Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting Ready for #NaNoWriMo and #PiBoIdMo

During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), thousands of people work on writing a rough draft of a novel in a month of November. For those of you who write for younger children, November is also Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). There the goal is to come up with a new picture book idea every day. These challenges may sound intimidating, but they are widely popular.

Why? Well, taking on an intensive challenge for a month has several advantages. The most obvious is that it very quickly gives you material to develop. You can get a jump start on a new novel, or brainstorm a few dozen picture books ideas to pursue (though not all will be worth developing).

The time pressure forces you to put aside your editor and critic hats and instead focus on getting words on paper. This helps some people avoid the insecurity that can come with starting a new project, or the temptation to endlessly edit the first few chapters instead of moving forward. For picture book writers, having a lot of new ideas allows you to choose the best one, so you don’t waste time on a mediocre idea.

It encourages you to schedule writing time – plenty of it, every week. It’s easier to give up TV, reading, and other hobbies for a single month. It’s also easier to get family members to adjust their schedule to yours if you are requesting a favor for a month, not forever. (You may even discover that your family, and the world, can function with less of your attention than you thought. Even if you can’t devote the same amount of time to writing after November, maybe you can carve out some time every week.)

Finally, both challenges have a strong sense of community. You can network with other writers, encourage each other, and find inspiring blog posts or helpful tips to keep you moving for your project.

Are You in?

If you want to be ready to write a novel in November, it’s best to start brainstorming and planning in advance. My next few posts will discuss finding and developing ideas. In November I'll have a couple of posts on PiBoIdMo. For NaNo writers, you can bookmark this site and stop by to check out the writing tips on everything from developing characters to building to a strong climax. (Scroll down to see the labels on the right-hand side.) Then check back in March for editing tips during National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo).

The following is excerpted from You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers. The book is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback. That book and Advanced Plotting will provide lots of help as you write and edit.

Finding Ideas

Ideas are everywhere, including in our own lives. Of course, even the most exciting events may lack important story qualities such as character growth and strong plots. (Those qualities are covered in detail in You Can Write for Children.) Still, personal and family experiences can provide the raw material to be molded into publishable stories and articles.

Amy Houts wrote Down on the Farm, about a girl on a farm vacation who wants to ride a horse but must do chores first. Houts was inspired by her own experiences, though not by a specific episode. “I was one of those horse-crazy girls,” she says. “I knew how a girl could long to ride a horse.”

Sometimes the smallest nugget can inspire a story. Susan Uhlig says, “My teen daughters and friends went on a mission trip to do a building project. The man overseeing the project was disappointed that there were no boys. I played the writer game of ‘what if?’ What if the man wouldn’t let the team stay because they were all girls? That developed into a short story very easily – what he would say, my main character girl would do, how the problem would be solved, etc.” The story sold to Brio.

Personally, I sold a story to Highlights based on the experience of finding frogs all over my neighborhood after a rainstorm. They also bought a historical story about the Mayan ballgame. That story, and my Mayan historical novel The Well of Sacrifice, were inspired by visiting Mayan ruins in Mexico and Central America.

Realistic, Not Real

Sometimes real life translates well into fiction – though a twist may make it more fun for children. Leslie Helakoski says, “My picture book, Big Chickens, is about all the things I was afraid of when young and I’d go into the woods with my brothers and sisters. I just turned us all into chickens and played with the language.”

Caroline Hatton drew on school and home memories of growing up in Paris for her middle-grade novel, VĂ©ro and Philippe. Yet she did not simply write a memoir. “I wanted to write about a pet snail because I kept one in a shoebox in my family’s apartment in Paris. But in my real life, my big brother left me and my pet snail alone – not much of a story, is it? So in the book, I made the brother threaten to eat the snail, as escargot.”
Characters and outcomes may also change, Hatton points out. “My brother rigged a thing to scare me in the middle of the night. But in the book, I swapped roles, and it’s the little sister who does it to her big brother. Sharing this with kids makes them howl with the pleasure of revenge.”

Houts adds, “Most of the time I have to twist the reality of an experience so my story can include all the elements of good storytelling: a contrast of characters; a goal the main character strongly desires to reach; and believable obstacles the main character needs to overcome to reach her goal. Time needs to be cut down to a day or two [for a picture book]. That condenses the action and makes the story more focused.”

Author Renee Heiss says, “Use your life story as the skeleton, and then flesh it out with period details, colorful dialogue, and tons of sensory imagery to place your young readers into the time period and setting. It’s not enough to tell what happened; you must show your readers your story and immerse them into your life as if they were a sibling growing up with you.”

Asking friends and family members to share stories can provide ideas, while allowing you to turn the story into your own creation. Uhlig didn’t witness the mission trip firsthand. “That freed me up to create problem, action, dialogue, etc. without being stuck on what really happened,” she says.

You can “borrow” stories from history and the news as well. I found an interesting tidbit in a history of Washington State. A teenage boy had met bank robbers in the woods, and for some reason he told nobody about them. Why? This question, and my imagined answers to it, became my YA survival suspense Bandits Peak.

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback

AdvancedPlotting is available in print or ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or in various ebook formats at Smashwords.

Monday, October 17, 2016

#NaNoWriMo and #PiBoIdMo - Developing Your Idea

Last week, I discussed National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), both of which take place over the month of November. If you plan to participate, it helps to do some prep!

Here are some tips for developing your idea. (If you are doing NaNoWriMo, try to do this before you start writing in November. For PiBoIdMo, bookmark this post or print it out so you can use it as you brainstorm ideas next month.)

(The following is excerpted from You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers. The book is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback. That book and Advanced Plotting will provide lots of help as you write and edit.)

Developing an Idea

If you have a “great idea,” but can’t seem to go anywhere with it, you probably have a premise rather than a complete story plan. A story should have three parts: beginning, middle, and end (plus title and possibly bonus material). This can be a bit confusing though. Doesn’t every story have a beginning, middle, and end? It has to start somewhere and end at some point, and other stuff is in the middle. Beginning, middle, and end!

Technically, yes, but certain things should happen at those points.

1.   The beginning introduces a character with a problem or a goal.

2.  During the middle of the story, that character tries to solve the problem or reach the goal. He probably fails a few times and has to try something else. Or he may make progress through several steps along the way. He should not solve the problem on the first try, however.

3.  At the end, the main character solves the problem himself or reaches his goal through his own efforts.

You may find exceptions to these standard story rules, but it’s best to stick with the basics until you know and understand them. They are standard because they work!

Cute, but no conflict
Teachers working with beginning writers often see stories with no conflict – no problem or goal. The story is more of a “slice of life.” Things may happen, possibly even sweet or funny things, but the story does not seem to have a clear beginning, middle, and end; it lacks structure. Without conflict, the story is not that interesting.

You can have two basic types of conflict. An external conflict is something in the physical world. It could be a problem with another person, such as a bully at school, an annoying sibling, a criminal, or a fantastical being such as a troll or demon. External conflict would also include problems such as needing to travel a long distance in bad weather.

The other type of conflict is internal. This could be anything from fear of the dark to selfishness. It’s a problem within the main character that she has to overcome or come to terms with.

An internal conflict is often expressed in an external way. If a child is afraid of the dark, we need to see that fear in action. If she’s selfish, we need to see how selfishness is causing her problems. Note that the problems need to affect the child, not simply the adults around her. If a parent is annoyed or frustrated by a child’s behavior, that’s the parent’s problem, not the child’s. The child’s goal may be the opposite of the parent’s; the child may want to stay the same, while the parent wants the child to change.

For stories with internal conflict, the main character may or may not solve the external problem. The child who is afraid of the dark might get over that fear, or she might learn to live with it by keeping a flashlight by her bed. The child who is selfish and doesn’t want to share his toys might fail to achieve that goal. Instead, he might learn the benefits of sharing.

However the problem is resolved, remember that the child main character should drive the solution. No adults stepping in to solve the problem! In the case where a child and a parent have different goals, it won’t be satisfying to young readers if the parent “wins” by punishing the child. The child must see the benefit of changing and make a decision to do so.

A Story in Four Parts

If “beginning, middle, and end” doesn’t really help you, here’s another way to think of story structure. A story has four main parts: situation, complications, climax, and resolution. You need all of them to make your story work. (This is really the same as beginning, middle, and end, with the end broken into two parts, but the terms may be clearer.)

The situation should involve an interesting main character with a challenging problem or goal. Even this takes development. Maybe you have a great challenge, but aren’t sure why a character would have that goal. Or maybe your situation is interesting, but it doesn’t actually involve a problem.

For example, I wanted to write about a brother and sister who travel with a ghost hunter TV show. The girl can see ghosts, but the boy can’t. That gave me the characters and situation, but no problem or goal. Goals come from need or desire. What did they want that could sustain a series?

Tania feels sorry for the ghosts and wants to help them, while keeping her gift a secret from everyone but her brother. Jon wants to help and protect his sister, but sometimes he feels overwhelmed by the responsibility. Now we have characters with problems and goals. The story is off to a good start. (This became the four-book Haunted series.)


·   Make sure your idea is specific and narrow. Focus on an individual person and situation, not a universal concept. For example, don’t try to write about “racism.” Instead, write about one character facing racism in a particular situation.

·   The longer the story, the higher the stakes needed to sustain it. A short story character might want to win a contest; a novel character might need to save the world.

·   Ask why the goal is important to the character. Why does this particular individual desperately want to succeed in this challenge?

·   Ask why this goal is difficult. If reaching the goal is too easy, there is little tension and the story is too short. The goal should be possible, but just barely. It might even seem impossible. The reader should believe that the main character could fail. 

·   Even if your main problem is external, try giving the character an internal flaw that contributes to the difficulty. This adds complications and also makes your character seem more real. For some internal flaws, see the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.

·   Test the idea. Change the character’s age, gender, or looks. Change the point of view, setting, external conflict, or internal conflict. Choose the combination that has the most dramatic potential.

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback

AdvancedPlotting is available in print or ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or in various ebook formats at Smashwords.

Monday, October 10, 2016

An Online Workshop: Writing Stories for Children #KidLit

Starts Soon - Sigh Up Now!

You Can Write Stories for Children
a writing class with Chris Eboch

START DATE: Monday, October 17, 2016

DURATION: 8 weeks (four classes)

WHERE: Online – work from home at your own pace

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Remember the magic of bedtime stories? When you write for children, you have the most appreciative audience in the world. But to reach that audience, you need to understand the business of writing for children, including the requirements for different genres, age ranges, and markets. You also need to write fresh, dynamic stories, whether you’re writing rhymed picture books or middle grade mysteries or edgy teen novels. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll explore how. You'll leave with a story in progress and ideas for future development.

Your enthusiasm is contagious, and the sheer amount of knowledge you possess is fantastic. Your advice was always spot on. The links to various articles and blogs was and will continue to be extremely useful.
~ Nancy Partridge

I have to tell you that your workshop was the one I got the most useful information from. It was quite informative and introduced me to several trains of thought that were new to me. ~ Donna J. Barland

Thank you for putting together such a helpful workshop.  Of the entire weekend, I think I learned the most from listening to you. Thanks again for such a great workshop. ~ Linda Reedy

Thanks for your terrific workshop yesterday at the SCBWI conference. I loved your thoughts on pacing, cliffhangers, etc. You certainly added to my positive experience! ~ Alyssa Kirk

Just a quick note to say thanks for your class this past weekend.  Your class on Monday afternoon was my favorite.  You gave us very specific things we could incorporate into our own work.  That’s the kind of info I was looking for when I signed up for the conference. ~ Pamela Haskin

Chris is hands-down one of the best author-speakers we’ve ever had. I don’t think she uttered a word about her own life story as many do; she was all about teaching a vital and often forgotten aspect in our writing. The comments on her were full of grateful praise. ~ Robin Koontz, SCBWI Oregon retreat leader


Week 1-2: The World of Writing for Children

We’ll start with an overview of the markets. These include books, magazines, and more. Learn the specific requirements when writing for different age ranges. This will help you decide where you feel comfortable – or give you many areas to explore!

Assignment 1: Read 5 to 10 picture books or stories for children or review two recent novels. Brainstorm 5 to 10 ideas using the material provided.

Week 3-4: From Idea to Story

Writing for children has many things in common with any good writing, and some things that are special. We’ll explore the essential elements of appealing to children. Participants will learn how to develop their ideas:

Identify a market
Choose a target age
Match the story length and reading level to the target age
Develop characters
Create a plot with conflict and a three-part structure
Focus on young characters who have control

Assignment 2: Choose one of your ideas and identify the appropriate target age group and several possible markets. Start developing your characters and planning a strong plot.

Week 5-6: Develop and Share Your Story

Share your story in progress (or a pitch/outline for a novel) and receive feedback from the instructor and the class.

Assignment 3: Pitch your story. Based on feedback, draft a complete picture book or short story, or plan a novel.

Week 7-8: The Next Steps

We’ll cover editing techniques, submitting your work, and your questions. Expect to leave this workshop with a story in progress, and a list of ideas for future development.

Assignment 4: If you choose, turn in your final story or novel outline. Develop a plan for next steps (finishing, editing, querying/submitting/self-publishing your work etc.).

COST: $99, which includes weekly assignments and individual feedback from the instructor. This class will be conducted through a Discussion Board, with the opportunity for students to ask questions and post homework samples.

BUY NOWYou Can Write Stories for Children! by Chris Eboch (8 weeks/4 classes, starting 10/17/2016) Limit: 15 students. Early registration is recommended. 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Chris Eboch is the author of over 30 books for children. Her novel for ages nine and up include The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show. Chris’s writing craft books include Advanced Plotting and You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers. Learn more at or check out her writing tips at her Write Like a Pro! blog

Chris has her MA degree in Professional Writing and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston. She taught through the Institute of Children’s Literature for 10 years and has led dozens of popular writing workshops around the world.

Chris also writes for adults under the name Kris Bock. “Kris Bock” novels are action-packed romantic suspense involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Read excerpts at

Friday, September 30, 2016

#Free Romantic Suspense Novel

The Mad Monk's Treasure is Free for the Kindle September 30 to October 2

“The action never stopped .... It was adventure and romance at its best.”

“I couldn’t put this book down. You’ll love it.”

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Adventures

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic—and deadly—New Mexico desert....

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....” 

Get The Mad Monk's Treasure from Amazon now!

This is book 1 of the Southwest Treasure Hunters novelsEach novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.

If you love Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, or Terry Odell, try Kris Bock’s stories of treasure hunting, archaeology and intrigue, and art theft in New Mexico. To learn more about her latest work, visit or her Amazon pageSign up for Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

New Mexico Book Award-winning author Kris Bock writes action-packed romantic suspense, often involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Her other books include CounterfeitsWhat We Found and Whispers in the Dark. The sequel to The Mad Monk’s Treasure is The Dead Man’s Treasure. A full-time writer, her hobbies include hiking, rock climbing, and photography.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Writing and Running: 6 Lessons Learned from Jogging #NWHFD #fitnessday

In honor of National Women's Health & Fitness Day (September 28, #NWHFD #fitnessday), I wanted to share some lessons I learned from running.

In March of 2011 I started jogging. Despite the occasional illness, injury, and ‘I don’t wanna,’ I’m still getting out regularly. On one long and rather tedious solo run, I started making connections between jogging and writing and life.

Get Some Running Buddies

It helps to have inspiration. I started jogging with a Couch to 5K group that met twice a week. Having the regular schedule kept us on track. The program helped us pace ourselves, starting with short runs and frequent walks, and working up to a 45 minute run. We also had an experienced leader to offer advice.

Several of us continued running together after the program ended. I wouldn’t get out there as often if people weren’t waiting for me. I’d be tempted to stop early, if I didn’t have the encouragement of the group. Hey, peer pressure is powerful! You might as well make it work for you. Plus, it’s more fun to run with other people.

For writers, it’s important to find the right peer group for your needs. For many, this is a critique group. They may be large or small, meet in person or online, have open or closed membership, get together weekly or monthly or as needed. Finding a group that suits your needs is invaluable.

Other writers share goals and deadlines, checking in with a friend daily or weekly to report progress. There’s that peer pressure again! Even a non-writing friend can help hold you accountable. (But choose carefully. Most people don't understand writing or the publishing business and have no idea how long it takes to get something published. Many people don't even realize that you may never sell a manuscript. You don't want someone making you feel bad because you haven't finished and sold your novel within six months.)

Finally, social groups can provide camaraderie and networking. I live in a small town with a science and engineering college; I know far more computer geeks than writers. But by making monthly trips to Albuquerque to attend a writing meeting, I’ve made many friends who understand what I do. I’ve also made connections by teaching workshops and guest speaking for groups like Sisters in Crime. For those who can’t attend in person, online discussion boards, listserves, and online classes offer information and a sense of connection. (Women on Writing offers many online classes. I’ll be teaching You Can Write Stories for Children starting October 17 and Advanced Plotting: Keep Those Pages Turning starting January 9, 2017.)

It’s Distance, Not Speed

It really is about the journey, not how fast you get there. Pace yourself, and enjoy the journey, or you might burn out along the way. If you can see the end, or at least imagine the cheering crowds and free food, it might give you the extra boost you need to keep going. But take time to enjoy the sights, and the experience will be a lot more fun.

As a writer, don’t focus so much on the response to your query letters. Sure, celebrate successes, and try to learn from disappointments, but put most of your energy into enjoying the journey. (That works for the rest of life, too.)

Robin LaFevers had a post at Writer Unboxed about keeping creative play in your writing.

But Keep Moving

A slow pace may get you there, but if you have a long way to go, you might as well do it running. A marathon will take a lot longer at a stroll than at a jog, even a slow jog. Run when you can, walk when you need a rest, but keep moving. That’s the only way to reach the end.

Take the time you need to learn and practice your writing craft. Do as many drafts as you need to polish your novel. Don’t rush, but do keep working. Write a page a day, and you’ll have a complete draft in a year. It may not be perfect, but it will be more than what you started with.

Practice Makes Perfect, or At Least Lessens the Pain

If you’re training, you need to get out regularly. Running once a month will just leave you sore and frustrated each time, and you won’t see any progress in your fitness.

It’s the same with writing. Establishing habits and sticking to them will keep your mind fit. Writing several times a week will hone your skills and make it easier to get started next time.

Beware of Shortcuts

If I map out a 5K run, but take every shortcut, that could cut the distance down to 3 1/2K. Easier, sure, but that won’t prepare me for running a 10K. It’s the same with life. Whether you’re trying to switch careers, meet the right man or woman, or finish a novel, some shortcuts may help, but others may do more harm than good.

I work with a lot of writing students. The beginners want to know if they’ll get published after taking one course. Nobody wants to spend 10 years learning how to write, but you need to do the work in order to earn the reward at the end. If you beg your friend to send your rough draft to her editor, you’ll blow your chance to make the best use of that connection. If you self publish your work before it’s ready, you’ll waste time that could be better spent working on your craft.

Sometimes the long, hard path is the only one that gets you where you want to go.

Push Yourself Sometimes

With enough practice, you should get better. When I started jogging, it was a struggle to go for 10 minutes without a break. Six months later, I could make it through 45 minutes without stopping.

And then I plateaued. Jogging had become comfortable, if not easy. Why cause more pain by trying to go farther or faster?

Because that’s the only way to get better. And most likely, it’s the only way to stay interested. Fortunately, one of my jogging partners is great about coming up with new workouts. We add in some sprints one day, do hills another day. We choose different routes on different terrains. Variety keeps it interesting, which makes it easier to work hard.

With my writing, I find that I get bored if I become too comfortable with something. After publishing a dozen children’s books as Chris Eboch, I wanted a change. I began writing romantic suspense for adults, using the name Kris Bock. This brought new challenges – writing books two or three times as long as what I was used to, exploring romantic subplots, delving deeper into character. I didn’t always get things right the first time, but I became a better writer – and I renewed my interest in writing.

(Janice Hardy blogged about “growing pains” novels, the books we must struggle through in order to grow as writers.)

Are you a writer who runs? Join the Writers Who Run Facebook Group to meet up with like-minded folks and learn about events.

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. 

Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page.

Chris Eboch writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages, with 40+ published books for children. Her novels for ages nine and up include Bandits Peak, a survival thriller that will appeal to fans of Gary Paulsen’s HatchetThe Genie’s Gift, a fantasy adventure drawing on the Arabian Nights stories; The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery that brings ancient Egypt to life; The Well of Sacrifice, an action-packed drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala; and the spooky-fun Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs

Chris's book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots, while You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers offers great insight to beginning and intermediate writers. Learn more at or her Amazon page, or check out her writing tips at her Write Like a Pro! blog.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Celebrate #Diversity during #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM

A young friend in Mexico
September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month! Some 55 million people in the United States identify as Hispanic, making this the second largest ethnic group.

Why September 15 to October 15? September 15 marks the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16 while Chile’s anniversary is September 18.

According to the US government, “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.”

Mayan ruins, Tikal, Guatemala
In the Americas, many Hispanic people can trace their roots back to indigenous peoples. These include the Maya, Inca, Aztec, and others. Today’s Hispanics may also have roots in the Spanish explorers, the Africans who were brought to the New World as slaves, and of course many other cultures.

This provides teachers, librarians, homeschooling parents, and students many options for exploring Hispanic heritage in the Americas.

Middle Grade Novels and Nonfiction

Unfortunately, there aren’t many historical fiction novels about the Maya for young people. This National Geographic post only lists my novel, The Well of Sacrifice, and Seven Serpents Trilogy—Book 1, The Captive by Scott O’Dell as historical fiction for young people. It also lists a couple of travel books and titles on Mayan prophecy and myth.

Terra Experience has an extensive page of “Children’s Books on Mayan Culture, Guatemala, Southern Mexico, Nicaragua, and Latin America.” This site lists many books about current or historical Mayan people, plus Mayan legends and folk tales. Most of the books are for younger children, but picture books can work for middle grade students as well!

A Book In Time has a list of some Books on Early American Civilizations: Inca, Aztec, Mayan, & other Native Americans.

School Library Journal has a post from 2009 on The Aztecs, the Inca, and the Maya: Empires Lost & Found, with fiction and nonfiction for different grades, pus links to Museum Collections

A student project for The Well of Sacrifice

To learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit the following sites:

The National Education Association provides Lesson Plans, Quizzes, Activities and Background Resources for National Hispanic Heritage Month, Grades K-5.

The US government site for National Hispanic Heritage Month includes resources for teachers and a calendar of events, mainly in and around Washington DC.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has lesson plans and links to websites on the conquistadors, the gold rush, the US-Mexican War, prayer to Ricoh, and much more. A featured lesson plan is for Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over (also available inSpanish).

The PBS Hispanic Heritage Month site links to episodes about famous Latinos, issues affecting immigrants, and much more.

Scholastic offers resources for celebrating the month, including information on Latinos in history and Hispanic history in the Americas. Scholastic also has Bring Hispanic Heritage Month to Life: A Collection of Resources and 24 Great Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month includes information on the history of the month, people, events, and fun facts.

Please add any recommended books or resources in the comments.

Chris Eboch’s novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs

Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting