October 25, 2015

What is it about Middle Grade?

Whenever I get into a discussion with fellow fans of middle grade books, talk quickly turns into a love fest. We can barely breathe for scrambling to say all of the things we love about reading this special category of books.
It's so genuine!
There's honesty and sadness and hope and humor!
Middle grade hits the sweet spot in growing up!
It's so . . . SPECIAL.
I couldn't agree more with that last one. Middle grade IS special. I think for us grownup readers,  middle grade harkens back to a particularly resonant time in our childhoods. It is during the middle grade years (8-12 years old) that we get our first glimpse of the real world. Our first big heartbreaks. Our first brush with mortality. Our first considerations and worries about the future.

It's not that younger readers or kids don't share these same moments, but there's something about that age--6th grade in particular--where the training wheels come off and you are facing the world less as a child of your parents and more as an individual. It takes many years for that transformation to be fully complete, but the rush of hormones and middle school ushers it in with a bang.

That's why there will always be a special place in my heart for middle grade stories. They are some of my all time favorites: The Secret Garden, The BFG, Where the Red Fern Grows, Charlotte's Web, When You Reach Me, One for the Murphys, and SO many more.

As part of a 2016 debut author group called the Sweet Sixteens, I've had the privilege of reading many 2016 middle grade titles ahead of time, and honestly, I'm impressed. The middle grade fiction coming in 2016 offers such a range of story content and such a high level of writing craft that I'm beyond proud to share the debut shelf with these authors. I am grateful.

If you'd like to learn more about the upcoming 2016 middle grade debuts, we have a series of flyers that will introduce you to the titles. Here's the first one! Happy reading, everyone!


  1. I do love middle-grade books. I will be looking for these. Thanks for the post.

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