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Saturday, October 28 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Middle Grade: Solving Problems

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You solve problems every day, from what to eat for breakfast to how to finish your homework before bedtime. The kids in the books we read face problems, too—from everyday hurdles like these to huge obstacles we hope we’ll never encounter. In this session, we’ll hear from four authors whose characters tackle problems—and we might even learn about what challenges the authors faced while writing about them! In The Perfect Score, school story specialist Rob Buyea writes about how a group of students approach a familiar predicament: taking standardized tests. In her latest middle grade novel, Saturdays with Hitchcock, Printz Award–winning author Ellen Wittlinger writes about Maisie, a tween facing a pair of problems: her grandma’s growing dementia and her own messy love triangle—something she’s not sure she even wants. Norah, the heroine of Barbara Dee’s Halfway Normal, just wants to put her big problem (overcoming leukemia) behind her and start middle school like a normal kid. And in Michelle Cuevas’s wildly inventive The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole, Stella’s problems of loss and grief take on cosmic significance, manifesting as a black hole named Larry. Do you have a problem—in writing or in life—you’d like a creative solution to? Bring your questions to this session, hosted by educator and former BPL writer-in-residence Jennifer De Leon.

Ages 7–12



Moderators
avatar for Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon is a writer and educator whose focus has been social justice and the immigrant experience. Her short story “Home Movie” was selected as the 2015 One City One Story for the Boston Book Festival. She was named the tuition scholar in fiction at the Bread Loaf... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Rob Buyea

Rob Buyea

Rob Buyea is an educator who transcribed his teaching in the classroom to teaching through middle-grade fiction. Buyea taught third and fourth grade for six years before teaching high school biology and eventually giving that up to write full-time. He has written three books about his character Mr. Terupt and his students: Because of Mr. Terupt (2010), Mr. Terupt Falls Again (2012), and Saving Mr. Terupt (2015). Because of Mr. Terupt was named an E. B. White Honor Book and won state book awards in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arizona, Nebraska, Indiana, and Iowa, and was nominated in a number of other states. His newest book is The Perfect Score, about the stress of standardized test... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Cuevas

Michelle Cuevas

Michelle Cuevas is an author of picture books and novels for young people. Her 2016 picture book The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles (featuring artwork by Caldecott medalist Erin E. Stead) was critically acclaimed and a national bestseller. She is also the author of Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier (soon to become an animated... Read More →
avatar for Barbara Dee

Barbara Dee

Barbara Dee began writing books for children after spending time as an English teacher, a (happy) stay-at-home mom, and a (less happy) lawyer. Her first book, Just Another Day in My Insanely Real Life, has been followed by several other beloved and critically acclaimed novels for middle-grade readers, including Solving... Read More →
avatar for Ellen Wittlinger

Ellen Wittlinger

Ellen Wittlinger is a celebrated author of young adult literature who has been writing for over twenty years. Before beginning her career in young adult literature in 1993, Wittlinger was a children’s librarian, a journalist, a poet, and playwright. Her first published book was a poetry collection titled Breakers (1979). She had a play, One Civilized Person, produced in New York City, and a number of others were given staged readings in Boston. In 1993 she published... Read More →


Saturday October 28, 2017 11:00am - 12:00pm
BPL Teen Central 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

Attendees (35)