As my children have gotten older and their reading tastes have changed, so have my personal reading preferences and this blog. One area that I have really found myself drawn to is middle grade fiction. In an attempt to give this blog something of a focus and to give a space to the wealth of different genres out there, I’ve decided to try out focusing on middle grade books on Mondays.
Middle Grade Fiction is a subset of the children’s book world where the books are aimed at 8-12 year olds. The term came about as a way to separate the growing section of Young Adult (YA) novels dealing with the difficult process of the teenage years and meaty books for proficient readers. There are some really wonderful blog posts out there to help explain the differences, but suffice it to say, when you compare MG to YA you tend to see books that are:
- sightly shorter in length (though books like Harry Potter definitely challenge that notion)
- dealing with external issues versus deep internal ones
- less likely to deal with romantic relationship issues
I don’t remember a wealth of great middle grade fiction when I was growing up. I remember that the books I tended to gravitate towards were Sweet Valley High, Christopher Pike (Chain Letter anyone?), and V.C. Andrews. I’m horrified at how many times I read and re-read Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina. I also read books that were not meant for children at all when I was young. I begged my parents to allow me to read The Clan of the Cave Bear when I was in 6th grade and was reading Gone with the Wind in 7th grade. I know for a fact that there were things I didn’t comprehend at that age, but I did enjoy the books.
What is special about today’s books for kids is that there are a wealth of writers putting out amazing books that speak to the experiences that kids are going through. I have recently started listening to a podcast called Books Between. In episode #5 from 2016, host Corrina Allen highlights The Importance of Books that Handle Tough Topics and points out some of the books that can help kids make sense of certain issues. We all know the wonder of Wonder, but there are so many outrageously good books out there, having them be curated a bit helps.
So the latest episode of Books Between plus a book I just finished and adored is what got me thinking about focusing on MG books once a week. In the most recent episode, Corrina Allen not only interviews an author about her upcoming book, but talks about the very cool MG at Heart Book Club. You can check out their 2018 book selections by clicking on the link. I already had a few of the books on the list as ones I was interested in, and now I’ve decided I should give serious consideration to the others.
I also am getting an opportunity to read more great middle grade fiction because I am a part of the awesome #kidlitexchange. A number of the reviews that I will be featuring are because of books I wouldn’t have known about without this amazing group.
So stay tuned for some awesome books and please let me know if there are any hidden gems that I should put on my TBR list.
I also read VC Andrews, Sweet Valley, and Christopher Pike (“Remember Me” is the one that sticks with me most). I would argue that VC Andrews is not appropriate for children, although I read most of her books around age 11. I’m encouraged for my children that the MG genre is expanding so much!
Seriously. I can’t believe we weren’t scarred by VC Andrews, but I inhaled them.