I am what you would call a ‘teenager.’
Waiters no longer give me coloring pages and crayons. Tickets for museums and amusement parks and whatnot aren’t discounted anymore. I have to take off my shoes at the airport. People ask me what I want to do when I grow up, but they ask it seriously. I can no longer say I want to be the president. Or an astronaut. Or a dinosaur hunter.
I am no longer a kid. But there is NO WAY I am going to stop reading kid’s books.
Middlegrade is one of my favorite genres ever.
My definition of middlegrade: genre of books where the main character isn’t scared that he or she might die at any given moment or going through anything too life-threatening in a mental or physical way.
Actually, that basically describes Percy Jackson. (Which I consider to be middlegrade. Well, at least the first couple of books.) Okay, bad description.
My definition of middlegrade take two: genre of books where the main character usually isn’t fearing for their lives, but if he or she is, it’s combined with a large dose of humor and silliness.
But there’s way more. The people in these stories encounter problems and difficulties you would see in YA books, but because they are (mostly) younger human beings, they face them with perspectives and thoughts that aren’t found in young adult books.
I love every single book on this list. THEY’RE SO AWESOME. And warning: if you’re someone who likes an in-depth description before reading a book, this list is probably not for you.
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Christopher Healy took all the major princes and princesses and mashed them all up.
“Here we are, the four Princes Charming. All together in one place.”
“Prince Charmings,” said Gustav.
“No, Princes Charming,” Duncan cheerfully corrected. “‘Prince’ is the noun; that’s what gets pluralized. ‘Charming’ is an adjective; you can’t add an S to it like that.”
“It sounds stupid,” Gustav said.
“Flargstagg,” Duncan said. “Sounds exciting! Let’s go.” And he started heading south.
Gustav leaned over to Frederic. “I still can’t see great,” he said. “Please tell me he’s not skipping.”
It’s my favorite fairytale retelling. So far there’s three books in the series, but the way the third one ends, there’s obviously more. After some ‘research,’ I’ve found out that he might come back to this series after working on a different one.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
This is my third favorite book of all time and one of the few books that have made me cry. It’s about a girl struggling in school, the greatest teacher ever, best friends, and redefining the definition of ‘being smart.’
The following quote blows my heart up.
Then he stops walking and he’s wide-eyed looking at me. It gives me a chill the way he does it. “But really,” he says, “it just made everything hurt inside to watch them hurt you two, and I would have done anything in the universe to stop it.”
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
A magic castle. People who are evil and don’t like magic castles for crazy reasons. A princess and her siblings who don’t like people who are evil and don’t like magic castles for crazy reasons.
“The curtains over her windows closed, and Castle Glower painted the ceiling of her room dark like the night sky, twinkling with thousands of gemlike stars.”
Dear Santa, I would like a magic castle for Christmas, please.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Willow Chance has brilliant brai for tests and scool but not people. She’s an ‘oddball.’
I read it.
It said I was “highly gifted.”
Are people “lowly gifted”?
Or “medium gifted”?
Or just “gifted”? It’s possible that all labels are curses. Unless they are on cleaning products. Because in my opinion it’s not really a grat idea to see people as one thing.
Every person has lots of ingredients to make them into what is always a one-of-a-kind creation.
We are all imperfect genetic stews.
It’s a book about family. And love, but in everyday form. And of course, oddballs. It’s SO GOOD. And absolutely beautiful.
So have my enthusiastic thoughts convinced you to maybe pick one of these books up in the future? If they haven’t, I’ll add ‘advice from a superb sales rep on how to get better at pitching books’ to my Christmas wish list. Also, give me the titles of your favorite middlegrade books. PLEASE.