Wednesday, July 21, 2010

class notes

I've been entrenched in the writing of my new novel ("Dumpling Days") and while it's always roller coaster, every time the ride feels different. What's interesting this time is when I mention the age range (7-11) I am writing to non-book people, I get a distinct feeling of disappointment in my ambitions. As if by now I should have graduated to writing real books, older books or at least cooler or hipper books that could rival "Twilight."

I always smile politely, as I do understand their idea of success. And who knows, maybe someday I will. But I have a feeling, in terms of writing, that the young middle grade novel will be the book I will never graduate from.

Part of my "lecture" for the Pine Manor class I taught about writing the Middle Grade Novel:

Why write middle-grade novels, especially young middle grade? One can say you have more restrictions in terms of subject matter, audience and even respect than other genres. But I think it is one of the most important forms,if not the most important form, of children's literature. These are the books that change a child that can read books to a child that LOVES to read books. What they call a "reader," a true life-long book lover. The picturebook is rarely read independently and the YA reader has already decided whether he or she likes books. The middle-grade novel is the one that can create a transformation.


teegs said...

Yes, yes, yes! It was the books I read as an eight-year-old and in the few years following that turned me into a voracious reader. I read every "middle grade" book I could get my hands on, then resorted to books for young adults that I probably wasn't ready for yet (Forever, anyone?). Keep up the good work.

Elaine Magliaro said...


YES! I agree. I honestly believe we need more novels for middle well as novels for younger children in second and third grades. So many of the chapter books written for kids in the early elementary grades are series books.

Nicole Tadgell said...

Wonderful post, I couldn't agree more. I still read middle grade for enjoyment, often these books are more satisfying than "grownup" books. LOVED Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by the way. :)