I was recently inspired by a blog post featuring the beginnings of ten classic novels for adults, rewritten for our time of social distancing. I thought it would be fun to do the same for some iconic middle-grade novels.
CONTEST: Take a look at the ones below, and then crank up your creativity to post the real first line and a revised first line of your favorite middle-grade book in the comments section. A panel of judges will choose a favorite on January 2, 2021 at 11:59 PM, and I’ll donate $50 to one of the following charities (winner’s choice): St. Jude, Feeding America, or Doctors Without Borders. I’ll post the winning entry on Sunday, January 3.
(Click on the titles and go to the Look Inside feature if you’d like to read the original first lines.)
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
“Where’s Papa going with that axe, and why isn’t he wearing a mask?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
It was a dark and stormy night, but no one cared because they were all sheltering in.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, disinfecting his groceries with Lysol wipes.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
“Christmas won’t be Christmas with just lousy gift cards,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly fine refusing to social distance from others in the grocery store, thank you very much.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen, where she’d surely be roped into baking yet another loaf of sourdough.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
When I left my office that beautiful spring day, I had no idea what was in store for me and that I should have stocked up on toilet paper on the way home.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
We moved on the Tuesday before Labor Day. I knew the pandemic still wasn’t over the second I got up. I knew because my mother didn’t even bother to sniff under her arms.
Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis
On the morning I was scheduled to die a large barefoot man with a bushy red beard waddled past my house. Thankfully, he was more than six feet away.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial and found guilty just because she forgot to cough into her elbow.
Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a Zoom party, there was much disappointment in Hobbiton.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink because everyone is either working from home or being homeschooled, and it’s the only place where I can get some peace and quiet.