New Voices: Lisa Moore Ramée & Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo on Questions Arising During Middle Grade Years

by Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am excited to share the publishing journeys of Lisa Moore Ramée and Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. Both are members of the Novel Nineteens author group. Both of their middle grade novels debuted this month.

Lisa Moore Ramée

What was your initial inspiration for writing A Good Kind of Trouble (Balzer + Bray)?

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Guest Post: Diane Telgen on Stories of Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology

By Diane Telgen

Fans of young-adult short stories may have noticed the anthology format making a comeback in recent years. But other outlets for original YA fiction, like magazines and websites, are few and far between—especially if they pay their writers. The options can be even more limited for new voices trying to break into the market.

Enter Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology,

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Guest Post: Padma Venkatraman on Golden Silence, Gilded Words

By Padma Venkatraman

On the flight home after a recent conference, I read Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick, 2018). It struck a chord in part because, although I was elated that so many people had read advanced reader copies (ARCs) of my novel The Bridge Home (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019) and loved it, I also realized I’d been suppressing a sense of hurt as a result of unintentional microaggressions I’d witnessed.

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New Voices: Kaylee Morrison and Nancy Smith on Joshua and The Biggest Fish

Nancy stands behind co-author & grandkid, Kaylee.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

What an honor and joy it is to welcome debut children’s authors, Kaylee Morrison and Nancy Smith, who’re also citizens of Muscogee Nation!

Their picture book is Joshua and The Biggest Fish (Doodle and Peck Publishing, 2017). From the promotional copy:

The big fish are way out in the deepest part of the river.

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New Voice: Dawn Quigley on Apple in the Middle

By Traci Sorell

This is a watershed year for the release of Native young adult novels.

From Eric Gansworth’s Give Me Some Truth (Scholastic, 2018), the followup to his If I Ever Get Out of Here (Scholastic, 2013), and Tim Tingle’s Trust Your Name (7th Generation, September 2018), the fourth in his No Name series, to the upcoming Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick,

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Author Interview: Minh Lê on Drawn Together

By Traci Sorell

Minh Lê is the author of the upcoming Drawn Together, illustrated by Dan Santat (Hyperion, June 5, 2018). From the promotional copy:

When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. 


But as they sit down to draw together,

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Pura Belpré Award Winner & New Voice: Juana Martinez-Neal on Alma and How She Got Her Name

By Traci Sorell

Juana Martinez-Neal is a force of nature already this year.

Having won the 2018 Pura Belpré Award for her illustrations in La Princesa and the Pea, written by Susan Middleton Elya (Putnam, 2017), she now has her own debut picture book, Alma and How She Got Her Name (Candlewick, 2018).

Candlewick acquired the story in a seven-publisher auction and is releasing it simultaneously in Spanish and English.

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New Voice: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow on Mommy’s Khimar

By Traci Sorell

I’m delighted to share my interview with Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, a fellow Epic Eighteen debut author of Mommy’s Khimar, illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Salaam Reads, 2018)).

This cheerful and empowering story which centers on a young Muslim, African American girl who loves wearing her mommy’s khimar (headscarf) received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.

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Guest Post: N.H. Senzai on Writing About War for Middle Grade & Escape From Aleppo

By N.H. Senzai

The reason I love writing for the middle grade audience is because at this age kids can still suspend belief and journey with you through a story as long as you create believable plots, authentic characters and dialogue that rings true.

However, you need to hook them in quickly, so my first goal is to create a story that “reels them in.”

Once they’ve signed on to follow your protagonist,

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New Voice: Patricia Valdez on Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor

By Traci Sorell

I love a good picture book biography and read so many in elementary school, especially those featuring women.

So when I learned Patricia Valdez’s debut picture book would feature the work of Joan Proctor, a zoologist researching amphibians in the early twentieth century, I knew there’d be a great story there.

Others think so too because the book has received starred reviews from Booklist,

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