2012 was a great year for middle grade literature!
Before the Apocalypsies say goodbye to their debut year, we wanted to take one last chance to celebrate their wonderful books.
First, a shout-out to the caboose on this year's middle grade train:
FISHTALE by Hans Bauer and Catherine Masciola
KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger
FREAKLING by Lana Krumwiede
THE MARBLE QUEEN by Stephanie J Blake
I asked a few of these debut authors what the best part of this year has been, and this is what they had to say:
"The best part of this year for me was when a young reader convinced her parents to drive her an hour out of their way to one of my book events so I could sign her copy of Seeing Cinderella. That moment right there: That's why I write middle grade."
"Without a doubt, the coolest thing about my debut year has been visiting schools and connecting with readers. It's easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of publishing and forget the simple joy that comes from reading an excerpt of your book to hundreds of middle schoolers and high schoolers -- and then watching as they all, as one, gasp and shiver and grin. That -- the sheer joy of sharing stories -- is what has helped me get through the lows of my debut year -- although there have, of course, been many highs! I encourage all future debut authors to remember that joy that comes from sharing stories, even when -- especially when -- the going gets rough (and the inbox skyrockets). It's the reason we do this, after all."
"A girl came to one of my first events who had picked up Storybound off the bookstore's display and read it earlier that week. That was the first time I had met a reader in person who wasn't a relative or friend - haha! - and I think that's the moment it felt official: my book was finally in the hands of readers."
"One of my favorite moments: I was at my future brother-in-law's wedding and one of his friend's kids, a 9-year-old girl, had read my book. When she found out I was the author, she was so excited to speak to me. She told me that she couldn't believe she was meeting a real live author and also about her own plans to become an author and an illustrator when she grew up.
I can safely say all my interactions with actual kids who have read my book, be it in person, via kid reviews, or even the occasional fan email, have been my absolute favorite part of this whole year. It really made me remember the point of it all (and it often came at times when I may have forgotten)."
Congrats to the 2012 debuts! Before we know it, 2013 will be here -- and we've got another great line-up of middle grade books that we can't wait for you all to read!
Melanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of PARCHED (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2013).