Pity the poor bestselling novelist. Sure, those literary juggernauts who manage to crank out a top ten title (or more) every year are blessed with avid book-buying fanbases, but there are certain demographics they just can’t reach. I’m talking, of course, about children—reading level notwithstanding, you can’t just pawn off your paperback of The Firm to your eight-year-old.
But some savvy authors have sought to widen their reach with new series that are Just For Kids—thematically similar to their adult works, but with age-appropriate subject material and easy-to-read language. John Grisham’s got Theodore Boon: Kid Lawyer, James Patterson’s got his Middle School series, and Carl Hiaasen’s penned a few Floridian tales for younger readers.
But why stop there? These writers have talent and bankable identities, and I’ve got book proposal ideas for days. Here are five brand-name middle-grade series that need to happen.
Bobby Langdon and the Case of the Crooked Cryptex by Dan Brown
Brown’s symbologist hero has to get his start somewhere—and hey, it worked for Young Indiana Jones. Curious and inquisitive Bobby Langdon would be a latter-day Jonny Quest, having grand adventures and meddling in G-rated mysteries with the help of globetrotting pals (definitely room for some animal companions, too). Leave the creepy Catholic cults for his post-Harvard life: these cases will be so fun to solve you’ll swear the author’s first name is Encyclopedia.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is my first book. (I like saying that, because it implies there will be others.) I’ve learned all kinds of things about the publishing world in the last year, but in these last weeks before publication a few lessons have come clearly to the forefront. Here’s what this first-time author has learned:
The thing about stories is that they make room for the weird and (almost) impossible. We've met characters who push our imaginations to the limit and show us all the amazing things they can do. Towns are like that too. Fictional settings can be a little strange and "off." While they make look normal on the surface, there's usually something odd hiding underneath. Here are six fictional towns that re-define what it means to be weird.
Summer is here, and it’s high time for some good Young Adult escapism. When preparing for this, I thought of all the YA books I’ve read and heard of that take place in the summer. Should be easy, right?
I quickly realized that all the ones I knew were stereotypically beachy and “girly.” What about the literary YA? What about adventures and fantasy? Where are the male protagonists in the summer? YA male readership is rather low, for a number of reasons: girls in glamorous dresses plastered across the front of nearly every book facing out in the bookstores, girl protagonists in general, immense amount of paranormal romance, and because most boys gravitate toward nonfiction or immediately jump into adult fiction and fantasy. How could I find some books that are perfect reads for the summer and fit every reader?
It was a struggle, so I called upon some amazing people for help in narrowing down some of their favorite summer reads that could be read by anyone, any age. Summer is about escaping the hassle of work and school. Whether these YA reads are set in the summer, the sweltering South, in a far-off land, or packed with adventure, take a break in the sun with a nice cool glass of lemonade and crack open any of these books!