How to Teach an Old Genre New Tricks: Creativity and the Genre Writer

Remember all those pulse-pounding dystopias and dramas with animal characters you read as a tween? No? Yeah, me neither. For ’80s and ’90s kids, growing out of Little Golden Books and “early readers” into lengthy chapter books also basically meant growing out of stories in which animals were the main characters. It’s not that exceptions didn’t exist, but the beloved big-kid books of the day were mostly peopled by . . . people. At the more serious end of the spectrum? The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. Character facing seemingly insurmountable odds and having to churn up steely resolve? Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. Characters fighting for independence in a universe gone control-freaky? A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

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And you can’t leave out these classics.

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