• 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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  • Interview and Giveaway-SCARY SCHOOL by Derek the Ghost

    Giveaways, Interviews

    Special treat on the Mixed Up Files today! We are interviewing… a ghost. Yep. Derek the Ghost, author of the scary and laugh out loud funny SCARY SCHOOL. It’s not very often we get to do this, so without further ado, let’s begin.

    We’ll start with a little bit about the book that Derek wrote, SCARY SCHOOL.


    You think your school’s scary?

    Get a load of these teachers:

    Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
    Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
    Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it’s taught by someone who’s half zombie
    Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex!


    Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein’s monster on the loose
    The world’s most frighteningly delicious school lunch


    The narrator’s an eleven-year-old ghost!

    Join Charles “New Kid” Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!

    About the Author

    Derek the Ghost is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School writing down all the spine-tingling, often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn’t work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on Earth.

    Derek, glad you were the one to tell this story. I think your youth gave you a fearlessness in your telling that I know kids will appreciate. Do you agree with that? Did you have trouble convincing the adults to let you just tell the story because let’s face it there are some pretty situations and scary teachers at that school (thinking here of Miss Fangs…OOPS! sorry, Miss Fang, man, hope she didn’t hear me).

    Yes, I guess I’m pretty fearless. Not quite as fearless as Fred the Boy Without Fear, but when you’re a ghost you don’t have to worry about getting eaten or dismembered anymore, so not a whole lot rattles me. Luckily, all the adults at Scary School are very supportive of my telling their stories. Personally, I think they just want the chance to become famous. And look! It seems to be working for Ms. Fangs already!

    Were you the class clown? I only ask because I see you are an aspiring ninja master, not a comedy writer. You really did have me laughing out loud (when you weren’t scaring the pants off me, that is). It’s not easy writing humour, you’ve got some talent there, so you might want to consider that as another career to aspire to. If no on the class clown, how’d you do it? Be so funny, I mean.

    Yes, I was a bit of a class clown. I loved making my friends laugh, so since that’s what I seemed to be good at, I figured why not just keep trying to make kids laugh with my writing and try to make a career of it? When I wrote Scary School, it was my goal to make kids laugh at least three times every page, and I hope I was successful!

    Have to admit I’m a little curious about this person called Derek T. Kent. Seems he’s somehow involved in this book as his name pops up here and there. Could you tell us a little bit about him? Or maybe if he’s around you could get him to tell us? Interesting you both have the same first name.

    As it turns out, Dereks can communicate from the beyond with other living Dereks. Unfortunately, normal folks out in the real world can’t often see or hear us ghosts, so Derek Taylor Kent is my connection with all of you. I didn’t have a lot of options when I needed to find someone to connect to the living world, so I can of just ended up with that guy. He’s very weird. Just google his full name “Derek Taylor Kent” and you’ll see lots of weird stuff he’s done!

    SCARY SCHOOL crazy cool website which everyone seriously needs to check out. Did you have much input on that? Do you have a favorite part, something you for sure want kids to check out?

    Thanks so much. Myself and the amazing team at Jett Media put together the website – ScarySchool.com. Most of the features were my ideas that I wanted in there, like the fun locker game, the super-brain prize, and of course the tours of the school where you can check out the students, teachers, and cool school locations. But you have to make sure to take Ms. Fangs’ Quiz after you finish reading Scary School, because that will unlock the secret chapter, which is an essential read before starting on Book 2 which comes out on June 26, 2012. And then Book 3 comes out the June after that!

    Next week, I’ll be back with a list of titles similar to the book you wrote, you know, in case kids want to make a pile a great scary funny reads for the holidays. Anything you’d recommend?

    Yes, some of my recent favorites have been School for the Insanely Gifted by Dan Elish, My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody, The Beyonders by Brandon Mull, Jacob Wonderbar by Nathan Bransford, My Life as a Stuntboy by Janet Tashjian, and Shark Wars by EJ Altbacker.

    So what are your future plans? More books in the works?

    Yes, many more books in the works. There will be AT LEAST three Scary School books and probably many more. There could also be some fun spin-offs of other school you hear about in the text – like Adventure School and Future School. I also have some other cool books I’ve already written that you can check out and purchase through the website here – http://www.scaryschool.com/bookstore.html – Rudy and the Beast – My Homework Ate My Dog! is a really fun Harry Potter-type series about a kid who learns he has special powers and has to use them to rescue his kidnapped dog.

    Before I let you go, I noticed on your website that we can actually send you questions there, as well. Any questions you haven’t got yet that you are dying (oh sorry, I guess you can’t really be dying) to answer but haven’t been asked yet? If so, what is it and feel free to go ahead and answer it right here. Not sure if the other Derek ever gets questions there?

    I’ve gotten lots and lots of great questions, and also lots of amazing comments from kids all over the world who are reading and loving the book. Thanks so much for writing, kids! Every note warms my ghostly heart more than words can say. I’m happy to answer any questions, and I’ve gotten some weird ones, but no questions pop out that need answering. A lot of kids write to me wanting some hints about what happens in Book 2. if you contact me, I just might have those hints for you!

    Thanks for doing this. Hope to see you around sometime. You don’t, like, jump out and scare people do you? If you do, maybe we should hold off on the seeing you around.

    Sure thing. Oh and by the way, turn around. BOO!!! Did I scare you?

    Well, yes yes, you kind of did. But not so scared that I’m not going to be reading some more scary books over the holidays! Back with what I read next week.

    Derek the Ghost and his publisher have kindly offered a book for giveaway! Just leave a comment and we will announce a winner tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by and if you happen to know of some good scary funny or just plains scary reads do let us know!


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