Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill was honored with a book award from the Page Turner Awards, dubbed the ‘Rolls Royce’ of writing awards. The judges selected Somodi’s book from thousands of entries, eventually adding it to the shortlist of 16 competing works and finally winning in the “Best Children’s Middle Grade” book genre. The award ceremony took place in Spain, but because it is an international contest, Somodi and other winning authors accepted their awards during the Page Turner Awards virtual awards ceremony.
As a new author starting his fiction writing career at 52 years old, Somodi has been honored and humbled by the awards and recognition his book has been receiving. Aside from a 4.9-star rating from readers on Amazon, his book has received professional praise with a Silver Medal in the 2023 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, was an International Book Awards finalist, and even received a 2023 Bookfest Award for the audiobook.
“Being forced to write in high school, I just couldn’t find the joy in it. It wasn’t until Covid hit that I had the time and discovered the creative spirit that comes with writing fictional stories. With this first book, I realized young readers, and even adults, get to enter a new world through my writing. Their shared joy and feedback inspires me to write more books.”
More books are a part of Somodi’s plan. This book is the first of a trilogy, with the second book, Olly & The Spores of Sapphire Creek, coming out this January 2023.
Somodi also rediscovered his childhood love for creating art, using watercolor to illustrate the book chapter art. This new passion for painting led Somodi to host a free watercolor painting class for 20 children at the Brunswick Library. The theme was to paint a whimsical mushroom character from his book.
Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill puts readers into the adventures of Olly, Ember, and their magical Spore friends, Cremini, Bella, Truffle, and Magpie. When 15-year-old Olly’s grandfather dies suspiciously, he moves into the family’s estate on Oak Hill – a grand house hiding a hundreds-year-old secret. A particular map, a key, and hidden doorways lead Olly to discover the friendly and fantastical creatures his grandfather had died protecting. With his new female friend, Ember, Olly encounters bullies, town villains, and colorful characters in a series of adventures. Working with the Spores and the animals of the woods, Olly and Ember fight to protect the Spore community and their homes.
You can also find paperback, hardcover, and e-book editions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other retailer websites. The audiobook is available through Audible, Nook, Walmart, Spotify, and many other streaming services. Learn about the series of books and the author at www.OllyAndTheSpores.com.
For further information or review copies, contact Glenn Somodi at email@example.com or (216) 533-2520. High-resolution book cover photos, author photos, and graphics are available at www.OllyAndTheSpores.com/media.html
09/01/2023 – Readers’ Favorite is proud to announce that “Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill” by Glenn Somodi won the Silver Medal in the Children – Action category.
Readers’ Favorite recognizes “Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill” by Glenn Somodi in its annual international book award contest, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BLYGH15B.
The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).
“When the right books are picked as winners we pay attention. We will be spreading the word about Readers’ Favorite.” –Karen A., Editor for Penguin Random House
You can learn more about Glenn John Somodi and “Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill” at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/olly-the-spores-of-oak-hill where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.
Readers’ Favorite LLC
Louisville, KY 40202
07/2023 – I’m delighted to be named a finalist in the 2023 Page Turner Awards (@PageTurnerAwards) in the 2023 Best Debut Novel / Childrens Middle Grade Books category.
The longlist of winners will be announced August 26th, and the shortlist on September 26th.
Page Turner Awards gives unpublished writers the chance to enter unpublished fiction and non-fiction books, to be read by a carefully curated judging panel made up of influential players in the publishing industry. And published authors, whether mainstream published or independently published, the chance to get their fiction story or non-fiction book recognized by successful authors, high-calibre industry professionals and film producers. Plus screenwriters the chance to showcase their screenplays to film producers and film production companies actively looking for scripts to produce. Prizes span everything from mentorships to audiobook production and publishing packages.
Page Turner Awards has been dubbed the ‘Rolls Royce’ of Writing Awards.
06/2023 – American Book Fest™ Announces Winners And Finalists Of The 2023 International Book Awards™
Mainstream & Independent Titles Score Top Honors in the 14th Annual International Book Awards™
American Book Fest announced the winners and finalists of THE 2023 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS (IBA), one of the world’s largest international book award programs for mainstream, indie, and self-published titles. Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill named a finalist in the Children’s Fiction category.
Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of American Book Fest, said this year’s contest yielded thousands of entries from authors and publishers around the world, which were then narrowed down to the final results.
Keen says of the awards, “Over our 15-year history, thousands of self-published and indie authors have leveraged the promotional power of their International Book Award to increase online recognition, enhance their title’s credibility, and garner more attention in the crowded book buying marketplace.”
Full results for the 14th Annual International Book Awards can be found at: http://internationalbookawards.com/2023awardannouncement.html
Winners and finalists of this year’s contest join a prestigious group of past laureates, including Pope Francis, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, George Sanders, Julie Andrews, Clive Barker, Vanessa Williams, Shark Tank’s Daymon John, Brad Thor, Kitty Kelley, and many others. Visit the Award Laureate page for an expanded list: http://internationalbookawards.com/awardlaureates.html
American Book Fest covers books from all sections of the publishing industry—mainstream, independent, & self-published. A 20-year timeline and award archives can be found at http://americanbookfest.com/aboutuscontactus.html
When creating my book, Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill, I decided to paint the chapter art using watercolors. Many of these paintings incorporated my fictional mushroom characters (Cremini, Truffle, and Magpie). When the Medina County Library asked me to do a watercolor class for kids and teens, I jumped at the opportunity. The class filled fast and I had a full house with 20 attendees.
I thought it would be fun to share the basics of watercolor with kids and teens wanting to learn a new hobby. We discussed the supplies needed, some tricks and tips, and practiced some basic watercolor techniques (wet on wet, wet on dry, color buildup, gradients, precision painting, masking, and outlining with pencil or marker).
Here is the example I used to start the kids into the project:
My goal was to show the students how to paint their own whimsical mushroom creatures, much like the ones in the book. They all did a wonderful job creating their own unique vision of magical mushroom creatures, pictured at the bottom of this post.
At the end of the class, Mel Vavra, the Teen Librarian at Brunswick Library, picked her favorite paintings and those artists won prizes (signed copies of Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill, watercolor paper, a 48-color paint set, mushroom plant stakes, and twig pencils). Each student was able to take home their prizes, their painting, a paint brush, a paint palette, and mushroom stickers.
Unputdownable Books For 2023 – APR-MAY-JUN 2023 GLOBAL ISSUE
From DE MODE Magazine: “Get ready to embark on a literary journey filled with page-turning suspense, thought-provoking narratives, and unforgettable characters. These unputdownable books will take you on an immersive ride, leaving you yearning for more even after you’ve read the last word. So grab a cozy spot, settle in with a cup of your favorite beverage, and prepare to be transported to new worlds and captivating stories. It’s time to indulge in the magic of literature and lose yourself in the pages of the best unputdownable books of 2023.”
I was excited to get the notification in my inbox. The Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill Audiobook won a BookFest 2023 Award! Third place for Artistic & Technical > Overall Presentation | Fiction – Young Adult – Action & Adventure.
You can view the award page here, and get the print or audiobook at these fine distributors.
Book 2, Olly & The Spores of Sapphire Creek, is in the works. Subscribe and get notified when it is released (and you might also win some cool mushroom-inspired prizes).
My book went on a blog tour in the beginning of March and below are the reviews it received. Big thanks to Travelling Pages Book Tours for a great tour!
Full Review (Edited for length) Pick up if you like: The Spiderwick Chronicles series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and The Edge Chronicles series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill is a YA fantasy with heart, providing a wonderful cast of characters with emphasis on their relationships – including a healthy family dynamic which is a joy to read. Moving to a new town can be hard for a teenager, especially when starting a new school, and having a run in with the local bullies on your first day in town! However, with the help of new friend Ember, Olly manages to approach everything with positivity, love, and care.
Mushrooms and Botany
I absolutely LOVE anything to do with mushrooms, and have quite a soft spot for botany, so following Olly and Ember as they appreciated the creatures and plants around them was truly enjoyable. From “Olly’s Herbarium” to Poppy protecting the town’s rabbit population, Glenn Somodi wrote the landscape and fauna in such a way that I could picture the beauty and whimsy of it all.
Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill is a wonderful start to a series full of YA fantasy charm, mystery, and fun. Whilst Glenn Somodi has some room to develop his writing, and perhaps invest in some more editors going forward, this book is utterly enjoyable, and one I would certainly share with my children in the future. Additionally, the artwork Glenn Somodi created for the book is beautiful!
Worth reading 😎
Prodigious world-building skills, clever word play, & a nimble plot fuel this entertaining weft of imagination, inspiration, and mystery.
FIVE BIG STARS: Five big stars for this middle-grade fantasy adventure! The characters are relatable and authentic, the setting is enchanting, and the plot is full of magic, and heart. A delightful story for readers of all ages! I’m already looking forward to the next book in this whimsical series!
Read full review: (Edited for length) Olly and the Spores of Oak Hill by Glenn Somodi is one of the cutest and most exciting books I have read this year. .. The author gives us everything from the little clothing that the spore sometimes wears, including a pair of adorable little overalls on my new favorite character, to detailed descriptions about the tunnels and trees the Spores live under. We are even given an elaborate ceremony about how these adorable little people reproduce. The Spores will live in my mind for a long time. I am looking forward to the rest of their adventures. More of Olly and his family, too, but mostly more Spores, please! They are just so darn cute!
5 Stars!! This was the most enjoyable and adorable YA Fantasy Novel I’ve read in a long time, i absolutely loved it!! If you love talking mushrooms (Spores) and Animals then this book is definitely for you!! The Characters were so interesting and enjoyable to read about. Olly, Ember, Bella, Truffle and Magpie were my favorites by far tho it was hard to pick just one but i LOVED how it ended with Olly and Ember I’m so happy for them!! The Setting was beautifully described which made me feel like i was actually in Littleton, Massachusetts while reading, especially when the scenery was described. Overall a Phenomenally Adorable Book 1 in this YA Fantasy Series!! Can’t wait to read Book 2 when it comes out!!
Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill is an entertaining and adorable Middle Grade Urban Fantasy novel sharing an important message about ecology and love of nature. Little did Olly expect that the house of his deceased grandfather would hide such treasures ! The house and surrounding forests are mysterious and beautiful, and the perfect playground paradise for the aspiring herbalist teenager. But Olly’s grandfather had a secret that he only shared with his grandson : Oak Hill is not only charming, but also the living place of a small magical community. Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill is enchanting, and very well written. I enjoyed every aspect of the story : the world building, the characters’ relationship. I love how we discover the town of Littleton, Massachusetts along with the hero, as the book begins with the death of his grandfather, and the move to the house his parents inherited. This novel is not only a Fantasy novel, but also a mystery, as part of the first book follows Olly as he tries to discover his grandfather’s secret.I devoured this first book of the series. I loved the mysterious and folkloric atmosphere of the story and can definitely not wait to read the rest.
Diane’s Book Journal
5 Stars: This is a fantastic fantasy for all ages and I found it an enchanting and entertaining read. It takes you on an adventure and you find yourself taking the journey with the characters and rooting for Olly and his friends as they discover a common goal and a cause to stand up for. The book is well-written with great character introduction and development, a creative storyline and each chapter keeps you entertained. I loved the characters and found them genuine and relatable. I really enjoyed the journey with Olly, Ember and the Spores. I was totally engrossed with the story and didn’t want it to end. It took me back to my childhood and brought back memories of the books that started my wonderful reading journey. It is a great book and a fun read for everyone no matter your age and I didn’t want it to end. Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill is definitely worth the read and I absolutely recommend it!
5/5 FUN STARS – The Perfect Escape! Glenn Somodi gives us a truly entertaining and enjoyable read. This story is just SO fun. I was so lost in these pages and completely hooked on these characters. Olly And The Spores of Oak Hill is an adventure full of joy that left me yearning for MORE! This was definitely a delightful reading experience.
This book was adorable. It reminded me a lot of Bridge to Terabithia. Easy read for children to follow along. There was some darker elements to this book maybe hard for kids to read, like murder. But I loved the story! I can’t wait to read the rest of this series and have my own kids read this book. I know the kids were meant to be 15, but I imagined them more as 12 with their mannerisms. Some stories like to stay, in mystery, in dusty old books, and some others in your heart. There are many that reside in my heart. Don’t fear, I do not let them be forgotten in the library of forgotten books, I do my timely maintenance and dusting in my heart that always keep me reminiscing the good times and good books. The Oak hill estate is like some of the old books I read, it is full of mysteries, dust, and forgotten in a world where people do not care to look with their eyes open and hearts clean. It is a book that draws in the veil of fantasy and makes it a reality. A reality so good that it might just frighten you but always remember, in every good there exists a bad but also in every bad there is some good. The not-so-untimely but fairly suspicious death of Oliver is bad we are talking about her, one must wonder what good can ever come from losing your grandfather. Well, in this case, it is Olly’s family moving into his grandpa’s estate. An estate with boundaries that stretch beyond reality, surrounded by not just mystery-laden forest trees but also mysterious creatures that nobody has laid their eyes on in a long-long time. This here is a story that rejuvenates all the old tales coming from Narnia, to bridge to Terrabithia and all the old feel-good movies that I have watched since my inception to fantasy and reading. The prose pulls you in and sticks to you like a wasp in a tarantula’s web. I love the ambiance that is structured inside the book and also the brilliant characterization. Some things might bring a tinge of nostalgia but more than that it brings back the old smell of adventure that came before textbooks, work, and assignments. A world that is full of fun and wonder.
4 Stars: (edited for length) This book was adorable. It reminded me a lot of Bridge to Terabithia. Easy read for children to follow along. There was some darker elements to this book maybe hard for kids to read, like murder. But I loved the story! I can’t wait to read the rest of this series and have my own kids read this book. I know the kids were meant to be 15, but I imagined them more as 12 with their mannerisms.
Katie Marie Dawn Pafford
5 Stars: The book starts with an ending, which is a big bold move for a YA book but made it interesting from the beginning. In this story, we follow Oren’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandson to Oak Hill house and the land Oren left his family. This is such a great YA fantasy read, I enjoyed all the characters and the story. The mushrooms (spores) are adorable. Oren is the sort of grandpa we all wish we could have, the woods is a place I love being and always want to be anywhere in the world I would want to be in the woods. This book made me feel like I was in Littleton and in the woods. I can’t wait for book 2.
4/5 Stars: (Edited for length) This story was beyond cute! I loved every moment of it. It was different from the books I’ve been recently reading which was a breath of fresh air 🍄 I really enjoyed the storyline and all the adventures Olly and the Spores went on! The ending was also a good one, but I won’t spoil it for you all 😊
Full review – The story came alive with wonderful imagination and world building. The whimsical and genuine characters took me along for their great adventure. I can’t wait for more!
4 Stars: (Edited for length) All through we are given little hints and clues at to the next plot twist coming down the tunnel. Once the mystery unfold and the children put the pieces together using the clues left by the late poppy. They are drawn into a magical would that was right beneath their feet the whole time. I loved the description of the Cavern and homes of the spores it sounds absolute magical – (giving Avatar tree vibes). The reproducing ceremony was super cute as well, like cabbage patch kids for mushrooms. Those babies sound so adorable, and their value for life is refreshing and instills a sense of urgently to protect in the character and the witnessing reader. I enjoyed the support and relationship growth between the children and the spores, even with all the mall building drama they stay true to each other. I Enjoyed the read and look forward to book two.
5/5 Stars – This was such a fun read. I loved all the characters and the story line. I cant wait to read about more of their adventures.