Whose voice is heard by middle grade readers in their choice of fiction? Again,the problem of colliding generations surfaces. As a classroom teacher, I was always on the lookout for fiction that would engage preteen readers immediately, but would offer opportunities for meaningful discussion: the kinds of literature that, when selected by young people for their own personal reading, would have an enduring message subtly forged by action and realistic dialogue.
So, how does an occasionally croaky-voiced grandmother write fiction like that? Personally, I have found a satisfactory solution by breaking one of the cardinal rules of writing; I ask my son to read the work and "today it up." It's interesting that the very contrast in lifestyles that polarized us during his teen years, now brings our worlds together. He teaches me words like blogosphere and legit. In return, I teach him that age has nothing at all to do with chasing dreams.