Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Publishers Weekly Talks Middle Grade Novels with Lisa Yee, Kate DiCamillo, Gordon Korman, Kwame Mbalia, Sharon Draper, Meg Medina, Laekan Zea Kemp, Kyle Lukoff, Marjorie Liu, Varian Johnson, and Saadia Faruq

Shannon Maughan chats with a number of amazing authors about writing middle grade books in this Publishers Weekly article, Middle Grade from the Author’s Desk.

screen shot of the Publishers Weekly article "Middle Grade from the Author's Desk" showing a photo of Lisa Yee and her latest middle grade novel, "Maizy Chen’s Last Chance"

Some standout quotes in the authors' discussion of what it means to write for middle grade readers:

“It’s about finding agency at a time when we have the least amount of power and yet can recognize that fact.” —Kwame Mbalia (The Tristan Strong trilogy)

“I love middle grade because I feel like it’s where characters are first discovering who they are in the world... They’re beginning to see that no one is perfect, even themselves.” —Varian Johnson (Playing the Cards You’re Dealt)

“The challenge is to write something that inspires them and encourages them and doesn’t bore them... Something that keeps their attention. And as writers we have to be better and better because [middle readers] all have a phone and they spend so much time on their devices. And when they get home, they’re watching television. So I strive to capture something that will get them away from some kind of device and into an actual book with words.” —Sharon Draper (Out of My Heart)

Read the full article here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

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