10 Reasons Why I Love Middle-Grade Books #toptentuesday #middlegrade

May 19, 2020

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Middle-Grade Books

10 Reasons Why I Love Middle Grade Lit (Image: over the shulder view of a MG  blond haired child reading a book with a burgandy afghan on  lap)
Image Source: Canva

Definition of Terms: Middle Grade Reader & Middle Grade Student

∗ A Middle-Grade Reader (ages 8-12) ≠ A Middle-Grade Student (grades 7-9)

These terms can be confusing. A Middle-Grade student (grades 7-9) is truly caught between groups and can read MG or YA. However, most YA (ages 13-18) is geared toward high school and is too mature for younger middle-grade readers who are 8-12 or middle-grade students who are in grades 7-9. There’s a vast difference between an eight-year-old reader and a twelve-year-old reader. Some middle-grade books are geared toward younger readers (e.g. Wishtree), and some authors such as Alan Gratz write for the more mature middle-grade reader (e.g Refugee).

∗ Middle-Grade Fiction is Typically Read by Readers Between Eight and Twelve Years Old.

I predict that either you read Middle-Grade Books or you don’t!

Middle Grade is a genre that you either embrace or avoid!

What say you?

Are you onboard with MG reading or are you standing on the sidelines?

I’m here to persuade you to try MG lit if you haven’t or to remind you why you love it.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for TTT: Top Ten Reasons Why I Love _____ . My focus is Ten Reasons Why I Love Middle-Grade Books.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Typically, Middle-Grade reads avoid content that includes graphic violence, sexual situations, and profanity. An unwritten expectation for middle-grade reads is that, despite dire circumstances, they are infused with hope and have hopeful endings. A few examples include Louisana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (scroll down page for review), More to the Story by Hena Khan (Goodreads Review), and Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (Goodreads Review).

Complex Issues

One of the main reasons I love reading middle-grade books is that they can address complicated and difficult issues in an easy-to-understand and sensitive way. It’s a great introduction to heavier content. A few examples include Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradly (slavery), Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (indentured servitude, education for girls), The War That Saved My Life/The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradly (WW11), Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper (racism, prejudice), Refugee (12+) by Alan Gratz (refugee crisis), Wonder by R.J. Palacio (physical differences), Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (scroll down page for review) (immigrant, bullying), El Deafo by Cece Bell (hearing impairment), Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (scroll down page for review) (homelessness), Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Goodreads Review) immigrant), Merci Juarez Changes Gears (Goodreads Review) (Alzheimer diagnosis), Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (prejudice)…and so many more.

Read in a Day

Most middle-grade reads can be read in a day by most adults. So if it’s December 28 and you’re a few books shy of meeting your year-end-challenge goal, pick up an easy reading middle-grade title such as The Vanderbeeker’s of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glasser, El Deafo by Cece Bell, or Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (Goodreads Review).

Conversation Starter

Instead of commenting on a girl’s beautiful dress, stunning nail color, or unique hairstyle or asking a boy if he is on a soccer team, try asking a middle-grade reader what book s/he is reading in class right now. You might be able to make a connection with that book or recommend a similar book and you’re off to an interesting discussion!

Palate Cleanser or Reading Slump Buster

After reading several heavy histfic books (just me?), intense thrillers, or dense nonfiction, you might be feeling burned out. A fast and engaging middle-grade read can jump-start your reading or give you the change of pace you are needing! I often use this strategy when I’m feeling ambivalent about choosing my next read.

Thoughtful Gift

Do you remember a book you received from a teacher or family member? I still remember the books I received! (I was the one that spent my entire winter break reading my new book!) Choosing the perfect book for someone is a thoughtful gift and is my favorite one-stop-shopping hack! A personal inscription and special bookmark can complete the gift.

Catch Up On a Popular Read

A great reason to read middle-grade books is to catch up on popular books you might have missed reading when you were in school. Have you read Chronicles of Narnia, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Bud Not Buddy, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Bridge to Terabithia, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, By the Great Horn Spoon, Wonder, Where the Red Fern Grows, Brown Girl Dreaming, The Secret Garden, The One and Only Ivan, etc? What book do you wish you had read when you were 8-12?

Quality Time

Children spell love T I M E.

Setting up a “buddy read” with your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew is one way to spend quality time with a child. To discuss the book, you might take the child to lunch or to get ice cream or set up a Zoom meet up. A buddy read doesn’t have to be extra reading outside of school. You could simply read the same book as s/he is reading in school so that you can ask questions about it. Reading books together leads to grand discussions about the most amazing topics/issues! I love that through reading, important and relevant issues come up naturally.

Important Conversations

What I love (and miss) most about teaching fifth grade is that I could have the best conversations with my budding abstract thinkers! Middle-grade readers (8-12) are ready to think about the world and their place in it. Through reading, children gain experience with different cultures, perspectives, and issues. I love the diversity now offered in children’s literature. Reading builds compassion and understanding. For instance, if your child’s classroom has a student who is hearing challenged, you could read El Deafo together.

Make a Difference

If you work with children, have children, or know children in the 8-12-year-old range, reading middle-grade books will help you connect with them! If you are a pediatrician, nurse, dentist, hygienist, teacher, aide, Sunday school teacher, piano teacher, counselor, social worker, caregiver, nanny, or work with middle-grade readers in any way, reading what they are reading will help build connections, promote literacy, and WILL make a difference.

Inspirational story: A member of our family took her baby to the doctor for her one-year checkup and the pediatrician said, “You need to read ten books every day to your baby!” Yay, doctor!Thanks for promoting literacy at a one-year-old well-baby check!

Have I encouraged you to pick up a middle-grade read or do you already love middle-grade lit?


What is your favorite middle-grade title?

What is your favorite middle-grade read from your school days?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text


10 Inspirational Reads For Middle-Grade March

Top Ten Signs That I’m a Book Lover

 Why getting lost in a book is so good for you according to science!

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and/or author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com



  1. You make some good points. I remember when my kids were that age, I read most of the books they had to read in school, not because I felt I had to but because I liked them. Maybe I should explore them again.

    My TTT.

    Happy Reading.

      • Thanks for visiting my page and leaving a comment. Do you know that there is no direct link to your blog from your name there? Maybe that’s intentional, just thought I’d make you aware of it.

        Have a good day.

      • Oh? That’s interesting because I thought I fixed that because someone else also mentioned it! I’ll have another look! I may come back to comment to see if I’ve corrected it! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • When I went back to the comment and clicked on my name, it takes me to my website, so now I’m not sure what the glitch is!

    • It’s still the same. All I get is the blogger page with the name “Reading Ladies Book Club”, then “About Me” and “On Blogger since October 2017” and “Profile views – 47”. That’s all. I have taken a screenshot but don’t know how to insert it here. Don’t know whether this helps: Blogger

      • Oh dear! Thanks for checking! It’s strange because I’m on WordPress and not Blogger. I wonder if it’s just a computability issue? I could ask support to help me troubleshoot I guess! Thanks again Marianne!

    • That might be the reason but I know of several other blogs who are not on Blogger and usually, their links are on that blogger page when they comment. I mean, I found you, so I suppose others might as well but I know I would want to have that link in there. Maybe that’s just me. LOL.

      Have a good day.

      • I just tried the blogger link you left and I can’t figure it out! 😩 I want to fix it! So frustrating!

    • I read some YA too…..but it’s not as predictable for me! I just read Clap When You Land and it was lovely! Thanks for commenting!

      • It’s a poignant story! It took me a while to figure out the POVs …..they are indicated in the chapter titles is a different and creative way. Enjoy!

  2. What a lovely post!! This makes me want to run to my bookshelf and pick up one of my old favorite reads—particularly The Outcasts of Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg, which I adored 💕

  3. Yes, there is a lot of hope in books written for this age group. That’s one big reason why I love it, too.

    My TTT .

  4. I absolutely love Middle Grade novels, and I just read them for myself – for fun!! There are so many great titles out there these days, and I love that they can focus on all sorts of topics and it works!


    • It’s lovely to hear how much you enjoy middle grade! You re right, there are many great titles! Do you have a favorite?

  5. I LOVE Middle Grade Fiction! I have 7 grandkids, and an 8th coming in 3 weeks. 3 of the girls are avid readers of middle grade. The youngest, who just turned 9, is the most enthusiastic reader. She just read finished The War That Saved My Life/The War I Finally Won. I was going to read it with her oldest sister this summer, but she wanted to read it and my daughter had read them and thought she’d handle it fine. The abuse issue was my hesitation… I bought the family another Kindle Paperwhite because the libraries are closed and the girls were reading on the Kindles and my daughter was reading on her phone, so we thought they needed another Paperwhite!

    I typically do a reading program with them in the summer “Grammy’s Girls Read” (until the boys are old enough to read independently!). I choose a book for each girl and have the books sent to them. Then we both read the book, and when they’re done, I take them out for lunch and we discuss it. They live about 45 minutes away – this summer I don’t think the lunches will happen due to COVID. We’ve only seen them many feet apart.

    About YA (I’m always thinking ahead where books are concerned!) – my oldest granddaughter is 12 and there are still plenty of Middle Grade books she hasn’t read, but I’m concerned about the YA books because some of them that I’ve read have language, drugs and sex in them… Not that you can put the kids in a bubble, but I know my daughter wouldn’t want her kids reading those, and I don’t like reading those either!

    So, do you have a list of good books for teens that don’t have these things in them??

    • How lucky your grands are to be reading with you! I love this for you and them! 🙌 The War That Saved My Life/The War I Finally Won are my favorites! I think kids can handle some difficult content if we are available to discuss it with them!

      You’ve asked a really difficult question!!! Most YA is too mature for 12 year olds. I looked through my YA goodreads shelf and only found one I think might work…..it includes first romance but no profanity or sex…..Sarah Dessen is a popular author for this age group and The Rest of the Story is the only one of hers I’ve read but you might check some of them out! Here’s my review of The Rest of the Story…..

  6. I have to admit I don’t read many middle grade books, but my daughter does so I hear all about them. There are some really great ones out there. It’s great that you find such joy in reading them.

  7. Nice list! I haven’t read a lot in this genre recently, but my kids are getting older so I’ll probably be looking into it more. I love reading with my kids! Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.

  8. You don’t need to convince me – I already love MG books! The reasons you listed are all reasons I pick up MG. I remember one time I was reading an ARC of the newest book in a MG series while waiting for my daughter at dance class. I could see a little boy eyeing the book longingly. Since I was almost finished, I gave the book to him to keep and he was SO happy. It meant a lot to see a child so excited about a book and that I could give the joy of that book to him 🙂

    Happy TTT!


    • Awwwww!!! What a wonderful story! #11 reason to read MG books!!! Spread the joy!!! I’m happy to hear you enjoy MG Susan! Thanks for sharing and leaving your link! I’m hopping over now!

  9. I always laugh when people say you can read something in one day. Because of my dyslexia, I can rarely read a whole short story in one day, let alone a whole book! Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but still…

    • Awwww….that must be difficult Davida. I admire your commitment to reading in light of the challenges. Do audio books work for you? Or a combo of audio and print?

      • No, I don’t do audio books. I only read them when I had surgery on my eyelids and had to have compresses on my eyes all day long for a couple weeks. I just can’t figure out when I’d listen to them. I have no commute, I don’t do housework (much), and I can’t listen and do things on the computer.

      • Audio is not my fav 1). I can’t focus and am easily distracted (even by my own thoughts)…the only moderate success I have is when I’m driving or walking). 2). I can read much faster than I can listen

      • I probably listen faster than I read (because of my dyslexia), but when I read, I hear the voices in my head and “see” the action in my imagination. So, sometimes the voice of the reader disturbs me (especially when there’s only one reader), and I can’t “see” the action as clearly when someone is reading it to me.

      • Interesting! I think I visualize better when I read print too….maybe that’s part of why audio doesn’t work well for me. I’m a visual learner.

  10. Some of my favourites are middle-grade books, such as Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, and so on. I grew up with those books and from time to time, I still reread them.

  11. I agree with all your “Reasons” Carol!! I like to read the books that I send my grand-girls so I’ve done several this age– some thanks to you, of course!! And if I want to read a biography of someone, but don’t want to invest myself in a 500 page adult book, I go to the children’s section to see if I can find a good one! Loe your posts!!

    • Great idea about the biographies Rhonda! When I was just beginning to teach 5th grade science, I checked out children’s books on the core concepts so that I was sure I had a good understanding and also to be able to explain it in kid friendly terms. I remember Jeopardy James saying that he gained much of his knowledge by reading children’s books at the library!

  12. I love this post Carol. These points are all right on target. I enjoy reading Middle Grades books (these are probably the only ones I reread) because I loved them so I want to read them with or to my grandchildren. I have a huge middlegrade “Library” that I hope my grandchildren will read as they get older.

  13. […] For adults, Middle-Grade books make the perfect palate cleanser or fit the description of books that can be read in a day. If I’m feeling myself sliding into a reading “slump,” I often seek out a recommended Middle-Grade read to stimulate my reading life once again. I love that Middle-Grade books almost always end on a hopeful note. This theme of hopefulness is one of the main reasons I love reading in the Middle-Grade genre. I strongly believe that great Middle-Grade literature can be enjoyed by adults! Here’s an entire post devoted to why I love MG. […]

  14. […] For adults, Middle-Grade books make the perfect palate cleanser or fit the description of books that can be read in a day. If I’m feeling myself sliding into a reading “slump,” I often seek out a recommended Middle-Grade read to stimulate my reading life once again. I love that Middle-Grade books almost always end on a hopeful note. This theme of hopefulness is one of the main reasons I love reading Middle-Grade. I strongly believe that great Middle-Grade literature can be enjoyed by adults! Here’s an entire post devoted to why I love MG. […]

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