• 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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  • Interview with Hollow Earth author, Carole Barrowman!

    Giveaways, Interviews

    Hollow Earth takes readers on a classic fantasy-adventure featuring twins with the power to bring art to life, Animare, and a secret society determined to use that ability at any cost, including the twins’ lives.  Written by real-life brother and sister Carole Barrowman and John Barrowman, the story ranges from the National Gallery in London to the remote shores of Scotland to a place called Hollow Earth, where demons and devils are trapped for eternity.  Carole is Professor of English and Director of Creative Studies in Writing at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  John may be familiar to fans of Doctor Who as Captain Jack Harkness.  Carole was kind enough to take a few moments to visit us on the Files.

    Hollow Earth US

    The author’s note says that you and John cooked up the characters and plot while on a trip together.  Had you ever worked together before?  What was your process like?  (Did you ever pull rank as big sister?)  

    This is our fourth book together, but our first novel. We’ve also collaborated on a comic (adapted from one of my short stories and featuring the character, Captain Jack, that John plays on television) so we have a good working relationship. We outline together, brainstorm etc. and then I return to Milwaukee and I do the writing. When I have a solid draft, I send to John for comments etc. I’m the big sister. Of course, I try to pull rank… some things never change no matter how old we are.

    You said it!  You have two fascinating mythologies in your book – the idea of Animare, or people who can bring their own drawings into existence, and Hollow Earth, a place where mythological beasts are kept.  How did you come up with these ideas?  

    Many of the books we love have strong mythologies (The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter series, The Golden Compass, etc.) and we wanted to create something that had some weight to the adventure, something that connects the twins to more than their immediate family. We also both loved Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl as children so we also wanted to make the stories epic adventures or sorts. I’m also a fan of William Blake and John Milton so their mythologies influenced us too.

    William Blake - poet, painter and middle-grade inspiration

    William Blake – poet, painter and middle-grade inspiration

    That’s a fabulous range of influences.  Did anything happen during the course of writing the book that surprised you, i.e., a character or a plot twist?

    Oh my, yes. Solon was not supposed to stick around, but as I wrote he just kept coming back and so when I sent the finished draft and sent it to John we knew we had to keep him.

    You write about the Art of the Mystery for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  How do you think the traditions of mystery-writing in adult fiction translate in kid fiction? 

    Although there’s also a significant supernatural element, there’s certainly a mystery at the core of Hollow Earth. By its nature, the mystery genre is about moral dilemmas and questions of life and death and loss and I think lots of great kidlit has adapted the traditions and the conventions of the mystery.

    Well put! What are some of your favorite kidlit mysteries?

    I’m a fan of many of the books that I think follow the conventions of traditional thrillers and mysteries like Anthony Horowitz Alex Rider series.

    I think readers who enjoy the adrenalin rush of Alex Rider will feel quite at home with Hollow Earth.  I noticed that you have two distinctly different covers – one with a bird on the cover, and one featuring the twin main characters.  Is there a story behind this?  Do you prefer one over the other?

    Buster Books first released Hollow Earth in the UK and they put the caladrius on the cover. The twins and the peryton are on the US cover. Most books have different covers when published in UK and US.

    Hollow Earth - UK Edition

    Hollow Earth – UK Edition

    You’ll have to read the book to find out what role the peryton plays.  Hollow Earth definitely ends with the reader wanting to know what happens next!  What should readers expect next?

    John and I imagined a trilogy so the second book (Bone Quill) will be released in the UK in February of 2013 and in the US in July/August. Our plan is a book a year if there are readers…

    Bone Quill

    I’m sure there will be many readers, including one lucky winner on the Files!  To enter to win a copy of Hollow Earth, post a comment below on what famous painting you would bring to life if you were an Animare.

    Wendy Shang would get lost in the swirls of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.



    1. Betsy Thompson  •  Feb 22, 2013 @6:19 pm

      I would love to bring to life New York Movie by Edward Hopper. The lush velvets, the pensive usherette, the enticing staircase, the glimpse of the movie screen offering undetermined delights to the shadowy theater goers…all this intrigues me . Good luck on your series!

    2. Jill  •  Feb 23, 2013 @8:48 am

      I have to admit I have no idea of paintings or art or things like that (sheepish face). Nevertheless, I find this book interesting and I love the author’s range of influences (Dahl, Narnia, etc). Sounds like a worthwhile read. Great interview and thanks for the giveaway offer.

    3. Lisa  •  Feb 23, 2013 @10:03 am

      I’d love to be in the world of the Johannes Vermeer painting Young Woman with a Water Pitcher. I’d love to know what outside her window she was looking at, the sounds in the street or countryside below and what she had planned for that day. There is a map on the wall behind her and I wonder about its importance, and a jewelry box with a string of pearls…what is her story?

    4. PragmaticMom  •  Feb 23, 2013 @5:12 pm

      I would bring Sunflowers by Van Gogh as I assume I’d get to meet the artist too.

    5. Carolyn Brady  •  May 12, 2013 @12:04 am

      I’m somewhat behind in my blog reading so only just saw that Wendy got to interview Carole Barrowman :D We saw her and her little brother plugging Hollow Earth at Alverno College last winter – They are quite the double act as you can see from the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLITel5Jaxw&list=PLNgRS6u11MQEyo36o0hFFOvOLsFcJMtZr And we got our copy of Hollow Earth signed by both of them :)