What is Middle Grade?

You’re probably aware by now that my upcoming book is a middle grade novel. So, what exactly does that mean?

Middle Grade refers to books for middle school aged children (roughly ages 8-12). But there are a few more defining characteristics of middle grade.

  1. Middle grade stories are usually 30,000 to 50,000 words
  2. There isn’t any profanity, graphic violence, or romance (except maybe a “first crush”, handholding, etc)
  3. The focus is usually on family, friends, and the characters immediate world.

Those are the “official” requirements for a middle grade novel, but what I love about middle grade is the readers. Middle grade aged readers are just learning their likes and dislikes. They are deciding (for the most part) which books they want to read based on their interests, rather than what picture books mom and dad buy for them. Middle grade readers are learning about friendship, heartache, and their place in the world.

I still remember the thrill of going to the school library and discovering new books that I wanted to read.

I discovered I liked spooky books by reading Mary Downing Hahn and R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series.

I discovered magic in Harry Potter (I still own the complete hardcover set!).

I learned I enjoyed reading books that took place in the past by reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.

And who can forget tales like Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery and Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Middle grade books hold a certain kind of magic because they are the books that create life long readers. I hope one day a 38-year old will remember checking my book out from their library, and will try to find a copy for their child.

Some of my recent middle grade favorites are:

  • The Greenglass House series by Kate Milford
  • The Clackity by Lora Senf
  • The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
  • Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
  • Ghost Girl and This Appearing House by Ally Malinenko
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Maggie and the Mountain of Light by Mark Snoad
  • She’s Still Here by Caitlin Alexander
  • Anything by Mary Downing Hahn!

Tell me your favorite middle grade book in the comments. I’d love to read it!

As always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: