Thursday, July 12, 2018

TRAVELING THE WORLD THROUGH BOOKS, by Hilda Eunice Burgos



It’s the middle of summer vacation, and many families take this opportunity to visit new places with their children.  What better way to learn about the world than to see it firsthand?  Unfortunately, that is not in everyone’s budget or schedule.  My family did not take many trips when I was a child, but the local public library was right down the street.  As a result, I did a lot of “traveling” during my summer breaks, and I continue to see the world through books.

This year alone I experienced a Palestinian wedding in the Middle East through Randa Abdel-Fattah’s moving book, Where the Streets Had a Name, I visited Frida Kahlo’s home in Mexico with the exciting Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring, by Angela Cervantes, and I saw the heart of Cuba when I read Margarita Engle’s lyrical Forest World. 





These are just a few examples of the wonderful middle grade books that take us outside of our country and help expand our minds and awareness.  Let’s encourage our kids to step into a book and travel the world.  Does anyone have additional recommendations?

Monday, July 9, 2018

To Write or Not to Write...Every Day by Hilary Wagner




A lot of writers think writing every day is the best medicine to keep your skills sharp and get yourself out of writers' block. Then there are others who believe it's best to step away for a time until an idea strikes or simply to take a mental break. 

I'm in the step away house, generally for no more than a week. If I'm not feeling it, I'm just not feeling it. And let me add, I don't mean editing or reworking a scene I've already written. I can do that and it has helped me in the past. I mean writing brand spanking new material. 

Generally, when I take a break, my brain can calm down (somewhat anyway) and I can unknot the jumble of thoughts and ideas tangled up in my head. I can literally visualize them unraveling and the not-so-great ideas dissolving away and the better ideas coming into clear focus. Stepping away actually keeps me from going down a bad path and then being too invested in it to get myself out. 



I truly believe everyone is different in this way. What works for me undoubtedly would backfire on someone else. What makes my mind fresh, might make others even more stuck in their work.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe in writing every day? If so, how does it help you? How do know it won't take you down a bad path in your current manuscript or do you write something off topic as a mental exercise?

Thanks, everyone!

Hilary

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Project Mayhem's Summer Book Bingo Challenge


Have you ever tried book bingo? It's a fun challenge that could encourage you to read new and wonderful titles. If you read a book that matches a genre, concept or trope listed on one of the squares, cross it off. If you get five in a row, that's bingo! You could even keep going and try to fill in the entire block.

You can download and print this book bingo (right-click on the image and "save as" to your computer), or find more online, or even get a template and make your own.


Here are some suggested titles to get you started. (This heavily features the Project Mayhem crew and other writers I know. Hey, when you can help out friends AND be lazy by avoiding doing too much extra research, it's a double win.) Feel free to add other suggested books in the comments, including your own!

Book with animal main characters: Nightshade Chronicles by Hilary Wagner: Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, a kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. 

Prize winner: Try the Newbery Medal and Honor Books.

Banned book: ALA's Banned and Challenged Classics or Banned Books Week are good resources.


Historical set before 1600 CE: The Eyes of Pharaoh by Chris Eboch: 1177 BC: When their friend disappears, Seshta and Horus spy on merchants, soldiers, and royalty. Can they stop the plot against Egypt in time?
Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose: In 1587, an English girl settling the island Roanoke befriends a Roanoke girl.
In The Well of Sacrifice by Chris Eboch, a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power.

Mystery: Silki: Summer of the Ancient by Jodi Lea Stewart: Silki, a young Navajo girl, thought she'd made up Wol-la-chee, the Ancient Ant Man, on one of her horseback rides with her best friend Birdie. When Wol-la-chee shrieks into her life one summer day on Concho Mountain, Silki's world turns upside down
Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl: 12-year-old Cricket and a field cricket named Charlene find adventure in an overgrown ghost town in Electric City, Mississippi. They follow a thirty-year-old clue trail left by an eccentric artist in search of a secret room that may or may not exist–all to try to win back Cricket's run-away mother. 
The Eyes of Pharaoh by Chris Eboch: 1177 BC: When their friend disappears, Seshta and Horus spy on merchants, soldiers, and royalty. Can they stop the plot against Egypt in time?

Fairy tale or legend influence: The Genie's Gift by Chris Eboch is a lighthearted action novel set in the fifteenth-century Middle East, drawing on the mythology of The Arabian Nights.
Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett: Free-spirited Marabel must defy expectations to rescue her brother--and their kingdom--in this charming, action-packed, and magical story perfect for fans of Ella Enchanted and Dealing with Dragons.
The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni: In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.

Reread a favorite: You tell me!

Set in another country: Operation Golden Llama by Sam Bond: Dumped at their eccentric Grandma's, Cagney, Olivia, Aidan, Lissy and Tess are convinced they're in for a boring summer. But when Grandma gets a series of mysterious phone calls and a highly unlikely pet sitter arrives, the cousins find themselves jetting off to Peru, where their adventures have only just begun.
Elephants on the Moon by Jennifer Bohnhoff: Set in Normandy just before the D-Day invasion. As rumors of an allied invasion swirl around her, Eponine begins to understand that nothing and no one is what it seems. 
Dreamcatcher (aka On Different Shores) by Jen McVeity: The only thing that interests Tess is leading a group of young environmental activists, the 'Green Guerillas'. And even though Tess never goes near the water now, she still has nightmares about drowning ... (Published in Australia but available in paperback on Amazon and other book sites.)

Science fiction: You Can't Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please by James Mihaley: When Giles witnesses an alien realtor showing Earth to possible new tenants, he knows he'd better do something.
The Atomic Weight of Secrets Or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black, by Eden Unger Bowditch: In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world's most important scientists, are taken from their lives and their parents by the mysterious men in black.
The Galaxy Games Series: Book #1: The Challengers by Greg R. Fishbone: Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sato has lied, cheated, and scammed his way into the Galaxy Games. Now, on the eve of the galaxy-spanning sports tournament, Tyler's past is catching up with a vengeance! 

Author's debut novel: Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos: Ana Maria Reyes is stuck in a tiny apartment with too many family members. Then she hears about New York City's best private academy. If Ana Maria can win a scholarship, she'll be able to achieve the education she's longed for.
The Wind Called My Name by Mary Louise Sanchez: The country has been gripped by the Great Depression, so times are hard everywhere. Then Margaríta Sandovalhas to leave her familia and compadres in New Mexico—especially her beloved Abuelita—to move to Fort Steele, Wyoming, where her father has taken a job on the railroad. 
The Sweet Spot, by Stacy Barnett Mozer: When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette's baseball coach tells her that her attitude's holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. All stakes now rest on Sam's performance at baseball training camp. But the moment she arrives, miscommunication sets the week up for potential disaster.
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan: Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.

A book that made you cry: Sorry, I don't know what sets you off. But if something fits in this and another category, you get two for one!

Ghost story: The Ghost on the Stairs by Chris Eboch: While filming at an old hotel in Colorado, Jon and Tania find themselves trapped in a ghostly love story that happened more than a century ago. 
Night Visions by Ghost Stories Ink: This anthology of short stories was inspired by paranormal investigations performed by Jessica Freeburg's group of ghost hunting children's authors and illustrators, Ghost Stories Ink.
The Ghost in the Third Row, by Bruce Coville: For sixth-grader Nina Tanleven, trying out for a part in a play is pretty scary. But nothing can compare to seeing a ghost, a woman in white, sitting in the audience!

Book with an animal on the cover: Eagle Talons, The Iron Horse Chronicles by Robert Lee Murphy: Will Braddock, a fourteen-year-old orphan, sets out in 1867 on a quest to determine his own destiny and winds up being involved in the building of the first transcontinental railroad. 
Operation Golden Llama by Sam Bond: Dumped at their eccentric Grandma's, Cagney, Olivia, Aidan, Lissy and Tess are convinced they're in for a boring summer. But when Grandma gets a series of mysterious phone calls and a highly unlikely pet sitter arrives, the cousins find themselves jetting off to Peru, where their adventures have only just begun.
The Ghost Miner's Treasure, Book 4 of the Haunted series by Chris Eboch: Jon and Tania travel with the ghost hunter TV show to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, where the ghost of an old miner is still looking for his lost mine. The siblings want to help him move on, but first they'll have to find the mine.

Historical set in your country: (if you're in the U.S.) May B. by Caroline Starr Rose: May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—then she is abandoned. 
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine by Caroline Starr Rose: Action, history, survival, and the bond of brotherhood all rolled into one as an eleven-year-old boy searches for gold and freedom in Alaska.
The Atomic Weight of Secrets Or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black, by Eden Unger Bowditch: In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world's most important scientists, are taken from their lives and their parents by the mysterious men in black.
The Bent Reed by Jennifer Bohnhoff: It's June of 1863 and Sarah McCoombs feels isolated and uncomfortable when her mother pulls her from school and allows a doctor to treat her scoliosis with a cumbersome body cast. When the McCoombs farm becomes a battlefield and then a hospital, Sarah must reach deep inside herself to find the strength to cope as she nurses wounded soldiers from both sides. 
Eagle Talons, The Iron Horse Chronicles by Robert Lee Murphy: Will Braddock, a fourteen-year-old orphan, sets out in 1867 on a quest to determine his own destiny and winds up being involved in the building of the first transcontinental railroad. 

A book that made you laugh: Try You Can't Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please by James Mihaley: When Giles witnesses an alien realtor showing Earth to possible new tenants, he knows he'd better do something.
The Danger Gang and The Pirates of Borneo by Stephen Bramucci: "Adventure, suspense, humor and heart! I loved reading about Ronald and his brave friends, and I know you will, too! Watch out evildoers--you don't stand a chance against the unflappable Ronald Zupan!" - Varian Johnson
The Penguins of Doom by Greg R. Fishbone: "Dear Reader, In order to make this book I had to escape from a mad scientist, adopt a trio of wild penguins, become an Olympic freestyle skateboarder, collect a whole bunch of empty yogurt containers, and find my missing tripletsister. In order to enjoy it, all you have to do is read every page. Thanks for doing your part!" 

A book your friend loves: Ask your friends!

Historical set in another country: After the Ashes by Sara K Joiner: Katrien lives on Java in the Dutch East Indies in 1883. She loves science and observing the natural world. When Krakatoa erupts, Katrien is forced to flee farther into the jungle, and the only person who agrees to her plan is her hated rival, Brigitta.
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet: In 1989, Noah Brown's ordinary, everyday life is smashed to smithereens the day his parents tell him his name isn't really Noah, his birthday isn't really in March, and his new home is going to be East Berlin, on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
New Gold Mountain, by Christopher Chen: In 1860, tension grows between European and Chinese miners at the Lambing Flat goldfields in New South Wales. Twelve-year-old Shu Cheong records his thoughts and experiences as he witnesses the brutal anti-Chinese demonstrations held by white miners. But at the same time, he discovers that not all white Australians hold the views of the violent mob. (Published in Australia so it might be hard to find.)

Fantasy: The Genie's Gift by Chris Eboch is a lighthearted action novel set in the fifteenth-century Middle East, drawing on the mythology of The Arabian Nights.
The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet: On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic.
Deadwood, by Kell Andrews: Seventh-grader Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town, Lower Brynwood, but with his mom fighting a war in Afghanistan, he has no other choice but to live with his crazy aunt. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it's cursed—and so is he.
Jinnie Wishmaker by Deanna Roy: Jinnie Wishmaker can grant any living thing its one true wish. But somehow, the wishes always have a mind of their own.
Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti: Joshua Cooper learns that lightning never strikes by chance when a bolt strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever. To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark world.
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet: Up in the magical, wrinkled hills, Linny breaks an ancient law. No matter how musical a girl may be, she must not so much as touch a string of a lourka before she turns twelve, or she'll be spirited off to Away.
Reality Leak by Joni Sensel: When 11-year-old Bryan starts to get mail through the toaster, he has to find — and fix! — a crack in reality that has started to leak.

Set in the Twentieth Century: The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet: It's 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta's life, like the world around her, is about to change.
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson: It's Mississippi in the summer of 1955, and thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter is living with her sharecropper grandparents on a white man's cotton plantation. Then, one town over, a fourteen-year-old African American boy, Emmett Till, is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. When Till's murderers are unjustly acquitted, Rose realizes that the South needs a change . . . and that she should be part of the movement.
The Wind Called My Name by Mary Louise Sanchez: The country has been gripped by the Great Depression, so times are hard everywhere. Then Margaríta Sandovalhas to leave her familia and compadres in New Mexico—especially her beloved Abuelita—to move to Fort Steele, Wyoming, where her father has taken a job on the railroad. 
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet: In 1989, Noah Brown's ordinary, everyday life is smashed to smithereens the day his parents tell him his name isn't really Noah, his birthday isn't really in March, and his new home is going to be East Berlin, on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Adventure or survival story: Surviving Bear Island, by Paul Greci: After a sea kayaking trip with his father takes a dangerous turn, Tom Parker is stranded on the remote, outer coast of unpopulated Bear Island in the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Bandits Peak by Chris Eboch: A teenage boy meets strangers hiding in the mountains and gets drawn into their mystery. But when he discovers their true purpose, will he risk his life to expose them?
Blizzard Besties: A Wish Novel by Yamile Saied Méndez: Vanesa Campos can't wait for winter vacation. Skiing on the slopes, sipping hot cocoa . . . But when the flakes start falling, everything changes. Vanesa's little brother, Hunter, might be stranded out in the blizzard!
The Wild Lands, by Paul Greci: Natural disasters and a breakdown of civilization have cut off Alaska from the world and destroyed its landscape. Now, as food runs out and the few who remain turn on each other, Travis and his younger sister, Jess, must cross hundreds of miles in search of civilization.
After the Ashes by Sara K Joiner: Katrien lives on Java in the Dutch East Indies in 1883. She loves science and observing the natural world. When Krakatoa erupts, Katrien is forced to flee farther into the jungle, and the only person who agrees to her plan is her hated rival, Brigitta.

Featuring a person with a disability: The Bent Reed by Jennifer Bohnhoff: It's June of 1863 and Sarah McCoombs feels isolated and uncomfortable when her mother pulls her from school and allows a doctor to treat her scoliosis with a cumbersome body cast. When the McCoombs farm becomes a battlefield and then a hospital, Sarah must reach deep inside herself to find the strength to cope as she nurses wounded soldiers from both sides. 
Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan Williams: Fourteen year old Cam O'Mara is a ranch kid from the sage brush country of central Nevada. He is a skateboarder, not a champion bull rider like his brother Ben, but when Ben joins the Marines and is seriously injured in Iraq, Cam turns to his family traditions and in particular bull riding to overcome his grief and to give his brother hope for a new life.
House Arrest by K. A. Holt: Timothy is on probation. But when he must take drastic measures to help his struggling family, staying out of trouble proves more difficult than Timothy ever thought it would be. House Arrest is a middlegrade novel in verse about one boy’s path to redemption as he navigates life with a sick brother, a grieving mother, and one tough probation officer.

Alternative history or time travel: The Amethyst Road by Louise Spiegler: A run-in with social services, aptly nicknamed the Cruelty, launches Serena on a journey that is at once an escape and a quest to reunite her family. This fantasy is set in an alternative Pacific Northwest.
The Jewel and the Key by Louise Spiegler: An earthquake and the discovery of a mysterious antique mirror unleash forces that jolt sixteen-year-old Addie McNeal back to 1917 Seattle, just as the United States is entering World War I. Addie finds herself shuttling back and forth between past and present, drawn in both times to the grand Jewel Theater.
The Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel: When 12-year-old Ariel stumbles on a mysterious dart in the woods, she's soon swept on a perilous journey with little more than a kidnapper and a ghost to guide her. Only by trusting her instincts can she solve a dangerous riddle from the past to reveal a legendary treasure — and a startling truth.
On Etruscan Time, by Tracy Barrett: Hector, spending the summer with his archaeologist mother at a dig near Florence, unearths a strange eye-shaped stone at the site of what was once an Etruscan village. The artifact brings on nightmares about Arath, who lived two thousand years ago and was in terrible danger. The stone transports both boys back and forth into each other's time. 

Please share this, and feel free to add other suggested books in the comments, including your own!

Monday, July 2, 2018

STILL WATERS CHURN DEEP: WRITING A “QUIET” CHARACTER by Mary E. Cronin

Quiet characters get a bad rap, but they have much to offer and to teach us as writers. Consider our readers, many of whom may be quiet themselves. It’s part of the whole window/mirror equation: it’s important to present a reflection to a young reader who is quiet or a late bloomer or a bit of an introvert.

Eleven-year-old Frances fits this description. She’s the main character in THE HEART AND MIND OF FRANCES PAULEY, a quiet storm of a middle-grade novel by April Stevens which gives us an excellent example of a “quiet” book that churns deeply. Frances is quirky and introverted. And Stevens paints her metamorphosis with the most delicate of brush strokes. That’s the take-away here: capturing the granular, stop-action moments of growth in a quiet character makes their trajectory leap off the page. It’s all about detail.

Main character Frances is a lot of things: a nature-lover, an introvert, someone who strongly dislikes change (hence her wearing the same coat and hat with earflaps for far too long!). She’s also super-smart, but knows to dial it down in class because she notices that it irritates her peers if she raises her hand too much. Frances also has a name that she calls herself: Figgrotten. Frances’s quirks (and name) drive her big sister crazy, and the siblings often clash. Her only friend at the outset of the story is her school bus driver Alvin.


Here is what editor Emma Dryden says about these stories in her blog post The Resonant Roar of Quiet Books:  When a quiet story—what I will call a deceptively quiet story—manages to make readers experience emotions deeply, that to my mind is a story that has the opportunity to roar, to thunder, to resonate so very loudly with readers.”


Author April Stevens
In THE HEART AND MIND OF FRANCES PAULEY, author April Stevens accomplishes this with deft and artful use of detail. Here are a few gems from THE HEART AND MIND OF FRANCES PAULEY that demonstrate how these fine brush strokes can make readers catch their breath and recognize a bit of themselves on the page.

Frances cares little about her appearance for most of the first half of the book, and this earns the scorn of her older sister, who calls Frances “an ugly little freak” in a heated moment. Later in the book, Frances finds one of her sister’s abandoned hair clips in the bathroom. She… "took the little clip, snapped it into her hair, and stepped back and looked at herself. How was it possible that something so small could make her look so different?” Frances shoves the clip in her pocket, and the next day at school, asks her new friend Fiona (another wonderfully quirky quiet girl character) to help her put it on. Fiona cheerfully agrees, saying, “Sure… but you know you have to take off your hat.” This is a huge physical and symbolic act, as Frances removes the security of her hat with earflaps to take a small step into a new way of being: “Figgrotten turned and looked at herself in the mirror and again felt surprised at how the little clip changed her so much. Then she stuffed her hat into her jacket pocket, took a deep breath, and walked out of the bathroom…Having the clip in her hair for the rest of the day made Figgrotten feel so different she might as well have been wearing fake eyelashes for the first time. Or a dress.”


See what I mean? Tiny brush strokes. Small moments. Granular detail. They make the reader feel. We see Frances/Figgrotten and her tentative steps into a new openness, a newer, more vulnerable way of being in the world. As a result, we feel that hope and tentativeness and courage and vulnerability right along with her.

As Emma Dryden points out, “it is the “quiet” story that can, if crafted well, be loud as thunder to a reader and have a lasting impact, wholly remarkable and memorable.”
Editor Emma Dryden
April Stevens has reminded me of this—the resonant power of the quiet story. Don’t shy away from reading them, for there is much to be gained from studying the craft within them. And don’t shy away from writing them either—there are readers who need to see themselves in “deceptively quiet” stories. What "quiet" stories do you recommend?

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Romance of Middle Grade Literature



            Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a sucker for romance. Whether it’s movies or books, I’m all about that sweet moment when you see that spark of attraction between two characters, or when thwarted lovers finally embrace. This is probably why, when I have time to read just for fun, I usually choose young adult books, which almost always have a love story. Middle grade novels, on the other hand, are not thought of as being romantic, at least not in the sense that you might find in YA and adult books. And yet, if you look more closely, relationship romance is alive and well in the middle grade novel. It just looks and behaves differently.
       
          The question was raised to me this past school year, when a fifth-grade girl approached me looking for the romance books. I told her that in middle grade there isn’t really a romance category, but there are books that have a hint of romance in them. I was able to find a few for her off the top of my head – Wendelin Van Draanen’s Flipped, Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy, the classic Witch of Blackbird Pond – but my curiosity was piqued and I wanted to see what else I could find for her.
            
          Digging a little deeper, I asked myself, what is it that sets a middle grade “love story” apart from the more traditional form we see in books for older readers? Not only is the physicality greatly reduced (mostly crushes, hand-holding and the occasional chaste kiss), but the build-up is different. Most middle grade romances are derived from friendships. We don’t see the instant, chemical attraction you might find in a YA book. Love in tween stories takes time to build up, often over the course of several books. Sometimes the affection grows naturally from a long-time friendship, such as that between Miri and Peder in Princess Academy. It’s only at the end of the book that they acknowledge the affection between them, and their relationship continues to develop, ever so slowly, through two subsequent books.

         This is not uncommon in a middle grade series. Over the first book or two, the friendship is built and established, and it often isn’t until book three or more that the hinted-at romance comes to fruition. Numerous series come to mind – Anne of Green Gables, The City of Ember, Harry Potter, Gregor the Overlander, The Golden Compass, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. In all of these series, readers are patiently rewarded with love finally requited, albeit in an age appropriate manner. And to the authors’ credit, we don’t always get the perfectly happy ending that we might have hoped for.
            
          Another device you might find is that the romantic element of the book involves not the main character(s), but side characters. For example, in Dianne Salerni’s 8th Day series, the love story involves the MC’s guardian. This sub-plot is engaging, and while it may not be essential, it adds interest and depth to the story. Also interesting to note is that Dianne originally wrote The 8th Day as a YA novel, but later revised it for middle grade, and for that reason, she actually had to tone down the romance significantly.
           
          Love in the middle grade novel is hardly a new-fangled thing. In addition to the afore-mentioned Anne of Green Gables and Witch of Blackbird Pond, there are other, decades-old books that involve romantic relationships. In The Westing Game, Turtle has a crush on Doug Hoo through most of the book, while her future husband, Theo, is mesmerized by her sister, Angela. Calvin and Meg hold hands and awkwardly kiss in A Wrinkle in Time. If you’ve read the further books, (spoiler alert if you haven’t!) you know that they end up married with children. The Little House books eventually have Laura being courted by and married to a local farmer.
            
          So, is romance appropriate in children’s books? I suppose some parents would tell you that unequivocally, NO, it's not. But if handled sensitively and carefully, romantic love, which is a natural part of life and something that older children especially are curious about, can be included in books for kids. What follows is a list of books that I came up with in my research. If you can think of others, or you want to share any of your favorites, please feel free to comment. Hope you “love” these books!

Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
The Frog Princess, by E.D. Baker
The Penderwick’s series, by Jeanne Birdsall
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
The Underland Chronicles (Gregor the Overlander), by Suzanne Collins
The City of Ember series, by Jeanne DuPrau
The Goose Girl series, by Shannon Hale
Princess Academy series, by Shannon Hale
A Wrinkle in Time series, by Madeleine L’Engle
Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine
Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery
Agnes Parker, Keeping Cool in Middle School, by Kathleen O’Dell
His Dark Materials Trilogy (Golden Compass), by Philip Pullman
Magnus Chase series, by Rick Riordan
The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
The 8th Day series, by Dianne Salerni
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell in Love, by Lauren Tarshis
The One Safe Place, by Tania Unsworth
Flipped, by Wendelin VanDraanen