I participate in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week the theme is Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors into My Reading Journey. I picked ten books that got me searching online and in bookshops for more middle grade novels.
If you look at my sidebar, you’ll see that I’ve written around 21 reviews of children’s fiction and 117 reviews of young adult fiction. Isn’t that a little odd for someone who’d quite happily say that they loved children’s books? I delved more into the world of children’s books over the past year and I don’t think I’m ever turning back. It was one of my New Year’s Bookish Resolutions to read more middle grade and I’d love for other bloggers, if they normally stick to YA, to see what they’re missing.
Here are five (okay, ten) books that I loved and made me realise how wonderful middle grade – where parents are not absent and romance does not dominate – could be, particularly contemporary/realistic, mystery and stories with accompanying illustrations, and five fantastic-sounding middle grade novels that are currently at the top of my ‘to read pile’.
Liar & Spy and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead for two wonderful middle grade mysteries by one of my (newly) favourite middle grade authors.
Sleuth on Skates (Sesame Seade #1) by Clémentine Beauvais, illustrated by Sarah Horne, is a fantastic contemporary mystery with a smart and witty young protagonist. I own the next two in the series and because I loved the first so much, I’m saving them for a cosy weekend when I can devour them in one go. (I couldn’t take a photo of the first book as my colleague is borrowing it!).
Matilda, Esio Trot, The Twits and The BFG by Roald Dahl have been, for me, an exciting journey into some of the most famous stories in children’s literature. I am currently working my way through my Roald Dahl box set and have enjoyed all four stories that I’ve read so far, with my favourite being Matilda, followed by The BFG.
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne is a wonderful novel that shares a very important part of our history (WWI), tough to read at times but incredibly rewarding.
Dead Man’s Cove (Laura Marlin Mysteries #1) by Lauren St. John is a beautiful (really, the cover is among my favourites) middle grade mystery and adventure that I’ll be reading this month for #aryaclub with my friends.
Murder Most Unladylike (Wells & Wong #1) by Robin Stevens is a middle grade mystery + boarding school + 1930s story, about Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, that I’m struggling to think of anything more perfect than…
Smart by Kim Slater is about detective Kieran Woods, who is master of observation and knows all the tricks of the trade, and his attempt to solve the murder of a homeless man.
A Room Full of Chocolate by Jane Elson is an emotional story about Grace’s experience of grief and bullying, until she is no longer alone when she meets the wild Megan and her pig, Claude.
The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters is lovely children’s story about young Hannah, who finds an old hen house and decides to turn it into a secret theatre, and when her farm is threatened, she plans to save it.
I could’ve added so many more to this list, such as Liesl & Po, Bird, Dandelion Clocks, The Forbidden Library, Wonder, Girl with a White Dog, Goth Girl, Rooftoppers, Fire Spell, Anthem For Jackson Dawes… If you read more young adult than middle grade fiction, why not give one of these a shot?
Which middle grade novels have you enjoyed?