Middle Grade Wisdom

 As a middle grade author, I spend a lot of time trying to get into the "head space" of my eleven-year-old self. Many memories of things that I've experienced and the perspectives of life I had at that age are difficult, embarrassing, or just plain awkward, and for the most part, pretty typical. It's the reason my middle grade readers are able to relate to my characters. But, when I get into that middle grade "head space," besides all that difficult, embarrassing, and awkward "stuff," there are many positive, fun, and carefree memories and perspectives. As a middle grader, I got to enjoy life before "adulting," which, at times, when life gets hectic and stressful, I wish I could go back to some of those carefree childhood days. So, instead of my adult self giving advice to my childhood self, for this blog post, I think I'll get back into that middle grade "head space" and let my eleven-year-old self remind my adult self a few important things to remember that might be a good way to step back from "adulting" and enjoy a moment of carefree childhood.

  • Take a wandering walk through the neighborhood, not for exercise, but just for fun. Don't time yourself on your phone or track your steps on your watch, just wander. Stop and look at something if it seems interesting or ask a person if you could pet their dog. And most importantly, don't think about your "To Do" list for one, single minute.
  • Read a picture book aloud to yourself or to someone else. Choose one of your favorites or something brand new.
  • Sit by a window and daydream. Think about anything except what you should be doing instead of daydreaming.
  • Find a coloring book and some crayons and turn on an old favorite kids' show like "Sesame Street," "Clifford," or "Between the Lions."
  • On a rainy day, quiet everything in the house, lay on the floor, close your eyes, and listen to the rain.

Though I know there are many words of wisdom I could probably impart to my eleven-year-old self, which might have made life a bit easier, I think my middle grade self has some wisdom for all of us. Especially those of us who write for middle grade, but also anyone who would like to spend an hour or two forgetting their "Adulting To Do" list and enjoying a moment of carefree childhood.

Wishing you a few carefree moments,

Nancy J. Cavanaugh




  1. This is so true. It may be a big part of why we're all so drawn to writing for the MG group--because they have plenty of wisdom to impart on us.


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