• 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 ...

  • Subscribe!

    Get email updates:

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Getting the Grant


    button, buttons, computerIf the words “grant application” make you want to bang your head against the keyboard, take heart.  You’re not alone!  I’m right there with you, key imprints in my forehead as proof.

    Having morphed from a scientist into a middle grade author, I assumed I’d left grant writing behind in the dust.  Not true.  Grant writing is everywhere!  Starting a manuscript, finishing a work-in-progress, attending educational events, funding author visits, supplying libraries with books, sending your child to summer camp… you name it, there is probably a grant for it.

    But really – why bother?  Like any busy author, teacher, or librarian you already spend lots of time in front of the computer.  Add parenting to the mix and, well – forget it.

    Plus, writers deal with a lot of rejection already.  Who needs it?

    Well, as time consuming and frustrating as grant writing can be, for me it’s a bit like buying a lottery ticket.  Someone is going to win that grant.  And it won’t be me – unless I apply.

    Thanks to this stubborn perseverance (the same quality that got me published in the first place) I am pleased to announce that I am this year’s recipient of the Martha Weston Grant!  Which means that as you read this post, I will be attending the SCBWI annual summer conference in LA.


    On the wings of this success (and at the risk of upping my future competition) I encourage you to give grant writing a try.  Here are a couple of tips to increase your chance of success;

    1. Apply, Apply, Apply…

    … and then apply again.  In addition to enhancing your grant writing skills, grant committees will start to recognize your name if you apply for the same award year after year and hopefully give you points for dedication and perseverance.

    2. Pay attention to feedback

    Use feedback from grant committees to decide whether to submit the exact same application next year (if they’d reached their quota your type of project), make improvements (if they point out something specific), or give it a future pass (if your idea does not fit their mandate.)

    3. Who did get the grant?

    And why?  This will give you a better idea of what the committee is looking for and help you improve your application for next year (or make the decision to apply for something else.)

    4. Details, details, details…

    Like agents and publishers, grant committees read thousands of applications and they’re looking for an easy way to make the pile smaller.  Font and word count matter, as do deadlines.  Don’t have your application rejected because you missed the “received by” or “post-marked by” date.

    5. What do they want?

    Does the application come with a thick set of guidelines and a ten page form covered with blank boxes?  If so, they are looking for very something very specific (and someone who can follow instructions.)   Or do they just want you to send a letter of interest?  If so, they are probably more flexible and may be looking for someone with creativity.

    6. Specific and Professional

    Whether you are filling out forms or writing a creative letter, grant committees want applications to be specific and professional.  They are often looking for catch phrases, which you can find by looking at their mandate or examining the questions they ask.  They are also looking for recipients who will follow through, which is why they want to see the outline of a step by step action plan and not a broad, vague, or overly general idea.

    Because readers of this website are so diverse in terms of profession, area of expertise, and regional location, it is difficult to include a comprehensive list of where to find grants.  But trust me – they are everywhere.  If you look, you will find.  Professional organizations often have grants (the Martha Weston Grant came to me through membership in the SCBWI.)  Most states and provinces have grants to fund author visits.  Governmental organizations have grants to support the arts.

    Generally speaking, if a grant is well known it probably receives a lot of applications (ie. more competition!)  If you are keeping up with what is happening in your genre of writing or in your region’s education system, you will come across smaller, lesser known grants, that are more likely to support the specific work or program you are doing, which will greatly increase your chances of success.

    Good luck!

    Yolanda Ridge is the author of Trouble in the Trees and Road Block, two middle grade novels about the irrepressible Bree who has fought a bylaw against tree-climbing and battled the development of a highway through her grandmother’s farmland but has never written a grant application (yet!)



    1. Linda Johns  •  Aug 3, 2012 @10:19 am

      Congrats on winning the Martha Weston Grant! Great tips on looking at how specific to be in the application, based on the grantor’s tone and level of detail. (You must be at the SCBWI LA conference right now; have a terrific time!)

    2. Ruth Donnelly  •  Aug 3, 2012 @8:35 pm

      Congratulations! I hope you are having a fabulous time at the conference.

    3. Yolanda Ridge  •  Aug 4, 2012 @2:33 pm

      Thanks, Linda and Ruth. I am having a fabulous time!