Thursday, September 24, 2009

Come On Over For A Middle Grade Par-Tay!!!

Welcome, friends!

Today we are hosting a not-to-be-missed Middle Grade Par-Tay.

Who is we?

Excellent question.

We is me and Sherry from Does This Blog Make My Butt Look Big? (how cool is that blog name?)

Why are we celebrating all things Middle Grade today?

Well, aside from it being the coolest genre ev-ah, we hope to teach a little bit.

Middle Grade fiction is novel length work for children ages 8-13. Think: Island of the Blue Dolphins or Harry Potter or Fablehaven or City of Ember or Stargirl or Because of Winn Dixie or The Tale of Despereaux or The Giver .....

that's Middle Grade.

So, Sherry and I interviewed each other and you can enter to win one of FOUR super novels by commenting on both of our blogs today.

We are giving away

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Newbery Award)

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deobrah Wiles (National Book Award)

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (a must read for every teen age girl!)


Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

All super reads that you are sure to enjoy.

Here's my interview w/ Sherry. When you're done here pop over to her blog see what I'm up to on the MG front.

Party on!

Welcome to the party, Sherry. Tell us, what were some of your favorite books when you were a kid?
As a kid reading was and still is my greatest escape. I was/am an only child so books were always my best friends. I love middle grade books and must admit there is something enchanting about that age. One book I really loved was A Wrinkle in Time. I love all of the books in this series by Madeleine L’Engle. A wrinkle in Time starts off with the classic cliché “It was a dark and stormy night” sheer brilliance. I also really love Dicey’s Song from the Tillerman series by Cynthia Voigt. I guess you could say I am big fan of Newbery Honor winners. Some others include Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies…I was in advanced English and literature all throughout junior high and high school so my list is vast and far. Oh, and I love collections of short stories about ghost and horror.

Why do you write middle grade fiction?
I write middle grade because…it is the age that I never want to forget. It is time when the world seems so big and unconquered but yet, at the same time middle grade children feel they can do it all. It is a time of self discovery a perfect balance of innocence and young adulthood. I remember when I was at the age of 13, I said, as most do “Parents just don’t know how hard it is to be a kid.” And so often I think us, as adults forget…I promised myself that I would never forget what it was like to be a kid. I write middle grade to remember those time and maybe somehow through my novels I can help a child smile, laugh or understand that it is ok, things will get better.

Can you give us a brief summary of your middle grade novel?
Ahh, I have to laugh at this because I am a bit sporadic and have many WIPs, “No, I do not have commitment issues, I am just hyper. He he” Here is a summary of one of my fav. WIPs
Letters to Grandma “This is my most personal novel.”
Letters to Grandma takes place on the dirt roads of Texas, set in a time of the late seventies. Rock and roll and love power spread like wildflowers. Emily has been living on a farm just outside of the city limits with her grandmother. At a very young age Emily’s mother didn’t want her and grandma has been raising her ever since but two days before her thirteenth birthday tragedy strikes a little too close to home Emily’s world turns upside down. Not only is she ripped from her childhood home but now she has to move to the city to live with her alcoholic mother. Everything is different, new school, new home, and no more dirt roads. In an effort to deal Emily starts writing letters to grandma taking us on a journey through her changing life.

Thanks, Sherry! Hey party pals, remember to comment on both blogs to be entered in the drawing for one of the four middle grade novels we will be giving away. comments accepted through Tues night. Winners announced Wed am.

And, tell us, have you read any middle grade novels? Which are your favorites? What do you love most about those books? Which of you fun friends actually write middle grade? What are you working on?


superpaige said...

First of all, I was thinking you were actually hosting a party, like a real life party, for your middle child. I know, it's still early, and I'm not quit fully functioning. I Do enjoy the middle grade fiction. Reading stargirl right now, thank you very much.

lucent1 said...

I loved those books from my youth! My very favorite was My Side of the Mountain...I used to pretend I was like that boy living in the hole of a tree. Fun, fun party!

storyqueen said...

What a great idea! It is so nice to wake up to a a party on a Monday morning!



Lynnette Labelle said...

Fun! I write adult romantic suspense, but this was a nice break.

Lynnette Labelle

JKB said...

I love MG! It's what I write, it's what I most remember, it's what I love.

I hope to find other MG writers answering your questions, so I can find some other MGers!

Brilliant idea!

Linda Kage said...

How fun. A double interview. And I do love the name of Sherry's blog. My twelve year old nephew is big into reading right now. He'll call me every once in a while. "Aunt Linda, do you have this book or that book?" It's fun. Gives us stuff to talk about.

I think the latest middle grade book I read was Harry Potter, but I'm bound and determined to start on the Inkheart series soon. Plus my nephew says I must read The Spiderwick Chronicles. He's currently working his way through Gary Paulsen's books right now.

beth said...

(Don't enter me--I already have those books!)

But I love MG. It's just such a joy to read and write. It's that wonderful time where magic *is* possible.

Michelle said...

(waving hand in the air)Me! I write middle grade! I'm working on a quirky story in which a boy is staying with a great aunt whose garden is producing gigantic vegetables and he's trying to find out how she does it.

Tess said...

superpaige: lol! you crack me up. and, you'll love stargirl, I guarantee it.

lucent1: yes, that's one of my early favs as well

storyqueen: yes, a monday morning party to shake us awake and welcome our week :)

lynetee: so that's what you write - cool.

JKB: we need to find each other and stick together, don't we???

Linda: that's one thing I love about mg as well - sharing the books w/ my kids and nieces/nephews and talking about them. Inkheart is excellent and Gary Paulsen is one of my all time favorite authors.

beth: really? all of them? how very cool of you.

Michelle: that sounds so fantastic - I'd pick that one off the shelf in a second.

Davin Malasarn said...

Tess, it's fun to read this--and to realize how many memorable books fall into the middle grade category. Hatchet and Wrinkle In Time both stand out as books I loved reading in school. You're the only middle grade writer that I'm aware of at the moment!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I LOVE parties! LOL!

I was working a middle school book fair and JUST picked up Meg Cabot's Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls and Agnes PArker Keeping Cool in Middle School. :)

But alas, I write lighthearted romances. (For now...)

Stephanie Faris said...

Great interview! I actually liked the first Molly Moon book. I had an agent ask me to turn my ya into a middle-grade/tween novel so I had to read up...and I read quite a few. That was the one I liked best, though.

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

Great interview. (Though I could have sworn I commented on this one.) As for midgrade, I've read HP and Fablehaven (love both). I don't really know what books I've read were or weren't MG so I can't really say any others for certain. I'm sure I read MG when I was that age, but I could be wrong. I tend to block a lot of those years. Or at least blur them together so I can elide past them.

Anita said...

I love this genre and have many favorites, but I just read THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and am totally struck by the author's talent. Good stuff there. Good stuff.

Lazy Writer said...

Oh, a party! I love parties. Island of the Blue Dolphins is one of my all time favorites. I also loved Winn Dixie. One of the ideas floating around in my head is for Middle Grade. I've only written YA up until now, but I think this idea is dying to be let loose, so I may give it a shot.

Tess said...

Davin: it's kind of fun to introduce other writers to MG (though they know the books from their own youth).

Jennifer: Allie Finkle is in my TBR list right now, glad to hear it is worthwhile :)

Stephanie: now that is the begining of a story I would like to hear more details of sometime....

NWA: yes, I've blocked out some of those jr high years as well (but not the books..they were my only respite!)

Anita: A great recommendation, I loved Hugo as well. It deserves the awards and accolades!

Lazy: welcome to the party :) Write that MG story, there is a fantastic market for them at the present time.

Tamika: said...

Hi Tess!

I never knew MG was middle grade novel! How wonderful!

I grew up loving everything from R.L. Stine. My daughter is an avid reader, I will have to peek in her room and see what is dooning her shelves.

Blessings to you...

Jill Kemerer said...

Great interview! I agree, being a kid is hard! A few series I loved: The Black Stallion, the Shoes series (Dancing Shoes, Skating Shoes...), and Betsy-Tacy. Thanks for the fun Partay!

Danyelle said...

Middle grade and YA are my all time favorite genres! There's something remarkable about them that I'm not able to find in the adult section of the book store. I loved The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Name of This Book is a Secret, Candy Shop Wars, anything by Bruce Coville, or Patricia C. Wrede. The Wren books by Sherwood Smith. Diana Wynne Jones's books--she is amazing with fantasy. Jessica Day George and Shannon Hale are also excellent authors. I just finished reading Forest Born, and wow. Just wow. :D

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't write MG but I enjoy it all the same. I'm currently reading the Percy Jackson series and having a lot of fun with that. Older favorites of mine were things like Island of the Dolphins.

Great interview, Tess. I'm off to read the other one!

Robyn Campbell said...

I write MG and loved the interview. I'll pop on over and read yours now Tess. But I write MG, because that period in a persons life can be the grandest and worst of times. All mixed in one little ball. So I wanted to share that with all kids that age. And Hatchet is one of my fav MG books. Also Black Beauty(my fav book ev-ah) which I consider to be MG. I mean this book was written for vets and people who have horses. To understand how to care for them. Hey, it is one of the most widely read novels in the world and in all the ages. :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

My beta reader Natalie Bahm writes MG. She just got signed with The Nelson agency. I LOVED her story. And I will be receiving The SEcret of Indigo Moon in the mail soon, so I'll be reading that one too. :)

Sharon Mayhew said...

Party on...That brings back some memories!
Favorite MG books: Island of the Blue Dolphin, Julie of the Wolves, Hatchet...I loved and still love survivor type books, be them surviving in the wilderness or surviving the teenage years.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love a party :)

I still read mostly middle grade (and write it too!). My favorites are the Gregor the Overlander series, The Indian in the Cupboard, the Spiderwick books, the Percy Jackson books, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, actually anything by Judy Blume...I could go on forever here. I love MG fiction!

Sarah said...

Yay for MG writers! Most of the Slushbusters write MG.

I loved Tale of Despareaux. I read it aloud to a girl who had just found out that the little girl her family was going to adopt had died. The act of reading and the story itself provided so much shelter that day...

Tess said...

Tamika: welcome! and, glad to be able to share a little info :)

Jill: loved those dancing shoes stories as well..and who doesn't love Black Beauty? A classic.

Danyelle: some great ones and many to choose from.

LT: thanks for coming by. I think more people read and love middle grade then even they realize. it's easy to love imho :)

Robyn: of course Black Beauty! How could I have missed that in my list of favs? It was one almost all of us read as 10 year old girls. Ah, good times...good times...

KarenAmanda: I don't know The Secret of Indigo Moon...will have to check into it...

Sharon: I love those survivor books as well - maybe it's because we've been through a thing or two and have had to learn a bit of survival ourselves ;)

SlovangSherrie: oh, Judy Blume! That brings back memories - and I agree the Spiderwick books (and movie) were really magical.

Sarah: yes, yay for MG writers!! Such a touching story you share here. It is true that a novel can be a balm for us at times of need. Beautiful thought.

B.J. Anderson said...

Aw, man! I missed it. I have a whole stack of new middle grade to read, and I'm so excited! I just finished the Percy Jackson series. It was awesome!

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

Party over here, party over there. I love starting the day off with a Par-tay.

Thanks for the interview Tess.

Tess said...

BJ - you didn't miss it, the par-tay continues through tonight (Tues) at which time we will draw four names and post the winners on Wed.

Sherry - it has been great fun, thanks!

PJ Hoover said...

Great interview on a fun topic!
I see myself writing both YA and MG and reading the same. I really enjoyed the Fablehaven books and the City of Ember.

Suzanne said...

Hey Tess?

Is Holes MG?

I am such a literary loser for a writer.

Lady Glamis said...

Ah, I missed all of this, oh well! I'm so behind lately, ugh.

I love middle grade, especially after learning more about it and how hard it is to write! Thanks for this interview. :)

Crystal said...

Hey Tess,

Sorry I'm straggling in late here to the party . . . but better than late than never!
Whoo-Hoo! Great idea to have a book party . . . :)

Loved reading Sherry's interview here and will hop on over to her blog when I finish here.

Yes, MIDDLE GRADE rocks! I'm currently writing a MG historical. I think growing up, MG was the genre I read more than any other. There's just something about a MG story that you could just sit and read for hours and where, even if it's a relatively sad story, you still feel hopeful at the end. And you just hate to turn that last page because it's like saying goodbye to a dear friend you've been chatting with for hours!

My faves were Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, Ruth Chew, the Little House books, Louise Fitzhugh (Harriet the Spy), E.L. Konigsburg, Mary Norton (The Borrowers series) . . . And more recently, I've come to like Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo, Jaqueline Woodson, Gary Schmidt.

I have the Deborah Wiles title but I'd love to win one of Jerry Spinelli's (always heard great things about his books, but never got around to reading them!)

Party on!

Amy Tate said...

I'm a little late to the party, but enjoyed this post nonetheless! I love middle grade fiction! I have two favorites so far for 2009; Chains by Laurie H. Anderson and The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Michael Cochran.

Kelly H-Y said...

Great interview ... and, wow, what a list of book giveaways!

FictionGroupie said...

I haven't read much middle grade lately, but I remember the ones I loved in my childhood. Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle In Time series, The Neverending Story, the Bunnicula books (that might have been younger reader, can't remember), and anything by Roald Dahl