Browsing the archives for the Book Lists category.

  • 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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  • A Library/ School Giveaway!

    Book Lists

    Today we’re welcoming debut middle grade author Jen Malone with a trailer release for her new book, At Your Service.  To celebrate, Jen is hosting a super giveaway. She will donate a classroom library of new middle grade releases, including advanced reader copies of  Wimpy Kid School Planner and the latest Big Nate.  First, a little about Jen’s new book… at your serviceA love letter to NYC full of insider dish, At Your Service tells the story of thirteen-year-old Chloe Turner, who lives at the uber-fancy St. Michelle Hotel alongside her concierge father. Desperate to follow in Dad’s footsteps, Chloe earns the title of Junior Concierge, helping to ensure the hotel’s youngest guests have memorable visits to her favorite city. Her life is backstage passes and cupcake parties until the day she loses a princess in the middle of NYC! Racing from tourist site to tourist site, can Chloe find the young royal before her mistake becomes international news?

    Here’s the trailer:


    Congrats, Jen!! You can also visit her at  To win a copy of At Your Service, plus the middle grade books shown below, for the teacher/librarian/classroom of your choice, please leave a comment below. A winner will be selected and announced on August 8. mg books for classroom giveaway mg books for classroom giveaway mg books for classroom giveaway



    Book Lists

    The winner of a copy of “Lucky Me”  is


    Congrats and thanks to all who entered.

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    Award Winning Author A. Lafaye discusses historical fiction

    Book Lists

    Image 11Scott ‘O Dell award winning author A LaFaye (a.k.a. Alexandria) would prefer to time travel, but since that’s not scientifically possible (YET), she heads into the past by writing historical fiction. She’s also been known to write a little reality based fantasy  and supernatural historical fiction. When she’s not writing, she loves to visit schools, speak with teachers, and attend conferences.  That is when she’s not teaching in the English Department at Greenville College or the low residency MFA in writing for children and young adults at Hollins University.She can also be found at

    1) Why do you write historical fiction?

    Time travel isn’t possible.  No, seriously, I once read that you should write what you know, but I figured that’d be pretty boring. Instead, I write about what I want to know. History has always fascinating me, so I often write about historical subjects.  More accurately, I write about everyday people engaged in extraordinary struggles that are shaped by the fact that they are from a particular time and place.  My novel WORTH wouldn’t be the same book it is if Nate Peale hadn’t been crippled in a harvesting accident on a Nebraska farm in the late 1870s.  In today’s world, modern medicine could’ve repaired his leg and he couldn’t gone back to work.  John Worth wouldn’t have ridden the Orphan Train to be picked out by Gabriel Peale to work on their family farm and the boys wouldn’t have been thrown into the tensions of the range war between ranchers and farmers because it would’ve been over.

    2) What are some historical fiction novel for children that inspire you and why?

    I love THE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE because it’s hilarious and it pulls you right into the California Gold Rush.  BREAKING Image 14STALIN’S NOSE is a heartbreaking trip into the dark days of Stalinist Russia.  WITNESS gives us a shocking and layered look into prohibition in Vermont.  The best historical fiction transports us to the past through the lives of compelling and complex characters.

    3) How you do discover what period in history to write about?

    I “discover” the time period for my novels by reading a lot about the past and asking what if questions. What if a kid was paralyzed and his father is so worried about keeping their homesteaded farm that he adopts a child through the orphan train?  That question lead to WORTH.  What if plantation owners decided to divide their plantations up amongst the people their family had enslaved? That a question spawned STELLA STANDS ALONE and that novel inspired me to celebrate the reunification of African American families after the Civil War with WALKING HOME TO ROSIE LEE.

    4) How do you do your research?

    I read everything I can get my hands on–scholarly articles on farming, marriage rights, and plantations, diaries, newspapers, books on Image 10history. I also love to travel to museums, especially those inside historical landmarks.  Historical photographs, societies, and libraries are also helpful.

    5) How can students in the classroom use some of these techniques when researching or writing?

    My best advice is to use something called “triangulation” which means that you don’t trust any one document to tell you the whole truth. To find out what it’s like to ride on the Orphan Train, you might read ORPHAN TRAIN RIDER by Andrea Warren, check out the National Orphan Train Complex which has a lot of fabulous resources, and the website of The Children’s Aid Society which started the Orphan Train. The society has a huge library of primary sources through the New York Historical Society.

    6) You are well known for getting diction and voice down just right. What’s your trick?

    Dyslexia.  I am being serious here.  As a child, I struggled greatly with reading and writing because of my dyslexia and I discovered that if I read with an accent, I could slow down and focus enough to read–that is if I covered half the book and used a bookmark to keep my place.  As for picking up accents, my mother tells me I did it from the time I was an infant, imitating the sounds and voices I heard.  I loved to read books from England like BLACK BEAUTY because I could practice my British accent. Once I get a sound for a voice in my head, I can translate it on the page with word choice, grammar, and the perspective of the character.  For instance, a kid from the Midwest who sees a train for the first time in 1872 might say, “Ufda!  That iron horse rocked the whole station, rattling the windows and shaking the boards beneath my feet.” “Ufda” is an exclamation of disbelief from Norway, so he’s the son of Norwegian immigrants.  On the other hand, a child from the same time period in England might say, “It was brilliant, I tell you, just brilliant. You should’ve seen the monster of a thing, chugging into the station like furnace in the blacking factory broke free and rode down the tracks all steam and noise.” Here, we know he’s British because he is familiar with a “blacking factory” (they make shoe polish or “shoe black,” as it was called).  He also says “brilliant” which has long been a colloquialism for something really good in the England.  His grammar is often a bit more formal than many American children of that era would be.  To be honest, I never really thought much about dialect when I started writing, it just came naturally.  I’m so glad I was able to pull it off. Thank you.

    Image 47) What do you see happening in the future for historical fiction?

    Hopefully, we’ll never stop looking into our past because if we do, we will fail to appreciate all of the things our ancestors did to make our world a better place to live and we’ll be doomed to make the same makes they did. I’d love to see writers continue to write about forgotten chapters in our history (like Zeng He, the Chinese sailor who traveled farther than Christopher Columbus 50 years earlier), while including cultural depth, diversity, and accuracy in their depiction of the past.

    Thank you so much for your great questions!  Happy time traveling!

    Hillary Homzie is the author of The Hot List (Simon & Schuster MIX 2011) and Things Are Gonna Be Ugly (Simon & Schuster, 2009). She can be found at and on her Facebook page.

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