Middle grade fiction is one of my favorite genres of fiction. I love it even more than YA, because at this age, fewer books deal with romance as a heavy feature in a book, which I believe can detract from other elements of a story. Middle grade is also the time where fantasy and adventure are still quite popular, which I love. I think if I had to choose a genre to live in for the rest of my life, I would pick middle-grade books.
However, there does seem to be a worrying trend today among middle-grade books, where the books are segmented into “boy” or “girl” books. All the boy books often follow fantasy, contain a gross-out factor, or contemporary settings similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The girl books all feature pink. There are dozens of girl books with cupcakes, fairies, unicorns, rainbows, and sparkles. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this, except that these books skim the surface of what a book is really supposed to be. Books are there to inspire you to live in another world or to face things you have never encountered before in a safe place.
At best, I don’t think these gender-segmented books allow children to do that, and at the worst, they encourage the sort of thinking that brings about things like bullying, gender wars, and racism. Any time you promote one thing in exclusion of something else, it creates a dangerous environment. Since middle-grade children are at their prime for accepting new ideas and shaping who they will become during the teen years and as adults, I feel that providing inclusive, creative books to children this age is incredibly important. Both boys and girls should be reading books that helps them create a mindset that is accepting of others and does not feed into the idea that one gender is better than another.
I know this is sort of a soap-boxy rant, but I feel very strongly about this. 🙂 That being said, there are hundreds of middle-grade books that fit my specifics perfectly. You can find them below.
New Middle Grade Books on My List
I’m particularly interested in reading these new series:
This series follows the adventures of a case-cracking cat and his two human children friends. The Blue Streak Bandits is the first in the series, which follows Sam as he uncovers the mystery of a missing child.
This book follows a young boy as he travels along on the first voyage of the new train Boundless in 1988. On the journey, he discovers two plots to steal some of the artifacts carried on the train and must work with some old circus pals to stop the crimes from taking place.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
This fun tale of adventure and puzzle-cracking will appeal to children who loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and solve-it-yourself mysteries like Encyclopedia Brown. 12 lucky children are picked to sleepover at a new library and must solve clues to find the hidden exit.
What are your favorite middle grade books?