Tag Archives: middle grade

#WhatImReadingNow : Pax

The fox felt the car slow before the boy did, as he felt everything first. Through the pads of his paws, along his spine, in the sensitive whiskers at his wrists. By the vibrations, he learned also that the road had grown coarser. He stretched up from his boy’s lap and sniffed at threads of […]

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The Book As Gift

My parents always had a huge built-in bookcase wherever they lived (my father built them). They were primarily filled with the novels my mother had accumulated in her youth and all sorts of books my folks acquired as a young married couple, including museum exhibition catalogues, college texts, art books (my mother’s major), history books […]

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Short Saturday: Compare and Contrast

Three years ago I did a contrast-and-compare with middle grade fiction and young adult fiction. It was a really useful exercise for me. Since that time, there’s a New Kid in Town. Actually—a New Adult. You’ve probably already heard about it, but wondered how to differentiate them. As with MG and YA, we look first […]

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Trains, Planes, and Pen Names
(and Practice)

A good friend of mine has a friend who is a much-celebrated author of literary fiction; he’s won more than one important literary prize. Nice guy—I’ve met him. Humble, funny, interesting, smart. Teaches college. And he’s got a little “secret”: for several years before he published his “first” novel and won an award and got […]

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The Bonus Round (2014 Edition)

I’ve been publishing a recap, every January (or February!), of every book mentioned in posts during the past year. It’s just a list of of books I talked about last year, here on the blog, and I present them as a cross-reference … in case you were thinking of reading one of them, say. Mind […]

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Short Saturday: Guys Read?

The guys I hang out with certainly do. But parents and teachers (and data) will tell you their boys don’t read much fiction. There are lots of theories about it, but kids’ author Jon Scieszka (rhymes with Fresca)—a former teacher—was in Nashville recently for a signing at the Nashville Public Library, and had this to […]

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Entering the (Writer’s) Lottery

Recently a young writer with whom I’d worked some time before entered a contest that changed her life (I wrote about Natalie here). Her success brought to my attention the phenomenon of the “pitch contest,” in which unagented writers are invited to pitch a manuscript publicly, usually in a blog, sometimes on Twitter. The pitches […]

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The Bonus Round (2013 Edition)

I’ve been publishing a recap, every January, of every book mentioned in posts during the past year. (Except—whoops—I missed January this year. But maybe you did too? Man, that month went by fast!) Mind you, this is not a list of books I read last year (although there are some of those on this list); […]

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Word Count Matters

One of the first manuscripts I turned in as a freelance editor caused a minor panic at the publishing house. “This novel is too long,” the managing editor said in an email. “It’s 90K words. We contracted 75K.” (Let me tell you just how many fifteen thousand words are, kids, in case you have to […]

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“It’s Easy to Write a Children’s Book” and Other Ridiculous Myths

I picked up a little bug this time last week. I’m not talking about a cold, either—think Linda Blair in The Exorcist. It kept me away from my computer for nearly a week (the horror!). So while I crawl back into the working/blogging world, here’s a fantastic guest post from best-selling children’s author Amy Parker. […]

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