Thought for the Day:
“Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow – whether there is a market for it or not! The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We all have to do research and the link HERE which is full of links, will help anyone research whatever they might need to research. This is a TERRIFIC post.
Query letters are so important, and we have to get them right. HERE is a good post from Uninspired Writers about what should be left out of query letters, just as important as what should be in them.
Backstory. We hear a lot about it and don’t always know how to handle it. Janice Hardy at Fiction University has some good hints HERE.
I want to mention a book I just finished reading that I won’t be reviewing here. It’s not a middle-grade book, but I have many readers who aren’t middle-graders who might like it. It is Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes. This is her memoir of her childhood written in free verse. Nikki Grimes did not have an easy childhood and some of this is really hard to read about. But her writing is so extraordinary and gorgeous, that I have to pass the word and recommend it. It’s really a YA, but if you have a very sophisticated, mature middle-grader, maybe this would be fine.
The book I will review (and give away!) today is Free Lunch by Rex Ogle. I always find books by authors about their own adolescence pretty interesting. When I saw this book on the review list for the Tulsa Book Review and saw that Rex Ogle is a DC Comics guy, I thought it should be a good read. Here is the review I wrote for TBR.
Sixth grade is a tough time, especially for kids who feel they don’t fit. Rex is one of those kids. He lives in a crappy apartment with a mother, step-father, and baby brother. There is never enough of anything, especially food, and a whole lot of abuse going on. Rex’s mother is mean, but when she announces he’s on the free lunch program, it’s almost more than Rex can bear. It’s embarrassing. The cashier in the lunchroom makes a big show of looking up his name every day to check it off. For some reason Rex never makes the connection that she has to look through pages of kids to find his name, meaning he is far from alone. Still, the shame he feels is great at being so poor, wearing clothes that don’t fit, not having school supplies, and mostly being on the free lunch program.
Rex Ogle’s memoir is tough to read. The adult characters are one-dimensional, very bad people. Rex’s anger at his situation is palpable and exacerbates his problems. Young readers may have a tough time getting through this book as there is so little hope, but it’s worth the time.
I have a gently-read ARC of this book for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.