• 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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  • Science Fiction?

    Book Lists

    img class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-10272″ title=”Robot” src=”http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/image006-160×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”160″ height=”300″ />During a recent #mglitchat on Twitter, somebody opined that there wasn’t enough science fiction for middle graders. Somebody quickly responded that they write science fiction and fantasy. The conversation wasn’t sustained long, but it left me thinking.

    To me, science fiction is fiction infused with science. Fantasy isn’t. Though lumped together, they are vastly different genres. And while fantasy is thriving, and futuristic speculative fiction is through the roof, the sciency kind of science fiction is not.

    The paragon for me will always be Isaac Asimov, a knowledgeable science-minded author. Asimov made his work true to science the way a historical novelist would be true to history.

    Not all sci-fi is really based on science — rather, it’s based on other sci-fi, working within a milieu of established tropes: time travel, the near future, robots, space ships, and/or alien invaders. That’s all fun on its own merits, but I quite like fiction that conveys some understanding about the workings of the universe. Science was my worst subject in school, but authors like Asimov made science lucid and compelling while telling a good story.

    So I end up with quite a different list than what you might expect. You won’t find (many) robots or space ships in this list, but they all have a healthy dose of real science in them.

    The Higher Power of Lucky is a personal favorite for modeling earnest scientific inquiry, but avoiding easy “science nerd” traps. Lucky is her own kid, a bright and inquisitive girl growing up in a small desert town. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is another recent book along the same lines, an historical novel about evolutionary biology.

    Another historical, science themed book that would be a great book club selection is The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker, a book about public health and epistemology with stunning parallels to the present day.

    Kids more interested in the cosmos would love Wendy Mass’s Every Soul a Star, which also avoids the trite science geek cliche while showing three children respond to a solar eclipse. What I really love about this one is the erasure of the myth that science is somehow at odds with creativity.

    Young scientists ready for the deep-end will be challenged by George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Nobel-winning physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy, as well as its sequel, George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt. The characters and stories are make-shift, serving more to illustrate points of physics, but even adults can learn a lot from these parables.

    What about readers who DO want space ships and robots? I got this covered.

    Ender’s Game was originally published as a “grown-up” book, but since it has child heroes it has become a classic with young readers. Card’s frank depiction of kid politics and uncanny ability to project the near future (from immersive computer games to laptop computers in the classroom) make this a fantastic classroom or book club book — there is plenty to talk about. Because it was published as a straightforward sci fi book, it is a bit more violent than most kids books, but it’s mostly the bugs who get it. Kids who fall in love with this one will find plenty more Ender books in the series, but the best next one to read is Ender’s Shadow, a retelling of the events in Ender’s Game from the point of view of a different character.

    Eager by Helen Fox shows the Asimovian influence in its treatment of robots as soul-searching citizens of a near future. There’s been a deluge of “futuristic” books, but Fox’s is a rare one that shows a future that’s evolved from our own in realistic and believable ways. Though not a typical dystopia, she realistically considers the economic drift and technocracy. A great book for discussion about the kind of world young readers may see in their own lifetimes.

    Kurtis Scaletta’s novel The Tanglewood Terror is inspired by both pulp-era sci-fi and actual science. He is also the author of Mudville and Mamba Point. Find out more about Kurtis and his books at http://www.kurtisscaletta.com.

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