Thursday, July 7, 2011

5 MG Reads I Recommend

Yesterday, I wrote about why I write MG, but today I want to talk about reading MG. I know if you're not used to it, it might seem a little odd as an adult to go pick up books for yourself in the children's section. But, if you're willing to give it a go, here are 5 top-notch Middle Grade books I recommend. Remember what I said about magic and humor and epic conflict? I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Miranda finds mysterious notes everywhere telling her that to save her best friend's life, she must do what they say.

It won the Newbery last year, so there's a much bigger endorsement than I could ever give. But, really, this book is complex and beautiful and a page-turner to boot. Fans of the subtly mysterious should really love it.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
An orphan boy grows up in a graveyard and is raised by ghosts.

Which won the Newbery a couple years ago. I'm a big fan of Gaiman's and I love that his books for children are just as dark and complex as his books for adults. He based this one on The Jungle Book but, in actuality, the story itself is pure Gaiman. In other words, mysterious, grim and just a little bit spooky.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
An extremely odd group of people all move into a building at the same time and find they are heirs to a fortune: as long as they can solve the murder of their benefactor.

One of my absolute faves as a kid. I read it again a few years ago and the most wonderful thing is that it still holds up. It's funny and a perfectly crafted mystery. I dare you to try and guess the solution!

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Wayside School was supposed to be 30 side-by-side classrooms built as one story; unfortunately, there was a little mix-up and its classrooms were built one on top of the other as 30 stories.

Louis Sachar is also one of my very favorites and I really debated whether to put this one or Holes on this list (another excellent read). Ultimately, this won out solely because I adore the humor so much. It takes me right back to the wacky, hilarious world of elementary school.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Two kids sneak in and spend a night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Um, yes. That is an awesome premise and the whole book lives up to it.

If you haven't read them already, any of these books pique your interest? Or are there any MG books you'd recommend?


  1. Ooh they all sound good, but especially the last two :) Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. I LOVED The Graveyard Book! I can't believe Gaiman can switch so seamlessly between thought-provoking adult novels and wildly inventive MG fiction. And The Westing Game's been on my list for a while; thanks for the recommendations!

  3. I'll put them on my list... thx.

  4. So much love for all these books, but especially WESTING GAME and MIXED-UP FILES. I used to dream of running away and living off the coins in a public fountain. How brilliant was that! (And not because I actually wanted to run away, but because it just seemed so fun to spend the night in a museum and, you know, get by on my wits and street smarts.)

  5. The Westing Game and Sideways Stories were two of my favorites growing up.