• 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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  • Our Last Skype Stop! (And WINNER WINNER WINNER!)

    Learning Differences

    Our Mixed-Up Skype bus is nearly empty now.  As soon as we drop Kimberley Griffiths Little off, we’ll only have one more author, the ever hilarious Chris Rylander, author of THE FOURTH STALL and THE FOURTH STALL, PART II.

    Chris Rylander - Author Photo.jpg

    He’s sitting by himself there in the very back seat.  Luckily for us, he’s kept the rest of the folks on our Spring Tour entertained, and next week we’ll be pulling into our last stop with him. Will it be into your group’s virtual driveway?

    Before we announce the winner of Kimberley’s Skype visit, let’s get to know Chris a little better.

    Welcome, Chris!  I’ve heard that your book, THE FOURTH STALL, was funny enough to win the coveted 2012 Sid Fleischman Humor Award!  You are too cool for words.

    But let’s use some words, anyway.  Tell us about about you and your books!


    The best way to describe myself is to say I’m the human equivalent of a stack of pancakes.  I was born and raised in North Dakota, where essentially everybody can be likened to a brunch menu item.  All of my current books are humorous middle grade, but I love to write in pretty much every genre, including young adult, picture books, science fiction, and even stories about mailboxes.  Or, Mailiction as we insiders like to call it.


    I didn’t know that about North Dakota!  Or that anyone wrote mailiction, for that matter.  So, tell me, what do you like best about writing for middle grade readers?

    It’s fun!  Whenever I get asked that at school visits I always like to use this metaphor: Books for adults are like cats, they’re moody, selfish, whiny, and all they do is mope and whine for people to give them stuff.  Books for kids, especially middle grade, are more like dogs, they’re fun, high-energy, make you laugh, and just generally make you happy, while still being intelligent and meaningful. (Sorry cat people, but the truth is that dogs are just as smart as cats, if not smarter.)

    You seem like a dog person.  Anyway, what was your favorite book when you were 8-12?

     The first novel I can ever remember loving and reading multiple times was Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.  That book was the perfect amount of hilarious and crazy.

    Hilarious and crazy…that reminds me of someone…hmm…oh, yeah.  Me.  Well, at least the crazy part, anyway.  I think you’ve got the hilarious part down, though!  Why don’t you tell our readers what makes your school visits special.

    The feedback I get from teachers after my school visits is that they’re amazed at how much the kids relate to me.  The kids see me as someone just like them, someone who still loves video games and movies and sports and music just as much as reading, and just as much as they do.  I think the kids really like and relate to my down to earth and relaxed approach.  Plus, my presentation includes a lot of my own drawings and doodles, which the kids really seem to love.  

    Aw, man.  Now I want to see one of your school visits!  Readers, if you want to be the lucky winner, you know what to do!  Leave a comment below, and if you want more chances to win, spread the news on FB or twitter (or your blog), and come back here to let us know.  Make sure to leave one comment for each entry.  We’ll announce the winner next Tuesday.

    If you have any more questions, check our FAQ page before you email.

    And now, we’re ready to announce the winner of Kimberley Griffith Little’s Skype visit!  Drum-roll, please…

    Heather Temske!

    Congratulations!  Please send your contact information to msfishby at fromthemixedupfiles dot com and we’ll drop Kimberley off at your virtual doorstep!


    Elissa Cruz likes funny things.  She also likes pancakes, and mail.  Well, waffles and mail, anyway, because both are stamped. (ba dum chhh!)  She writes middle-grade fiction, and sometimes it’s almost humorous (the work, that is, not the fact that she writes, though that’s probably true, too).  You can learn more about her mixed-up writing life than you ever wanted to at elissacruz.blogspot.com.

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