Tween the Weekends is a monthly feature hosted by the Emblazoners. This is an opportunity for everybody to promote tween literature.
I'm giving a workshop this weekend on writing for middle grade and young adult. (Which would seem to presume I know something on the subject. I'm not entirely sure this is true.) One thing I do know, however, is what kids like to read. Or at least my three boys, who range from avid to mildly interested if you force me kinds of readers. My 14 year old's top picks: Ender's Game, Darwin's Radio, Cusp My 12 year old's picks: Hunchback Assignments, Paranormalcy, Uglies My 10 year old's picks: The Familiars, Dark Life, Origami Yoda Thoughts... Kids Read Up... and Down My 14 year old isn't reading YA (although you could argue that Ender's Game is YA) - he's reading adult SF. My 12 year old is reading clean YA (Paranormalcy, Uglies) and middle grade (Hunchback Assignments). My 10 year old is solidly in the MG zone age-wise, but his favorites are really Tween (meaning upper MG). Don't Write Down to Kids Rich world-building and humor win the day with tweens. All of the tween/YA books listed are heavy in both, plus they're really smart books (I have smart kids, but hey, these are very popular books - lots of kids read them). The show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? hit it - kids are a whole lot smarter than you think, and they're used to learning all the time (i.e. using their brains). Tweens Read Long... and Short
Origami Yoda 18885
The Familiars 58513
Dark Life 62350
Hunchback Assignments 63217
The last two are really YA... but my kid also read those when he was 11. Obviously tweens are capable of reading full-length books - in fact, I'd dare to say the ones that capture their imagination the most are usually the ones with complex worldbuilding... which usually means longer wordcount.
One of the most important things: don't moralize. All of these books have great moral lessons in them without once moralizing (or lecturing) to kids. Letting kids learn the great lessons of life through the actions of characters they identify with? That's one of the best parts of writing MG/Tween Lit.
Please visit the following Tween the Weekend participants: