• 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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  • You’ve got a friend in Grandma

    Book Lists, friendships

    Gennari grandparentMy Italian grandmother lived to be 104, and you could always count on her to tell you what you needed to hear. No sugar coating. No blaming either. Just move on and make the best of life.

    Every kid needs a caring adult, especially after age 10 when parents start to become uncool. That’s when grandparents can step in. Once preteens stop confiding in their parents, it’s important to have someone who listens.

    YeecovercreechcoverThat’s the case in Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee. Millie is super smart but too often misreads how to behave with her peers. Millie’s grandmother Maddie is the one who provides the reasoned voice when Millie won’t listen to anyone else. She provides the crucial guidance, advising Millie to patch up her friendship with Emily: “Sometimes it’s better to be liked than it is to be right.” And my all time favorite grandparents are Gramps and Gram in Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

    manzanocoverSometimes the grandmother isn’t always wise. In Sonia Manzano’s The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, a Pura Belpré honor book, the arrival of Abuela shakes things up. Set in El Barrio in New York in 1969, Evelyn is pulling away from the family life she’s always known. Abuela dresses flamboyantly and always gets involved in causes, which both thrills and embarrasses Evelyn. The occupation of the church by the Young Lords Puerto Ricans teaches Evelyn to embrace her heritage. But she also understands her grandmother for the first time:

    “I turned to see what Mami was doing. She was staring at her mother. I was looking at my mother and she was looking at her mother. Mami was looking at Abuela the way you look at a puzzle and can’t quite figure it out. How many times had I looked at Mami the same way?” It is then Evelyn understands the hurt her grandmother has caused her own mother, “like she missed her even though she was looking right at her.”

    urbancoverRuby’s grandmother has died in Linda Urban’s newest book, The Center of the Universe. Ruby struggles with her grief and regret that she didn’t listen, just a little longer. For Ruby, her big moment in the Bunning Day parade in her small town gives her the chance to pay homage to her beloved grandmother Gigi. As Meg Wolitzer writes in her New York Times review, “The Center of Everything uses the premise of a grandparent’s death in a surprising way, exploring not only grief but also its occasional companions, anxiety and guilt.”

    I love it when books acknowledge the role grandparents play in young kids’ lives. What other grandparent books do you love?



    1. Megan  •  Apr 17, 2013 @9:49 am

      The grandma in Love, Aubrey is a rock when Aubrey’s world, including her own mother, crumbles around her.

    2. Michele Weber Hurwitz  •  Apr 17, 2013 @10:58 am

      Great post, Jen! Wow, 104! I also love grandparents in middle grade books.

    3. Jordan  •  Apr 17, 2013 @1:17 pm

      I think that grandparents in middle grade books are so special, especially because of my experiences with my grandparents while growing up. Though it is not necessarily a middle grade book, the relationship between the main character and her “babushka” in Thunder cake is so sweet to me. I also have always loved the bond that Heidi shares with her grandfather in the book Heidi. I think it’s great when authors explore different family relationships in middle grade literature. I helps these stories be more relatable to real life circumstances.

    4. Jill  •  Apr 17, 2013 @6:14 pm

      Another nice and unique post. I think I have some unconventional ideas when I think of grandparents in middle grade….like Gangsta Granny, by David Walliams or maybe the grandmother (a ghost) in ParaNorman. Both play prominent roles in the books and both are entertaining reads.
      The grandma and particularly the grandpa in “Remarkable” are quite a pair also. Also, a “remarkable” book overall!
      Thanks for getting me thinking :)

    5. Connie  •  Apr 17, 2013 @6:17 pm

      Sometimes the grandpa can be the wise guiding one and that wisdom can be felt even over vast distances. I’m hoping that the love and respect will be clear in my soon to be published The Black Pony, Midnight Finds a Friend.

    6. JenGenn  •  Apr 17, 2013 @8:31 pm

      Thanks, Megan, for the suggestion! I will check it out. Jordan — yes! Heidi! I had forgotten that.

    7. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  Apr 17, 2013 @9:32 pm

      I love grandparents in MG books, too. Maybe since I never knew my own grandmothers and both my grandfathers died when I was young, so I like to dream about what they would be like! I had so much fun creating and writing about Grammy Claire in my new book, When the Butterflies Came (Scholastic). It was sort of surreal because the letters she writes to her granddaughter, Tara, the MC, in case of her untimely death, practically wrote themselves. Like I was *channeling* her! And I hardly had to revise them. Her voice came immediately to me and so strong.

      Fun post, thanks!

    8. PragmaticMom  •  Apr 21, 2013 @9:21 am

      Also The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Shang has a grandmother that is central to the story. Congrats on your grandmother! My mom is turning 90 this year and it’s wonderful to know that 104 is possible!!

    9. Carolyn  •  Apr 21, 2013 @2:07 pm

      My grandmothers both died when I was too young to remember them so it was my grandpa (Bumpa) that had the most influence in my life. He was one of those gruff, no-nonsense types but he gave great advice. (Even though I hardly ever asked for it!) My son and I recently read (and loved), When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica Perl, which has a great Grandpa character, Ace. I love how the author wrote all the Grandpa’s words in all caps; it perfectly captures his booming voice. Such a great book and a super fun read aloud.

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