Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why I Write Middle Grade

I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy Spring Break with my 8th grader, I'm just saying that if I could've made her wear a burkha in the hotel pool, I would have. I've also learned that last summer's bikini top should always be tried on before this year's vacation. Okay, enough about my daughter picking up a sophomore in the hot tub...

My point is this: I spent many moments feeling wistful about my 10-year-old as she skipped down hiking trails, fell in love with stuffed animals in gift shops, and relished every new experience with exuberance. Every now and then she'd stop to bump pinkie fingers with me.

I know it won't be long until she learns to roll her eyes, scoff with disdain, and attract the attention of boys at the hotel pool. Fortunately this came in the mail while I was gone:


A package of letters from 4th graders in Overland Park, Kansas! Dozens of adorable thank you notes with pictures. Several kids felt inspired to become writers, others loved Jungle Crossing, some "might" read it now that they've met me, a few can't wait to get older so they can read my teen novels. I learned about their pets, their families, the imaginative stories they love to write. One girl told me about her favorite books, but confessed that she occasionally checks out Captain Underpants so she won't look "weird." Aw!

I almost cried with relief at the realization that because I write middle grade novels, I will always be able to hang out with sweet, spunky, spontaneous 10 year olds!



8 comments:

  1. LOVE IT! That's why I'm focusing on MG for my blog and why I love 7th graders - well ok I love them more at the beginning of the year when they are more like 6th graders. About this time of the year they are turning into 8th grader :(

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  2. 8th graders should be their own species. No offense to 8th graders (although you know that you're secretly proud of it!)

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  3. That's such an honor! What fun letters.

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  4. It totally made my day, Valynne!

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  5. I bet at that age they have so much to say and are glad people are taking an interest in them. Especially an author! I think it's great you got to visit with them and now have a bunch of great letters! (Fodder for stories even?) Haha :)

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  6. Debbie, I have to admit that I was intrigued by the girl who checks out certain books just so she doesn't seem weird : )

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