Thought for the Day:
“Your black moment isn’t black enough until the reader, and possibly even you as the writer, can’t see a way out.”
~ Kara Lennox ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Chris Mooney has a good article from Writer’s Digest HERE that gives you 5 Rules for Writing Stories that Work. Lots of ads scattered through the article, but it’s worth the effort.
To prologue or not to prologue. That is the question. HERE is a good post from Kristen Overman and the Good Story Company that will help you figure it out.
We all hope and pray to get that elusive edit letter that means our books are in the chute. But sometimes it’s a bit of a shock. Emily K. Thiede has a really excellent post HERE that will give you good ideas about how to handle that.
I know my meme is one day late, but I didn’t find it until this week, so forgive me. The week many of us have been waiting for is finally here. I am excited by the number of people who have voted early, and I am especially excited that so many young people are turning out and many first-time voters. I am always astonished when I read about the the low turnout most elections have. I heard today that local elections generally have a turnout of only 20% of eligible voters, and that presidential elections barely break the 50% mark. That is so sad. I have voted in every single election I have been eligible to vote in since I turned 21. It hasn’t taken that much of an effort either. Just a little reading up and a short trip to a polling place, although now I vote by absentee ballot. In my opinion, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain. So, if you haven’t done so yet, please vote!
Last week, I offered a gently-read ARC of The Last Mirror on the Left by Lamar Giles and illustrated by Dapo Adeola to one of you. This week’s winner is K. A. Cummins. Congratulations, K. A.! K. A. is a writer from Alabama, and you can learn more about her at her site HERE. K. A., I will get your book out to you soon.
Once in a while, I hear from writers who have books coming out to ask if I will review their new books. I don’t always take them on as I have so many books to review for the book review company I work for, but when I hear from Shannon Hitchcock, I know I need to make time. Her books are such a treat. Her new book, Flying Over Water, just came out on October 20, and I received the copy she sent me on Friday. I didn’t get to start it until yesterday, but I was excited to read it, so I put everything else aside and got to it. It isn’t Shannon’s book alone. She has a writing partner, N. H. Senzai, who has several middle-grade books published. These two women have written a wonderful book, told from the points of view of two 7th-grade girls, one a native-born American girl, the other a new immigrant, a Muslim girl whose family has come from a Syrian refugee camp.
Noura and her twin brother, Ammar, arrive in Tampa Bay, Florida with their parents and little brother, Ismail. Noura is terrified of water, so flying over so much water was really, really hard for her. They are met at the airport by the news that the president has put in a Muslim ban, but there are plenty of people there to help them. At their apartment, they meet Jordyn, a very tall blond girl who tells Noura she will be her student ambassador and will help her navigate around school and learn to be more comfortable. While there are a lot of nice kids at the school, there are a couple of real trouble makers, kids who have learned to hate and make that hate known. Noura and Ammar are harassed by a some students when they are trying to find a quiet place for their daily prayers. They request a place for prayers from the principal, and are given the use of an old storage room. The custodian cleans it out, and several of the kids decorate it. It becomes a center for kids of many faiths who want to pray or meditate or just have a safe, quiet place. Jordyn, who seems to have a perfect life, has problems of her own. Her mother, who had a recent miscarriage, hasn’t been herself, and Jordyn has a secret that makes her feel really guilty. It causes her to start having panic attacks, and she blows one of her swimming competitions. The harassment at school escalates, and some terrible things happen. Can the kids pull together and help each other overcome all that they face?
This is a terrific book that is incredibly timely for youngsters today. It is beautifully written and very compelling. The two points of view work really well for this story. The voices are distinctive and each girl is a rich and complex character. In fact, all the characters are fully-formed and realistic. This would be a great read-aloud in middle-grade classes and a wonderful way to start important discussions. It is such a lovely story, it deserves readership well beyond its intended middle-grade audience. We can all learn from this powerful story.
I have no giveaway this week. I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.