This blog grew out of a middle grade book group for writers, held in Menlo Park, California, and we’re still going strong. Each month, we discuss a middle grade book with an eye to craft. (Last year, I wrote about strategies for starting your own craft book group.) Here’s our list of books from 2021, with a sneak peek at our first few books of 2022. We hope they inspire your reading!
Note: Click on the book cover to go to find the book at Bookshop.org. We are a Bookshop.org affiliate, so every book you buy from one of our links helps to support KidLit Craft as well as independent booksellers, with no additional cost to you.
January: The Book of Boy by Catherine Murdock
February: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Jenae Marks
(See our interview with Jenae, and our blog posts on Zoe, which focus on techniques for a slow build to an overarching story question and crafting engaging stories about tough subjects)
March: The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi
April: Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
May: One Jar of Magic by Corey Ann Haydu
June: Twins by Varian Johnson
July: Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
(See our post on backstory in a fast-paced novel.)
August: King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
September: Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim
October: Almost There, and Almost Not by Linda Urban
November: Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
December: Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
(Check out our interview with Rajani, and our craft post on how to use refrains, using Red, White, and Whole as a model.)
Sneak Peek into 2022
January: The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
February: Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett
March: The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis
Check out some of our other book recommendations! (You might find some gems to spend your holiday gift money on.)
Inspirational Books on Writing and Craft
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Anne-Marie Strohman (co-editor) writes picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult short stories and novels. She is trained as a teacher, an editor, and a scholar, specializing in Renaissance Literature. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is an active member of SCBWI. Find her at amstrohman.com and on Twitter @amstrwriter.