You'll notice the selection of books is very eclectic. It's something I try to keep in mind when planning workshops for kids who have all different reading interests.
Not all good books have a gripping first line, but of the ones that do, I found a lot of patterns. I grouped these into five categories:
After we read these excerpts and talked about each writing style, I read selections from five other middle grade books and asked the kids which category each one would fall under:
- The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher
- Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
- Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
- The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
- A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Here's a photo from when I did this a few years ago:
The other thing I like about this is that they can see that different people respond to different things. It's all very subjective, and that's how writing is.