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Monday, November 5, 2012

POV, à la Betsy Byars

 I blame it on Anita Silvey and Mr. Schu, librarian.

I'd spent some recent time pondering Point of View, the vantage point for telling the story.
Just for fun.

Then those two brought up Betsy Byars. A favorite from my early days of librarianing. (Hey, everybody's inventing verbs, why can't I?)

I took to the shelves, so to speak, in search of Summer of the Swans and The Pinballs.
(What a great voice, that Carlie. )

Alas, I was confounded. Newbery-winning Byars is all over the place with Point of View. Do we call this omniscient? Not really. The protagonist in each book is a strong voice. But the author slips into the heads of the other players. And you know what? It works. I loved rereading them both.

But what about new books? Just published Middle-grade novels.
Does the all-knowing single narrator still rule?

I took count, and hmmmm- what's that you say?
Several of my absolute favorite really new books didn't stick to "first" or "third," in a single character's head. They branched out, spread their narrator wings, so to speak.

ON THE ROAD TO MR. MINEO'S. 8 different characters, woven into one fabulous story.

PINNED. Two classmates, different voices. Phenomenal writing, lovely book.

WONDER. What more can be said of this that hasn't been said? Not much. Superlative.

THE GREAT UNEXPECTED. Those funny, mysterious old ladies in Ireland keep sneaking in!

See what I mean? There's more to Middle Grade than one viewpoint.

For an in-depth discussion about Point of View in kids' books, check out Nathan Bransford's blog, linked HERE.

Since I'm on a Betsy Byars kick this week, here's her writing advice. Timeless.
Even if the word processor and the trip to the mailbox aren't...


Carol Baldwin said...

Pondering this POV issue myself. Glad it's not as easy as it seems to be in theory!

Augusta Scattergood said...

Is anything as easy as it sounds, in theory? Anything writing, that is. All writing is hard work, isn't it!

PragmaticMom said...

I love hearing the Seeds of a story! Thanks for sharing Betsy Byers. LOVED her books as a child! She's wonderful for sharing her experience so generously!

beckylevine said...

I LOVED Carlie.