• From the Mixed-Up Files... > Giveaways > Happy release day – and a giveaway!
  • OhMG! News


    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 ...

    March 28, 2013: Big at Bologna

     This year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the focus has shifted to middle-grade.  “A lot of foreign publishers are cutting back on YA and are looking for middle-grade,” said agent Laura Langlie, according to Publisher's Weekly.  Lighly illustrated or stand-alone contemporary middle-grade fiction is getting the most attention.  Read more...


    March 10, 2013: Marching to New Titles

    Check out these titles releasing in March...


    March 5, 2013: Catch the BEA Buzz

    Titles for BEA's Editor Buzz panels have been announced.  The middle-grade titles selected are:

    A Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

    Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward

    Nick and Tesla's High-Voltages Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

    The Tie Fetch by Amy Herrick

    For more Buzz books in other categories,


    February 20, 2013: Lunching at the MG Roundtable 

    Earlier this month, MG authors Jeanne Birdsall, Rebecca Stead, and N.D. Wilson shared insight about writing for the middle grades at an informal luncheon with librarians held in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon "Middle Grade: Surviving the Onslaught."

    Read about their thoughts...


    February 10, 2013: New Books to Love

    Check out these new titles releasing in February...


    January 28, 2013: Ivan Tops List of Winners

    The American Library Association today honored the best of the best from 2012, announcing the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, along with a host of other prestigious youth media awards, at their annual winter meeting in Seattle.

    The Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Honor books were: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

    The Coretta Scott King Book Award went to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

    The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award,which honors an author for his or her long-standing contributions to children’s literature, was presented to Katherine Paterson.

    The Pura Belpre Author Award, which honors a Latino author, went to Benjamin Alire Saenz for his novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was also named a Printz Honor book and won the Stonewall Book Award for its portrayal of the GLBT experience.

    For a complete list of winners…


    January 22, 2013: Biography Wins Sydney Taylor

    Louise Borden's His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, a verse biography of the Swedish humanitarian, has won the Sydney Taylor Award in the middle-grade category. The award is given annually to books of the highest literary merit that highlight the Jewish experience. Aimee Lurie, chair of the awards committee, writes, "Louise Borden's well-researched biography will, without a doubt, inspire children to perform acts of kindness and speak out against oppression."

    For more...


    January 17, 2013: Erdrich Wins Second O'Dell

    Louise Erdrich is recipient of the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for her historical novel Chickadee, the fourth book in herBirchbark House series. Roger Sutton,Horn Book editor and chair of the awards committee, says of Chickadee,"The book has humor and suspense (and disarmingly simple pencil illustrations by the author), providing a picture of 1860s Anishinabe life that is never didactic or exotic and is briskly detailed with the kind of information young readers enjoy." Erdrich also won the O'Dell Award in 2006 for The Game of Silence, the second book in theBirchbark series. 

    For more...


    January 15, 2013: After the Call

    Past Newbery winners Jack Gantos, Clare Vanderpool, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Stead, and Laura Amy Schlitz talk about how winning the Newbery changed (or didn't change) their lives in this piece from Publishers Weekly...


    January 2, 2013: On the Big Screen

    One of our Mixed-up Files members may be headed to the movies! Jennifer Nielsen's fantasy adventure novel The False Prince is being adapted for Paramount Pictures by Bryan Cogman, story editor for HBO's Game of Thrones. For more...


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Happy release day – and a giveaway!

Giveaways, Interviews

Hello Middle Grade readers! Today we’re interviewing TMUF member Jen K Blom! Her debut, POSSUM SUMMER, released this month!

First, a little about the book:

A lonely girl.

An orphaned possum.

A dad that says no way.

How do you keep that a secret? And what happens when you’re found out?

TMUF: Well, Jen, happy release day! Your book was blurbed by Bill Wallace (A DOG CALLED KITTY). What did you do when you read what he said? And I quote: “Jen K. Blom’s Possum Summer, is a heartwarming, vibrant story of a western Oklahoma ‘country’ girl [that] mixes themes of honor, resolve, and courage with just the right blend of adventure, excitement, humor, danger, love, compassion, and a small touch of romance. It’s a book that middle graders will want to read. The author should brace herself for all the letters and emails she’ll receive asking ‘did this really happen?’ –Bill Wallace, author of A Dog Called Kitty and many other books”

JKB: I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, actually. My school had had him visit when I was in fourth grade, and after I’d sat through his visit I decided I would be a writer too. It just took a bit longer than I expected, back then. (Teachers: schedule author visits for your students! *g*)

TMUF: So how much of the book is personal experience? How will you answer those kids?

JKB: Ha! I had a possum, back in the day. I rescued him in the *exact* way that the first chapter plays it out, too. Not much else is the same, except I did happen to grow up in Oklahoma. (GO SOONERS!) Oh, and Gran in the story is very much like my beloved Gran. She was a hoot. Maybe there is some stuff in there, after all.

TMUF: Did you know a girl named Princess?

JKB: Yes, my Gran! Her name was Princess, and I decided there was no better name than that.

TMUF: What scene reminded you most of your childhood in Oklahoma when you wrote it?

JKB: P slides down the sides of a red canyon early on in the book, and I definitely remember that iron-tasting red dirt.

TMUF: Well, we’ve got to wrap this up. What do you hope readers will take away from POSSUM SUMMER?

JKB: Oh. Well. I’d love to have them come away wondering what they’d do in P’s situation, especially the military kids – they’ll recognize many of P’s foibles, I think. I really appreciate P’s determination: she made a call, and she saw it through to the end, even though that end wasn’t what she wanted.

And I also hope they’d be interested in taking part in the Oklahoma Showdown, later this year.

TMUF: Thanks, Jen!

JKB: Thanks, guys! I hope you enjoy POSSUM SUMMER!


Leave a comment in the comments section below and our random generator will choose a lucky winner on Saturday, June 25th, to win a


Consisting of a signed POSSUM SUMMER hardcover, a personalized Lookbook (just like P!) and an Awesome Possum t-shirt!

You’ll get extra entries for sharing a link on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or if you click the ‘Follow this blog’ button in Networked Blogs on the lower right side of our site.

***Please mention each link in a new comment so the generator will add your extra entries.  This contest is open internationally.  Good luck!




  1. sarah aronson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @6:31 am

    Congratulations, Jen! Can’t wait to read Possum Summer!!!

  2. Heather Macchi  •  Jun 24, 2011 @6:35 am

    Congratulations to Jen! This sounds like a great book that I think my students will enjoy. I am always on the lookout for new books and authors to introduce my class to. Hopefully this will be the first of many for Jen K Blom.

  3. Jill of The O.W.L.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:16 am

    Sounds really good! It reminds me of a short story that I’ve read involving a boy and it pet fox.

  4. JKB  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:41 am

    Thank you, guys!

    Sarah – I’d love to know what you think, once you’re done!

    Heather – I hope it’s the first of many, too! My next contracted is THE SPOTTED PONY – think Flicka meets Texas. Let me know if you’d like bookmarks for your class!

    Jill – thanks! I’d love to know what you think of it when you read it!

  5. Barbara Watson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:22 am

    My daughter and I can’t resist books involving animals, especially when the dad says, ‘No way.’ We can’t wait to read it!

  6. JKB  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:25 am

    Barbara – atta girl! And your daughter gets a GOLD STAR! Let me know what you think!

  7. JKB  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:26 am

    Oh – and I will also say this: if you have a copy of POSSUM SUMMER, contact me! I will send you a bookplate (signed!) or a bookmark, of course!

  8. gwendolyn b.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:00 am

    Jen, congrats on your debut! POSSUM SUMMER sounds wonderful. It must be nice to see your dream come true!

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book — I hope to read it with my niece this summer.

  9. gwendolyn b.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:02 am

    +1 I follow on Networked Blogs

  10. Laura Marcella  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:07 am

    Congrats on your novel’s release, Jen! Your book sounds terrific. I have a niece who loves animals, and I know she (and I!) will enjoy Possum Summer.

  11. Ella Schwartz  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:08 am

    Congratulations on the release!! Wishing you nothing but success!! What an interesting idea :)

  12. gwendolyn b.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @9:24 am
  13. Sarah H.  •  Jun 24, 2011 @10:47 am

    Love the cover! Looks like a really sweet story!

  14. Barbara Watson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @12:35 pm

    +1 with Twitter mention from @BA_Watson

  15. Akoss  •  Jun 24, 2011 @12:43 pm

    She has so much resolve in her eyes.
    I would be great to win, but in case I don’t I will make my way to the library to find out more. :)
    Thanks for this giveaway.

  16. Llehn  •  Jun 24, 2011 @5:24 pm

    I’d love to play please.

  17. Linda Andersen  •  Jun 24, 2011 @5:59 pm

    Jen, this sounds like a terrific book. Possums are cool animals. I think lots of kids will be drawn to this. Please enter my name in the drawing.


  18. Cathe Olson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:00 pm

    The book and the fun extras sound great. Please enter me in the drawing.

  19. Cathe Olson  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:00 pm

    I’m a blog follower.

  20. Heidi Grange  •  Jun 24, 2011 @7:41 pm

    Sounds like a fun book to share. Animal books are always popular at my school.

  21. Rosanne Parry  •  Jun 24, 2011 @8:02 pm

    Congratulations Jen!

  22. PragmaticMom  •  Jun 25, 2011 @9:36 am

    Would love to win this!

  23. Margaret Nevinski  •  Jun 25, 2011 @9:55 am

    Best of luck with your debut novel, Jen. It sounds wonderful.

  24. Karen  •  Jun 27, 2011 @10:53 pm

    Congratulations, this looks amazing!

  25. RLB Hartmann  •  Jun 28, 2011 @1:41 pm

    My affection for possums goes back a long way, and I applaud anyone who shares my affinity enough to write a book. Thanks, Jen!