• 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 ...

  • Subscribe!

    Get email updates:

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • WARNING! Another Author Interview and Give-away!!!

    Learning Differences

    Hi Readers and Writers!  

    Are you looking for inspiration? Writing tips? A review? Are you looking for almost anything BUT another author interview? Are you at this moment wondering: what a drag. Do I really need to read this to win the prize that will ultimately be offered at the bottom?

    This is Charlie Joe Jackson.

    And this is what he says:


    I’m not going to read it.


    Sarah: But Charlie Joe, if the people post a comment, they could win a copy of the book, CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’s Guide to NOT Reading by Tommy Greenwald!


    CHARLIE JOE:  Please don’t ask me what I think about contests with books for prizes. Sadly, I know there is nothing I can say to stop you. It’s a fact that some people think a book makes a great prize, so that settles that.


    But if I wanted that book—maybe to give to a friend—I’d just scroll down to the bottom and post a comment. Without reading another word.


    Sarah: Maybe it would make it more interesting for you if you answered the questions, too.


    CHARLIE JOE: Me? With him?


    TOMMY: Me? With him?


    Sarah: Sure. Why not? Maybe you two can keep each other honest.


    CHARLIE JOE: OKAY.  But if someone doesn’t want to read this entirely too long interview, tell them that they can still scroll down, leave a comment and win?


    Sarah: That’s right. They can. Don’t say that so loud. First I need to introduce Tommy. Or do you want this to get longer?


    CHARLIE JOE  (silent)


    Sarah: Then it’s my honor to welcome Tommy Greenwald.

    Here he is:





    And here are the FAQ’s:


    CHARLIE JOE: (You should totally skip this.)


    Tommy Greenwald is the Executive Creative Director at Spotco, a theatrical advertising agency based in New York. He is also the author of JOHN & JEN, a musical which was produced off-Broadway in 1995 and continues to be done around the country and abroad. He and his wife Cathy have three sons – Charlie, Joe and Jack – all of whom hated to read growing up. They hate it slightly less now. CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO NOT READING is his first novel. Read more than you would ever want to know about Tommy at tommygreenwald.com.


    This is the cover of the book:







    Sarah: Hi Tommy! Welcome to the Mixed Up Files blog. Let’s start at the beginning: What inspired you to start writing?

    TOMMY: My kids, Charlie, Joe and Jack, all hated to read while they were growing up. I wanted to write a book for kids like them.

    CHARLIE JOE: To help kids avoid reading. Isn’t that kind of obvious by the title?

     Sarah: Were you a reader growing up? If so, what was your favorite book?

    TOMMY: I loved to read growing up. I think my favorite book growing up was probably THE CATCHER WITH THE GLASS ARM, by Matt Christopher.

    CHARLIE JOE: Well, for one thing, I’m still growing up. And for another thing, my favorite book is one that’s closed.

    Sarah: What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

    TOMMY: My favorite part of writing is finishing. My least favorite is starting.

    CHARLIE JOE: What he said.

    Sarah: What do you like to do when you are not writing? (Remember: keep it pg)

    TOMMY: Play with my dogs, watch TV, hang with my wife and kids, eat chocolate.

    Sarah: (Cool! I do almost all of that, too!)

    CHARLIE JOE: Think about Hannah Spivero. That’s actually a full-time job.

    Sarah: Charlie Joe (Charlie, don’t get a big head) is funny. He’s got a great voice. And I love how he talks directly to the reader. Were you the class clown? Can you share a particularly embarrassing moment from your childhood?

     TOMMY: I was kind of a wise guy, yeah.  i remember once i was fooling around with my friend’s umbrella and it opened right in the middle of class. And it wasn’t raining in our classroom.

    CHARLIE JOE: Was, is, and always will be the class clown.

     Sarah: These tips for not reading . . . Some of them are reverse psychology, but others could go in a writer’s craft book. Can you name some that are important to you as a writer? Will you follow any of these criteria in your next book?

    TOMMY: I do strongly believe in not reading books by authors whose names i can’t pronounce.

    CHARLIE JOE: They’re more than just non-reading tips. They’re the keys to a happy life.

    Sarah: I laughed out loud a lot, but as a writer, no more than on page 174. (I’ll quote.) Can you tell us more about this phenomena? When you first set out to write this book, did you envision this? What were some of the surprises along the way?

     TOMMY: My plan all along was to trick kids into reading an actual book book. With story, characters, the whole nine yards. I figured if i was going to do that, i had to confess i was doing it along the way.

    CHARLIE JOE: I still feel bad about how the book turned out. I hope people don’t hold it against me.

     Sarah: We won’t! So let’s get to some more important stuff. Who was your favorite Beatle? Favorite song?

    TOMMY: John. And too many favorites to count. Gun to my head? I”‘ve Got A Feeling.” Runner up: “Slow Down.”

    CHARLIE JOE: I love Ringo because it feels like he doesn’t read that much. I don’t have a favorite, but my least favorite song is definitely “Paperback Writer.”

    Sarah: What is your next book? Anything in the works?

     TOMMY: The next book in the series, CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO EXTRA CREDIT, comes out next summer.

    Woohoo!!!! (That’s Sarah)

    CHARLIE JOE: Don’t ask, it makes me too depressed.

    Sarah: So that’s it. Readers: Whether you read every word or scrolled to the bottom faster than I can say George was my favorite Beatle, leave your name and a tip of your own for getting out of a stinky assignment. Or you could suggest books that Charlie Joe might like reading. Or recommend a movie. I like going to the movies. Obviously, so does Tommy. And I bet Charlie Joe does, too. If you like movies, you can check out the trailer here.

    THANKS for coming to the Mixed Up Files blog, Tommy and Charlie Joe!!!  Teachers and parents with reluctant readers…or kids who need to read and laugh at the same time, check out



    Sarah Aronson was a reluctant reader. As a kid, she had to be paid to read. Now she teaches writing (Sorry, Charlie Joe), writes books, and reads at least one entire novel a week. 


    Comments Off