• 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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  • Indie Spotlight: The Wild Rumpus!

    Learning Differences

    This Memorial Day, Mixed-Up Files honors the unforgettable Maurice Sendak, who died this month, by interviewing Collette Morgan of Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis, a shop full of surprises.

    MUF:  Collette,  how and when did the Wild Rumpus start?
    Colette: In 1992, I was working at a general independent bookstore called Odegard’s in Minneapolis.  Barnes & Noble specifically targeted that bookstore when they started rolling out the first ‘superstores’.  As a result, Odegard’s closed and I had the choice of either opening my own bookstore, or working for a chain.  Luckily, I took the plunge and bought the inventory.  Next, my then-husband had a great space available in a small urban neighborhood.  We worked with a terrific architect who had never designed a retail space but had a great tree-house in his backyard, so we knew that he spoke our language!  We started working on the space in July and opened the store in September.  This year we’ll be celebrating 20 years in business!

    MUF: And you have one of the most successful independent children’s bookstores in the country, so you must be giving your customers something they can’t get anywhere else!

    Collette: Absolutely.  This store is a destination and it’s not unusual for families to spend hours hanging out.  We offer an eclectic selection from babies to adults, a hands-on environment and extensive book expertise.

    MUF: Since your store’s name is taken from that line in Where The Wild Things Are,  are you doing anything special to commemorate its amazing author/illustrator Maurice Sendak?
    Collette:We celebrate his life every day—in his books and our name—(although it was equally inspired by the Coen brothers’ movie: Miller’s Crossing).  We have a Latin inscription painted on the floor (Let the Wild Rumpus Start), and we uphold his tradition of not condescending to children—his quote: “I refuse to cater to the bullsh*t of innocence” is a guiding light.

    The Spooky Shed holds all the mystery, ghost, and vampire books–and a pet rat or two.


    MUF: Most children’s bookstores carry a few animal puppets or plush toys along with their books, but you have a variety of live animals roaming (prowling? patrolling?) the store to add to the rumpus, including chickens and mice and Manx cats and. . .please tell me that tarantula Carlos is tamer than he looks! How do the customers and the animals get along? 

    Pimiento finds a perch

    Collette: Famously.  There are some folks who are taken aback at the free-range chickens but they tend to lead kids around like the Pied Piper.  Wilbur, the hairless rat is a great conversation starter and the ferrets and chinchillas never fail to entertain.  Once, one of the ferrets ran into the back hallway and rode up and down in an elevator for an hour before we caught on.  Hence, the sign on the back door:  Please Don’t Let the Ferret Ride the Elevator.

    MUF: What, besides being greeted by a menagerie , can someone expect when they enter Wild Rumpus?
    Collette: Lively music, inspired events, unexpected titles, architectural surprises, curiosities (um, why do you have a bottle of Cod Liver Oil up there?)…

    MUF: You have some unusual book clubs at Wild Rumpus. We here at Mixed-Up Files are especially glad to hear that “Ink Drinkers,” your new club for 8-10 year olds, is oversubscribed, and that you have a club for 11-13 year olds reading Advanced Reader’s Copies.  What are some titles you have been/will be reading in these clubs? 

    Collette: Some of the recent Ink Drinker titles: The Big Swim, The Unforgotten Coat, Lemonade Wars, Skellig, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter.  The BLLOG (born later literary opinions group: middle school advanced copy reviewers): Chomp, The Hero’s Guide to Saving the Kingdom.         That’s all that I can remember at this minute, but they have reviews on our website.The advanced reader group recently reviewed ARCs of Never Fall Down, Blue Fish and Fall from Grace.We also have the Remedial Book Club for Immature Adults.  Our next selection is: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

    MUF: Do you have a story you like to tell about an especially fine or amusing day in Wild Rumpus? Any memorable incidents?
    Collette: Every day is fine and amusing.  Never a dull moment!  I remember once keeping a baby Wild Boar overnight.  When I went to clean his pen, he escaped and led me on a merry chase around the bookshelves skittering around the corners on the wooden floor and causing me to laugh hysterically.   Another time, we had a wonderful 3-legged rabbit named ‘Mr. Red’ who spent his days lounging on a divan and being adored.  One evening he was inadvertently left out of his sleeping hutch and he managed to take a bite out of every single book spine in the Pirates section.  The next day, we had to have “Mr. Red’s Big Pirate Sale.”

    Trini Lopez attempting to travel ala Flat Stanley

    MUF: If a family who didn’t have a children’s bookstore in their town came to visit yours, would there be a family-friendly place in the neighborhood where they could get something to eat after book-browsing?
    Collette: Absolutely, we are rife with independent, locally-sourced restaurants and just around the corner from a gourmet, house-made ice cream store. If you walk down to the lake, there’s a great concession called ‘Bread and Pickle’ where you can pick up a picnic lunch.  For the grown ups, we have several independent coffee shops including one that specializes in rare coffees and teas.  Dare parents to try the Kopi Luwak coffee ($420./lb or $10. per cup).  It’s coffee beans  errr.. ‘reclaimed’ from the excrement of civet cats.  Who knew? Mmmm. Soooo smooooth.

    Inter-species lunch at Wild Rumpus

    MUF: And if they could stay the weekend, what other family activities in Minneapolis would you most recommend?
    Collette: Well, we’re within walking or biking distance of Lake Harriet—from which you can ride/walk miles and miles around the ‘chain of lakes’.  On the next lake over, you can rent paddleboats, kayaks—even learn how to do a little log-rolling.  We have the world- class Children’s Theatre Company, Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater (where Brian Selznick worked with puppets) and the beautiful Minnesota Zoo.  Science museums, art museums, wonderful music venues…

    MUF: Have you had many middle grade authors appear at  Wild Rumpus?
    Collette: Tons.  Brian Selznick, Brandon Mull, Tom Angleburger, Jeff Kinney, Kate DiCamillo, Anne Ursu, Shelia O’Connor, Katherine Hannigan, Jon Scieszka….

    MUF:Are there events coming up at your store in June or this summer that you’re especially looking forward to?
    Collette: This summer we’re planning an archery demo, a donkey day,  language of flowers event, new book clubs including a knitting book club for middle-schoolers, more things than you can even imagine.  In fact we haven’t imagined half of them yet.

    MUF:  Thank you so much, Collette, for giving us a glimpse of your unique and (literally) lively book shop.  Readers, if you’ve visited Wild Rumpus or if reading about it makes you think you’d like to hang out there, please leave a comment here.

    Sue Cowing is the author of You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda, 2011, Usborne UK, 2012).  She has not yet been to Minneapolis, but Drog, her  puppet character, had his photo taken in front of Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre (guess he was afraid to go in).

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