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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 […]

by Kristi Wright We’ve mentioned Cheryl B. Klein before. She’s the insightful mind behind THE MAGIC WORDS: WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS. Last March our Middle Grade Lunch Break Book Club had the pleasure of spending time with Cheryl–via video chat. It’s been a few months now, but here are my top […]

complied by Becky Levine and Kristi Wright This year’s Spring Spirit–a one-day SCBWI conference sponsored by the California: North/Central Region–was, as usual, a wonderful day. There is always so much energy in the air. People are excited to attend the sessions, but they’re also greeting old friends and making new ones. Going to writing conferences […]

craft review by Jen Jobart One of the reasons that Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is such an intriguing read is that its cast of engaging characters expresses common archetypes–the character roles that universally populate stories. Bertram’s novel follows twelve-year-old Emily, new to San Francisco, as she follows clues in a mysterious book that […]

Guest post by Colleen Riordan Middle grade readers are deeply curious about the wider world and fascinated with the creative “what if” possibilities presented by magic. They often want to understand how the magic works, in order to imagine how it might fit into their own worlds. When creating a magical world, it can be […]

craft review by Kristi Wright In See You in the Cosmos, author Jack Cheng introduces us to the protagonist, Alex Petroski, who is in the middle of creating a Golden iPod that he is determined to rocket into space to teach aliens about humanity. From beginning to end, the novel is a transcript of the […]

craft review by Jen Jobart If you gave most kids the choice between unlimited books of a compelling book series and a truck full of candy, it would be a tough choice. Middle grade kids are ravenous readers, and there’s nothing better than a shelf of books that is seemingly never-ending. Usually our discussion group […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman The subtitle of The Penderwicks–A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy–describes both why readers love the book (all those characters!) and a huge challenge for the author (all those characters!). Arguably, the plot arc of this first installment in Jeanne Birdsall’s series is Jeffrey’s […]

interview by Anne-Marie Strohman We’re so pleased to welcome Amy Dixon to the blog! I met Amy a couple decades ago through friends when we both lived in San Luis Obispo, California. It’s been delightful to reconnect over the last few years through writing for children. Amy’s writing journey began with picture books, and I […]

craft review by Jen Jobart Writing a character readers love is the holy grail. In her book The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, Cheryl Klein writes, “Even more than an exciting story, compelling characters make the reader turn the pages, because they offer the intimacy of a relationship, the unpredictability of real […]