#MGGetsReal, Brendan Kiely, Giveaway, Gretchen Olsen, Jason Reynolds, Joyce M. Hostetter, Kathy Burkinshaw, Kathy Wiechman, Kerry Cerra, Sandra Dutton, Shannon Hitchcock, Shannon Wiersbitzky

More #MGGetsReal and a Fabulous GIVEAWAY!!!

Thought for the Day:
“All the best ideas come out of the process; 
they come out of the work itself.” 
~ Chuck Close, painter ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
My blogging buddy Greg Pattridge from Always in the Middle was kind enough to forward a link all about writing body language. He found useful and so do I, so I will pass it along. You can find Greg’s blog HERE and the useful link HERE.
We have all heard that one can’t be a real writer if one doesn’t write every day. Read another view HERE

Kristen Lamb has faced some personal problems, as have I, this year, and she has a great post HERE about ways to get your mojo back after going through such problems.

My daughter Maggie and I finished our cross country journey on Friday and arrived at The Barn, home of the Highlights Foundation’s incredible workshops. I will be spending the next few days with David L. Harrison and a small group of other writers and editors working on the process of writing poetry. I thought the Thought for the Day was a good reminder of something we all need to remember as we write. 

Since I am still traveling, Shannon Wiersbitzky is stepping in with more wonderful information on middle-grade books that take on tough topics. Enjoy! And please leave a comment so Shannon knows I really do have readers. 


The group of authors working on #MGGetsReal also have a GIVEAWAY of all five of the Get Real books. Don’t miss this chance. Click HERE to find out all about it. Take it away, Shannon!
Hello again The Write Stuff readers! We didn’t do too much damage last week (I took care of the pizza boxes and soda cans) so let’s give it another go! 

We were chatting about how myself and four other authors have created #MGGetsReal in an effort to get books about real (and sometimes tough) topics into the hands of kids. There are so many topics kids need to hear about today. And books continue to be a terrific way to deal with those topics. 

Now and then we hear of books being banned because the subjects are deemed inappropriate. We’ve also heard about authors being “disinvited” to schools because their novels deal with a topic the school feels unprepared to talk about. 

Hmm. My guess is that the kids wouldn’t feel the same way. Kids tend to lean into differences or unknowns, to walk right over and ask questions. For some reason, as we age, we increasingly shy away from this same behavior. We shush the conversation and try to move along. 

But we shouldn’t. Books help kids understand themselves. Understand others. Understand the world around them and all the tough and complicated topics that includes. 

This week, the five of us want to recommend another five books that fit in #MGGetsReal. And we welcome you to share more. Leveraging Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever social channel you prefer, share book titles with the tag #MGGetsReal. Together we can create a growing list for teachers, librarians, and parents. 

From Kerry Cerra comes a book with a compelling take on bullying. According to Kerry, “I’ve never read anything like it and when I talk about it during my school visits it is, hands down, the #1 book that most kids jot down the title of.”

CALL ME HOPE by Gretchen Olsen. 

A bully is ruining eleven-year-old Hope’s life, and she doesn’t know what to do. She can’t even go to her mother for help, because the bully is her mother.

Kathy Burkinshaw recommends a 2016 debut Author, Melanie Conklin, and her novel COUNTING THYME, which tackles cancer and the subject of experimental drugs. 

When eleven-year-old Thyme Owen’s little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.

Shannon Hitchcock picked the book MARY MAE AND THE GOSPEL TRUTH by Sandra Dutton. 

Ten-year-old Mary Mae loves Sunday school and studying fossils. Trouble is her mama believes God created the earth in six days, only six thousand years ago. 

Shannon says, “Over the course of the story, Mary Mae learns that her love of science doesn’t mean she can’t believe in a higher power. Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth is not only a heartwarming story, it serves as a mirror for children raised in fundamental Christian homes. I can’t think of another Middle Grade novel that tackles faith and science without disparaging either one.” 

From Joyce Hostetter comes EMPTY PLACES by Kathy Cannon Wiechman. 

Adabel’s mom is dead and her father is a temperamental alcoholic. 

“I believe lots of readers will relate to the story of children largely depending on each other for emotional and physical survival. Set in KY coal mine country during The Great Depression.” 

I picked a title that deals with race relations. After all the television clips in recent months my youngest son asked me, “Why are some people so afraid of others without even knowing them?” It is a great question. One that can be applied to so many topics, race, religion, nationality, disability, and the list goes on. 

I suggested we read ALL AMERICAN BOYS by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. 

Rashad is just trying to buy a bag of chips at the local corner store when things spin terribly out of control. He is beaten and arrested, accused of shoplifting, and everyone in town begins picking sides. 

This book was eye-opening to me. It highlights how the same incident can be viewed so many different ways. And it makes real for readers how complicated it can be to know what to do in this type of situation. Not only for Rashad, but for those who saw it happen. 

If you know a book on a tough topic that would fit the #MGGetsReal mission, share it with us! Add it to our Facebook page. And wherever you are on social media, join the conversation. Just use #MGGetsReal. It’s as easy as that. 

Thanks so much for having us! We look forward to connecting with you.


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