Guest Post: Carla Killough McClafferty on Evoking Feelings in Nonfiction

By Carla Killough McClafferty

I love true stories about people, which is why I write biographies. While I include names, places, events, dates, and accomplishments, I want them to be a natural part of the story.

Equally important to me is that I craft the text so that readers will feel something about the person I’m writing about. I don’t tell them what to feel. I trust that readers will supply their own emotions.

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Guest Post: Barbara Dee on #MeToo Moments for Every Kid in the Room & Maybe He Just Likes You

 

By Barbara Dee

These days educators agree that there’s no such thing as a “boy book” or a “girl book.” All kids, whatever their gender identity—male, female or nonbinary—should have access to every book on the shelf, no matter the color scheme of the cover or where the main character falls on the gender spectrum.

But here’s something I passionately believe: We still need middle grade books about what it means to be a girl in our culture.

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Heart and Spirit: Interview with Author K.A. Holt

By Carol Coven Grannick

As a poet and children’s author as well as clinical social worker, I’m particularly interested in the emotional resilience that I believe is foundational to a writing life. I’m interested in what I consider the many facets of emotional resilience, the behaviors that fuel and flow from it—positive emotions such as hope and joy, persistence, and productivity.

I don’t like the phrase I see sometimes describing emotional resilience as having a “thick skin.”

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New Voices: Gail Shepherd & Karen Strong on Writing Southern Settings

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Gail Shepherd and Karen Strong, debut middle grade authors, both found inspiration for their books in southern settings. Today they share insights about their journeys to publication.

Gail Shepherd

I grew up with the Vietnam war in the background—it was always on TV. That war influenced my sensibility and my world view.

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New Voices: Joshua S. Levy & Karla Manternach on Reactions to Their Manuscripts Selling

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I am excited to introduce you to Joshua S. Levy and Karla Manternach, two middle grade authors whose debut novels surprised some of their friends. Joshua is the author of Seventh Grade Vs. The Galaxy (Carolrhoda, 2019) and Karla is the author of Meena Meets her Match illustrated by Rayner Alencar (Simon &

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Author Snapshot: Marie Cruz

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Marie Cruz is the debut author of Everlasting Nora (Tor/Forge, 2018).

From whom have you received creative feedback–critique groups/partners, writing teachers, expert/sensitivity readers, family and friends, editor and/or agent?

Over the last 15 years, I’ve received feedback from pretty much all of the above! But I must say that critique partners are the best.

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Guest Post: Barbara Dee on Keeping it Middle Grade: Handling Tough Topics in Fiction

Learn more about Barbara Dee.

By Barbara Dee
for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

About a year ago, on a NerdCamp panel called “Tough Topics in Middle Grade Fiction,” we were talking about how middle grade was evolving, growing up, tackling subjects that used to be considered taboo—for example, sexuality, terrorism, refugeeism, and drug use.

I asked the educators in the room which underrepresented topics they’d like to see on their bookshelves.

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Guest Post: Carol Coven Grannick on Transitions: Lunging Forward, Leaning Back

By Carol Coven Grannick

I am leaving my day job at an extraordinary early childhood center on June 30.

Plenty of people think I am “retiring.”

But if you’re reading this, you probably could guess that I’m not retiring at all. I’m beginning my full-time career as a writer.

At last.

I’ve written and taught about transitions much of my life as a clinical social worker and still struggle with how to convey these vulnerable,

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New Voices: Inside Scoop on Debut Author Groups with J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Jonathan Roth & Deborah Schaumberg

By Robin Galbraith

After years of writing you finally have your very first book deal! Now what? How do you promote your debut novel? I talked to four Maryland debut authors from the Electric Eighteens to get the inside scoop on how debut groups for young adult and middle grade authors work.

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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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