The Enlivened World of an Author of Middle Grade Novels

An Interview with Crystal Allen


  • Dixie K. Keyes Arkansas State University


Crystal Allen, author of six novels for middle grades readers, offers an account of the characters in her books and how readers (children and adults alike) have responded to them. She shares the how and why behind her characters’ personalities and possibilities on the landscape of middle grades as she recounts favorite episodes from her novels. Additionally, she explains the OwnVoices movement and chronicles her involvement in organizations that support authors of Color.

Author Biography

Dixie K. Keyes, Arkansas State University

Dixie K. Keyes, Ed.D., is a Professor of Education and Reading at  Arkansas State University where she guides preservice teachers in teacher preparation coursework. She also teaches writing pedagogy, adolescent literacy, and critical literacy coursework at the graduate level. She taught middle and high school English Language Arts for 13 years and served as a secondary literacy coach before becoming a faculty member at Arkansas State. She directs the Arkansas Delta Writing Project and is a past-president of the Arkansas Council of Teachers of Language Arts. She writes poetry, blogs, and facilitates yoga and writing series in her local community. She can be reached at