PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

author:

Anne-Marie Strohman

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman In the last two posts in this series, on Bridge to Terabithia and on Jacob Have I Loved, we’ve seen how Katherine Paterson creates inevitable and surprising endings, in both a conventional ending (Bridge) and an unconventional one (Jacob). In both cases, the character’s emotional arc concludes, and the character’s […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman As we saw in the first post of this series, on Bridge to Terabithia, an ending that feels inevitable and surprising includes a scene that cements the character’s change and shows them moving toward a future where that change sticks, and also offers a surprise, in this case a surprising […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman In The Art of Fiction John Gardner repeats Aristotle’s claim that the climax of a story must be “inevitable and surprising” (172). He is cautioning writers against leaving the big moment to chance—a stray semi on the highway, or an incident of food poisoning. The same can be said of […]

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’re sending you some books we love! These are books that have inspired us as writers and helped us to reimagine our writing processes as well as shape our writing lives. May you too be inspired.   Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. It just came at the right […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Figuring out the opening for a novel can be daunting. We know we need to draw our readers in, to make them want to turn the page. And we have so many choices! Even with the myriad ways to open a novel, there are some basic strategies that underlie even […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman I was probably seven or eight when I read Harriet the Spy for the first time, and decades later, my memories of the book mostly center around how much I tried to be like Harriet the writer and failed. Three details stuck with me from childhood: the rule that clothes always […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Gary Schmidt’s Orbiting Jupiter is a sparse text–a mere 181 pages–and it sits right between middle grade and YA, with its twelve-year-old narrator, Jack, and his fourteen-year-old foster brother, Joseph, at the center of the story. In tone and feel, it’s akin to Patricia MacLachlan’s The Poet’s Dog, an incredibly […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Reviews of Amy Dixon’s Annie B., Made for TV highlight the spot-on, hilarious middle grade voice of Annie Brown’s narration. “Annie’s first-person narration is hilariously astute.” —Kirkus Review “On the last day of fifth grade, when her best friend Savannah wins every award, Annie muses, ‘the only thing I’m best […]

Hello, lovely readers! We are officially launched! We’ve been working over the past year to move our mglunchbreak.com blog to our new home at kidlitcraft.com. We’ll continue to bring you in-depth craft reviews of middle grade books, as well as conference takeaways, book recommendations, and author interviews. In the months ahead, we’ll be adding both […]

compiled by Anne-Marie Strohman Memorial Day was originally meant to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. The day was first widely observed in 1868. While some people today honor all those who have served in the military, it is primarily a remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives in all American wars. On […]