Finding the Middle Grade in “Goblin Market,” a guest post by Diane Zahler

I don’t remember exactly when I first read Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market.” It might have been in college; it might have been when my husband, a literature professor, taught it in a class and shared it with me. But as someone who has long been fascinated by fairy tales, I was immediately enthralled by the story of two sisters, one who is enchanted – cursed – when she eats fruit offered to her by a goblin, and the other who must find a way to save her older sibling.

At some point in the years that followed, I realized that I wanted to rework “Goblin Market” as a children’s novel. It had everything a scary, creepy, and ultimately redemptive story needed: evil versus good; nasty goblins; a heroine who must fight her own terror and find a way to break a curse. But when I delved deeper into the poem, I realized how rich it was in other ways – and how difficult it might be to reimagine it as a tale for young readers.