• 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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  • Elliot and the Pixie Plot – Interview and Giveaway

    Giveaways, Interviews

    Today, the Mixed Up Files is celebrating the launch of Jennifer Nielsen’s second book in her Underworld Chronicles series, ELLIOT AND THE PIXIE PLOT. Kirkus reviews wrote, “Nielsen cleverly keeps the action and humor flowing from one silly obstacle to the next…This quickly addictive page-turner also entices readers with many sensory details, such as tenacious Gripping Mud, surprisingly tasty turnip juice, and a tingly invisibility potion gone wrong…Definitely a series to invest in.”

    As King of the Brownies, 11-year-old Elliot Penster is constantly facing new challenges. But this time, he’s been kidnapped by the Pixies into the Underworld where his only hope to return home again is to steal a sock from the worst Demon of all time. If that wasn’t enough trouble, Elliot’s science project is due and his partner is <gasp> a girl!

    To help celebrate the release of PIXIE PLOT, Jennifer is offering a signed copy of ELLIOT AND THE PIXIE PLOT to a commenter. The winner will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, August 18th.


    Now, some questions for Jennifer!

    In Book 1, Elliot learns about standing up for himself against bullies. What do you think he learns in Book 2?

    Definitely not to trust Pixies! Which I think is a good lesson for everyone. Because as everyone knows who has tried to make a deal with a Pixie, it never, ever works out well. Elliot also learns that he is a lot braver than he had thought and never to take his family (as oddball as they are) for granted.

    Tell us about your illustrator.

    All the artwork in the Underworld trilogy is done by Gideon Kendall, who I think is absolutely brilliant in his work. Whenever I talk to kids about the books, they always ask about the illustrations. I think what I love best is how his sense of humor comes through in all of his artwork. The story is a serious adventure told in a funny way, and I think his artwork reflects that perfectly.

    What are you working on now?

    The final book in the trilogy, ELLIOT AND THE LAST UNDERWORLD WAR, will be released in February 2012. And then I’m also preparing for the launch of a new trilogy with Scholastic in April 2012, that’s very different from the Underworld series. The first book, THE FALSE PRINCE, is about a defiant orphan named Sage who is forced into competition with three other boys to impersonate the lost prince. Either he succeeds to take the throne as a false prince, or he faces a certain death.

    Can you share an excerpt from PIXIE PLOT?

    This is a scene between Elliot and his royal advisor, Mr. Willimaker, while on their way to Demon Territory.

    “I don’t mean to alarm you,” Mr. Willimaker whispered, “but is there any chance that noise came from you?”

    Elliot hadn’t heard anything. “What noise?”

    “That rustling noise. I was hoping that perhaps it was you over in those bushes.”

    “It’s not me,” Elliot said.

    “Are you sure?” Mr. Willimaker’s ears were at full attention now, then they relaxed and he added, “It was probably nothing. I’ll get some water. Won’t be long.” Then he walked away toward the stream.

    Only a minute later, Elliot heard a “Hamph!” and a loud “No!” Then a small puff of smoke rose in the air and everything went silent. Elliot hoped it wasn’t a snake that had gotten to Mr. Willimaker, because that would have to be some freaky large snake. He ran in the direction Mr. Willimaker had gone, calling his name. But there was no answer.

    Now he was alone in the Underworld, with no map either back to Burrowsville or ahead to Demon Territory. And he thought he heard a sound nearby. Something was coming toward him.


    Congratulations and thanks for stopping by! Remember to leave a comment to win a copy. ELLIOT AND THE PIXIE PLOT is available in stores and online today! Or, check out the book trailer here.

    To learn more about Jennifer, check out her website at www.jennielsen.com . Jennifer will be on board the Mixed-Up Middle Grade Skype Tour this fall and is also a popular author for school and classroom visits.

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