Happy Book Birthday to Christine Virnig and her book Dung for Dinner. During World War II, the German soldiers stationed in North Africa were getting deathly sick with dysentery. They noticed that the local Bedouins seemed to get over it quickly. After careful observation, they learned that the Bedouins cured this debilitating intestinal infection—by eating warm, fresh camel poop. You will find this and countless other gross, disgusting, disturbing examples of how people have used poop [...]
MGM is excited about a new humorous non-fiction book Dung for Dinner that is coming on July 21, 2020. We asked Christine Virnig about her inspiration for this tasteless topic and for her favorite poop jokes. Middle Grade Mojo: You’re a pediatric allergist (physician specializing in allergies and asthma in children). That seems like it would be a full-time career. What inspired you to become a children’s book author as well? Christine Virnig: I’ve actually [...]
It sounds so simple, but writers know how difficult it is to describe new settings and characters in a way that readers feel instantly comfortable with them. And finding new perspectives to familiar scenes and people so that it's fresh and exciting is hard too. There's a reason Samuel Johnson uses the word "powers". Good luck exercising your author super powers this week.
As Kristine Anderson (author of Crooked Truth) always says, "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it." As you struggle with finding the perfect opening line, or the ultimate ending, remember that it will all be worth it in the end. A writer's pain is the reader's gain.
On Friday, May 29th at 4:00 p.m. EDT, you can watch a Facebook live roundtable discussion hosted by Nora McFarland and Chris Grabenstein with guest authors Lauren Magaziner and Lamar Giles as they discuss Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America. The authors will be discussing their methods for writing mysteries and what they enjoy about writing for middle grade readers. These twenty short mysteries are sure to test [...]
Alan L. Hart (1890-1962) was a leader in the field of medicine. He pioneered the use of the new x-ray technology to diagnose tuberculosis which was the number cause of death at the beginning of the 20th century. His innovative test meant tuberculosis could be diagnosed early enough to save patients’ lives. The death rate dropped dramatically after his method became standard. Alan was also the first person in the United States to have gender [...]
Emile Coué (1857-1926) worked as a pharmacist in France between 1882 and 1910. He noticed that his patients had much better outcomes when he convinced them that the medicines would work. We now call this the placebo effect. Coué began to study how the power of positive thinking helped cure illness. Coué believed that the mind couldn’t hold two opposing thoughts at the same time. He taught his patients to repeat positive affirmations several times [...]
Twelve-year-old Malcolm Greeley is never lonely when he’s alone. He has a cast of characters sharing space in his brain. Creative, imaginative, smart, and painfully shy, Malcolm’s interior life is where he feels safe, unlike his attempts at sports. After three years of trying to play baseball, it’s apparent that Malcolm did NOT inherit his father’s athletic ability. He knows that his father is disappointed in him and wonders if that is one reason his [...]
The writing life and life in general are full of challenges and struggles. Some we seek because we want those experiences and some that surprise us. The rewards of overcoming those challenges are priceless. Keep trying! You can do it!
Learning online isn’t just for kids. You could be too! I’ve been amazed at the online learning opportunities that have popped up in the last few weeks for writers. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has free seminars through April. You do have to be a member to register, but if you’re interested in writing children’s books, being a member of SCBWI is something you should do anyway. Check out their digital [...]