Spark a Story with the Setting Exercises in The Rural Setting Thesaurus

Book covers for The Urban Setting Thesaurus and The Rural Setting Thesaurus

Book covers for The Urban Setting Thesaurus and The Rural Setting ThesaurusAngela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi do it again! Introducing The Rural Setting Thesaurus!

Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Urban Setting Thesaurus in exchange for an honest review.

I also bought a copy of The Rural Setting Thesaurus because it has GOOD STUFF for #kidlit.

You know, SHINY settings, like Backyard, Basement, Birthday Party, Child’s Bedroom, Halloween Party, Outhouse, and *cough* Secret Passageway, Abandoned Mine, Ancient Ruins. Did I mention Secret Passageway? There’s also a WIDE variety of school settings.

You might think having a list to choose from would make everyone’s stories the same. But I’ve noticed that a list frees up my mind to play. 

The best thing about Angela Ackerman’s and Becca Puglisi’s books? They make writing more FUN!

And they make writing more productive. Their power writing tools help you write better, faster, stronger stories with less effort. What’s not to like?

Today I want to talk about the deceptively simple power tool called “Setting Exercises” that is in both Thesaurus books.

A few months ago, I went into a Korean grocery store before a writing meet-up. Just for fun, I filled in the Setting Exercise tool when I got to the café. I didn’t have high hopes. I was really just going through the motions to see how/if it would work. Here are my thoughts and my unexpected results.

Feeling brave? Try out this new Setting Exercise tool. We can do it side-by-side. Hey, it’s Friday–what have you got to lose? I’ll share my results here. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

[Note: the actual tool has more tips than my shortened version here.]

Choose a place and list two sensory details for each of the five senses.

SIGHT: electric lights, colorful packaging, orange/white/red. Long cases, cash registers, lines, colors of veggies: green leaves, purple eggplant, peppers

SMELL: soap, fish, rice bags? green leaves–basil? mint? lemongrass?

SOUND: Ding of register scanner, hum of refrigerators. Korean? Voices. Words I don’t understand.

TEXTURE: crinkly packages. Hard frozen fish, tofu in buckets of water, shrink-wrapped octopus?

TASTE: toasted sesame

This was more interesting than I thought. I don’t do well with lists for character. But will it get me a story? How’d you do?

Write a paragraph through the eyes of a character who has never visited this place before. Weave in quality of light, time of day, season and use at least 3 of the 5 senses from your list. Try to show us who the character is and what he or she feels.

A little boy named Chi-won asks for something at the butcher counter. Ignored because too small, using the wrong word. Wilful lack of respect: I am stronger than you so I can do what I want and no one will stop me. Big knives and muscles in arms slamming knife through fish. Put more fish in on purpose so it will be more expensive. Sloppy packing up shows no respect for food or for child. Chi-won thinks: Too embarrassing to ask for some to be put back. Counts money. Not enough. Oh no! Chi-won sneaks out of store without paying.

Huh. Well that isn’t a paragraph of a story, but it sure looks like a hero and an antagonist. This might work even though I didn’t follow directions. Only took five minutes. What did you get?

Rewrite, using foreshadowing. Something bad is going to happen. Concentrate on building subtle mood of unease or hone in on a detail that does not fit.

Now what? When Chi-won got home, he had to give the change to his sick grandmother. If he gives all the money back, he’ll have to confess that he stole the fish. Sneaks into room and takes money out of piggy bank for the “change.”

The handy list of details I made for this setting will make this easy to do when I’m actually drafting. If I run out, there are buckets more in The Urban Setting Thesaurus and The Rural Setting Thesaurus.

Time to ramp up the tension. Rewrite to show character interact with setting as he flees, fights or hides.

Grandmother needs something else from the butcher and sends him back again. Oh no! Can’t go in there again! Goes to dirty-looking butcher shop six streets away. Buys fish there even though it smells funny in there. They cheat on the change and the fish smells. Has to keep grandmother from sending him shopping any more. Tells her he’s sick. Grandmother cooks him toasted sesame and special food but he feels guiltier. Friend at school invites for playdate. So excited until he finds out it’s the son of the first store owner. Oh no!

This story is developing right under my eyes! I’m definitely trying this tool again. I added it to my Novel Spare Parts file and put my “results” in my Setting ideas folder. I really liked the way this exercise focuses on emotions and gives me fresh ways to reveal them.

Did this tool spark a story for you? If not, try another. The Rural Setting Thesaurus includes a Setting Planner. The Urban Setting Thesaurus includes an Emotional Value and Triggers Tool. Both books include the Setting Exercise above.

Angela Ackerman gave us generous permission to share them here. You can also find them at Tools for Writers:

Setting-Planner

Tool_Emotional-Value_and_Triggers is a bit more complicated, according to Angela Ackerman. There’s a filled-out sample in the Appendix of The Urban Setting Thesaurus.

Warning: If you’re a tool person like me, I recommend limiting yourself. Don’t fall into Writers’ Home Depot and forget to come home to your manuscript.

Challenge: If you’re not a tool person, I encourage you to give one of these a try. Don’t force it. But how great would it be if you found a new way to spark your imagination?

You can find The Rural Settings Thesaurus on:

Goodreads

Kobo
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound

More for you on The Winged Pen: We went a little nuts about The Emotion Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus and The Positive Trait Thesaurus and the magical Reverse Backstory Tool in earlier posts on the Winged Pen. And Rebecca J. Allen has a new post on The Urban Setting Thesaurus here.

LAUREL DEphoto of Laurel DecherCHER writes stories about all things Italian, vegetable, or musical. Beloved pets of the past include “Stretchy the Leech” and a guinea pig that unexpectedly produced twins. She’s famous for getting lost, but carries maps because people always ask her for directions. You can read THE WOUNDED BOOK, her adventure story for young readers on Wattpad. Or find her on Twitter and on her blog, This Is An Overseas Post, where she writes about life with her family in Germany. She’s still a Vermonter and an epidemiologist at heart. PSA: Eat more kale! 🙂 Her short fiction for adults, UNFORESEEN TIMES, originally appeared in Windhover.

Wait, there’s MORE! Rebecca J. Allen has more about The Urban Setting Thesaurus here on the Winged Pen. Over to Rebecca:

Photo by Pam Vaughan

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade and young adult stories that blend mystery and adventure. Her best story ideas come from her two crazy kids. She’s on Twitter and her website is here.

 

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The Mesmerist! Interview with Ronald L. Smith

I’ve got an irresistibly spooky #FridayReads suggestion for you today! Ronald L. Smith, Winner of the 2016 Coretta Scott King New Author Award for his debut middle-grade novel HOODOO, has a new book out. Cue the fog machine! THE MESMERIST, a thrilling mix of creepy, urban fantasy and historical fiction, released on 2/21/17.

Perfect for fans of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series and Lockwood & Co, Ronald L. Smith dazzles us with his latest tale of an unlikely heroine, 13 yo Jessamine, who lives in Victorian England.

Jessamine’s story begins during a time of tension in London. A mysterious plague is spreading rapidly, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable citizens. The rise of the deadly disease has been blamed on immigrants and communists. Jess is mostly isolated from the turmoil, as she lives outside of the city with her mother making a living as sham spiritualists.

But Jess’s life takes a sudden turn when in the midst of her “summoning” of spirits she receives a real message from the dead. Her fear-stricken mother insists they must visit Balthazar, an old family friend in London. During this visit, Jess discovers not only that she’s a mesmerist (someone who is able to read people’s thoughts) but her parents were both active members of the League of Ravens , a group who has been fighting Mephisto, a gang whose purpose is reanimating the dead.

Jess joins forces with other “gifted” children, training to fight the ghouls and monsters wreaking havoc on the already troubled city,  to form a new League of Ravens. But before she’s ready to take on Mephisto in London’s dark supernatural underworld, she must garner the strength to transform from a proper young lady concerned with etiquette/appearance into a brave and dangerous warrior. As she does, she uncovers horrible truths about herself, her family, and the never-ending battle between good and evil.

In THE MESMERIST, Ronald L. Smith weaves the history of the London underground into an creepy, atmospheric plot filled with wonderful twists. Even with the meticulous world-building, which is just as masterful as in HOODOO, THE MESMERIST is a fast-past read, sure to appeal to readers who love spooky fiction.

Run to your favorite indie, the library, or buy it using these links.

Indiebound      Barnes and Noble     Amazon      Goodreads

I was lucky enough to catch up with Ronald L. Smith this week to ask him a few burning questions I had after reading THE MESMERIST.

Congrats on your latest release, Ron. Tell us about your inspiration for THE MESMERIST.

Some of the first books I read as a kid were by British authors such as Alan Garner, C.S. Lewis, Eleanor Cameron and others. I found them in our local library. These books left an indelible mark on my imagination. I wanted to give tribute of a sort to those books while also adding themes that fit our current climate. 

THE MESMERIST includes themes that America is struggling deeply with now, such as racial bias, poverty, and immigration. What do you hope young readers will take away from your story?

It’s interesting how that worked out. I had a feeling that some of the themes in the book were going to be very prescient. I don’t know if I particularly wanted to teach a lesson or impart any wisdom, but if a child finishes the book and sees that all people should be treated equally, regardless of their station in life, then that is a good thing.  

Hear, hear! The cover of THE MESMERIST is outstanding and sets the reader up for the fantastically spooky atmosphere of the book. Did you have any input in the cover or is it the pure genius of Lisa K. Weber?

It is a great cover. We authors usually have some say in the cover design, but ultimately it’s up to the artist and publisher. I think it turned out really well. Her background is in comics. She does a great one called Hex. Her style fits The Mesmerist perfectly. I was very pleased.

Dying to know, will there be more stories about the League of Ravens?

Wow, that would be kind of fun. I’d have to think about it. I’m sure there are some other battles to be fought against supernatural bad guys. We shall see! 

What can you tell us about what you’re working on now?

Well, one of the projects is Top Secret, so I am sworn to secrecy. I can tell you a little about my next book, which will have to do with scary aliens and a kid who believes he is being visited by them. It’s more contemporary than sci-fi and is quite different for me. I can’t wait to get it in readers’ hands.

What is your work/writing schedule?

Drag myself to computer. Stare at screen. Have anxiety attack. Try to write some words that make sense. Repeat on the hour.  

Do you have any strange writing habits?

See above. Not really. I usually write in cafes. When the weather is nice I try to sit outside at some of my favorite places. If I write at home I sometimes have classical music on very softly in the background to relax. Bach’s Goldberg Variations is a favorite.

And now for the lightning round. Hands Ronald L. Smith a brownie for strength.

If you had a superpower, what would it be? Being able to write novels quickly.

Wooden pencil or mechanical? Hmm. Wooden. Blackwings.

Coffee or tea? Coffee all day.

Sweet or salty? Salty!

Dog, cat, or other? Hmm. Manticore?

Plotter or pantser? Pantser all the way.

Any advice for all those aspiring authors out there?

Butt in chair.

Finish what you start.

Keep your eyes on your own paper.

Never give up.  

Great advice! Thank so much for chatting with me, and I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to get my hands on the contemporary/sci-fi book!

Thanks so much for thinking of me and reaching out! It was a lot of fun. 
To learn more about Ronald L. Smith, the world-building master and plot twisting author of Hoodoo and The Mesmerist, check out his website or follow him on Twitter. 

MICHELLE LEONARD is a math and science nerd, a chocolate biscotti baker, and a SCBWI member who writes middle-grade and young adult fiction. Her young adult sci-fi short story IN A WHOLE NEW LIGHT will be published in the BRAVE NEW GIRLS ANTHOLOGY: STORIES OF GIRLS WHO SCIENCE AND SCHEME releasing August 2017. Connect with her on Twitter.

Review – How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way To Improve Any Manuscript

In How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way To Improve Any Manuscript, James Scott Bell promises the reader craft secrets to shape great dialogue. As a writer juggling a full life, the phrase “fastest way to improve” catches my eye and I hit Amazon’s buy now button.

When the book arrives, it’s a slim 135 pages. Was it worth the price? Will it stay on my How To writing shelf or end up in the donate pile? I find my favorite booth at Panera, order an iced tea, and crack it open.

I have my doubts the first few pages. Bell starts with what not to do examples that are so bad my fourth grader would know better. With a sigh, I turn a few pages. Next up is a tip that all characters should bring specific, opposing agendas to a scene. I read an excerpt from Gone With the Wind and jot a note to myself: Identify characters’ opposing agendas at the start of scene to increase conflict and tension. A few fun ideas bubble up.

The next idea sounds crazy, but I try it. Bell’s tip is to take a dialogue heavy section in my story and pick a random line. Then I go to my bookshelf, select a favorite novel, and flip it open. The first line of dialogue on that page will now replace the line of dialogue in my manuscript. Bizarre, but it works! My scene takes a creative twist and the dialogue’s interest shoots up.

Bell’s book includes tips on everything from punctuation to attributions to cursing, but the idea that pulls me in next is bare bones dialogue. I tend to be wordy. So I take a page of my dialogue and snip, snip, snip. My goal is to get each line to five words or less. The page suddenly has more white space and the dialogue more snap.

After applying Bell’s tips, I email my newest scene to my tough love critique partner whose comments tend toward “yawning here” or “this scene matters why?”

Several days later, I’m back at my favorite Panera booth, sipping my iced tea and open my email. My critique partner has responded and I nearly keel over when I read: Engaging and well written scene. Easy, enjoyable read. I wonder if it’s the tea or all the hard work. Nice job!

I write back that it’s not the tea, but the tips from How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way To Improve Any Manuscript.

Worth the cost?

Definitely!

A keeper?

For sure.

Our Holiday Wish List – Craft Books!

Many of us will spend at least two weeks in December hiding from our children with our nose in a book. At The Winged Pen, our wish lists are full of books that inspire our creativity or deepen our craft. So here’s a peek at the writing books we loved and the books we hope to receive this holiday season. If you have a writer on your gift list, you might just find the perfect gift below:

 

Rebecca: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks pushed my writing to the next level. It impressed upon me the importance of plot points in the structure of a story. Moreover, I love the framework it uses for tying your main character’s arc to the plot points so they are learning and growing into a hero over the course of the book, and their heroic win at the climax is earned.

And Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole is next on my TBR list.

 

 

Julie: My favorite discovery this year was definitely Lisa Cron’s Story Genius. We teach this method to writers at Author Accelerator and I now use it every time I plan a new book or story.

 

And I’m hoping that I’ll get to read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg sometime soon because so many of my writing pals have recommended it!!!

 

 

 

Laurel: Libbie Hawker’s Making It In Historical Fiction is a very straightforward discussion of tropes in historical fiction.

 

Lately, I keep finding myself turning back to Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, Writing More of What You Love.

 

 

Halli:  I recommend On Writing by Stephen King because it not only gives great writing advice and tips, but reminds us all even famous authors were once where we were.

Note: Another Penny pointed out that you could read the transcript of the speech King gave when he was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American letters, which is like a condensed version of On Writing.

And Story Genius is on my Christmas list! [See, I might have been evangelizing it just a wee bit–Julie]

 

 

Sussu: I love The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke, absolutely fabulous. I love the way he tells us to write the first chapter as a short story independent of the main story. Light bulb moment!

 

 

On my wish list, I have The Magic Words by Cheryl B. Klein.

 

 

 

Karin: I love Story Genius and Story Engineering, but as they have been already accounted for, I will add one that isn’t heard about so much but had a big impact on me: From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler. He brings his former experience as an actor to the writing process and calls it “method writing.” Writing is about dreaming your way into the character and the scene and feeling the underlying yearning.

 

 

 

 

 

MichelleThe Plot Whisperer was the perfect companion read for a PlotWriMo class I once took on revision. The book is a bit philosophical, which appealed to me, and I highly recommend it because of Martha Alderson’s thorough explanation of how to integrate plot with character transformation.
I’m a fan of Matt Bird’s Cockeyed Caravan blog for writers, and I’m excited about his new craft book The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers.

 

 

 

Gita: My favorite take-away from Robert McKee’s Story is his “principle of antagonism,” which is guaranteed to deepen and complicate your WIP.

 

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro is for my wish-list for writing craft and wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JessicaWriting The Breakout Novel & The Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. The workbook is a terrific resource to turn to when you’ve completed one or more rounds of revising and know your story needs work but can’t figure out what’s missing.

 

And I’m planning to read Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins next.

 

 

 

Kristi: I love Plot vs Character because I can never write my first draft from both perspectives. Once my first draft is done, I crack open this book to the page where the author has made a two sided map showing how the emotional plot and the action plot ebb, flow and merge. It’s magic!

And I want Cheryl Klein’s The Magic Words.

 

 

 

Readers, what craft books are on your must-read or holiday wish lists? Weigh in via a comment below–we always need more recommendations when it comes to craft books!

2016 National Book Award for Young People

Which Book Should Win the 2016 National Book Award for Young People?

Time for a little fessing up. Before 2013, I read 0 out of 5 of the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People. Shameful, I know…

In 2014, I picked up a book called BROWN GIRL DREAMING. You may have heard of it. 😍 Unbelievably amazing. If you have the chance to hear Jacqueline Woodson read her own words on audiobook, please do.  It won and was the only book I read from the list of finalists. Yes, more shame…

In 2015, I read 3 out of 5. THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH, BONE GAP, and NIMONA were all fantastic reads, some of my favorites of the year.

Last year I made myself a promise to read all five of the National Book Award for Young People Finalists. Each of these books deeply touched me in all the right places. The characters became my friends. I lived in their worlds with them. I wanted to help them. When the books ended, I wanted to call them up and discuss their stories. Here’s a little about each of these literary gems. (Don’t worry. There are no spoilers!)

RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE

by Kate DiCamillo

(Candlewick Press)

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-37-36-amRaymie and I are soulmates. We’ve both busy carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, making happily-ever-after plans, and hoping the world is tuned into the same radio frequency so that everything works out the way it should. For Raymie, those happily-ever-after plans involve her father redeeming himself for leaving her and her mom by rushing back to her with open arms. Like Raymie, I’m still that little girl who loves people with a big, open whooshing heart, hoping to be loved back at least half as much. This story about personal loss, finding hope and joy in unlikely places, and the power of being open to new friendships is both heart-wrenching and heart-opening, perfect for readers looking for lots of feels. Writing this review makes me want to read it again. Oh, the feels you can feel! (Ages 10+)

MARCH: BOOK THREE

by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell-Artist

(Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing)

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-38-24-amI’d never heard of this graphic novel series about the Civil Rights Movement until the National Book Award Finalists were announced. The graphic novels format is perfect for relating the stories of the brave men and women who fearlessly fought for equality among people on a personal level and for transporting the reader back to the early 1960s seamlessly. You feel with the anguish of the Civil Rights fighters, understand the depths of danger they faced, and discover the enormous hurdles they encountered through first-hand accounts right out of John Lewis’ head.

These books are so much more than history books. They connect deeply into your consciousness, enlighten you about fundamentally what it means to be human, and make you wonder if you are brave enough/smart enough to fight like John Lewis did. Honestly, I learned more about the Civil Rights Movement in this trilogy than I learned in elementary through high school. In Book Three, John Lewis, who is chairman of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee, must steer the group through dangerous uprisings as African Americans assert their right to vote. These books are compelling stories about the power of our voices, a must have for the history classroom. (Ages 13+)

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER

by Grace Lin

(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-39-38-amI didn’t want to/expect fall head over heels in love with this book. I’d already chosen my favorites for the year. Finding another book I loved with all of my heart at the end of October was like…cheating. Also, I wasn’t sure I’d like it because I prefer realistic fiction, but I slipped right into the story. The first day I sat down to read, I couldn’t stop. Instead of going to the grocery store to buy food for my family, I read. (They weren’t going to starve for goodness sakes! All Pinmei has to make it through the long winter is a dwindling supply of rice. We had rice!) Instead of working on revising my WIP after being away from it for many, many long days, I read. I didn’t want to stop to drive my kids to school either, but I did just because it meant uninterrupted reading time.

This book is about the power of stories and storytellers. Within the story of Pinmei and Yishan’s brave mission to save Pinmei’s grandmother, the storyteller, from the emperor, there are enchanting and unique Chinese fables masterfully woven into the story like pieces of a puzzle. We cheer for Pimei as she grows from being a quiet, unlikely hero to becoming a brave girl willing to challenge the most powerful man in the land.

The story is mesmerizing, the prose is lovely, and the illustrations are exquisite. I could not love it more. (Ages 10+)

GHOST

by Jason Reynolds

(Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-41-12-amGhost, aka Castle Crenshaw, is trying out for a new elite middle school track team despite the fact that he’s never had any formal training. Ghost is super-fast, but he’s running for the wrong reasons. He’s a good kid on the inside, but on the outside his life is a mess. Ghost is always in trouble and being suspended from school. He’s has been running since the day his daddy chased him and his mom though their apartment and out into the streets with a loaded gun. Even after he gets some focus for his anger by running track, he still makes mistakes, big mistakes. What Ghost must realize is that he’ll always be running until he deals with the anger, his fears, the past. And just as importantly as figuring out what he’s running from, Ghost must figure out where he’s running to.

Ghost’s troubles feel real/personal. You can’t resist rooting for him. I can’t help but compare Jason Reynold’s GHOST with BOOKED and CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander (two of my all-time favorites). Sports books rarely capture my attention like these books did, but Ghost is so much more than a sports book. The dialogue and voice in GHOST are so authentic that I imagined I’d heard the story straight from Ghost’s own lips. I love books about kids making mistakes and struggling until they make things right. There’s so much for adults and kids alike to relate to and learn from in this book. A powerful, must read. Go get it now. (Ages 10+)

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR

by Nicola Yoon

(Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House)screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-42-11-am

It took extreme restraint to not go ahead and proclaim this my favorite book before I read it. I obsessively love of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon, and I still think about it/recommend it nearly every day now, a year after I read it. Thankfully, I read the others first and had fallen in love with them too before I got my hands on this one. It made things a little more even.

And then I opened the book…I’m not a girl who likes prologues, but this one is unlike any that I’ve ever read. If you like the prologue, you will love the book.

The entire story takes place in one day. It has MULTIPLE first-person POVs. I lost track of how many because I was so overwhelmed by how masterfully they were written, each character original, each viewpoint moving.

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is so much more than a love story. It’s a tale of deportation, the difficulties of being raised in America by immigrant parents, that moment when you realize that your parents are clueless people figuring it out as they go instead of the heroes you imagined, and the importance of living your dreams instead of the dreams that others have for you. It’s also a love letter to many topics dear to me: time travel, atomic order, dark matter, human biology, physics, and the universe. How does Nicola Yoon fit these complex subjects into a love story that made me ugly cry on page 306? I have no idea, but it’s a book that I’ll study for years to come to figure out these mysteries and as a masterclass on multiple first-person POVs. (Ages 14+, language and mild sexual content)

*****

Choosing a favorite from these five books was nearly impossible, and I imagine the committee selecting the winner will have the same difficulties. There are no losers in this list! Read them all!

Honestly, my favorite pick of these five books has changed multiple times over the past week. If I must choose one, I’d have to pick the book that made the biggest impact on me as a reader. That book would be MARCH: BOOK THREE.

The graphic novel format made the Civil Rights Movement come alive for me in a way that it never had before. Rep. John Lewis’ first-hand accounts have rippled my consciousness, and I can’t stop thinking about the sacrifices of the unbelievably brave men and women who mostly peacefully fought against prejudice/injustices. The timing of this book is also of utmost importance.  We need these stories now and forever to know where we’ve been and to figure out where we need to go.

The judging committee will select THE WINNER of THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD in all categories on November 16th. More info about the amazing judges and books can be found here.

Have you read the shortlist nominees? I’d love to know which book you’d choose to win The National Book Award for Young People this year!