Date of Award

2023

First Advisor

Jane Wanninger

Second Advisor

Brendan Mathews

Third Advisor

Mileta Roe

Abstract

After a semester of careful research on topics in children’s literature, I drafted an original middle-grade fantasy novel. This document tracks the on-going, cyclical process of brainstorming, drafting, and revising a complex narrative. Through my research, I sought to answer questions such as: What themes should young readers engage with during critical developmental stages? What does the representation of racial and gender diversity look like in middle grade fiction, and why is it important? How is this genre marketed to its audience, and how do literary gatekeepers such as parents, librarians, and teachers influence access to it? Writing my own novel allowed me to put these considerations into practice. I also wrote detailed reflections on my goals, worldbuilding, and character creation. Children’s literature provides cornerstones to youth development, and through my manuscript, I sought to contribute a positive influence to the body of available media for young readers.

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