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Lost in the library: what to read next?

Updated: Apr 6

Everything and anything in your genre. Read what your targeted age group is reading.



So you want to write a children's book for middle graders. Who are these children? What are their likes and dislikes? What do they do in their spare time besides social media? Are they climbing, racing, jumping over and crawling under whatever they can find?


I raised three mischievous, active, energetic boys. I knew what they were going to ask before the words slipped over their lips and landed in my ears. I had neighbors who had girl children who played or shall I say wanted to keep up with the boys. They were kinder more gentle creatures who loved asking questions and soothing the tangled nerves of the boys when plans didn't go so right. I knew them too.


I've spent hours in Barnes and Noble paging through middle-grade selections. I took notes. I talked with the on-duty librarian about what parents and their children bought. What caught their attention? (That's a whole different story.)


Some books that I think middle-grade children would like and are on my shelves are::

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper


and if you like stories set in foreign cultures, you will enjoy all of Carolyn Marsden's books.


How about one of these?

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

and one more

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno



In case you're dying to read something about writing, I have a few suggestions:


The best books to add to your collection fill the biggest gaps in your knowledge or provide the most inspiration.


Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style

Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.

Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces

Aristotle’s Poetics

John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers.

Stephen Pinker’s The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

John McPhee’s Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

Sol Stein’s On Writing

Blake Synder’sSave the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need










Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.”

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