Review: The Unteachables

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.

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Review: To Night Owl, From Dogfish

Book cover

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.

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Hurricane Child review

Hurricane Child cover

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.

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Making Frances Gilbert Laugh

Text: The marching band filled their tubas. AROOGAHFLOOP
She had me at “Aroogahfloop”.

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.

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New story: Kori and Nori Go Out For T. A. C. O.s

I have a story in the Young Explorers’ Adventure Guide, Volume 6, which is now available on Amazon. YEAG is a fantastic anthology series packed with fun SF for middle-grade explorers of the universe. Plus, I’m sharing a TOC with Nancy Kress! Woot!

My story, “Kori and Nori Go Out For T. A. C. O.s”, features two adventurous child-droids on a mission. I promise outrageous puns, post-apocalyptic adventure, and maybe even a TACO at the end.

If you have any elementary-aged science-fiction readers in your life, the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is stuffed with new worlds and new adventures written for kids. Or, as the Kickstarter put it, “24 more amazing science fiction stories for girls, boys and robots of all ages.”