…book two! I’m headlong in love with these characters, so it’s wonderful to continue spending time with them ( two more books to come).
For me, writing early middle grade, which I think of as geared to roughly 7-10 year olds, is a happy challenge. A maximum of 15,000 words— sheer torture for a meander-er like me. And while Cody and best bud Spencer deal with real-life issues including sibling problems, the ups and downs of friendship, succeeding (or not) in school, deciding what is right and what’s wrong, and experience feelings like jealousy, loneliness, confusion, frustration (whew! growing up is a lot of work)—their lives are more sheltered and innocent than the lives of older middle graders. So writing these books is a balancing act that requires treating things that loom large in kids’ lives in a respectful yet light (never lite) way. These are books for kids who love to laugh and like happy endings. Bonus: because they have lots of illustrations, they appeal to older, reluctant MG readers, t0o. It’s a wonderful coincidence that Sarah Pennypacker, who wrote the brilliant Clementine series, is debuting a new young MG hero this month. I like to think that Waylon, of “Waylon! One Awesome Thing”, would hit it off with Cody if they ever met.
The Booklist review of “Mysteries of the Universe” really describes what these books are about when it says they center on “the ever-shifting questions asked by readers this age as their awareness of the universe around them grows in leaps and bounds. ” Oh what the heck, I’ll blush and add the review’s last line: “Brimming with charm, delight, and a diverse cast of characters.”
To help celebrate Cody # 2’s publication, and Cody #1 being out in paperback, I’m giving away a signed copy of each. Please leave a comment below! (Only U.S. residents please).