Stepping Between

The idea has been haunting you for weeks. You’re ready to write a fun picture book or hilarious middle grade novel. Freeze! I mean it! Before you began this journey let’s take a look at the two different types of books. We will begin by opening the pages of a picture books. Come on, climb in. There’s plenty of room. Take off your shoes and get comfy.

Picture books in general are written to stimulate the prek-1st grader, to encourage them to play with language or to expand their understanding of concepts. Think of Today is Monday by Eric Carle, Chica Chica Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, This Is Not A Stick by Antoinette Portis, or nearly all of Robert Munsch’s books. Good picture books are enhanced by pictures but do not solely rely on the art to tell the story. By the way they are 600 words or less. Of course there are exceptions ~ storybooks but that’s a different post.

Okay, put your shoes back on. We are stepping between the pages of the gooey, strange, emotionally drenched and sometimes funny world of middle grade novels. R.L. Stein, E.B. White, Sarah Weeks and Rachel Renee Russell are a few of the master wordsmiths of this genre. The Goosebumps books are designed to make middle grade readers flip on a light (well at least a night light).  Try reading So B It without crying, it can’t be done ( even if you’re a few decades past the middle grade demographics). Do you want to make a ten year old girl laugh? Just hand her a Dork Diaries book. Common word count of middle grade novel is 30,000 words.

Now that you have stepped into the pages of picture books and middle grade novels you’re ready to get to work. I recommend keeping a plate of cookies and glass of milk near, strictly for the purpose of inspiration, of course.


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