And we have some winners! (And some answers about writing middle grade)

And the winner of package one: The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner AND To Find a Wonder by Jennifer Carson goes to……..

# 9    Joyce Lansky

And the winner of Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner and To Find a Wonder by Jennifer Carson goes to……

#26 Kristin Gray

Congrats winners! Please email me with your address!

These truly are terrific books! Enjoy!

And some answers from my readers to the question: Why is middle grade so hard to get right?

Alliterive Allomorph

I don’t write MG or YA, but I assume it might be because, you being an adult, the material doesn’t seem original enough. But for a kid, someone who hasn’t had the life experience you’ve had, I think it would interest them becasue they haven’t read about it, seen it in the movies, or lived any such thing yet.

The books that obviously grab you, are things you’ve never read before, or perhaps conjured emotions you’ve never felt when reading before. But remember, there’s a first time for everything, and kids are going to expereince a lot more firsts than you are.


An interesting question. I find that MG varies a lot in terms of how young the voice seems. It think it’s hard to capture a MG perspective when you’re an adult because your life experience gets in the way.


We’ve been enjoying Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Desperaux–and what I think she does well is layer elements that appeal to kids with ones that appeal to adults. Some of the humor is over the head of my 7.5-yo, but hubby and I have been riveted by it. My daughter is captivated by the underdog storyline.

Maybe that’s the answer? I think MG books are more likely to be read-alouds to early readers, so the best books have dual appeal to the kids and the parents reading them aloud. Look at the Hobbit and Harry Potter–they also have that layering. I’ve heard the same about the Percy Jackson books.

Andrea Vlahakis

I think one reason may be that there’s such a spectrum of MG readers, from early books like Mr. Putter and Tabby, to HP, and everything in between.


MG can’t be too babyish and it can’t be too YA-ish. I think it needs voice and plot balanced. The ones that are “all voice” and no plot thread bug me to pieces, and I just got done throwing one against… er, I mean, taking it back to the library. Of course, the other extreme doesn’t work either

I knew had smart readers! Thanks everyone!



9 Responses to And we have some winners! (And some answers about writing middle grade)

  1. Joyce Lansky June 28, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Wow! Thank you. “The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z” is even an AR book that my students will read too.

    1683 Bryn Mawr Cove
    Germantown, TN 38138

  2. Joyce Lansky June 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I’m not totally awake at 7:00 AM. I just noticed a second book To Find a Wonder by Jennifer Carson. Yippee! Thanks so much.

    This makes my day.

  3. Marcia June 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Congrats, winners! The only one in the group I’ve read is Gianna Z, and I can recommend it highly.

  4. Susan R. Mills June 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Very thoughtful answers from your readers. All so true. Congrats to the winners.

  5. Creepy Query Girl June 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    Congratulations to all the winners! Yes, I agree that its a delicate balance when it comes to MG. I don’t know if I could ever do it meself!

  6. Kelly Polark June 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    Congrats, winners!
    I liked the commentary on the MG!

  7. kris June 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Congrats to the winners!

  8. Jennifer Shirk June 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Great contest!
    Yes, MG is a tricky balance to get right. Loved those answers!

  9. Robert Guthrie June 29, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    I’m thinking of Oreos – sometimes the middle is the best stuff.

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