Framing your story with a STORY QUESTION that gets answered by the end of the novel works because it adds forward momentum, keeps your reader wanting to turn the page, and–since you delay the final answer to the question until the end–builds tension

craft review by Kristi Wright We’re starting this curated retrospective with a post on one of our favorite books. We’ve chosen this post on SWEEP because it brings us back to why many of us write for children–to evoke wonder. Kristi details a number of techniques to infuse your story with wonder. If you’re not […]

by Jen Jobart Here’s a first taste of our curated retrospective. First posted in December 2018, Jen’s post recommends some great listening to get your craft juices flowing. We invite you to read, and then listen. –Anne-Marie Like everyone else these days, I keep busy.  I don’t currently have a paying job, but I’m the […]

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 […]

craft review by Jesaka Long In contrast to the rich yet static symbolism of Dolly Parton’s music in Dumplin’ (see Part 1 of this post here) where Dolly’s songs guide Willow Dean throughout the story,  the main symbol in John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior evolves throughout the story, thus helping to elevate the stakes […]

craft review by Kristi Wright One of my goals as a writer is to write books that give children a sense of wonder. But how do you do that? How do you give your readers a shimmery, shivery experience that transcends the mundane, that astonishes them, that fills them with awe? Sweep: The Story of […]

craft review by Becky Levine You hear this over and over again: your story hero needs to face obstacles, grow and learn, and then . . . dive into that dark cave for the sword, come out swinging, and change their world for the better. Even in a picture book. Even when your hero is […]

by Jen Jobart Like everyone else these days, I keep busy.  I don’t currently have a paying job, but I’m the primary caretaker for two kids – one who I homeschool, and one who goes to a parent participation school, where I teach writing to my son’s fellow fourth graders.  Someone literally always needs something […]

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 […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Katherine Applegate’s novel-in-verse, Home of the Brave, is an intricate story. Kek, a ten-year-old refugee from Sudan, lands in Minnesota in the middle of winter and has to make sense of his new world. It is at once a story of leaving a life behind, engaging with a new world, […]