Why I Read Middle Grade Books (And You Should Too)



It's Middle Grade March!

If you have never watched the bookish corner of Youtube - affectionately referred to as "Booktube" - then you might not know that March is the month to read middle grade books!  All the cool kids are doing it.

I had actually not read many middle grade books since..well, middle school, until a couple years ago. I discovered Sarah Mackenzie's podcast, Read-Aloud Revival, and was inspired for the first time in many years to pick up a middle grade book, a book written for the 8-12 age group.  The one I picked was The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, which I read in the wee hours of the morning on my phone, when I was awake nursing Georgie after she was born.

After reading that book, I wondered why I ever stopped reading middle grade.



So I'm here today to tell you, if you haven't picked up a middle grade book in a while, you might consider finding a good one!  Here are a few things I appreciate in middle grade books as an adult.

1. They are generally clean.

If you have picked up any recently published adult fiction books that aren't Christian, you know of which I speak.  Some things I can overlook in my fiction, and some things I can't.  It's a bummer to get part way through a book and then have to put it down because they crossed the profanity/violence/sexual content line.  It's not good for my soul, as a believer in Christ, to be constantly immersed in things that are not pure, lovely, admirable, etc (Philippians 4:8).  Sometimes I just want a break from wading through smuttiness, and aside from Christian books which can generally be trusted, middle grade is a nice place to turn.

2. They deal with relevant themes (if they are good), while remaining hopeful.  

Just because a book is written for a younger age group, doesn't mean it's not going to have meaningful content.  Alot of the middle grade books that I've read have given me alot to think about.  They often deal with themes that even adults can relate to, like grief for example, but they more often retain a sense of hopefulness about them since they are written for kids.

3.  They are quick to read.

If you are struggling to get through books as an adult with a busy life (that's all of us, right?), middle grade is nice because middle grade books are quick to read.  If you are in a reading slump, middle grade is the way to go.

4.  They bring back memories!

So many middle grade books take me back to memories of a carefree stage of my life, when I was a kid figuring out who I was.  I have a weak spot for a good coming of age novel, and alot of middle-grade books have coming-of-age themes, while keeping it light and fun and inspiring (and clean).

5.  They give me a head start on screening books for my kids.

I try to write really thorough reviews of the middle-grade books that I read so I can remember any themes or content that I'll need to discuss with my kids when they eventually read these books.

All that to say, I love middle-grade, and give middle-grade a chance!  Middle Grade March is a good month to start.



Here is my reading list for Middle Grade March:

(Some affiliate links here.)

Pay Attention, Carter Jones and Lizzie And The Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt - I'm pretty much there for anything Schmidt writes after reading The Wednesday Wars.

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos - I heard this one was quirky and fun and had a Schmidt-like flair to it!

Louisianna's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo - I read Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo a couple years ago, and this book is about one of the side characters.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall - Am I the only one who hasn't read this?  It feels like everyone has.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - I heard this book is like the game of Clue, so I obviously have to read it.

Famous Mistakes: Nancy Drew Diaries by Carolyn Keene - I have an abiding love for anything Nancy Drew, so I obviously have to see what this new series is doing with her - they better not mess up Nancy!  I'm also reading this to screen for Gwen to potentially read it someday.

Sweep: A Story Of A Girl And Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier - I'm not really into books that have anything to do with monsters, but this is the read-along they are doing on Booktube for Middle Grade March, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai - The first book I'm ever going to attempt that is written in verse (also potentially my last?  I'm not sure about this).

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia - I bought this last year at a library sale and need to see what it's all about!


If I focus I think I can definitely get through all of these in March - I told you, middle grade books are quick reads!

Have you read any of these?  Do you read middle grade books as an adult?  What is your favorite middle grade book?



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Anna said...

I love throwing in a middleschool book here and there. I haven't read the Penderwicks either,would love to hear your take on it. 😉 Also, have you read through the Tucket series by Gary Paulson? Wow! I can't wait til my son is old enough for these as a read aloud.

Jenna Miller said...

I love the Penderwicks!

Rachel said...

I read a lot of kids books--it helps with being able to give recommendations to either parents or kids asking for book recommendations, plus I just genuinely enjoy them! I loved Dead End in Norvelt--I have a bit of a darker sense of humor so I appreciated that one greatly. The Penderwicks reminds me of a 'new' version of the very clean, very happy little series I used to read as a kid, about siblings all getting into trouble together. I enjoyed it a lot! And I am a pretty big Gary D. Schmidt fan. He's an English professor at my alma mater and when I found out that the guy who wrote The Wednesday Wars taught at my college I was star-struck.

Felicia Barkman said...

I've never read the Penderwicks! I don't even know what it's about, honestly. I love all your reasons for reading middle grade, so many good points :)

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