When I am researching a book I try to read everything on the subject and then some. Sometimes that reading takes me back...way back...to things I've written earlier. It could be a magazine article on the topic of my book or even a report I wrote back in college.
In this case, I dug out an old report I wrote in elementary school on dolphins. It's a topic I've returned to before when I wrote OCEANS. I remember writing this report. I was totally into it. I read Nat Geo and every book I could find on the topic -- which wasn't difficult because my mom had an extensive library right at home.
Looking at this report I can see the nonfiction author I was going to be. Not only was it complete, it had 9 chapters, was illustrated, and included a bibliography.
I laughed as I read the comments inside. My teacher circled the word BOVINE and wrote beside it - What does this mean? Could she have not known that, or was she suggesting I should have defined the word in text?
The report earned me a grade of O+ which is short for Outstanding + and this note:
It is my pleasure to read such a report. A tremendous amount of work on your part. I'm sure if I had to ever write a report about dolphins I would turn yours in instead of mine.
BAM! the 5th or 6th grader in me is still beaming and thankful my teacher was so encouraging.
Reading this will help me get back into that middle grade head as I write my WIP. What excited me then will probably still excite my MG readers now.
So for today, I'm reading everything and taking some time to connect with my inner middle grader.