Thought for the Day:
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
M. L. Davis has something HERE on Uninspired Writers all writers need to see. I am going to print this out and hang it in my office.
Editor Louise Harnby really knows her stuff. HERE she has a post about Filter Words in Fiction: Purposeful Inclusion and Dramatic Restriction.
Eldred Bird can help you Let Your Characters Tell the Story HERE on Writers in the Storm.
I have been busy this week working on my writing, and I have made some progress. I even made a couple of submissions. I have also been taking some on-line classes. For some reason, I have been getting offers for a LOT of free on-line classes. I have never been as good about studying the craft of writing as I should be, so I’m trying to turn a page in that area. Some of them have been quite useful but, honestly, some of them are simply very long ads for expensive programs people are trying to sell. SCBWI offers some great free workshops for their members, and I’m grateful for those. If you are a writer for children of any age and not a member, I highly recommend it.
Last week I offered a gently-read ARC of The Insiders by Mark Oshiro. A few of my readers had already read it. I guess I am not the only person absolutely buried in books. I didn’t have to do a drawing, because only Antoinette Truglio Martin either hadn’t read it or had time, so congratulations, Antoinette, you are the winner! If you don’t know her, Antoinette is a writer with two middle-grade books recently released — The Heart of Bakers and Artists and The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers — as well as some other books. You can learn more about her writing at her site HERE. Antoinette, I will get your book out to you soon.
I hear from the publicist at Candlewick Press now and then with the offer of books in exchange for honest reviews. That was how I ran across Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen by Kate McGovern. What a find! The main character is a budding writer, which makes this an even more interesting read. Here is my review.
Maple, a budding writer, is coming to the end of fifth grade. Her stories, which she dictates into a recorder, are often based on her own life, but, you know, so much better. She and her two best friends, Aislinn (Ash) and Marygold, are really looking forward to sixth grade and being somewhat separated from the “little kids” in K-5. Maple thought her biggest challenge in school was being the only Hin-Jew (half Hindu and half Jewish) in the school, but then she is faced with the worst news she could imagine. She is being held back. Her teacher explains to Maple and her parents it has become apparent Maple can’t read. She thought she had hidden her problem well enough to keep sliding by, but her teacher wasn’t fooled. Maple can’t bring herself to tell her friends until the end of summer. She thinks their friendship won’t change, but she is wrong. When school begins, she seems invisible to Ash and Marygold. When Maple is pulled out with three other kids for special reading help, she lies to one of the kids, saying she is the teacher’s assistant. That lie comes back to haunt her when she is found out. But she makes other cringe-worthy decisions that really make things worse.
Kate McGovern must have a terrific memory for what it feels like to be a fifth-grader because the voice is pitch-perfect in this compelling first-person narrated novel. Young people will relate to the problems Maple faces on several fronts and how overwhelming those problems seem. The writing is simply wonderful and the story is engaging for any of any age lucky enough to get their hands on a copy. Don’t miss this terrific book.
I have a gently-read ARC 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 Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.