Guest Post: Barbara Dee on the Sound of Middle Grade: Getting the Voice

By Barbara Dee

Spotlight image: Barbara Dee at the 2021 Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival.

If you write middle grade fiction, chances are good that at some point someone will ask: “Do you ever plan to write for grownups?”

It’s a question that always irks. I think what’s behind it is the assumption that writing for grownups is something to aspire to,

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Throwback Thursday: Melanie Crowder on Parched

Throwback Thursday: Melanie Crowder on Parched

Congratulations to Melanie Crowder on her new young adult novel, Jumper (Viking, June 2022)! It received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Melanie recently joined the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

Take a look back at Melanie’s thoughts on her debut novel,

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Author Interview: Kellye Crocker Uses a Light Touch for a Serious Subject

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to welcome author Kellye Crocker to Cynsations! Like me, she’s a Vermont College of Fine Arts alumnx more than a decade past graduation. Her debut middle grade novel, Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties (Albert Whitman & Company, October 2022) features practical tips on mindfulness and managing anxiety shared through a hilarious,

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Throwback Thursday: Varsha Bajaj on Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

Congratulations to Varsha Bajaj on Thirst (Nancy Paulsen Books, July 2022), a New York Times Bestseller!

Take a look back at Varsha’s thoughts about her debut novel, Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood (Albert Whitman, 2014). This post originally appeared on Cynsations March 3, 2014.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Varsha Bajaj is the debut novelist behind Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood (Albert Whitman,

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New Voices: Jacquetta Nammar Feldman & Sean Petrie: From Poetry to MG Novels

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to welcome two Austin/VCFA authors with debut middle grade novels. I met Jacquetta Nammar Feldman at an intensive at The Writing Barn, and Sean Petrie and I were Vermont College of Fine Arts students at the same time. It’s very exciting when passages you’ve read in a workshop become a published book!

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Author Interview: Jennifer Ziegler on Word Play and Developing Characters

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today I’m thrilled to welcome fellow Austin author and friend Jennifer Ziegler to the Cynsations blog for a chat about writing and teaching. Her latest middle grade novel, Worser (Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2022) has received several starred reviews and lots of positive buzz.

Tell us about your new release,

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New Voices: Alison Green Myers & Meera Trehan Explore Different Ways Of Seeing The World

By Elisabeth Norton

Spotlight image: Alison Green Myers with her son and dog exploring the setting from A Bird Will Soar.

I’m so happy to introduce Cynsations readers to two debut authors, Alison Green Myers and Meera Trehan.

Alison and Meera, thank you for joining us today.

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Native Voice: Brian Young on Writing Healer of the Water Monster

By Kim Rogers

Today, we’re chatting with Navajo author Brian Young. Brian is a film maker and personal trainer. His debut middle grade novel is Healer of the Water Monster (Heartdrum, 2021). From the promotional copy:

“When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation,

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