Today is Every Shiny Thing’s half-birthday! It’s officially been out in the world for six months, and to celebrate, Cordelia and I wrote a really fun post all about collaboration. We talked to four other co-author pairs—Kristine Asselin and Jen Malone, Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan, Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Middle Grade Literature
New-Book News and Some (Sort of) New Interviews!
Today is rainy and the tiniest bit chilly, and I’m loving the cozy, stay-at-home weather. It’s starting to feel a bit like fall, and I’m excited to think about beginning a new season. I’ve had a hectic, exhausting, amazing summer full of book events, writing projects I was determined to finish before welcoming a new… Read more »
New Resources for Teachers and Readers!
In the weeks since Every Shiny Thing was published, my co-author Cordelia Jensen and I have had a great time visiting schools and doing other events that have brought us into contact with teachers and kids. Cordelia and I have been delighted to meet and hear from educators who are interested in sharing Every Shiny Thing with students, and… Read more »
Two fun interviews and a podcast episode!
Hi, friends! I haven’t been blogging much in this space because my Every Shiny Thing co-author Cordelia Jensen and I have been busy doing lots of interviews and guest blog posts as we gear up for the release of Every Shiny Thing in less than two weeks! (It’s out on 4/17! Hooray!) Most of our posts haven’t gone live… Read more »
My 2017 Reading Year in Review
Well, I really didn’t think I was going to meet my Goodreads challenge of reading 100 books in 2017. I was consistently a couple of books behind, and while I was always close enough that I could have prioritized a little extra reading and caught up, I was planning to let myself “fail.” It’s… Read more »
Why Epistolary? Part 2: An Interview with Debut Author Jen Petro-Roy
You know that feeling when you’re reading a really good book, and you’re so desperate to know what’s going to happen that you hurry through the pages even though you also don’t want the story to be over? That’s how I felt with Jen Petro-Roy’s middle-grade debut, P.S. I Miss You. The book is written as… Read more »
The Problem of Parents in Middle Grade Fiction
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the portrayal of parents in middle grade novels. There are all sorts of challenges when it comes to creating parent characters in books for kids. For instance, how do you get the parents out of the way so that your middle-school-aged characters can get themselves into enough trouble… Read more »
EVERY SHINY THING Cover Reveal!
Exciting news! This week, Cordelia Jensen and I got to share the beautiful, shiny cover for our co-authored middle grade novel Every Shiny Thing, which comes out next April! Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader hosted our cover reveal, complete with the book’s origin story, a description of the novel, and a chance to win an advance… Read more »
Upper MG Books for Older Middle School Readers…and My New Book Deal!
Last Thursday, I wrote a guest post for a wonderful site called Project Mayhem about the importance of “gray area” novels: upper middle grade books that appeal to sixth to eighth graders and that people in the publishing world have sometimes been wary of, because they’re a bit too old for traditional middle grade but a bit… Read more »
My 2016 Reading Year in Review
Well, here we are at last, on the first day of 2017! 2016 was a year that included some major low points for sure but, for me personally, some very special high points, as well. It was a chaotic year with lots of new adjustments and responsibilities, but I just managed to meet my goal of… Read more »
My New Reading Challenge: a Concrete First Step in Standing Up for Inclusivity
I like to keep track of the books I read on Goodreads, and for the last couple of years, when Goodreads has prompted me to join the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I’ve set the goal of reading 100 books throughout the course of the year. Then, periodically, I’ve noticed that I am a book or two… Read more »
The Realism Spectrum
The seventh grade English curriculum at my school includes a lot of historical novels, and when I teach seventh grade English, I talk about how historical fiction falls somewhere along a spectrum that ranges from almost fully rooted in historical fact to almost fully fictional. One book that falls on the mostly-rooted-in-fact end is Melanie… Read more »
My 2015 Reading Year in Review
It’s the last day of 2015, and I’m happily sitting here in my pajamas, with a clementine-clove candle burning, ignoring the pile of dishes in the sink and thinking back on the past year. I thought I’d give this long-neglected blog some attention with an end-of-year post on my year in reading. This year I read 101… Read more »
Read Alouds: Fall 2015
This past week, a service day and some standardized test taking interrupted our regular school schedule, so I didn’t get to teach my normal classes for a couple of days. When the schedule got back to normal, I wasn’t at all surprised by the question that many of my students asked: “Are we doing read… Read more »
Relating to a book vs. liking it: A(nother) case against “girl books” and “boy books”
At the end of lunch a couple of weeks ago, a group of seventh grade students called me over to their table to tell me that they’d been talking about our read-aloud novel, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, which will come out this August, and they had a suggestion. On double period days, we should… Read more »
Student-Author Interview 13: Robin Herrera
Back in the summer of 2010, I was just starting my MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Robin Herrera was graduating. At Robin’s graduate reading, she read a funny, poignant excerpt from a novel about a girl named Star Mackie, and I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to read more about Star, so I… Read more »
Student-Author Interview 11: Jen Malone
It’s time for another student-author interview, and I’m very excited to feature the tireless and talented Jen Malone! Jen’s debut novel, At Your Service, came out in 2014, and she is one busy author. She has several books for tweens and teens on the way, and you can find out more about them at jenmalonewrites.com… Read more »
Student-Author Interview 10: Dianne Salerni
Here it is—student-author interview number 10! I’m really excited to bring you this interview with Dianne Salerni, author of two YA novels and a smart, fun, imaginative, and suspenseful middle grade fantasy series. The Eighth Day, the first book in the MG series, introduces Jax Aubrey, a thirteen-year-old boy who has been sent to live… Read more »
Bigger Isn’t Always Better (but “big” books can be pretty great)
Last week, a couple of other teachers and I took the seventh grade to an author event with Holly Goldberg Sloan, the author of three fabulous middle grade and young adult books: Counting by 7s, I’ll Be There, and Just Call My Name. The event was part of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s amazing Teen… Read more »
Student-Author Interview 08: Rebecca Behrens
Last spring, I was browsing online for some new classroom library books to purchase, and some of my sixth grade students were helping. I had recently happened upon this interview about the story behind the final cover design of Rebecca Behrens’s debut middle grade novel, When Audrey Met Alice, and I thought the book looked like a lot… Read more »