The kid book is done! And 5K short.

Sometimes I look up from my computer (which is rare these days, between National Novel Writing Month and holiday portraits) and wonder how in the world I ended up writing a middle grade novel.

But last night, I finished Jinnie Wishmaker! I’m sitting at 45,000 words at the moment, just shy of the goal of 50K, and still in shock that I wrote an entire book in 23 days! (Now I have to come up with 5,000 words of filler to finish the contest.)

I can’t tell you how happy I am with the story, though. It’s everything I wanted–the magic of Matilda, the insight of Summer of the Swans, the happy ending of Meet the Robinson’s.

And probably best of all, tonight Emily was reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe for her nightly 20 minutes of homework. After a while she called me into the room. “Mama, you have to read this!”

She showed me page 13, which read

[He told] about long hunting parties after the milk-white Stag who could give you wishes if you caught him.

 “Just like your book!” she said. “It grants wishes!”

It’s all new to her, the complex stories, the magic, the characters. She was so excited to make the connection between this book and mine, as if one validated the other.

Some things are eternal. The awe in children when they read a story that captivates them. The joy in a shared interest, a mutual love of something that makes you both thrum with happiness.

I always thought those grand literary novels were the pinnacle of writing, the ultimate accomplishment.

But maybe it’s all important. Late great works that appeal to our wisdom AND early magical stories that keep us imagining a new and different world that teaches us more about our own.

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