PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

Middle Grade, Young Adult

Katherine Paterson’s Surprising and Inevitable Endings, Part 2

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 […]

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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 […]

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commentary by Jackie Friedman Mighdoll Hey girl, You were just on Twitter and you saw someone’s happy news. A new book acquired by a great publisher! You liked the tweet—because a) you celebrate other writers and b) the book sounds super cool and you’d like to read it. But in the darkest pit of your […]

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interview by Kristi Wright In A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE, Lisa Moore Ramée has built a wonderful cast of characters that contribute significantly to the overall world building through their complex relationships. (See our post on the main character, Shayla.) In the interview below we asked her how she went about crafting her characters and […]

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craft review by Kristi Wright A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE by Lisa Moore Ramée follows “allergic to trouble” Shayla as she navigates seventh grade, including her evolving friendships, her first crush, track and field, and her burgeoning awareness of what it means to be Black in America. After she experiences her first Black Lives Matter […]

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craft review by Lindsay Lackey In Louisiana’s Way Home, two-time Newbery medalist Kate DiCamillo’s use of significant and specific detail infuses her stories with vibrancy, despite her often low word-count. In my first post in this series, I discussed how her details of setting both illuminate and foreshadow. Here, I want to look at her […]

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craft review by Lindsay Lackey It’s no surprise that a two-time Newbery medalist is a master of her craft. Kate DiCamillo’s books are international bestsellers and have garnered numerous awards. She’s known for writing complex and compelling characters, rich Southern settings, and crisp, clear prose—all of which are on display in her 2018 middle grade […]

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guest post by Jackie Friedman Mighdoll  When you do a library search for books in the category “Kids’ Literature: Humor,” you find a wide range from Appleblossom the Possum through Zombie Butts from Uranus. And the sense of humor in them ranges, too. I’ve been looking for humor tactics for my own writing, so I […]

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As writers it’s easy to have an abstract concept of your audience when working at your desk, far removed from the energy and bright perspective of kids. When you’re writing for a certain age of reader, especially middle graders, it can help to observe kids themselves. You can also be inspired by how other middle […]

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craft review by Kristi Wright One of my goals as a writer is to write books that give children a sense of wonder. But how do you do that? How do you give your readers a shimmery, shivery experience that transcends the mundane, that astonishes them, that fills them with awe? Sweep: The Story of […]

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