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Hooks in Chapter Books

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I took Anastasia Seun's great on-line Chapter Book class this winter. (Both the reading and the writing part). Now, I'm working on drafting the chapter book. Thanks to the class, I have a great outline to follow and a strong story line. But...I'm thinking my story doesn't have enough of a "hook." The character's voice is strong, and the structure seems good, but it seems to be missing that "extra something."

When I read so many of the chapter books, there seems to be a hook. For example, The George Brown series has his secret burp. The Katie Kazoo series has her ability to change into other people and animals. 

Does anyone have any tips for "hooks" in chapter books? Or are there successful series without the big "hooks?"



#1 - July 18, 2012, 12:15 PM
Stained Glass Summer, Musa Publishing
Weaving Magic, YA Romance
Finders Keepers--MeeGenius Publishing
www.mindyhardwick.com

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Someone who's active in the chapter book market will give you a serious answer, write2. Meanwhile, I must mention that I just got a PW email touting the new chapter book series by Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler--the GHOST BUDDY series. That's a hook, for sure!  :grin
#2 - July 18, 2012, 01:55 PM

Ravyn2002

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I'm taking Anastasia's course right now. It's wonderful to hear that is was so helpful for you. This is my second workshop with her. (I took her picture book workshop last year.) I'm hoping I will gain more knowledge about the chapter book market as you have.

In thinking about hooks, I feel like all chapter books have some kind of big hook to kickstart not only the first book, but leave the whole series. Some kind of element that will be present in all the books, regardless of that particular book's theme. Books such as The Babysitters Club, Flat Stanley, and Katie Kazoo as you mentioned are all great examples of that.

#3 - July 18, 2012, 05:01 PM

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Well, yes and no... A chapter book series with a super-commercial hook like Katie Kazoo is definitely an easier sell. (I'd argue that Henry Winkler IS the hook for Ghost Buddy, and he's done an amazing job traveling and hugging librarians and posing for pictures to promote it) But I also think there's still room for a really well-written chapter book series without tossing in rainbow fairies.  Judy Moody, Clementine, and my Marty McGuire series are really just about regular kids who, like most kids, do and say funny things and get into binds.
#4 - July 18, 2012, 07:10 PM
www.katemessner.com

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, Chronicle
MARTY MCGUIRE
CAPTURE THE FLAG
HIDE AND SEEK -Scholastic '13
WAKE UP MISSING- Walker, Fall '13

Quote
there's still room for a really well-written chapter book series without tossing in rainbow fairies.
--Made me smile!

Great examples! I think Ivy and Bean fits into that category too.
#5 - July 19, 2012, 09:06 AM
Stained Glass Summer, Musa Publishing
Weaving Magic, YA Romance
Finders Keepers--MeeGenius Publishing
www.mindyhardwick.com

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I'd argue that Henry Winkler IS the hook for Ghost Buddy, and he's done an amazing job traveling and hugging librarians and posing for pictures to promote it.

True, that! Winkler's the hook for the people holding the purse-strings. And the Ghost Buddy's the hook for the kids. So, a right-left punch! And more power to Ms. Oliver and Mr. Winkler!
#6 - July 19, 2012, 11:40 AM

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