Guest Post: Suzanne Selfors on Why I Love Writing for Middle Graders

By Suzanne Selfors

Because I write for adults, teens and kids, I often get asked which group is my favorite to write for. And, without a moment’s hesitation, I always answer—the kids!

Why? Maybe this will help explain.

Author Seeks Perfect Reader.
Should possess the following characteristics:

1. Is either a boy or a girl.

2. Is not distracted by hormones.

3. Thinks the opposite sex is rather annoying and doesn’t require a story to have the slightest inkling of romance.

4. Doesn’t say, “That’s not possible” when reading about a mermaid living in a kid’s bedroom, or a plant that can make a person fly.

5. Believes that a monster lives under the bed and really wants to meet it.

6. Keeps treasures, such as beach glass, pebbles and bottle caps, in a pocket.

7. Senses, but can not yet prove, that he/she is different in some wonderful, perhaps magical way, from everybody else.

8. If asked, “What superpower would you like to have?” replies, “I’ve already got one.”

9. Hears, at least once a day from an adult, “Stop…(choose one of the following: dawdling, daydreaming, doodling or lollygagging .)”

10. Wonders why. Asks why. Then wonders some more.

11. Still cares when something small gets hurt.

12. Believes that good will always beat evil. Even if evil wears a really cool outfit.

Cynsational Notes

Suzanne’s latest book is Smells Like Dog (Little, Brown, May 2010). From the promotional copy:

Meet Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who dreams of grand adventurers and who inherits a basset hound when his beloved uncle, the famous explorer Drake Pudding, mysteriously vanishes. Why would Uncle Drake call a droopy dog with no sense of smell his “most treasured possession?” And what is the mysterious lost coin around the dog’s neck? Join Homer and his sister Gwendolyn as they race to discover the truth surrounding the basset hound and a secret society of treasure hunters.

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews says: “Selfors offers up an adventure tale that features a humorous, high-stakes mystery and a lovable hero. Peppered with funny dialogue, this joyous romp is a page-turning adventure that will appeal to enthusiastic and reluctant readers alike.”

Rebecca Stead cheers, “A fantastic tale in every good sense of the word. Homer’s wild pursuit of his destiny is both exhilarating and soulful.”


Note From Author: This is not a sad dog story. I hate sad dog stories and I bet you do too.

How many times have you picked up a book about a dog and just when you start to fall in love with the dog it fall down a well, or gets hit by a car, or somebody shoots it? Then you cry quietly in your bedroom because you don’t know if the dog is going to live or die and there’s nothing worse than not knowing if a dog is going to live or die.

So I promise you that you don’t have to worry because the dog in this story does not die. This is a happy dog story.

One thought on “Guest Post: Suzanne Selfors on Why I Love Writing for Middle Graders

  1. The list of the ideal reader captures why it is a privilege to write for children so beautifully! Why would you want to write a book for someone who doesn't know about their superpower after all? 🙂 Thanks, Suzanne!

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