Understanding Children’s Book Categories from Picture Books to YA

Confused about the different categories in KidLit.  Here’s your Go-To-Source: Understanding Children’s Book Categories from Picture Books to YA


Word Counts from the NYT Best Sellers’ List

Wonderful analysis.


macbook-606763_1280The story of the word count I imagine most resembles the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The aspiring writer steps into a publishing house, alluring and mysterious. She sits down at the kitchen table and sees three laptops sitting there. The same title is on each screen, but which to pick? She starts at the first and scrolls through fast. This word count is not enough. She skips to the second laptop, four-hundred pages later she decides she needs a nap, and that this word count is too much. But the writer is most hopeful for the story on the final laptop. She scrolls through, and yes! This word count… is just right.

But what is “just right?” I did a little bit of digging to find out. I was curious to know where my novels come in, if there were any exceptions to these rules, and what the sweet spot might be.

What do the pros…

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Loving Jerry Spinelli and Scrapple

I am in love with Jerry Spinelli’s latest work, The Warden’s Daughter.  He got me right from the start with all the writing about the smell of the scrapple cooking in the greater Philly area prison kitchen.

I loved scrapple as a kid.  I don’t care that it was made from leftover pig parts (I didn’t know it was pig snouts until Mr. Spinelli enlightened me, and I’ll admit that gave me pause…) but oh, what I wouldn’t do for a piece of that delectable breakfast staple, not exactly famous or available in these here parts (Mississippi).

I wanted the heroine in my WIP to love scrapple- but thought, “who’ll even have the slightest idea what I’m writing about?”  Thanks to the great Spinelli – EVERYONE!

Just in case I’ve piqued your interest. Straight from the publisher:

The Warden’s Daughter

By: Jerry Spinelli

From Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Stargirl) comes the “moving and memorable” (Kirkus Reviews, starred) story of a girl searching for happiness inside the walls of a prison.
Cammie O’Reilly lives at the Hancock County Prison–not as a prisoner, she’s the warden’s daughter. She spends the mornings hanging out with shoplifters and reformed arsonists in the women’s excercise yard, which gives Cammie a certain cache with her school friends.

But even though Cammie’s free to leave the prison, she’s still stuck. And sad, and really mad. Her mother died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. You wouldn’t think you could miss something you never had, but on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, the thing Cammie most wants is a mom. A prison might not be the best place to search for a mother, but Cammie is determined and she’s willing to work with what she’s got.

“Jerry Spinelli again proves why he’s the king of storytellers” (Shelf Awarenss, starred) in this tale of a girl who learns that heroes can come in surprising disguises, and that even if we don’t always get what we want, sometimes we really do get what we need.