Enter your zip code here

If you want to get a lot of money you can let my sweet son be mean to you. You will be rich.

How you can get a lot of money

When my boys draw pictures or tell me stories or ask me to tell them stories, I start to rethink the age I write for. I am firmly in the upper MG/YA camp. Sometimes I wonder why. Why not write for six year olds or eight year olds? I remember Dandi Mackall spoke at the WIFYR conference (which you should all go to) a few years ago and said she wrote books for the ages of her kids. As they grew, the ages of the MC in her books grew.

I wish I could do that. Can I do that?

We’ve talked about how a lot of us feel a certain age inside, our writing age. And usually that’s where we stay. There are others who write for all ages and do it well. What do you do? Have you tried switching around? Does one age feel more natural than another? Why do I have to be thirteen my whole life?

I just finished a draft of something. I am relieved. I am also a little anxious about my next project. Maybe I’ll try something younger. Maybe I’ll write for the girl up my street who sells popsicle stick art  for one penny each. Maybe I’ll write about the time when I was eight and I slept out on the trampoline and a real live skunk hid under there! And I had to be completely still. Still as rocks. Maybe I’ll write about giving silver dollars to all the people I’m mean to. It might be your lucky day.

In any case, I’m going to take some time to play. My favorite part of writing.

The end.


What chapter books do you read to your little ones. My boys love picture books but they also are interested in having us read chapter books to them. Cam has read Mr. Poppins Penguins, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and some books about a boy who shrinks and goes up someone’s nose. I don’t remember the name of it. And some Flat Stanleys. And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A lot of these are a little old for my boys. What do you read?



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8 responses to “Enter your zip code here

  1. Andee, a friend of mine suggested Alexander McCall Smith’s Akimbo and the Elephant (and Akimbo and the Lion) for my 6 y.o. If you find any good books for young boys, please let me know! My kindergartner is currently devouring the non-fiction animal books at our library (which puts him on a 3rd grade reading level, I think), but I’d love to have him read fiction, too. The only problem is, he’s not interested in stuff that’s age appropriate, and the stuff at his reading level is often too old for him (sounds like you have a similar problem!)

  2. Kim

    We love the Alvin Ho series. Can’t get enough of him.

  3. CLW

    Have you ever been mean to anyone, Ann Dee?
    And everyone, Dandi won the Edgar a few days ago.
    And so did wonderful Matt Kirby. He’ll be WIFYR.

    • I love Dandi. I got to know her when we lived in the same state. Such a gracious, lovely person always willing to help others. How cool for her to win an Edgar. AND our own Matt Kirby. Way cool! I love his books. I’m so excited to hear him speak at WIFYR!

  4. My boys get a kick out of Spencer’s Adventures, also the Secrets of Droon series. We recently read the Strange Case of Origami Yoda and The Revenge of Darth Paper. Both were hilarious for read alouds. It was a little old for my kindergardener who still loved it, but for my 3rd and 5th graders it was perfect. Lots of boy humor though. Another fun read- although it had a scary chapter that kinder didn’t like is Richard Peck’s Masters of Disaster. That led to some interesting talks about collective stupidity and peer pressure.

  5. All my children, even my boys, like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read them aloud to my children.

  6. Andrea

    Aw, what a sweetheart! I would totally let your son be mean to me for 200 packs of 200 silver dollars. But it doesn’t sound like he’s the kind of kid who’s mean very often;).

    I used to sell my art for a penny, just like that girl on your street! There was this doctor who lived in my neighborhood who always said he couldn’t afford to buy one of my drawings, but it made me all confused because he had a tennis court in his backyard and I thought he was rich. Maybe the expensive tennis court was the reason he couldn’t afford to spend another penny.

    Regarding read-aloud books, have you read any Poppleton books (by Cynthia Rylant)? They’re kind of in between picture books and chapter books, and they’re so cute and funny. Also, The Chocolate Touch (can’t remember the author). My boys really liked that one, because everything the boy touches turns to chocolate. It’s a fun, quick read.

  7. LJ

    I love your son’s solution to making things “right”; I could take a lesson!

    As for chapter books for younger boys, my son and grandsons and younger library students have enjoyed the following: the Mr. Putter books by Cynthia Rylant, High-Rise Private Eyes, also by Rylant, Magic Tree House (which the library kids call “Jack and Annie” books) by Mary Pope Osborne, and even, surprisingly to me and to my daughter, the Great Illustrated Classics (the ones with the white spines and red lettering)! My 8-year-old grandson has been devouring those since first grade. There are a few that he wasn’t interested in because of the topic or content, but he looks for them at thrift stores and checks them out feverishly from the library. Then a lot of kids love the Arthur series by Marc Brown.

    For older kids, my son thought Cam Jansen was a boy when he started reading that series by David A. Adler, but he liked the character and the stories so much that he kept reading them. There are Young Cam Jansen books now, too.


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