Middle Grade Magic

By Shayna Mace | Photo courtesy Laura Anne Bird

BRAVA contributor Laura Anne Bird has written professionally her entire career, but her longtime dream has been to write a children’s novel. After three years of crafting a manuscript, partnering with a freelance editor and signing with a publisher, she successfully launched her middle grade book, “Crossing the Pressure Line,” in spring 2022.

Bird says that fiction-writing flexes different muscles than writing for magazines and other publications. “I had a solid foundation in place, but I was still surprised at how solitary, and demanding, and deeply emotional the process can be.” “Crossing the Pressure Line” is the journey of a 12-year-old girl who has just lost someone close to her.

“My character Clare is forced out of her comfort zone in a big way,” Bird says. “Although her story starts in a place of sorrow, her arc is magnificent. She leaves home in Chicago for the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she sets a few fierce goals for herself, including catching a musky in memory of her late grandfather.”

Does Clare end up catching the notoriously elusive musky? “No spoilers!” Bird says. “But I will tell you that she puts her self-confidence to the test and learns to listen to the courageous voice inside, which are things we all need to do at some point in life.”

“Crossing the Pressure Line” is the perfect book for 8- to 12-year-olds who love swimming, animals, fishing and art. And because it takes place up north in a town inspired by the Minocqua area, readers will appreciate seeing Wisconsin’s natural beauty and delightful quirks reflected on the page.

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