What Makes A Great Middle Grade Book?

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As a primarily MG writer, I come across some interesting conversations about what makes a middle grade novel really stand out. Of course, there’s no magic formula, but writers, librarians, and teachers of this dynamic age group might enjoy some of the following links:

HarperCollins children’s book editor Molly O’Neill and Dystel & Goderich literary agent Michael Bourret have started an online conversation about middle grade novels, covering topics (so far) like:

  • what exactly is the middle grade novel and how does it compare to young adult in content?
  • what do middle grade readers look for in their books?
  • what are common problems encountered while writing the MG novel?
  • how to market to MG readers, and how does this differ for young adults?
  • male vs. female protagonists – is one more likely to succeed?
  • how are MG books incorporated into the classroom?

Part One of this conversation between Molly and Michael can be found here, with part two here. If you’re into it, bookmark Molly’s site and you’ll most likely find part three up soon!

Agent Kristin Nelson is also running a cool video series, with a great introduction to middle grade covering the basics of defining the different age levels in middle grade books.

Finally, if you are a middle grade writer (or looking to become one), I cannot stress enough how awesome the #mglitchat hashtag on Twitter is. Sign yourself up and join an amazing group of generous writers, every Thursday at 9pm EST, where we discuss a variety of topics to strengthen your writing. The kidlit community in general is a wonderful place, so don’t hesitate to make some friends and connections!

* No, pancakes are not technically a requirement of middle grade writing, although they do help.

 

 

 

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