PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

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JOIN US IN EXPLORING OTHERS' CRAFT AND BUILDING OUR OWN

I always start with character. For me, that’s the spark that makes me want to write. Who is this person in my head? What are they grappling with? What do they need to figure out (about themselves and/or life in general)? To answer these questions, I write scenes about them and sometimes in their voice.

The more characters there are, the harder it is for the reader to connect with the important ones. As authors, we want to make sure every character serves a purpose.

“I’ve learned that the most important thing is to keep writing about what I love, what’s important to me, what I’m curious about. I’ve learned to put a piece of myself in every story. And I’ve learned that being vulnerable in my writing means that it will resonate with others.”

Sometimes in planning a story, you might find that the character’s desire is a little too abstract, or that their desire isn’t really something they can affect. There is a solution: a controlling belief.

Weisfeld envisioned a book series and a brand that encouraged and taught girls to be entrepreneurs through engaging, adventurous stories.

Durham has made his job as a writer easier by having a strong turn near the midpoint of the book. He has something to build toward in the first half of Act 2 and something to move from in the second half.

These are compassionate stories that encourage readers to awaken their own inner activist. And they also model ways for kids to engage in deep conversations about topics that can be hard to talk about.

craft review by Sarah S. Davis In Part 1, we saw how Kisner shapes Brynn’s political awakening through internal conflict. Read on to find out how Kisner creates stakes that push Brynn toward change. Even Losers Have Something to Lose So what could possibly change her mind and push Brynn towards risking not just a […]

craft review by Sarah S. Davis When readers meet Brynn Harper at the beginning of Adrienne Kisner’s Dear Rachel Maddow (2018), her life is in freefall. Dumped by Sarah, her high-achieving girlfriend, Brynn has also recently been kicked off the school paper because of poor academic progress. Meanwhile, at home, after losing her beloved older […]

analysis by Aimee Haburjak and Kristi Wright Do a search on elements of a good picture book and you’ll quickly find a treasure trove of lists. Here’s one by agent Tracy Marchini. And another by author Margo Finke. And yet another by author Kathryn Evans. Every author, agent, and editor who works in the children’s […]