• 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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  • The Tween Novel For Girls: 21st Century Domestic Fiction

    Book Lists, friendships, Tweens, Women and girls

    What exactly is the tween novel for girls? Well, it’s mostly just a marketing term. The term tween communicates to some marketing departments in publishing houses that a book will likely have commercial appeal, explore the middle school experience or upper elementary school concerns of children ages ten through thirteen, and focus on peer relationships. A tween novel is really just a sub-category of middle grade fiction.

    Middle grade fiction is a confusing name. I think the intention is that it is fiction geared toward children in the middle grades of their schooling, which would be grades three through eighth, approximately. But I think it gets confused with middle school. Is it about children who are in middle school? Maybe sometimes (when it’s “tween” fiction), but not always. And do middle schoolers read middle grade fiction? Sometimes, but often middle school students have moved into reading young adult fiction.

    Another hallmark of tween fiction for girls is that it revolves around core emotional needs of a girl versus a high stakes plot. This doesn’t mean it’s devoid of action. It’s just that the action often involves everyday battles (i.e. how to get invited to that slumber party). One could argue that these books are really the 21st century version of the 19th century domestic novel, mirroring the everyday experiences of girls ages 11 through 13. This is not to say that they are also devoid of tension. They are not. But the tension is mostly emotional and centered around the security of key friendships. Some of these books in this category don’t use the hero’s journey as their structure. Instead, the books can be more episodic, such as Lauren Myracle’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, which are chronicle books or year-in-the-life books. This would also be true of epistolary novels, such as Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, which straddles the YA/tween categories, or graphic/diary series like Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell.

    It could be argued that Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda are domestic fiction for boys. Based on those sales, I think there will be a lot more books like this to come. And in my book, that’s a good thing. The late great poet and novelist Lucinda Clifton said that children need books that provide both windows and mirrors. There is no doubt that domestic fiction provides those mirrors.



    Hillary Homzie‘s second tween novel for girls,The Hot List, was published last year. She has three boys so she must become a spy to write about tween girls and remember her own experiences, which is easy since Hillary claims that she’s still thirteen.



    1. Jill  •  Oct 5, 2012 @12:09 pm

      Interesting post! I wonder sometimes about that “Middle Grade fiction” term for the same reasons you state above. It seems like adult fiction and YA have those niches that make sense and great depth. But within middle grade itself, there are so many variables. I’ve heard of the term “tween” before. I’ve never heard of “domestic fiction”. I think I need a little glossary list of all the categories and subcategories :)

    2. Hillary Homzie  •  Oct 5, 2012 @12:27 pm

      Hi Jill,
      Here’s a primer on 19th century domestic fiction http://www.enotes.com/domestic-fiction-reference/domestic-fiction. Hope it helps. Note that 19th century domestic fiction was primarily about white, upper middle class women and girls. Today that has changed, although probably not enough.

      Jill Reply:

      @Hillary Homzie,

      Thanks for the link. That’s so kind of you! I’m going to check it out now.

    3. Cathe Olson  •  Oct 10, 2012 @7:51 pm

      My elementary students just eat those series up (Dork Diaries, Eleven, etc., Wimpy Kids, Big Nate, Origami Yoda’s . . . I hope there will be more of those types coming. They are so accessible to all levels of readers.