You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Middle Grade Fiction’ category.

kami headshotby Kami Kinard

I’m one of those people who has always known I wanted to be an author. What? You too? It’s pretty common (but not necessary) among we writer types. When I first started out, more than a decade ago, I wasn’t exactly sure what type of writer I wanted to be. So I played around with different genres. It was a lot of fun.

But I wanted to do more than have fun. So I devoured Writer’s Market and Children’s Writers Market. I purchased books of writerly advice, and books featuring quotes from authors.

Whenever I felt inspired, I wrote and wrote and wrote. When I didn’t feel inspired to write, I used my free time to do other things. I took courses in metal working, I learned bead stringing techniques, I started a small jewelry-making business, and I even learned to play the banjo.

Then I purchased the book that changed my methods, and ultimately led to publication success.

You might say I experienced a lifestyle change because of this book. One of the quotes featured in it was just a few words from Jack London. Here, I’ve made a little poster of it for you, so you can print it out and hang in your workspace.


Reading this quote resulted in an important ah-ha moment for me. The reason I wasn’t moving forward with my writing was that I was waiting for inspiration to lead me. When it didn’t, I was wandering off of the trail. I realized that in order to capture my dreams, I needed to focus on my quest for inspiration. I gave my metalworking supplies to a cousin in design school. The banjo went to a friend who’d borrowed it a few times. The jewelry making business was sold. I kept the bead stringing supplies because—hey—everyone needs a hobby! (And if you’re serious about this, writing can’t be your hobby.)

Then, I grabbed my club and started spending my lunch break in libraries. I chased down inspiration between the covers of books, captured ideas, and caged them into poems that were soon published in children’s magazines.

I hunted down the idea for this poem, sold to Jack and Jill, on the “UBA” page of a rhyming dictionary. Scuba and Tuba? What’s not to love?

Tuba Scuba page 1

I stumbled across the idea for this story about gopher tortoises, published in Ladybug, while stalking a story about alligators. (The alligator story escaped me, but at least I didn’t come away from the excursion empty handed.)

Burrow Borrowers pages 1& 2

I tracked down inspiration in unlikely places, like the stroller handle where an inch worm journeyed, and an autumn maple that was reminiscent of a gigantic golden feather. Often, as in these two cases, the inspiration resulted in stories I was able to sell.

Eventually, my club and I apprehended inspiration between the pages of my old middle school diaries, and my trophy looks like this.

the boy project

My first published book!

You can find inspiration almost anywhere. But you have to stalk it. Sniff the air. Listen for it. Be alert to its presence.

Now, when people ask me, “Where do you find inspiration?”

I answer, “Anywhere I have five minutes of free time.” And this is true. I don’t wait for huge blocks of time, for peace and quiet, or for good atmosphere. Give me five minutes, and I’ll find inspiration. After all, I’m never without the tools of my trade. That’s the best thing about working with words: they’re lightweight, omnipresent, and free!

When Tara invited me to post for PiBoIdMo, my first response was, “I haven’t sold a picture book.” True confession. Notice I put this at the end of the post! Years ago, I imagined I would author only picture books and poetry. But pursing inspiration led me in an unexpected direction. My first published book was not the picture book I predicted it would be, but a middle grade novel.

November is filled with inspiration and ideas. As the month draws to a close, I invite you to pick up your club and keep chasing inspiration. Focus on your quarry. Be relentless. You never really know where the chase will lead you, but if you can capture your inspiration with words, the award is magnificent!

Bonus: If you’d like more PiBoIdMo tips, check out my blog for another post about writing.


Author Bio: Kami Kinard’s poetry, articles, and stories have been published in some of the world’s best children’s magazines. Her first middle grade novel, The Boy Project (Scholastic 2012), will soon be followed by a companion novel, The Boy Problem (Scholastic 2014). A former public educator, Kami currently teaches writing for children and adults and leads writing workshops at conferences and retreats. She lives in balmy, buggy, and beautiful Beaufort, SC with her husband, two children, and the world’s smartest dog. You can learn more about her and her books by visiting her website or her blog at


Kami is giving away a critique of up to ten pages of any single children’s manuscript. An experienced critiquer, Kami has critiqued picture books, novels, and poems that have gone on to be published.

This prize  will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for this prize if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post (as per Annette’s spine-tingling challenge).
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!


Flash on over to Flash Fiction Chronicles today and I’ll tell you all about writing micro fiction for children! It’s how I got my start.

Today is a very special day. No, it’s not National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. It’s the release of Lynne Kelly’s debut novel CHAINED!

Why am I so excited? Well, not only is CHAINED a phenomenal read, but Lynne Kelly is one of the first people I met on Twitter a few years ago. And definitely one of the funniest. I’ve been waiting for CHAINED almost as long as she has!

I interviewed Lynne on the Lucky 13s Blog today. Would you believe this layered tale set in India began as a PICTURE BOOK?! Read how it transformed into the stellar middle-grade novel it is today. Who knows, maybe your picture book will evolve into a novel, too!

Congratulations, Lynne! (I am a proud Auntie.)

If you want to publish a book for children, the first thing you must do is ask yourself why.

Is your motivation to publish a kid’s book one of the following?

  • Your kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews/neighbors/students love a story you’ve written.
  • It would be fun to see your name in print.
  • You want to sign autographs.
  • You want to make money, quickly.
  • You want your artist cousin/sister/friend to illustrate it.

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, please read this post. I write this to save you a lot of time and frustration. Because it’s not an easy business. NOT. EASY. AT. ALL.

New writers often believe they can pen one story in an hour or two, never revise it, yet somehow land an agent and a publishing deal—-as if the simple act of writing begets publication.

Hitting one baseball does not mean the Yankees will draft you. Likewise, writing one story does not mean Random House will offer you a contract. Although, keep hitting that ball, make it go higher and farther…learn about fielding and sliding, too…and play seriously for years, and you just might make it.

Everyone believes the first thing they write will be golden and they’ll never receive a single rejection. We are all HOPEFUL. But, everyone is wrong. (Including me!) Trust me, this will NOT happen. It has NOT happened to ANYONE. (Except for Kevin Henkes.)

The motivation to write a children’s book should be:

  • You love to write. You were born to write. You can’t NOT write.
  • The child inside you is begging to get out and explore.
  • You love children’s literature and want to contribute worthy stories to the genre.
  • You want to inspire children to read, write, create, imagine and dream.
  • You enjoy learning from children. (Yes, your primary goal should not be to teach them. Teachers, parents and guardians teach. Books are meant to be fun.)
  • You want to work hard to establish a career as a kidlit author. You’re in it for the long haul.

Notice fame and fortune have nothing to do with it. That’s something a small percentage of authors achieve. (Yes, authors can have dozens of books in print yet they cannot support themselves through writing alone. Moreover, advance checks can take a long time to arrive, and royalties trail about about 6-9 months behind book sales.)

And even if you become a famous author, most people won’t recognize you by sight or name. It will never get you the window table at The Four Seasons on a busy Saturday night. You’re better off making a reservation as “Doctor Lazar”.

It takes most children’s writers years to land their first book deal. And selling one book does not guarantee future book sales. Selling each subsequent book can get MORE difficult, especially if one (or more) of your titles do not sell as well as the publisher expected.

I don’t mean to be discouraging. I want to be REALISTIC. Children’s literature is a BUSINESS. And this business is like any other—it takes hard work, commitment, talent and a little luck, too. If you’re writing a children’s book on a whim, you might end up being very disappointed when you realize how tough it really is.

In short, I’ve made more money and worked fewer hours in EVERY OTHER JOB I’VE EVER HAD.


There’s no job I’VE LOVED MORE. (Besides being a mom, of course.)

Just because you’re writing for children doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, it is more difficult to become a published kidlit author than it is to become any other kind of author. (That’s because there’s a tremendous amount of competition. Everyone believes writing for kids is easy because they’re kids. Not so.)

So do it because you LOVE it. You LOVE it like you CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT. Because children don’t deserve anything less than YOUR VERY BEST WORK.

Steps you should take:

  1. Earn a degree in English and/or Creative Writing.
  2. Read hundreds of books in your chosen kidlit genre (picture books, non-fiction, middle grade novels, graphic novels, YA).
  3. Write. Write. And write some more.
  4. Join a critique group specific to the genre in which you wish to publish. YA novelists don’t necessarily know a lot about picture books and vice-versa.
  5. Join SCBWI.
  6. Attend professional kidlit conferences, book fairs and other literary events.
  7. Revise. Revise. And revise some more.
  8. Research agents and editors online.
  9. Establish a social media presence. Make writing friends. Gain a support system.
  10. Consider investing in professional writing books, magazines and services like Publisher’s Marketplace (which will show you what books are selling, which agents are selling them, and to whom), The Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly and The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Guide.
  11. After at least two years of writing, try submitting. Don’t send your work out in huge batches. Research who likes the kind of work you produce and target a few. If only rejections come back, try another small set of subs, revise again or write something else.
  12. Never give up. Keep writing new stories. Those who make it in this business are those who persevere!

Excellent online resources for aspiring children’s authors:

Happy Halloween!

It’s time for ghouls and ghosts, Linus and the Great Pumpkin, Milky Ways and Kit Kats…and speaking of cats, black ones might cross your path today. That’s because The Lucky 13s are here!

The Lucky 13s are debut 2013 kidlit authors in the picture book, middle grade and young adult genres. (It used to be just MG & YA debuts, but I butted in.) They’ve started a kidlit blog, Twitter account, and picked out a spiffy superstition-spoofing logo designed by Wendy Martin.

For PiBoIdMo, I asked some of The Lucky 13s what being creative meant to them…

Rachele Alpine: Making, living and getting lost in a world that is one big game of make believe!

Elsie Chapman: For me, creativity is never a constant. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to get the words to come. Music always works—songs I already know and love and connect with certain memories, new ones that make me sit up and really listen. Amazing lyrics can recreate a moment or emotion that just make me want to write.

Emma PassFor me, creativity means freedom; life in full colour instead of just black and white. Although writing is my main creative outlet, I also love to draw and play the piano, just for myself, and I can’t imagine a world where I couldn’t do those things (well, actually, I can… and it’s a very scary place!).

Kristen KittscherI like to remember that creativity isn’t some rare non-renewable resource that only a select few can access. We’re all imaginative, as long as we stay open-minded. For me, being creative means giving myself permission to be messy, make mistakes, and generate thousands of bad ideas for every clever one.

Jessica Young: I think creativity has to do with curiosity and playfulness—thinking “what if” and then trying it. For me that often means connecting elements or ideas in a new way, or following one small clue and discovering where it leads, but also taking the risk of it not working out, or leading somewhere I didn’t expect.

Liz Coley: I tap into my well of creativity by remaining open to outside courses of inspiration, especially NPR radio interviews and random discussions with strangers. Somehow these cross fertilize in the shower or car, when my mind can wander and free associate. Turning this into something written requires a foamy latter, a comfortable chair, and, seasonally, a fire. Sitting in a noisy Starbucks for four hours and blocking it all out works wonders as well.

Elisabeth Dahl: Creativity means letting your mind off-leash. In the case of writing, this can mean allowing your mind to root around for interesting associations. If you’re telling a story about a widow and you suddenly picture the Venus de Milo, ask yourself why. What’s the connection? Should the statue figure into your story somehow? The unconscious mind is so smart.

Sarah Skilton: Being creative means a fresh piece of blank notebook paper and no expectations, restrictions, or judgment. It means writing whatever happens to pop into my head, without any audience in mind, and without wondering what anyone else will think about it. Being creative means creating just for me, to mark a moment.

Jennifer McGowan: Being Creative to me means giving a dream life—putting ideas into action or thoughts into form. It’s not enough to imagine something; being creative actually involves ensuring that the product of one’s imagination becomes a tangible reality for all the world to see. 

Nicole Maggi: Creativity is feeding my inner Artist and giving her an outlet. It doesn’t matter if that outlet is coloring in a coloring book or writing a story that no one else is going to read. My inner Artist doesn’t care about book contracts or bestseller lists or gallery shows.  She just wants to dance.  

Megan Shepherd: Lately I’ve come to see creativity as an alternate way of navigating the world. In school you learn skills like memorization, critical thinking, and how to provide the “correct” answer. But creating art means seeing the world through a different lens, where there are no rules or guidelines, and, in fact, stepping outside the normal lines of thought are essential. Creativity is both terrifying and freeing.

Steven dos SantosCreativity is like a key to me that unlocks a mental door into worlds I can only dream about, or nightmares I dare not speak of. Being highly imaginative can be a powerful gift, as it allows me to breathe life into blank pages and hopefully fill them with enough emotion, mystery, adventure, suspense, humor, and horror, to spawn a visceral connection with people I’ve never met before.

Brandy Colbert: Creativity allows me to craft a bit of sense from the people, words, and ideas that float around in my head. It assures me that daydreaming is never a waste of time.

That kinda leaves me. If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t have asked the question!

But seriously folks, to me, being creative means being out on the fairway during a thunderstorm and raising your 9-iron to the clouds. Take risks. Go out and seek the lightning. Because it does strike, but only if you’re lucky*.

* Definition of lucky: when preparedness meets opportunity.

by Alyson Heller

As I dodged shoppers last Friday at my local mall, I came to realize that trying to find that next “big thing” in publishing is like to trying to find a great pair of shoes on sale—really hard to do, may cause some panic attacks, but once in a while, you will find the perfect fit.

We editors have a love/hate relationship with that “thrill of the hunt”—with every email from an agent, we hope that once we click open the attachment or email, there will be a pitch or manuscript so amazing, we will have to stop our day to read and convince our powers-to-be to let us acquire it. Most of the time, it isn’t quite what we are looking for—it might not be our taste, or in line with our house publishing strategy—but every once in a while, there is a pitch or idea that makes us pause our day.

For me, I always have that gut feeling—much like that fabulous piece of jewelry that draws your eye, I just know that I absolutely have to try to make sure that particular manuscript gets to stay with me, knowing that I would be so very bummed out if I couldn’t work on the project. There’s usually a unique hook—an idea that hasn’t been done over and over and over again—or a character that I immediately fall in love with that triggers that feeling. I also try to see if there is something timeless about the story; a book that you know readers will think is still relevant to their world 10 years from now—the little black dress of publishing, so to speak.

Of course, love for the idea isn’t enough to propel that manuscript into something that can go directly from my in-box to the local bookstore. Even though this may have caught my eye, I need to make sure that the story ultimately can fit into the overall marketplace and fit in with our list. That means a revision or two (sometimes 3!), making sure that the author shares our vision for their project, and coordinating the best PR possible for the title.

Though writing may seem like a solitary endeavor, the editing process is a team effort, and one of the great joys I have with my job. Even though it can be daunting, that chase, that knowledge that another fantastic story for kids could be sitting with me (or a member of my terrific team), is what keeps me going—and what makes this crazy, wonderful, unpredictable world of publishing so great. There’s nothing like finally seeing that finished product hit the shelves—and knowing that book will hopefully be someone’s perfect fit.

Alyson is an assistant editor with Aladdin Books, a kid-centric imprint featuring titles with strong commercial appeal for readers of all ages up to tween.

Alyson was part of the S&S Associate’s Program before landing her job with the Aladdin imprint and becoming part of a wonderful team. Alyson works on everything from picture books through middle-grade novels. She has had the privilege of working with some fantastic authors (and agents!) during her time with S&S. Some new and upcoming titles that she has edited or co-edited include Just Add Magic by Cindy Callaghan, Odd Girl In by Jo Whittemore, Sprinkles and Secrets by Lisa Schroeder, Cold Case by Julia Platt Leonard, The Monstore by Tara Lazar and I Loathe You by David Slonim.

In addition to her love for reading and writing, Alyson is also a huge fan of traveling, baking, eating things that are bad for you, awful reality t.v., and all things sparkly. She currently lives in Connecticut.

Simon & Schuster has generously donated several picture book prizes for PiBoIdMo. Winners for the titles below will be announced on December 4th, randomly selected from those who completed the 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge. Thanks to Alyson and Simon & Schuster for the prizes!

by Pam Calvert

So, today you’re supposed to be eating lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, dressing, pies (emphasis on the plural here)…AND talking (not fighting) with your relatives. Enjoying your day! But still…it IS Picture Book Idea Month and so you’re also supposed to be thinking of a blockbuster picture book idea today as well. But I’m not thinking about today. No. I’m thinking about tomorrow.



And in honor of Black Friday, I’m going to veer off from the normal “how I get my ideas” blog post to a more material slant—something all picture book writers should have sitting with them when they’re about to brainstorm. Something you should ask for Christmas so you can weave all those good ideas into editor-loving stories. It’s something I bought myself (SPLURGED on) several years ago and it helped me brainstorm two of my upcoming picture books.

It’s called the Magna Storyboard Pad (pictured). Notice it has three areas where you can draw and lines for writing. “But WAIT!” you say. “I’M NOT AN ILLUSTRATOR!”

Well, I’m not either, but if you’re going to be a picture book author, you better be visualizing your story even before you start writing. This pad forces you to think in pictures. A lot of times, it’s easy for me to get swept away by my words when I should be visualizing my story first. And since I bought this pad, thinking in pictures has never been easier. And another secret?

No one has to see your pictures!

But I’ll show you some of mine so you’ll feel better about your artistic talent (because it’s gotta be better).

When I started on the sequel to my math adventure, MULTIPLYING MENACE, my editor told me I needed to meld one of my contracted stories with an earlier version of the sequel, MULTIPLYING MENACE DIVIDES. The contracted story was entitled, THE FROG PRINCE IN FRACTIONLAND. That meant I had to apply frogs throughout my original (that didn’t even have a frog in the background.) And I had to apply fractions throughout. This required pictures. Oh yeah, and I needed another villain. Panicking, I grabbed my math books, desperately searching for an idea. But then I remembered the storyboard pads. I hadn’t used them (even though it was at the top of my things to do list). I started with the new villain…

Her name was Diva Divine in a feeble attempt to use a play on words with division. Of course, through revision her name ended up being Matilda, but this is what she ended up looking like in the book:

There’s quite a bit of resemblance and I never had a talk with the illustrator, Wayne Geehan, about the witch. He suspected what she’d be like from her actions. But without my visualization on paper, her character may not have come out so well.

Now, the witch was the easy part. So much fun. I had her reading In Stye magazine and wearing Jimmy Ooze shoes (um…that never made it in the book…ha!).

The next part was thinking in fractions. So, I plotted out every element. Here’s one page example when I had to show how the division magic worked with dividing twelve kittens. I brainstormed some ways I could show this on the storyboard paper:

Not only did I brainstorm dividing the kittens into frogs, but I had to divide things by fractions, which makes a larger number. In the storyboard picture I used frogs, but they ended up being pigs. Here’s the finished page of the kittens.

After I completed this story, I was hooked! I would never again brainstorm without my storypad.

Here’s another example using my newest PRINCESS PEEPERS book entitled, PRINCESS PEEPERS PICKS A PET. These are the initial thoughts. Notice, I’m terrible at illustrating, but the ideas flow much more freely when I use it, and I can tell if my story would lend itself well to illustration. You need at least sixteen different scene changes for a picture book.

Here is Peepers trying to find a pet for the pet show:

She’s frustrated because she can’t find anything (that’s a frog on her head!) In the finished book, she does find the frog and it looks like this:

Before I leave you with your Black Friday find, I’ll show you my newest picture book idea brainstorm.


Pam Calvert has written picture books and stories for over ten years. Her picture books include MULTIPLYING MENACE: THE REVENGE OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN and PRINCESS PEEPERS, a Scholastic Book Clubs selection and listed as a Texas Mockingbird picture book pick. Her newest picture books will be out in the spring of 2011 entitled, MULTIPLYING MENACE DIVIDES and PRINCESS PEEPERS PICKS A PET. She’s writing new picture books as well as longer stories from her home in Houston, Texas.

by Anna Staniszewski

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little weird. I like to make up words and twist them around, and call things and people by funny names. Sometimes this amuses other people, and it always amuses me. That’s one of the keys to storytelling: having fun with words and concepts, and not being afraid to put in your own little bit of wackiness.

Now, I love picture books, but when it comes to writing I tend to be a novel person. I write long. So I was a bit surprised when an idea for a picture book popped into my head and demanded to be written. It was inspired by my dog Emma. (Isn’t she cute?)

Ever since my husband and I adopted Emma over the summer, it’s become a hobby of mine to come up with silly names for her. Miss Emma Dog. The Furry One. Emmakin Skywalker. She doesn’t seem to mind.

Emma gets very excited when she thinks she’s going for a walk. One morning, when she was trying to speed up the process by whimpering, I told her: “Hold on, Dogosaurus. We’re going.”

As we were on our walk, that word kept bouncing around in my head. Dogosaurus. And when I glanced over at Emma’s shadow, with its long snout and sharp teeth, it didn’t seem that far-fetched that a dog could turn into a dinosaur. And wow, what a whole lot of chaos that would be! Thus the idea was born.

At this point, the manuscript is still in its infancy. It’s gone through some major revisions, and I’m sure it’ll go through several more before it’s anywhere near done. But the initial idea, the initial weirdness, keeps me inspired to continue working on the story.

So as you’re thinking of ideas this month, why not try embracing your weirdness? Maybe there are things you do or say that people roll their eyes at? Use them! Maybe there’s a joke you made up that makes you laugh every single time you tell it? Mine it! The idea might be strange and silly, and it might entertain only you, but you never know where your inner weirdness can take you.

Anna Staniszewski lives near Boston with her husband and their adorably insane black Lab. She’s represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Anna’s debut novel, MY UN-FAIRY TALE LIFE, will be published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in September 2011. You can visit her at

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

A great road trip game is called “No, It Wasn’t.” It’s played with partners. One begins telling a story—any story. The other interrupts as often as desired with, “No, it wasn’t”—or any grammatically-correct contradiction.

It may sound like this:
1: One morning, Jane went for a walk.
2: No, she didn’t.
1: That’s right. It wasn’t a walk. She was running. For exercise.
2: No, it wasn’t.
1: Actually, it was because someone was chasing her. A bad guy.
2: No, it wasn’t.
1: No, it was the police. Jane is the bad guy.

And so on. The challenge to the storyteller is to instantly change direction, as often as they’re prompted. As the story continues, the predictable story lines usually fall away, and the requirement to make changes opens the doors to great creativity. A new story begins to emerge, one that goes in radical new directions. In the example with Jane above, it would’ve originally been a story about her going to visit her friends. In only three twists, Jane is on the run from the police.

This can be a useful brainstorming game for writers too. Maybe you won’t end up writing the story in the direction the game led you, but it does force you to explore more options than Jane simply being out for a walk.

If you’re already working on a premise, write a quick logline for it. In your first sentence, try a “no, it wasn’t,” and see where it leads you.

Or start fresh. Choose a main character, any main character, then give them something to do. And so your game begins.

Need a prompt?

Here it is: When (Main Character) came home that day an old friend was waiting.

No, it wasn’t.

Jennifer A. Nielsen’s debut novel Elliot and the Goblin War was released in October 2010. And it comes with a warning–as of today, only 7 children who have ever read this book have lived to tell about it. If you’re very brave, perhaps you’re willing to take your chance with it.

The next book in the series, Elliot and the Pixie Plot will be released in May 2011. It’s pretty much like the first book, except it has a different plot. Different artwork too. Because that’d be pretty lame if they just used the same art all over again.

So this self-proclaimed intergalactic superpower Mike Jung and I have a little middle grade book review thing going. You may have read our bookish banter regarding Nan Marino’s touching Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me or our unique take on Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead’s time-travel thriller When You Reach Me. (After all, Elizabeth Bird did mention our review in FuseNews.)

In a pathetic, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants fashion we dubbed ourselves the Ebert and Roeper of children’s book reviews.

We think you agree that the name lacks the imaginative flair and je-ne-sais-quoi mystique you’ve come to expect from Tara and Mike. Especially Mike. In the words of the immortal Steve Martin, he’s a wild and crazy guy.

So we thought–hey–we’re writers! We can do better than that. What’s better yet–we know a lot of writers! Smart writers! (Notice how I’m buttering you up.) They can certainly do better than that! In fact, why don’t we sit back and do nothing while they do all the work? Yes, we’ll have THEM choose the title for our review series while we collect all the middle grade glory!

We’re even offering up a prize! And again in the words of the immortal Steve Martin: “I’m picking out a Thermos for you. Not an ordinary Thermos for you. But the extra best Thermos that you can buy, with vinyl and stripes and a cup built right in.”

Well, I’m not sure if the prize is a Thermos. But it’s gonna be somethin’. Yes, you’re guaranteed SOMETHIN’.

Head on over to Mike’s Little Bloggy Wog for more details.

And tell him Ebert sent you. Or Roeper. We haven’t quite figured out who is who. (You see why we need a new name?)

Follow Me on Pinterest As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the road to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive kidlit news, writing tips, book reviews & giveaways via email. Wow, such incredible technology! Next up: flying cars.

Join 3,859 other followers

My Picture Books

Available now at:

Coming Soon:

illustrated by Benji Davies
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
August 2015

illustrator TBA
Random House
October 2015

illustrator TBA

My Other Books

Blog Topics


PiBoIdMo Shop

Get your PiBoIdMo mug, journal, tote and tee! Proceeds benefit Reading is Fundamental (RIF)!

Twitter Updates


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,859 other followers