Eighth-graders on Eighties Day

Eighth graders

Eighth-grade Critique Group

This was the second round of criticism for these students.  They read a very early version of The Inventors’ Daughter – so early, in fact, that it was called Erin Isabelle and the Wicked Uncle.  All of those who read the first draft were invited by their teacher Brian to read the second.  I don’t know if one can draw a strong conclusion from this, but only girls volunteered to critique the rewrite. 

As you can tell from the photograph, they are a wonderful and spirited group, and they were very generous in their opinions and support.   Though their comments were somewhat more detailed, they agreed with the assessment of the fifth-grade group entirely.  (See next post above.)  Those points were exactly what I was looking for.  I tend to ignore a single person’s comments, unless they resonate with my own feelings.  But I take the unanimous enthusiasm for the work and the pinpoint critiques of sixteen middle-grade readers very seriously indeed.

One thing that inspired me about this group is how close they are.  Obviously they know one another well after at least three years together, but there is something else.  The very fact that they volunteered to re-read a manuscript demonstrates a shared intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for exchanging ideas that is a credit to their school, their teacher and most especially to themselves.