• 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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  • In Review of Reviews

    Learning Differences

    I hate making decisions. Which movie to rent? Which restaurant to eat at? What sights to visit on vacation? The very real possibility of making the wrong decision dances in the back of my brain. What if the movie turns out to be insipid? What if the food is only so-so and the waitstaff rude? What if the tourist attraction is lame, closed or overcrowded? Of course, none of these outcomes are catastrophic, yet I hate to waste time or money or both if it can be avoided.

    Enter: the Customer Review section. (*cue angel choir here)

    When Customer Reviews began appearing on websites, I was thrilled. Reading what others had to say about a place or product helped decrease my chance of disappointment dramatically! I began adding my own .02 on everything from restaurants, to jeans, to the latest book I’d read. How liberating! How freeing! How great to be able to say exactly how I felt about a product without holding back!

    When I became a published author, however, everything changed. Suddenly I was being the one reviewed. (One can argue it’s the book that’s being reviewed, but when you’re the author, trust me, it feels like you.) Perfect strangers were commenting freely on my characters, my plot, my writing. Official reviews by Kirkus and Book List and School and Library Journal appeared below my book title with no say from me. Every time my google alert popped up with yet another unsolicited opinion, my stomach clenched. I read each review through squinted eyes. The slightest hint of negativity caused my heart to drop. Smarminess or blunt cruelty boiled my blood. If you think it’s so easy, I wanted to write back, then you try it!

    Then I recalled a negative review I had written years ago on a book by a VIP children’s author. It was on a mock newbery list and I did not feel it was worthy. Oh, how I railed about the plot being boring, the writing didactic, the characters shallow! Me! An unpublished nobody criticizing the work of an award-winning author! What was I thinking? Clearly, I was not. Hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, I felt free to spew forth my opinions, however uninformed they might be. Yes, I had the right to my opinion and yes, I had the right to have that opinion heard. But to what end? Was I giving my opinion to help potential readers make an informed decision, or was I just trying to placate myself for not yet being published?

    With the growing popularity of e-readers, more people than ever are sharing their views on books, through sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the very popular Goodreads. I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t read these reviews – they still help me decide which books to buy, borrow or skip altogether. But now I look at the act of reviewing much differently. Not only do I keep the potential reader in mind, but the author as well. I now know how an author dissects each review, in hopes of making their next book better. I keep in mind that this book is someone’s baby, their work of art, a part of themselves they were generous and brave enough to share with the world. If I do not care for it, I now try very hard to be honest without being brutal or superior. I highlight things I thought the author did particularly well. I can also now concede that maybe “it’s not them, it’s me.”

    They say you are a perfect parent… until you have children. I think the same applies to authors. You are a perfect author… until you get a book published. Then, as with parenting, you realize how much you don’t know, how inexperienced you really are and how much respect you have for those who have gone before you.

    Therefore, whatever your profession, the next time you write a book review, keep in mind the hard-working author, cowering at his or her computer, reading your words. Be honest, definitely. But be helpful as well, because more than anything, we want our next book to be the one you rave about!

    Beverly Patt is currently working on a top-secret historical novel which she hopes one day will be favorably reviewed by readers and professional reviewers alike.



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