Middle Grade Literature Empowers (or why kids need imaginary worlds to play in)

Can’t is a dangerous word. It’s one of those words that gets pulled out a lot by adults these days. You can’t say that. You can’t believe that. You can’t do that. Can’t is a natural part of the language definitely has its role in our world, but it’s come to mean a lot of different things. Things it was likely never meant to be in the first place. More importantly, it’s an imprecise word that people use as a substitute for other, more meaningful words, like mustn’t. And in its imprecise form, can’t can be very dangerous when applied to kids. Can’t is a limiting word. A word that takes something away from the person it’s used on. And in this world, we can’t afford to be taking things away from

Meaning Informs Creativity (or how I learned to love my editor)

Meaning informs creativity. Whenever we put pen to the page (or fingers to the keyboard, or camera to the subject...), our goal is to take a piece of our brains and share it with other humans. That means our creativity has to keep those other humans in mind. I started thinking about this when I went back to read some of my old journal entries and text I'd generated for a project. As I scanned the page, I kept wondering what I was thinking--really--when I was writing. See, even journal entries are written for other humans. Today I'm a different person than I was then. And honestly, some of that communication didn't come through, because I wasn't focused on future-me; I was stuck on then-me

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© 2017 Sean Easley | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Hotel Between artwork by Petur Antonsson