• 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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  • Staying motivated: Writing Retreats

    Learning Differences


    Good morning from my lonely kitchen table!

    The kids are gone. The coffee’s hot. It’s time to write!

    Writing is mostly something I do alone (and I don’t think I’m alone on this). Although occasionally, I go out into the world to write at a café (my favorite is the King Arthur bakery, because it smells so good!), I mostly stay home. At my desk.


    I’m VERY lucky to be able to work from home–there is not a day that I don’t appreciate my husband for making this possible–but  sometimes . . . sometimes . . . a girl needs to get out of her PJ’s and hang out with some other writers.

    (This is also an example of how NOT to sit at a desk…..)


    About three times a year, I go to retreats, organized gatherings of writers specifically designed to unlock the subconscious and kickstart my WIP.

    Some of these retreats are loose and casual. No lectures. No planned discussions. Others are highly organized. Today I’ll talk “in the general.” Next week, we’ll get to specifics.

    WHY RETREAT???? 

    Obviously, we writers need feedback. We need to talk about the craft of writing. That’s why critique groups form. But getting together for an overnight with a few writers ALWAYS breaks me out of my shell.  At my favorite retreats, I have to do something scary…like share my work.

    Great idea #1: At every retreat I attend, we organize an “open mike.” Each writer reads out loud for a short period of time. These readings are useful for a number of reasons: they provide recognition. (You’re a writer!!! You’ve been heard!!) Plus, there is NOTHING like reading your work out loud to understand what you have and haven’t done. A few weeks ago, I read a piece and realized that I forgot to insert the main character’s name. Hearing myself read helped me figure that out fast.

    Retreats help you learn the craft!

    I write better when I’m learning, when I am engaging in the “conversation.” When I can stay up all night talking about craft, it always works to unlock some idea I’ve been avoiding! Although I’m a girl who usually needs her sleep, this marathon of discussion always works to weaken my resistance to some new idea. It helps me reconsider what I need to make my draft work.

    Great Idea #2: Can only get away for one night? Have a writer sleep over! Even two other writers (and a good meal) will do the trick. Do you have a writer friend who can get the conversation started? Even better.

    At this year’s Novel Writing Retreat at VCFA, Bruce Black talked about the connection between yoga and writing. It was amazing! That theme helped me figure out a lot of ideas for my WIP.

    When you retreat, you find out you’re NOT alone.

    As writers, we all face the same problems: we edit too much. Or we experience fear…fear that our writing won’t measure up, won’t sell, won’t be reviewed well, won’t be read . . .

    FEAR is a big problem. Every day we walk into the unknown. Our internal editors put us down.

    When I retreat, I get to hear how EVERYONE feels that way.  We talk about it and figure out ways to deal with it.

    Great Idea #3: Use your retreat to SET GOALS. Make yourself accountable not just to yourself, but to your work. Look ahead at your year and acknowledge when it will be hard to write (daughter going to college, family events), and when it will be easier. Know WHO YOU ARE….what are your other responsibilities? By setting short, medium, and long term goals (and that includes movie premiers….) WITH YOUR WRITING FRIENDS, you say

    I CAN DO IT!!!!!

    It means you are saying:

    I AM A WRITER!!!!

    (Remember: every time you meet a goal, you get to celebrate!)

    Next week, I’m going to write about a few specific retreats that are open to writers. In the mean time, let’s discuss: how do you create community? How do you stay connected to the writing world??? What tricks do you have for meeting with other writers???

    Sarah Aronson teaches online writing classes at writers.com and organizes seminars and retreats. She believes that getting out of the house can help you stay motivated!

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