• 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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  • Some thoughts on some B words…


    MissBossyLately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the word BOSSY, and that it is holding girls back.   There is even a hashtag: #banbossy.

    Here’s their argument:

    “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.”

    First of all: Really??? If this is true, it’s terrible. Girls should never be discouraged from speaking up. From being leaders. 

    But Bossy? Really? Are we that sensitive? These are middle grade readers we’re talking about. I have a hard time believing that this one word holds some kind of power over girls.

    What do you think about the word, BOSSY? Why DOES the word, bossy, have such a negative connotation?

    Some of my favorite middle grade characters are bossy. The Great Gilly Hopkins was sort of bossy. So were Lyra and Stargirl and every role Barbra Streisand ever played. These girls were unique. Quirky. Interesting. And yes, a bit flawed. As a writer, I love writing about girls who might very well be described as bossy. 

    They are strong.

    Which is sort of ironic, isn’t it?

    But maybe that’s not the point. If ONE WORD gets adults to start paying attention to girls, this sounds good to me! I am for anything that promotes strong healthy girls. I am delighted that the world is starting to pay attention to the development of female leaders and thinkers.

    Because frankly, it seems that in our world, especially the middle grade world, we spend a whole lot of time thinking about boys. As the author of a middle grade novel about soccer, I am often asked:

    How do you write a book for a boy?

    How do we get more boys reading?

    (These are important questions. If you like, check out my interview with Rich Wallace…he has a lot to say about the subject.)

    But here’s the problem: even though one of the main characters in that soccer book is a girl…and even though I am a girl….I have NEVER been asked how we get girls reading. Or how I reach girls. Or write books for girls. In fact, the discussion is so lopsided that one might conclude that we take girls…as readers and thinkers…for granted.

    And THAT is not cool. (Way worse than bossy.)

    For the record: Like a lot of authors I know, I needed help finding books. I was not a natural reader or writer.  (But I think I WAS bossy.) I am grateful to the brave teacher who handed me a book that was NOT necessarily marketed to girls.

    As a parent, I think it’s dangerous to say, “This is for boys,” or “This is for girls,” because frankly, how do we know? My kids (a girl and a boy) have loved all kinds of books. Making books that weren’t “quite for them” available opened their eyes to new kinds of people and cultures. Those books made them think. And ask questions. As a writer, this is my dream!

    When the opposite happens…when a grown up tries to steer a young reader away from a book, it is usually out of fear.

    That would be a good thing to ban, too. Fear of books.

    So what’s the bottom line? Ban bossy? Are you in?

    As writers and teachers and mothers and fathers and librarians and everyone else who cares about the next generation, we should be thinking about all kids, bossy and quiet, loud and silly. Boys and Girls. Just like we need to encourage boys and find them good books, we need to do the same for girls.

    Instead, let’s ban limitations. And stereotypes. And low expectations.

    Let’s strive to nurture girls with the same attention and enthusiasm that we give boys. Let’s show all kids how to BE AMBITIOUS. Let’s show them how to get beyond labels and talk about strength in a meaningful way.

    (And while we’re thinking about this, let’s not forget to thank our kids’ teachers and librarians for helping them find the books that are RIGHT for them.)

    Do you like writing tips? If so, sign up for Monday Motivation on www.saraharonson.com. Every Monday, new thoughts on the writing process directly in your inbox.



    1. elly swartz  •  Mar 19, 2014 @3:30 pm

      Sarah – Another incredibly thought-provoking post. I love your pledge to “ban limitations. And stereotypes. And low expectations” and promote strength.

    2. Sarah Aronson  •  Mar 19, 2014 @3:31 pm

      Thank you, Elly!!!!

    3. Cathy Ballou Mealey  •  Mar 19, 2014 @5:36 pm

      Amen! I’ll sign and share that pledge.

      It’s so subtle and pervasive at times. My child is on the autism spectrum. When he started elementary school, his teacher was not bringing the class to the library for read alouds or to borrow books. (low expectations) I made sure that changed very quickly!

    4. Sue Cowing  •  Mar 19, 2014 @9:02 pm

      Amen, Sarah! When I first heard about the “ban bossy” plea I thought, huh? Instead of creating more and more don’ts, maybe we should focus on what we DO want and teach kids to regard themselves and others with respect. Good post!

    5. Sarah Aronson  •  Mar 20, 2014 @1:12 pm

      Great job, Cathy! You have to ALWAYS be a strong advocate…esp when your kids have different abilities.

      Thanks, Sue! We do need more Do’s!!!!

    6. Uncool Mom  •  Mar 21, 2014 @1:44 pm


      It looks like MediaPost agrees with you too Sarah. :) JMO, we need to come to some kind of understanding that girls/women – OK, people period – all have unique strengths and goals and it’s all right to structure our interpersonal interactions and careers accordingly and differently. It’s what I see feminism consistently missing and as a woman and the mom of a daughter, it’s profoundly frustrating.