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Babe To Teens, Past
A Youth Column
By Beverly Rowe


Did you ever feel like the world left you behind? I just realized that there are more genres of fiction and associated genres than I realized....what in the world is "Steampunk?" .....and is this something that I want my kids to read? The name sounds a bit racy, but it turns out that it is probably an alternate history from an age where steam was a major source of power. It may be fantasy, science fiction, western in a futuristic vision as Victorians might have envisioned them. Think technology such as the fictional machines found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld and China Mieville. So, I guess it is just the term that I wasn't familiar with, not the stories themselves.

Here are some Steampunk offerings for teens:

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
(The Steampunk Chronicles)

by Kady Creepella

Jasper was captured by bounty hunters , and now, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue him. The bounty hunter is a former friend who now demands a trade....the dangerous device Jasper stole from him…for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens. The teens with supernatural abilities are on Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship.

Dark magic and a battle between good and evil surprises and enchants in this story.

The Girl in the Steel Corset\The Strange Case of Finley Jayne
(The Steampunk Chronicles)
by Kady Cross

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one...except the "thing" inside her

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch.

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets, against the wishes of his band of misfits. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in--until a criminal mastermind known as the Machinist threatens to tear the group apart....

Here are my picks for younger readers...

Dinosaur Pet
by Neil Sedaka, Marc Sedaka

Some kids have puppies. Other children have cats. But in this entertaining new picture book and CD by multi-Grammy winner Neil Sedaka, his son Marc Sedaka, and New York Times best-selling illustrator Tim Bowers, a little boy cherishes something even bigger and better, his own pet dinosaur. This book will get your toddlers and early readers dancing.

Gila River camp isn't technically a prison, but with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no time frame for leaving, it might as well be. So when someone has the idea of building a baseball diamond and starting a team, Tetsu is overjoyed. But then his sister gets dangerously sick, forcing him to choose between his family and his love of the game. An exciting slice of will change the way you look at things...but it is also a baseball book.

Bad Kitty for President
by Nick Bruel

The votes are in--it's a Bad Kitty landslide!

It's time to elect a new president of the Neighborhood Cat Coalition! Who will win the election? The candidate chosen by the kitties on the right side of the street or the candidate chosen by the kitties on the left side of the street? When election time rolls around, one candidate (guess who?) will discover that she never bothered to register to vote and the entire election will be decided by a surprise, last minute absentee ballot sent by Old Kitty.

Middle School: Get Me out of Here!
by James Patterson, Chris Tebbetts, Laura Park
Pinch Hit

After sixth grade, the very worst year of his life, Rafe Khatchadorian thinks he has it made in seventh grade. He's been accepted to art school in the big city but he imagines it as a fun zone with no math or history. That is not quite how it turns out to be though, and for Rafe to score bit he has to turn his boring life around and come up with a killer art inspiration.. His method? Operation: Get a Life! Anything he's never done before, he's going to do, from learning to play poker to going to a modern art museum. But then, he uncovers secrets about the family Rafe's never known and he has to decide if he's ready to have his world turned upside down. Excitement we would expect from James Patterson.


So you have written a childlren's book, and all you need is a publisher! But how do you write a query letter?

1. You need a brief synopsis of the story. Write it in the same style as the manuscript, please.

2. What is the intended age range and the word count. How about the category? Easy reader, young adult, picture book?

3. Show any marketing ideas you have.

4. A paragraph about the author's previous publications and credentials, memberships in writing organizations, and anything else related to writing children's books. What is your expertise for writing this particular book?

5. Why are you submitting this book to this particular publisher? Ask permission to send the entire manuscript.

Check the publisher's guidelines to see if the editor wants a query letter only, or if you can also include sample chapters from the work. Always mail with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and be sure your phone number and email address are on the letter. ...and get the editor's name right.

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