I’ve just finished reading Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers and I thought it warranted a review.
I’m not sure I would have trusted this book if I hadn’t already been following Mary Kole’s blog. She is an agent in Brooklyn, USA and shares her insights from that side of the writing fence. I’ve found her blog extremely helpful and this book even more so.
Mary covers everything there is to know about writing ‘kidlit’, from the audience to the industry. Having insider knowledge, she is able to show you what an agent might be looking for and what they expect. I loved her chapters on audience because sometimes I think we assume writing for kids is simple when in fact, they are dealing with all kinds of shifting in their young lives and need stories that reflect those hopes, fears and changes.
She also writes some excellent chapters on craft. Using examples from current works, she shows you what she means instead of just explaining it. She deals extensively with character, plot, voice, imagery and more.
I found this book helpful far beyond the middle grade books I’m writing – those chapters on craft have made me sit back and consider some aspects of my other stories as well. What I really appreciated is that, even though she is writing to help you produce a saleable story, she isn’t encouraging you to only write to the trend. She encourages you to write the story that you are most passionate about and simply advises you on the best way to communicate your great idea.