for Writers

So I’ve thought for a long time about what resources I’d like to pass on to writers. And in general, I hope that everyone who currently does or aspires to write for children knows about Vermont College’s MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults (VCFA WC&YA) and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). And I think that Cynsations, the kidlitosphere, Write at Your Own Risk, and Through the Tollbooth all have very important and relevant web presences. But I decided that I wanted to reserve this page specifically for things that would most directly help writers write about the issues discussed here. In particular, I’ve included writers to study whose work more often than not tackles these issues. If you know of others, please do tell!

Craft Articles:

Literary Organizations & Publishers:

  • Lambda Literary: The nation’s largest Literary Organization supporting GLBTQ writers and writing. They award yearly writing awards and hold a yearly writer’s retreat.
  • Lee & Low Books: An independent children’s book publisher focusing on diversity.
  • Cinco Puntos Press: Also a small, independent press. They publish a lot of Latino books and books set in the Southwest.

Writers to Study:

  • Benjamin Alire Saenz: His writing for teens features Mexican kids in the Southwest. Not a voice that gets heard that often. But his novels also often tackle GLBTQ issues, abuse, poverty, bullying, violence, trauma, and dissociation, as well.
  • Sara Zarr: Her characters grapple with divorce, crises of faith, foster care, parental death, and a number of other issues.
  • Katherine Paterson: Probably the best known and most beloved of authors for kids and teens, but there’s a good reason. All of her stories are utterly emotionally honest and her characters deal with real life. Jacob Have I Loved is one of my favorite books of all times.
  • Martine Leavitt: Martine unflinchingly examines teen homelessness, prostitution, and rape, among other issues.
  • Lyn Miller-Lachmann: Besides being a social justice activist and a staunch supporter of her fellow writers, Lyn’s books deal with a wide range of issues including Asperger’s syndrome, bullying, immigration, and the Latino experience.
  • Nancy Garden: Starting with the ground-breaking Annie on My Mind, she has forged a long and distinguished career writing for gay and lesbian kids and teens.
  • Virginia Euwer Wolff: She writes about poor inner-city kids, teen pregnancy, alternate family structures, learning differences . . .
  • Coe Booth: Black, poor, inner-city teens. Teen pregnancy, illegal activity, foster care, homelessness . . .

There are many more, but this will work as a starting list.