• 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 FALSE PRINCE: an interview with Jennifer Nielsen

    Learning Differences

    Today, the Mixed Up Files is celebrating the launch of THE FALSE PRINCE, the first book in Jennifer Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy. It is in the top ten of the Indie Next list for spring 2012 and received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who calls the central character, an orphan named Sage, “a beguiling antihero” and describes the book as “an impressive, promising story with some expertly executed twists.

    First, a quick summary: In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

    As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

    If that whets your curiosity, you can read the first chapter here.

    Now, some questions for Jennifer!

    There’s been a lot of buzz about this book, and it’s being compared to books such as HUNGER GAMES and Megan Whalen Turner’s ATTOLIA series. Do you think they’re fair comparisons?

    I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the early buzz and feel honored to be included in any mention with those wonderful books. I think it’s fair to describe THE FALSE PRINCE by saying it’ll have the danger of Hunger Games in a period and setting closer to Turner’s land of Attolia. And while I sincerely hope THE FALSE PRINCE will be loved as much as I love it, the decision of whether it deserves those comparisons is really up to readers.

    Sage is a different sort of hero. He’s defiant, sneaky, and has a knack for saying or doing the worst possible thing to get into trouble. But he’s also compassionate, loyal, and fierce in his beliefs. How do you think readers will respond to him?

    Nearly every week, I get an email or note from a reader who says they see themselves as being just like Sage, which I find fascinating. I’ve seen Sage’s stubbornness compared to Holden Caulfield’s, and several bloggers have talked about rooting for Sage each time he goes up against unbeatable odds. More than one female reader has already called dibs for him online in case it ever turns out he’s real.

    Sage actually feels very real to me, and there are times when I’m writing his scenes that I think, Oh don’t do that Sage. If you knew what was coming next, you wouldn’t do that. But of course, he does. And then I have to write in the consequences, and they’re not always pleasant.

    Who is the target reader for this book?

    I think while it’s marketed toward upper middle grade students, this should find a very wide readership. Both boys and girls in about 4th grade and up could read this book. One pleasant surprise is that it’s getting a lot of enthusiasm for adult readers too. My oldest son said it’s his second favorite book ever, which would have felt like a slight until he said his favorite was HUNGER GAMES. I was okay with that.

    What are you working on next?

    The final book in the Elliot trilogy, ELLIOT AND THE LAST UNDERWORLD WAR, has just been released. I’m now writing the third book in the False Prince series (as the second book makes its way through copyediting).
    And I’m heavy into research for a book I’ll be writing this fall – the sixth book in Scholastic’s new multi-platform INFINITY RING series. The first book in that series was written by James Dashner and will release
    in late August. I know readers are going to love it!

    One website said this was a rare example of a great psychological thriller for young readers. Any tips for middle grade writers about creating that sort of tension?

    I hadn’t thought about that aspect of this story while writing it, but yes, there are a lot of mind games happening in the story, which is racheted up by the way the way different characters manipulate that. I think it’s really important to respect that young readers can handle far more complexity than we give them credit for. So even though the subject matter must remain appropriate for their level, the tension can be just as suspenseful as if we were writing for adults.

    Congratulations and thanks for stopping by! THE FALSE PRINCE is available in stores and online today! Or, check out the book trailer here.

    To learn more about Jennifer, check out her website at www.jennielsen.com or follow her on Twitter @nielsenwriter. You might find Jennifer on tour in a city near you soon, and she is also a popular author for school and classroom visits.

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