Wednesday, July 21, 2010

class notes

I've been entrenched in the writing of my new novel ("Dumpling Days") and while it's always roller coaster, every time the ride feels different. What's interesting this time is when I mention the age range (7-11) I am writing to non-book people, I get a distinct feeling of disappointment in my ambitions. As if by now I should have graduated to writing real books, older books or at least cooler or hipper books that could rival "Twilight."

I always smile politely, as I do understand their idea of success. And who knows, maybe someday I will. But I have a feeling, in terms of writing, that the young middle grade novel will be the book I will never graduate from.

Part of my "lecture" for the Pine Manor class I taught about writing the Middle Grade Novel:

Why write middle-grade novels, especially young middle grade? One can say you have more restrictions in terms of subject matter, audience and even respect than the other genres. But I think it is one of the most important forms,if not the most important form, of children's literature. These are the books that change a child that can read books to a child that LOVES to read books. What they call a "reader," a true life-long book lover. The picturebook is rarely read independently and the YA reader has already decided whether he or she likes books. The middle-grade novel is the one that can create a transformation.