Fantasy’s been having a boom, fueled by everyone’s desire to read something that has absolutely nothing to do with COVID, politics, war, elections, police brutality, or anything else remotely recalling the past year. Well, forget fantasy. MG is where it’s at. In particular, Gordon Korman’s MG. His lightweight, warm writing is the perfect escape from the pandemic.Continue reading “Review: The Unteachables”
I recently picked up Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer’s 2019 book To Night Owl, From Dogfish. I’m a sucker for alternative formats, and this epistolary novel is told entirely in the form of e-mails between two middle-school girls.
I loved the queer-family representation in this MG book: both girls are in single-parent families headed by a gay father.
I’m perenially catching up on my reading, and just finished Kacen Callender’s 2020 MG debut, Hurricane Child. It was a thoroughly engrossing read. Set in the US Virgin Islands, it delivered a multisensory immersion into the life of a lonely 12-year-old. The main character, Caroline, is friendless and motherless. Her isolation nurtures her unique spirit. Caroline’s not quite like anyone else on the inside, and knows it. She sees spirits, and falls in love with an equally unusual girl.
The book’s structure feels a little messy, but in a way that works. Middle school is messy. For example, Caroline’s questions around her ability to see spirits are left unresolved. But that’s OK. No one’s finished figuring themselves out at 12.
This past Tuesday, I took in a webinar with Frances Gilbert, cheerfully titled “I’ll Acquire Your Book If You Make Me Laugh: Writing Humorous Picture Books”. Frances Gilbert is both an editor at Doubleday Young Readers and the author of several really funny picture books.Continue reading “Making Frances Gilbert Laugh”