interview by Kate O’Shaughnessy We are thrilled to welcome Darcey Rosenblatt to the blog! Darcey is famous among writers in our area for starting an annual craft-based workshop for advanced middle grade and young adult novelists called Better Books Marin. She is a champion for writers, and an accomplished writer herself. Her debut middle grade novel […]

craft review by Kate O’Shaughnessy Back in January, two popular children’s book authors—Matt de la Peña and Kate DiCamillo—engaged in a discourse about the importance of including tough subject matter in children’s books. (Read Matt’s essay: “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children from Darkness.”. And Kate’s: “Why Children’s Books Should Be a Little Sad.”) Specifically, de […]

craft review by Beth Mitchell Lately, I’ve been preoccupied by Lisa Cron’s concept of a novel’s “third rail,” the protagonist’s inner struggle that propels the story (see my craft review of Cron’s Story Genius). As I read MG books, I ask myself: What is the protagonist’s misbelief? What is the origin of that misbelief? How […]

We are delighted to have Lois Sepahban, author of Paper Wishes, stop by to answer some of our questions. (See our craft review here.) Below you’ll find Lois’s thoughtful responses, which give insight into her writing process and research process, as well as the story itself. Lois hails from Minnesota and has written non-fiction for children. […]

craft review by Becky Levine It’s fiction. We can write pretty much anything you want, right? We’re making up the story, we’re creating the world, and what we put into that world is up to us. There’s just one challenge. Our readers have to believe it. In Lois Sephaban’s Paper Wishes, Manami and her family […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Last week, we examined a few of the ways Lauren Wolk establishes the setting of Wolf Hollow without using straight descriptive paragraphs. (Read Part 1 here.) Today the discussion continues by looking at how she creates the spatial relationships among the various settings in the novel.   Using Repetition to Establish […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman When the title of the book is the name of the place it’s set, you know setting is going to be important, as is the case in Lauren Wolk’s Wolf Hollow. Though the plot is gripping and the characters strong (as LA Biscay explored in her post), the setting is […]

craft review by LA Biscay A 2017 Newbery Honor, Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is set in rural Pennsylvania in 1943 and is a coming of age story about almost-twelve-year-old Annabelle. Right from the beginning, I sensed her story would be emotionally fraught. In the prologue, an older Annabelle reflects: The year I turned twelve, […]

We had the pleasure of having Kate Hannigan, author of The Detective’s Assistant, join our group by Skype from Chicago for our April in-person middle grade discussion. We got to ask all our pressing questions about her writing process and incorporating research–and even how she keeps all her research organized! She graciously agreed to share […]

craft review by Kristi Wright   Kate Hannigan’s historical novel, The Detective’s Assistant, is set right before Abe Lincoln is inaugurated as president. It intertwines the tale of a fictional orphaned eleven-year-old, Nell Warne, with the story of the real first female detective in America, Kate Warne, of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency. Historical fiction always poses […]