• 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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  • The Human Side of Technology

    Learning Differences

    Just before Christmas, my siblings, my Dad and I finished work on a sixth month project—selling the family home so that Dad could move to an independent living cottage. We packed, sorted and distributed over a hundred years’ worth of history. We made sure to keep some things in the family like a spinning wheel, a pedal-operated sewing machine, a butter churn and a grandfather clock. We didn’t keep them because they were worth a lot of money. We kept them because they had stories to tell. They were valuable.

    During the time that I lived in that home, we progressed from three channels to the seemingly endless choices of cable TV. From VCRs to DVD players. From boom boxes to Walkmans to CD players. Typewriters (yes, I took TYPING!) to word processors to computers. And since I’ve left that home there’s been years of updates leading to smart phones and Ipods and my dearly loved Kindle and electronic tablet. Never mind my laptop which frees me from writing in the same room with the flat screen TV with hundreds of selections and the Xbox with mind (and ear) defying video games. Don’t forget the competing noise from constant YouTube downloads or the sounds of my kids making movies and editing them on their own using the webcam and a few keystrokes. Ironically, all of these new developments are probably on the fast track to my own kids’ “remember when” stories.

    Our lives would be very different without the constant influence of technology. The invention of the printing press revolutionized society by getting information to everyday people and the world was changed. Facebook and Twitter seem to be modern-day versions of using words to influence things large and small for people who used to be disconnected. Lots of voices are competing for attention and sometimes it seems hard to stand out. How is that going to influence our future? What’s next? How can everyone have access to the technology that can open doors of opportunity or leave others behind? Will people just keeping getting more and more extreme to stand out from the crowd of voices, or will there still be the possibility of lasting influence and measured discussion?

    I think an element of fear and internal conflict is a normal response to change. I can’t help but wonder if e-books mean there will not be paper books anymore. I love the sound of the page turns, the smell of the paper, the feel of the pages slipping between my fingers and the weight of the book in my hand. But I also love the portability of my Kindle, the ease of getting books, the fact that when I had a problem with one of my hands, I could still easily hold the book and turn the page. How can I love books in both forms? I feel like a traitor to myself. Then I realize that my Kindle is already almost obsolete. Sigh.

    And as much as I love technology, I hate the earphones-in-the- head teen years when I’m not sure if I’m actually being heard or am a talking head accompaniment to a music video I can’t see or hear. The constant connection through social networking sometimes leaves me feeling like I’ve missed a real life moment while I’ve been lost somewhere in cyberspace. All this interaction can be overwhelming yet lonely at the same time. What a crazy world we live in.

    As we finalized the move, Dad decided to spend moving day with his older, eighty-nine year old brother to avoid the intensity of the moment. He drove his car two hours north, his not-very-loved cell phone on the seat nearby in case of emergency. It rained the entire day and the overcast sky meant that light faded earlier than he expected. On the way back, high water threatened to cover the road and his nemesis in the passenger seat became a comfort. If he had to stop, he’d be able to call for help. He’d be connected. In spite of the challenges, Dad made it home to his new digs and anxious daughters. He brought back a greater appreciation of why we wanted him to have the cell phone and a renewed sense of pride in himself. He would overcome this new challenge.

    So what do two octogenarians do to pass time?

    They went to brunch and played a crossword puzzle game where they competed against each other to gain points and complete the puzzle. Not too surprising. But then my dad showed my uncle how to find things on the internet like this You Tube video.

    This is proof to me that the key to adjusting to technology is keeping it all in perspective. Life moves on and changing technology is part of pushing it forward, challenging the status quo and a way to mark the passage of time. It’s a measure of where we’ve been and a guide to where we are going. Embrace it or reject it, technology is here and influencing the way we gather information and communicate. And it’s been doing that for hundreds of years.

    For now, I’ll just grab my cellphone and give the old guy a call. But I think I’ll do him a favor and call his landline.


    Don’t forget to register for our Skype author giveaway with Wendy Shang, author of The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. She’s also a Mixed-Up Files member and ALA award winner so lets give her a big who-hoo! All you have to do is to leave comment on yesterday’s post, which was an interview with Wendy, so you’ll definitely want to check it out. Easy peesy.

    Joanne Prushing Johnson lives upside-down and backward which is a very useful skill when life is a rollercoaster. She’s got lots of inspiration with a busy houseful packed with testosterone including a handsome hubby, four boisterous boys and a giant Golden Retriever. Joanne is represented by the Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary. Photos from www.morguefile.com

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