• 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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  • Summer Writing: tips for a successful season

    Inspiration, Writing MG Books

    cartoon-sun-mdGood morning, Readers and Writers!

    Happy Memorial Day! Summer is here….finally!

    Here in Chicago, it seemed that the sun would never get here, but last week, our entire neighborhood turned green. It has been fun to get back to walking and riding. I find that when I walk/ride in silence, I often can solve my story’s problems. Often, I get new ideas.  Just by sitting back and observing others and listening to myself/nothing/the world, I often figure out what to write next. 

    This is what I love about summer. Everyone is out. There are opportunities for eavesdropping. And I LOVE watching old people kiss on the beach.

    But it is also a challenging time in terms of writing. In other words: the kids are coming home!

    Don’t get me wrong: I love when the kids are here. College (and marriage and grad school) are changing them in all kinds of good ways. When they are in the house, there is more to do: more cooking, more relaxing, more outings, and more downtime with them. More catching up. All good things!!

    Except when do I get my writing done? (Let’s not even get into my yoga schedule!)

    That’s why, today, I want to talk about summer goals. Today, writers, I am going to challenge you to get your summer off to a great start!

    Start with a calendar. And be HONEST. 

    I write down all the visits and trips first. Then I ask: Will there be writing time? 

    An hour? A half day? How about 15 minutes in the morning?

    Even if that is all you have, commit to it.

    Sometimes, however, the answer is NO. There will be NO writing time. 

    If there is no time–if your kids need you or you have new responsibilities, or you are going on a magnificent vacation, no worries!

    Just because you are a writer does not mean you can’t take an intentional break. I remember the first time I told Tim Wynne-Jones that I write 365days a year. He looked at me like I was crazy. I think he said, “Haven’t I taught you anything?

    Take a break!

    Let the ideas simmer!”

    The first time I did it, I was scared. I was sure I would lose my ability to write a single word ever again for the rest of my life. (Yes, I can be dramatic.)  But when the vacation was over, and I sat down, I had new ideas. And a lot more energy for the project I wanted to start. I was inspired. (It’s also nice not to feel distracted all the time!)

    Here are some tips to help you stay focused on your projects and writing life without having to ignore your responsibilities/kids/husband/beach/yoga class/fabulous vacation:

    CARRY A JOURNAL….everywhere. That vacation may inspire observations that can go into a book. Jot them down and go back to whatever you were doing. If people ask what you are doing, tell them! When people find out I’m a writer, they always share GREAT stories.

    READ. BINGE READ. READ OUT LOUD. Reading (in or out of genre) is the best way I know to get used to playing with words . . . and helping to find my voice.

    GET THE KIDS INVOLVED! One summer, my daughter wrote book reviews for the local Indie bookstore. (Writing time!) Another summer, we each wrote a story and had a reading. It was fun! We made cupcakes!

    I know people who have bound books with their kids, too. 

    And if none of these things will work?  ENJOY YOURSELF. No regrets. The writing life is a long one. Open your eyes and ears and have an experience. Talk about it with others. Take (safe) chances. Kiss the kids! They never stay as long as you want them to.

    DON’T FEEL GUILTY. You are still a writer!!!!  Listen. Look around. Observe gestures and listen to syntax and look for interesting places in your world. 

    And if inspiration hits, the kids will understand. Tell them, today Mom is a writer, and go into your office and WRITE. 

    Have a GREAT SUMMER!

    Sarah Aronson grapples with guilt on a regular basis, but not when it comes to writing! 



    1. Michele Weber Hurwitz  •  May 26, 2014 @3:23 pm

      Nice post, Sarah! Thanks for the tips, and the excuses not to write sometimes :)


    2. Kimberley Griffiths Little  •  May 26, 2014 @10:20 pm

      Happy Summer to everyone! Great post, Sarah, thank you! I’ll be (trying) writing a lot this summer . . . revisions on Book 2 of my new YA trilogy (first book debuts in November) and fingers crossed I can get a good start on drafting Book 3! I tend to bite off more than I can chew though . . . :-)


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