• 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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  • March Madness in the Bookshelves

    Book Lists

    Hello, my name is Tracy and I’m college basketball-obsessed. It’s been three minutes since I watched a men’s NCAA game, and I’m quite sure I’ll sneak away** from this post to check out another. I’d like to say my family is supportive of my attempts at recovery, but they’re not much more functional than me. And in the case of my 16-year-old son, I’d say he’s got it worse. At least I’m not constantly checking scores on my phone.

    (Why yes, it is an ancient flip-phone. What’s your point?)

    In addition to love-love-loving college basketball, I adore reading. Fortunately, there are lots of books out there for middle-grade readers who enjoy this sport. While I couldn’t find any books aimed at young people on the art and science of bracketology, I did find a broad array of fiction with basketball playing a prominent part in the story.


    Tracy’s note: While author says she personally is “not tall, not very coordinated, and has no hustle,” Mills wrote a convincing story about a reluctant basketball player who makes funny observations on his way to becoming a player.

    PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL by Nikki Grimes

    Tracy’s note: Grimes does a beautiful job writing in verse about what it’s like to be a 12-year-old girl who lives and breathes basketball, and then experiences both physical and emotional changes that affect how she views the boys she used to only see as competitors.

    BASKETBALL (OR SOMETHING LIKE IT) by Nora Raleigh Baskin

    Tracy’s note: Being the mom of a long-time basketball player, this story, told from the point of view of three sixth-grade boys and one girl, rings absolutely true regarding parental expectations, highs and lows of competition, and the politics of team sports. While this book definitely would hook young readers, I think parents would also enjoy and benefit from these narrators’ insights.


    Tracy’s note: Stanford loves basketball so much he’s willing to be tutored in English by “the world’s biggest nerdball, Millicent Min” so that he can be on the team. I can relate, seeing as I have to get these blurbs evenly spaced before I can get back to my beloved games. Aargh!

    THE REAL SLAM DUNK by Charisse K. Richardson

    Tracy’s note: This story of 10-year-old Marcus and his twin Mia doesn’t contain basketball action, but instead delivers a message about how it’s okay to dream of being a basketball star as long as you have other dreams, too.

    DRAGON ROAD by Laurence Yep

    Dragon Road cover

    Tracy’s note: I’m interested in reading this book about a 1939 Chinese American basketball team, but stopped when I realized the protagonists are recent high school graduates (the book was shelved in the juvenile section of  my library but is at minimum an upper middle-grade story). If I can find time between games, I’m going to continue reading this.

    The NCAA brackets have now been set. I watched Selection Sunday with my two sons as the teams and initial match-ups were announced, and am giddy with anticipation. Happy March Madness, everyone! The first games aren’t until tomorrow so you still have plenty of time to pick up a book. Please add any other basketball-inspired books in the comments and also tournament favorites or predictions.

    **I watched the last minutes of the Wisconsin – Indiana game.  Shhh!

    Tracy Abell wishes her free throw percentage was higher because, you know, they’re FREE throws. 



    1. Joanne Fritz  •  Mar 18, 2013 @3:55 pm

      The only one of these books I’ve read is Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time (along with all of Lisa Yee’s other middle-grade books).

      Mike Lupica wrote about basketball in Travel Team.

      I couldn’t even begin to predict who will win this year!

      Tracy Abell Reply:

      @Joanne Fritz, Stanford Wong is a great read, and I really enjoyed the others, too. I found a couple Mike Lupica and Matt Christopher books related to basketball but didn’t read those yet; my son read and enjoyed some of those when younger.

      I won’t make a prediction yet, and need to get my other work done before I can focus on my bracket! :)

    2. Bruce Luck  •  Mar 18, 2013 @6:35 pm

      Claudia Mills is has written a bunch of MG books. I took a writing workshop from her. She knows the genre.

      Tracy Abell Reply:

      @Bruce Luck, I agree 100% about Claudia knowing the genre. And she’s not only smart but funny, too!

    3. PragmaticMom  •  Mar 18, 2013 @7:39 pm

      We have a March Madness school reading competition that you might like: http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2013/03/school-reading-competition/

      Each class chooses an NCAA team at random and you get extra points depending on how far the team goes but the real points are earned by reading. Minutes count not pages or number of books. Our entire school is reading like crazy during the month of March.

      The Prize? Extra P. E. session!!!

      Tracy Abell Reply:

      @PragmaticMom, That’s an innovative idea, for sure. The picture of the “quietest play date ever” is very cool! My only question is if classes get assigned a team on March 1 and they end up assigned a team that didn’t make it into the tournament, does that affect how much they read? As in, do kids get discouraged because they don’t get extra points from their team doing well? Either way, I think it’s a fun way to promote more reading and P.E time. Thanks much for sharing!

    4. T. P. Jagger  •  Mar 18, 2013 @7:41 pm

      Speaking of free throws. . . . The Million Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman is a fun, basketball-focused middle-grade, too. I could probably think of a few more such books I’ve read, but I still need to fill out my bracket. Gotta go!

      -T. P.

      Tracy Abell Reply:

      @T. P. Jagger, I didn’t come across that Dan Gutman book. I will have to check it out. Good luck with your bracket and may the Madness be with you!

    5. Christin Macaluso  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:06 pm

      I love this blog! I am a big college basketball fan. I make a bracket with my friends and watch the games every year. I am a huge IU fan and I would love to see them go all the way, but unfortunately I don’t think they will. As much as I hate Kansas, I think they have a good shot!
      Anyways, I like this blog because I believe that students enjoy reading more when they can relate to something and with March Madness a lot of the boys would enjoy reading books about basketball. However, I have never heard of any of the books listed on this blog.

      Tracy Abell Reply:

      @Christin Macaluso, Welcome, fellow college basketball fan! I hope IU goes a long way and brings you much happiness during the tournament. I haven’t filled out my bracket yet but won’t put Kansas too far along; I think Louisville is much hotter right now, but we shall see.

      As for the books I listed, I purposely wanted to include some that maybe hadn’t gotten exposure before because kids seem to already know about Mike Lupica and Matt Christopher books. However, I hope I didn’t scare off any potential readers!