Date of Graduation

Summer 2009


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Joel Chaston


chapter book, writing a chapter book, children's novels, children's fiction, children's literature

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


The goal of this study was for an experienced writer of nonfiction to create a potentially marketable children's novel and to document the process she followed in the development and completion of that book. Resulting from this project is the author's first children's book, a "chapter book” entitled Foxy and the Grump. Topics addressed in this project include the selection of the chapter-book category, features of successful children's novels, the inspiration for the Foxy story, the quest for credibility through research, the writer's approach to breathing life into the story, and reader feedback. The true incident on which Foxy is based seemed most manageable and relatable in chapter-book form—appropriate for children in the seven-to-ten age group, as well as for adults. The writer performed an analysis of children's books over the past thirty years to reveal five bestsellers that are also multiple-award winners and have earned the prestigious Newbery Medal. The only chapter book in this elite group is Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall. Thus, attention to the qualities of Sarah has helped determine what appeals to readers of chapter books. The writer maintains that a good children's book engages, entertains, enriches, and educates. To enhance her efforts, the writer participated in an online writers' seminar and joined an international professional organization. An important complement in this endeavor was feedback from several readers: children and adults who appreciate children's literature. Fifteen of eighteen people responded by deadline and generously offered constructive criticism. Their feedback has encouraged the writer to seek publication. Her next project is to do just that.


© Judith Ann Ermold

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