Guest Post: Rajani LaRocca Writes About Her Process For Evoking a Story Set in 1980s

By Rajani LaRocca

My novel in verse Red, White, and Whole (Quill Tree Books, 2021) is set in 1983. It’s about thirteen-year-old Reha, the child of Indian immigrants, who is torn between the worlds of her parents and her friends at school. Like many teens her age, she wants to wear cool clothes, and go to a middle school dance.

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In Memory: Gary Paulsen

By Bree Bender

Newbery award-winning author and children’s literature icon, Gary Paulsen has passed away. He was 82 years old.

Beloved Author Gary Paulsen has Died Aged 82 via MacMillan. Peek: “It was Paulsen’s overwhelming belief in young people that drove him to write. His desire to tap deeply into the human spirit and encourage readers to observe and care about the world around them brought him both enormous popularity with young people and critical acclaim from the children’s book community.”

Obituary: Gary Paulsen by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly.

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Guest Post: Laurie Morrison on Creating Balanced, Flexible Teacher Guides for Her Books

Photo Credit: Laura Billingham

By Laurie Morrison

Before my first middle-grade novel with Cordelia Jensen, Every Shiny Thing (Amulet, 2018), was published, I taught middle school for ten years, and those two identities—author and teacher—still feel intertwined. I’d never tried to write fiction until I became a teacher and got inspired by my students and the books I read alongside them.

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Guest Interview: Uma Krishnaswami & Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Reflect on Writing’s Journey

By Uma Krishnaswami

I have been a fan of Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s work for decades now. We’ve been together in a writing group since 1997. I can’t imagine letting a manuscript go to my agent without having this amazing writer and friend cast her eyes on it first. I feel so fortunate that she is in my writing circle—my life circle.

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Illustrator Interview: Simona Ceccarelli on Illustrating Internationally

By Elisabeth Norton

I’m talking today with Simona Ceccarelli, an illustrator based in Switzerland who has worked books for publishers in several countries, including the U.S. market.

Simona, it’s been so rewarding to watch your career take off! It wasn’t that long ago that the first book you illustrated came out,

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Heart and Spirit: Lisa Fipps Discusses Her Debut Middle-Grade Novel in Verse

By Carol Coven Grannick

Starfish by Lisa Fipps (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021) unfolds as eleven-year-old Ellie, who has been fat-shamed and bullied since childhood, begins to break away from “Fat Girl Rules” she’s been told are foundational to her life. Ellie’s loving friendships, close relationship with her father, and a growing positive connection with a fabulous therapist,

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Sally J. Pla Discusses the Importance of Honest Depictions of Autism & Mental Health

By Rebecca Kirshenbaum

As the parent of children on the autism spectrum and who also struggle with anxiety, I am a big fan of Sally J. Pla‘s books and their representations of neurodiversity. Her most recent middle grade novel Stanley Will Probably Be Fine illustrated by Steve Wolfhard (HarperCollins,

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