I've decided to do the A to Z Blogger Challenge this year and I'm recommending five books all from the same alphabetical genre each day. So today, M is for Middle Grade. I write, and thus often read, young adult literature. Trying to follow the YA market often leads me to stumble across great middle grade titles as well. If you aren't an expert on all things kid-lit, MG books are written for readers age 9-12. YA is written for ages 14+. 12-14 year olds are an awkward crossover between MG and YA also known as young YA, or harder to sell. But if you want a great book to read with your fifth grader, here are five of my favorite MG titles.
The Giver by Lois Lowry - When I was ten years old, I got an autographed copy of every single Lois Lowry book for my birthday. Yeah, I was a huge Anastasia Krupnick fan. Unfortunately, Lowry didn't bother to write The Giver until I was 27, so I didn't stumble across this amazing story until adulthood. As a life long fan of Lowry, I firmly believe books don't get any better than The Giver. It's dystopia, but far less violent than The Hunger Games. Even if you aren't a tween, I highly recommend reading this book.
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare - This story is a great slice of American history. A young colonial boy spends a year alone in a log cabin in New England when his father travels to retrieve his mother and sisters and is delayed in his return. The boy learns to survive by befriending a local tribe of Native Americans and learning to live off the land. It has enough adventure to keep young readers interested and also touches on important British/Native Peoples relationship issues in a way children can understand.
Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry - This book is about an eleven-year-old boy's struggle to help his grandparents keep their families farm afloat while his parents are both off fighting in Iraq. It is both timely and timeless at the same time and blends coming of age themes with the struggles of war in a beautiful manner. One warning, it's pretty much impossible to read this book without sobbing.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - This was the greatest fantastical children's adventure story long before Harry Potter received his first invitation to Hogwarts. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a child and have reread them multiple times as an adult and continue to love them just as much. C.S. Lewis is one of histories greatest storytellers and his words will surely delight and entertain children for many more generations to come.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - Have you ever read a book that seemed so real that it felt like the characters were walking right off the page? That is exactly what happens when Maggie picks up the legend of Inkheart and begins to read. Except so characters are best left locked in their pages and the adventure Maggie finds herself in isn't what she hoped for.
What about you? What is your favorite middle grade masterpiece?