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Review of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults
by Cheryl B. Klein
Norton    368 pp.
9/16    Paper ed.  978-0-393-29224-4    $18.95

Editor Klein has revised her earlier self-published book Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, weaving the content of that book’s conference talks and online posts into unified chapters on elements of writing, often with examples from books she edited. Her advice — sometimes but not always particular to writing for young people — goes beyond the you-need-a-plot basics, providing specific, useful guidelines (get to the inciting incident by chapter two) and strategies (use supporting characters’ opinions to influence readers’ views) as well as broader observations (“your fictional work can contribute to real-world consequences, so imagine responsibly”). A useful resource for fiction writers developing their craft.

From the May/June 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College.

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