48 episodes

On Middle Grade Matters, we'll talk to to authors and publishing professionals about all things middle grade.  We'll dive into topics like: the craft of writing, the process of publishing a book, and the connection young readers have to middle grade stories. Finally, we’ll wrap up each show by sharing what we’re reading, and what's bringing us joy. 

Middle Grade Matters Shannon Balloon

    • Kids & Family
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

On Middle Grade Matters, we'll talk to to authors and publishing professionals about all things middle grade.  We'll dive into topics like: the craft of writing, the process of publishing a book, and the connection young readers have to middle grade stories. Finally, we’ll wrap up each show by sharing what we’re reading, and what's bringing us joy. 

    Ep. 47: Kirby Larson and Quinn Wyatt on Chronic Illness, Empathy, and Writing

    Ep. 47: Kirby Larson and Quinn Wyatt on Chronic Illness, Empathy, and Writing

    Kirby Larson and Quinn Wyatt, the mother-daughter writing team behind the middle grade novel Gut Reaction, discuss their collaboration and the inspiration behind the book. Gut Reaction tells the story of Tess, a middle schooler who moves to a new school while dealing with stomach issues that turn out to be Crohn's disease. The book aims to start a conversation about chronic illnesses and encourage empathy and understanding among young readers. Kirby and Quinn share their favorite parts of wri...

    • 40 min
    Ep. 46: Literary Agent Alexander Slater on Publishing in Middle Grade

    Ep. 46: Literary Agent Alexander Slater on Publishing in Middle Grade

    Literary Agent Alexander Slater discusses his background in children's publishing and his love for middle grade books. He talks about changes in the middle grade publishing industry, including the impact of Barnes and Noble's decision to stock fewer hardback middle grade books. He also addresses the issue of book banning. Slater shares insights into his typical day as a literary agent and offers advice for writers on crafting effective query letters. I love audiobooks! If you do, too, co...

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Ep. 45: Justina Chen on Writing and the Importance of Belonging

    Ep. 45: Justina Chen on Writing and the Importance of Belonging

    Justina Chen, author of With Twice the Love, Dessi Mei, shares her journey as a writer, her love for writing middle grade, and the differences between writing for YA and middle grade readers. Justina discusses the challenges of writing about sensitive material. She also emphasizes the importance of belonging and offers advice for new writers.I love audiobooks! If you do, too, consider switching to Libro.fm. For the same price as other major audiobook providers, you can find all your favorites...

    • 39 min
    Ep. 44: Alicia D. Williams on Grief, Toxic Masculinity, and the Power of Friendship

    Ep. 44: Alicia D. Williams on Grief, Toxic Masculinity, and the Power of Friendship

    Alicia D. Williams, Newbery Honor author of Genesis Begins Again, shares her journey as a writer and the inspiration behind her middle grade novels. She discusses her latest middle grade book, Mid-Air, which explores themes of grief, toxic masculinity, and the power of friendship. I love audiobooks! If you do, too, consider switching to Libro.fm. For the same price as other major audiobook providers, you can find all your favorites as well as curated lists of audiobooks written by or rec...

    • 49 min
    Ep. 43: Literary Agents 101 with Author Polly Holyoke

    Ep. 43: Literary Agents 101 with Author Polly Holyoke

    In this bonus episode, middle grade author Polly Holyoke shares her journey with four different literary agents and the lessons she learned along the way. Polly talks about the importance of finding the right agent, having a finished manuscript before querying, and crafting a compelling query letter. She also provides tips on where to find agents, how to choose the right one for your work, and working with a literary agent once you have one. Finally, she shares updates on her middle grade boo...

    • 55 min
    Ep. 42: Laurie Morrison on Sports, Romance, and High-Achieving Kids in Upper Middle Grade

    Ep. 42: Laurie Morrison on Sports, Romance, and High-Achieving Kids in Upper Middle Grade

    On this episode of the Middle Grade Matters podcast, Laurie Morrison discusses her middle grade novel Keeping Pace and the themes it explores, including the pressure to succeed, the intensity of competition in middle school, and the importance of friendship and relationships . In this conversation, Laurie shares how she discovered her passion for writing and the role of critique partners in shaping her work. Laurie also talks about her journey from getting her MFA to querying agents and getti...

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

Entertaining and inspiring! ,

Fabulous MG podcast

Such engaging and valuable conversations! Shannon is a warm, thoughtful host and she’s had so many wonderful guests! I’m excited to have found this podcast and look forward to listening to all the episodes. It’s so great to have this space for all things MG.

heathercmorris ,

A much-needed middle grade specific podcast

Shannon’s podcast fills a notable void in the kidlit podcast world! Well done, Shannon, for crafting an excellent format and for hosting some of the up and coming as well as the more established names in middle grade writing. As an aspiring middle grade writer myself, this is my favorite podcast to listen to!

Angela Meyer ,

My New Favorite MG Book Podcast!

My first favorite was the Books Between Podcast; when I made it through their backlist, I jumped into MG Book Party. And when their episodes stopped coming, I thought I’d never find another MG book podcast to love.

But then I found Middle Grade Matters and all is well again. Thank you, Shannon, for stepping into this space and giving us quality interviews to enjoy and learn from!

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