PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

Middle Grade

Middle Grade, Young Adult

How to Start: A Lesson from Chapter Books

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 […]

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craft review by Becky Levine Before I read Paul Acampora’s Confusion is Nothing New, my favorite of his books was How to Avoid Extinction. It’s now a toss-up which of the two sits at the top of my list. Confusion is Nothing New is brilliant in so many ways. For today, though, I’m going to […]

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interview by Kristi Wright Gennifer Choldenko is the Newbery Honor, ALA notable, NYT Best-selling author of Tales from Alcatraz along with numerous other novels and picture books. Recently, she visited our middle grade book club, and we were beyond delighted to ask her all about her very successful Alcatraz series, especially her fourth in the […]

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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 […]

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by Jen Jobart Like everyone else these days, I keep busy.  I don’t currently have a paying job, but I’m the primary caretaker for two kids – one who I homeschool, and one who goes to a parent participation school, where I teach writing to my son’s fellow fourth graders.  Someone literally always needs something […]

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craft review by Laurel Holman There are as many ways to open a novel as there are novels, and while there are some traditional rules about what to do and not to do, those rules are often broken in the hands of a master storyteller. With so many options, and with so much riding on […]

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craft review by Jen Jobart Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is the story of a girl who must embrace her otherness in order to save the world. Sunny, who recently moved from Nigeria to the US, is struggling to fit in. Her albino skin makes her “other” in her new community.  Then she makes a […]

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interview by Kristi Wright We are so excited to welcome Jill Diamond back to the blog! (See our first interview with Jill, and our post on world-building in the Lou Lou and Pea books.) Jill’s second book, Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza, came out in April. We wanted to look at the craft […]

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craft review by Kristi Wright As a middle grade writer of contemporary fantasies and futuristic adventures, I’m always interested in honing my world-building skills. At the 2018 SCBWI LA conference, Malinda Lo discussed five foundations of world-building, which she also documented in a blog post. While these guidelines are geared toward writers of fantasy and […]

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craft review by Jen Jobart In Chapter 6 of his book The Anatomy of Story, John Truby talks about building a story world that reinforces the story you’re telling.  Jessica Townsend’s book Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is a great case study for how to do this. Nevermoor is the story of Morrigan Crow, […]

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