to talk about a book they’ve never heard of. They should at a minimum have read at least part of one of the authors books. Additionally you might research on line as a class and see if there is a video book trailer for the book, or an interview on a blog, or some reviews of the book on Amazon or Goodreads. Some author websites have bonus materials on them–coloring pages for younger readers, playlists for teens, puzzles, games, even recipes that relate to an author’s books. If students know a little bit about the author ahead of time, they are going to get far more out of what the author brings to the visit.

    3. Name tags

    Remember your author does not know a single person at your school. If your author is doing workshops or visiting individual classrooms, nametags help the conversation go much more smoothly, especially when the names are written large enough to be read from the front of the room. Students respond so much more positively to being addressed by name.

    4. A Map of the building, a class schedule, technology back ups.

    A page with the map and a schedule is extremely helpful. Make sure you have been clear about what technology is available and that you have a back up in case a projector doesn’t work. It may even be helpful to have the author email the power point so you can test the machine ahead of time.

    5. Support in interacting with students.

    You know your own students. The author needs your help in making sure there are minimal distractions. None of us expect students to act like adults, but discipline procedures and expectations vary a lot from school to school. We are counting on you to take the lead in managing classroom behavior. I am especially grateful when a teacher steps in when I’ve misheard a student or misunderstood their question.

    6. Remember your support makes literary fiction possible.

    Most authors will make less than half of a first year teacher’s salary for a novel they spent several years writing. School visits are an important source of income for most authors. For many, it is what makes continued writing possible. Schools and libraries play a key role in the market for literary fiction. Many books that get starred reviews and show up on award lists are not carried in chain bookstores, because the stores prefer to stick with blockbuster titles. But kids deserve better choices than the various clones of Fancy Nancy, Wimpy Kid and Twilight. Your willingness to bring literary fiction to the attention of your student’s and their families makes it possible for publishers to continue to publish work of strong literary quality. It’s real power in the marketplace and I am grateful for all that schools and libraries do bring attention to quality books including the author visit, which supports the author of today and inspires the author of the future.

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