• 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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  • Using Your Senses to Tackle Homework

     After a long day at school, it can be hard to gear up for homework. But creating a personalized homework space can help make the job easier. You can use your five senses and a secret weapon to make your homework spot just right for you.

     1. Seeing: Experiment at home to figure out which type of lighting you like the best for doing homework. If you like to work in natural light, sit near a window and do your homework just after school.  If you prefer overhead lights, work in a room that has lights in the ceiling. Whatever kind of lights you prefer, be sure that your workspace is well lit.

     2. Hearing: Listen to which sounds work best to help you to concentrate. Music playing quietly in the background can tune out distractions. Ask your parents if you can check out different types of music from the library. Try nature sounds, classical or jazz music. Some kids love to use headphones and can tune out the world when wearing them. For others, a quiet place is best. Background sounds or silence, open your ears to figure out what helps you focus.  

    3. Taste: Try these ideas for a tasty way to take a bite out of your homework. Sipping ice cold water from a straw is a great way to wake up if you are feeling drowsy. Drinking something thick like a fruit smoothie, exercises your mouth muscles and can help you focus. Sucking a sour candy or munching a crunchy snack like pretzels can clear a foggy head. And chewing gum is only a no-no at school. It can be a great way to improve concentration during a challenging homework assignment.  

    4. Smell: Ask you parents if you can try plug-in air fresheners or reed diffusers to add a good smell to your favorite homework spot. Lavender and vanilla scents create a calm spot. Citrus or peppermint smells spice up the area, which helps if you are feeling sleepy.  Try squeezing fresh lemon slices into a glass of water or push whole cloves into a fresh orange. These activities smell good, can help you feel more alert and are also good finger warm ups for writing. Or you can rub scented lotion on your hands to get them ready for action. 

     5. Touch: Get a grasp on your homework by trying pencil grips for tired fingers. Try different types, weights and shapes of pencils. Some kids love mechanical pencils. Others prefer heavier ones. Some children love to write with soft graphite and others want a hard point. One kid might like to write on a hard surface but another would rather write on a pad of paper. Experiment and see what your favorite kind of pencil and writing surface is. 

     6. And the secret weapon to getting homework done– a short exercise break:  Be sure to use a timer to so you don’t use your break to procrastinate. Try jumping jacks, laps up and down the stairs or wall pushups. If your break uses muscles, it will increase your focus and attention.  Ask your parents if you can try a different homework position. A great one to try is lying on the floor, propped on your elbows. Your body is in a good working position. Your homework is easy to see and you are getting the bonus of muscle work to your shoulders. Another fun idea is to sit on an exercise ball. You can use it like a chair and sit at a table or desk while you do a writing assignment. Muscle work can improve attention. But don’t forget your timer!

     Use your senses to figure out what makes your homework spot perfect. Then you can get the job done and have fun at the same time.

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