I needed to put on my brave girl wings and write what felt right and natural to me, even though I was worried my agent and editor (and readers) might think it was weird. . . . I have always felt a deep, almost spiritual/magical connection with the natural world. I think a lot of people who spend time in nature feel it. That’s what was coming through in my writing.
In First Rule of Climate Club, Fisher Middle School’s new eighth graders get the opportunity to participate in a science class pilot program devoted to climate change. Firestone tells their story through protagonist Mary Kate’s eyes, but uses a slew of different types of communication that creates room for other points of view.
I want to give you a sense of some things to think about as you approach writing a short story. Let’s look at Rocky Callen’s story “They Call Me Hurricane” from Ab(solutely) Normal to see how she approaches the short story form.
“I started out writing for adults and so when I published my first children’s book, after 15 years of writing for adults, I couldn’t believe what a warm welcome I got. People were immediately supportive and eager to share information. The collegiality of kidlit authors is one of the things that I love the most about this field.”
Through a combination of humor, culture, warmth and language, Hernandez uses voice to make his characters unforgettable and his novel hard to put down.
But engaging middle school readers requires more than an interesting plot—the characters and their experiences must feel authentic to and reflective of the complicated world in which the readers live.
interview by Erin Nuttall The thing I love most about Martha Brockenbrough’s writing is that she is unafraid. Yes, she’s imaginative, funny, thoughtful, and precise which all make her stories a joy to read, but to write bravely is a skill that few have and put Martha’s work on another plane. She slides easily between […]
“I focused on just his family members because I realized that I wanted to weave together themes of food and family, in particular the father-and-son relationship. Food has always been a very important part of my family, both when I was growing up and now that I have my own family. My mom liked to cook and it was her way of showing her love for us. Similarly, I like to cook my husband’s or son’s favorite dishes and/or add in favorite ingredients here and there, just because I want to show them I “see” them and I love them.”
Linda Urban’s stories are studded with angst, anguish, and hope, as well as problems, pathos, and humor. She is stellar at structuring stories so that something small, seemingly insignificant, becomes the integral to the climax and the protagonist’s understanding of the situation. In Talk Santa To Me, surprisingly, it’s a gaudy silver Christmas wreath that takes this hefty role.
“My feeling is that if we are true to where our particular characters are developmentally, experientially, and philosophically, and we write from that place, we can write work that will connect with readers.” –Linda Urban