Tickling Brains, Turning Pages (books)

Stargirl
Dangerous Days
Hunger Games. The Hobbit.
Percy Jackson. Stargirl.
Harry Potter. Terabithia.
Outsiders. Daniel X.
Twilight. Catcher in the Rye.
Pretty Little Liars. Ender's Game.
The Giver.  Speak.  The Skin I'm In.

What do these titles have in common?  

Power?  Love?  Tragedy?  Recognition?  Voice?  Brains tickled?  Pages turned?

Why do middle-grade readers love Fudge, Judy Moody, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid sooooo much?

I've seen students (in the South Bronx) trying to read while walking down stairs.  While that is obviously a safety concern, I am thrilled to see that motivation!  As read-alouds or as independent reading, these stories tickle their brains.

What's not to love?

Are You There, God?
Writing for the adolescent species may seem completely daunting, but let's not kid ourselves.  Or perhaps I should say, let's kid ourselves a bit more?

Remember being a kid?  We could grin at a friend and start crafting fun out of anything.  If you call math drills "math kung fu" and pull out a timer, then you might find the kids doing math with a smile.  The Joy Factor.

Let's play.  Tickle brains.  Get dramatic.

Kids love power, right?.  All kinds of power.  Adolescents like power, too, but they also seem to like stories that are dipped in tragicomedy and end with some brand of heroic recognition.

Let's humor them!

Can I develop unique stories that are a joy to read?