I read a lot of YA novels these days. But stand-alone middle grade fiction was a my first love…
I’ve recently read two middle grade novels that reminded me of that love:
For the most part, my reaction to each of these books was…. Awww and a big sigh of contentment. (Except, I must admit, for the frog issues in With a Name Like Love.
A few things that I think made a middle grade novel a middle grade novel (and love-worthy).
- The main character is at a transitional stage of life, on the verge of something new.
- His/Her role within the family is changing as he/she prepares to step out into the world.
- The story involves an awareness of his/her individuality.
- The story reveals simple acts of courage – the main character wants to do – and does – the right thing.
- Animals and pets are crucial.
- There is a very special and definite clarity of language.
I believe middle grade fiction has a tremendous amount of power. They are the reasons readers keep reading later in life. They guide and entertain and model ways to be and to act. Middle grade readers are passionate about the books they love. They believe them with a fierce sort of intensity. These books can change the world, one reader at a time.
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK