Welcome to the end of 2017! In a matter of days our calendars will roll over to a new month, and a new year ripe with potential will begin. Today some of the contributors at Middle Grade Minded will be sharing some of our favorite books (or bookish moments) from 2017, and some of the things we’re looking forward to in 2018.
My favorite middle grade of 2017 was THE WAY TO BEA, by Kat Yeh. It is wonderful to imagine a world where we don't label someone right away. Instead, we get to know them first. The takeaway from this book is simple: Love is love is love. My best middle grade moment was being selected for Pitch Wars 2017. After two months of hard work under the supportive, insightful eye of my mentor, Julia Nobel, my middle grade contemporary manuscript emerged with tighter tension, faster pacing, and a heightened sense of mystery. I can't wait to see what lies ahead for this manuscript in 2018!
My favorite middle grade book this year was MRS SMITH'S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS. I loved Abby, the kick butt heroine and all of her sass and wit. This book was loaded with adventure and strong female characters plus spies. What more could you want?
In terms of favorite middle school memories, I was bullied a lot in middle school, but aside from Math and Science classes which I loved, I managed to find a safe haven and a friend in the school library. Which is odd looking back because at the time, I wasn't a huge reader, but I'm glad I had that safe space where I could be my crazy, goofy self.
In 2018 I'm looking forward to new beginnings and getting back to writing and working on some middle grade projects.
There were several phenomenal middle grade books released last year, but the one that easily affected me the most was THE DOLLMAKER OF KRAKOW by R.M. Romero, a seamless blend of fantasy and historical fiction told with an extraordinary voice. Beyond that my best Middle Grade Day was attending a young author’s conference that gave me the opportunities to meet authors Jacqueline West and Kelly Barnhill. As far as the coming year goes, I’m anxious to start working on some new ideas and getting at least one more manuscript out into the world!
Wendy McLeod MacKnight
My favourite middle grade read this year was ORPHAN ISLAND - it left me with so many questions and theories and was a beautiful story about the transition out of childhood.
My best middle grade memory was the publication of my first book, IT’S A MYSTERY, PIG FACE! It was the culmination of many years of hard work and many years of dreaming!
I’m excited about 2018! Greenwillow Books will publish my second novel, THE FRAME UP, in June, and I’m looking forward to school visits and hopefully, an opportunity to finally meet a lot of my writer friends!
My favorite 2017 release was ALL'S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL by Victoria Jamieson. As always, so funny and spot-on in terms of recreating all of those awkward childhood moments. Also, it totally made me want to work at a renaissance faire!!! My best MG memory was the publication of my debut novel, SKELETON TREE! It was SO AWESOME!!! (Yes, there are a lot of exclamation points in this post)! In 2018, I'm most looking forward to writing full-time. Yup, it's true, I will finally be fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a starving artist!!!
I recently shared three of my fave 2017 MG reads, but the one that had perhaps the biggest impact on me as a writer was WISHTREE, by Katherine Applegate. It spoke to me of possibility, reminding me how many different ways we can choose to tell a story, and how marvellously receptive kids and the kidlit community are to hearing stories told in all manner of voices and formats. I felt encouraged to stay out of writing ruts, to experiment, to play, and above all, to tell stories in whatever way they need to be told.
In 2017, one of the best MG moments for me personally was having my books selected for several provincial readers’-choice programs. It’s an honour and a thrill being part of any program that involves putting books in kids’ hands!
As 2018 nears, I’m super-excited about attending the OLA’s Festival of Trees as a Silver Birch award-nominee author, launching my third MG book (MISSING MIKE), and writing something new!