• 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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  • Author Patti Criswell talks about girl friendships


    Author Patti Criswell is a clinical social worker, author and speaker who specializes in working with girls and young women. She is also a member of the faculty in the School of Social Work at Western Michigan University. She has a special interest in the areas of bully prevention and helping girls develop a positive self esteem. Her books for middle grade readers include A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles and Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends, among many others.

    It’s a really important time of life and friendships can help girls navigate the normal struggles of the tween years. What are some common causes for friendships dissolving at this age?
    Lots of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. There is downright betrayal, but mostly, girls are doing the best they can and having good communication and boundary setting skills can really help.

    Why do you think friendships are so important during the upper elementary school and middle school years?
    As we become more independent, the world outside our family becomes more accessible. It’s exciting and affirming to find others who we connect with.

    How do you think that social media might harm a friendship?
    Misunderstandings happen because it’s easy to put a negative spin on the things that are written. On a more serious note when something is put in writing and shared with others it does SO MUCH damage, that often, friendships can’t be saved, worse yet, someone’s self-esteem and sense of emotional safety can be ruined with a simple click.

    How do you think that social media might promote friendship?
    The sheer volume of communication and the ease and accessibility of it helps girls get to know each other better.

    What are the signs that a friendship is disintegrating?
    If you are with someone, and over and over you feel worse after seeing them instead of better—it’s time to re-evaluate.

    How do kids during the tween years balance honesty and consideration of feelings when communicating with each other?
    It’s not what you say but how you say it. By softening language, and coming from a kind and caring place you can be honest with friends. You can also side step questions when you know the answer would hurt someone, for example asking “Well, I’m not sure why you are asking me that?”

    Is three really an awkward number when it comes to friendship?
    It doesn’t have to be. If girls are not in competition with each other for the role of BFF, and if friendships are inclusive, a group of three can work just fine.

    Are there benefits to having one best friend versus being a part of a larger group?
    I think having one best friend is risky, but being part of a group can be as well. I think the answer is to have a buffet of friends, school friends, older and younger friends, guy friends, far away friends, sports or music friends etc. Then you have the best chance of navigating the loss of a friend. It’s a safety net of sorts.

    What are the ways that friendships begin?

    Always with a “hi”

    Any advice to teachers and parents about friendship?
    Try not to assign roles when there are friendship troubles. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but in general, empowering girls to stand up for themselves and guiding them through the conflict resolution part of friendship is really important.

    The tweens are all about transitions. Do you see those transitions happening in friendships as well? What do they look like?
    Friendship is like a dance, sometimes we are close, and sometimes far away—that’s the natural course of friendship. If a friend is more interested in something or someone else, be patient, don’t demand closeness or give ultimatums, just try to be supportive and stay positive.

    Hillary Homzie is a former sketch comedian who writes funny books for tween girls. Her most recent middle-grade novel is The Hot List (Simon & Schuster/Mix 2011).

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