• 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 Tribute to Five Favorites

    Learning Differences

    As a child, I was a re-reader.  Those books I loved most never left my bedside table, and even today, have never left my heart.  Now, as a professional author of middle grade books, I realize how much they shaped my own voice, how much those books made me into who I am today. Therefore, here is a tribute to my five favorites.


    1.  The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Set in historical England, this is the exciting adventure of plucky young Bonnie, her shy cousin, Sylvia, and their brave friend, Simon, a goose boy who helps the girls escape their evil governess, Miss Slighcarp (don’t you just love that name?). This was one of the first books I read where the author was genuinely tough on her characters, where it wasn’t clear to me as a reader that everything would have a happy ending. I cared, and worried, and hoped for these characters, and loved Joan Aiken all the more for taking me on that journey.

    2.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Misfit Meg Wallace loves her oddball family, especially her young genius brother, Charles Wallace. Along with the cool Calvin O’Keefe, they seek help in finding Meg’s lost father from three even more unusual women: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Their adventure is much greater, and more dangerous, than they ever could have imagined.  I loved Meg, and still do. She was tough and persistent and unfailing in her love, and that is what saves them.


    3.  Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon. This series began in 1927 but still sells over a million copies a year.  My favorite of the series was, While the Clock Ticked, in which boy detectives Frank and Joe Hardy get trapped in a house about to be blown up by a time bomb. Joe was always my favorite of the boys, and he gets into some pretty significant trouble during this book.


    4.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. This is the mystery story of sixteen heirs of Sam Westing, as they must solve the clues to determine who killed Westing. The winner will inherit his $200 million fortune. I loved this book, but even more fun was when my kids became old enough to read the book for themselves and were genuinely shocked that they hadn’t been the first to discover it.


    5.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Okay, this might be more of a YA than a middle grade, but I discovered it in my middle grade years. This story follows young Ponyboy, a dreamer who is on the fringes of the Greasers gang. The Greasers are rivals of the Socs gang. Through all of the troubles for Ponyboy and his brothers and family, he ultimately learns the lesson from his friend to “stay gold.” It was this book that made me decide I wanted to become a writer one day, and is the reason it had to be included in this list.


    So what about you?  Which were the books that shaped you the most?


    Jennifer Nielsen lives on the side of a northern Utah mountain with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy.  She is the author of Elliot and the Goblin War, the forthcoming Elliot and the Pixie Plot (Sourcebooks, August `11), and from Scholastic, The False Prince (April `12).  Learn more about her and her books at www.jennielsen.com


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