Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Loving Middle Grade

When I started reading middle grade books aloud with my kids, the genre stitched itself into my being. We sat, hours on end, captivated by middle grade characters and the worlds their authors created.

Today, we still read aloud together, even though my kids have been reading on their own for years. It's a treasured part of each day - to pull our current read from the shelf - and read together.

Our middle grade read alouds launched my current lot in life: writing my first middle grade novel. While the writing process is often arduous and draining, it is also wondrous and rewarding. Sometimes it is all of these simultaneously. But one thing that keeps my fingers plunking the computer keys, day after day no matter how my writing progresses, is imagining a child (or a mom or dad together with that child), my book in hand, captivated by its characters and world. To give that gift is why I write.

What do you love about middle grade reading and writing?


  1. Great post, Barbara. I love this: the genre stitched itself into my being. Nice. And so true! I think for me it is all that reading I did in my own middle grade years that remains with me when I write and drives me to want to write better: E.B. White. Madeleine L'Engle, Beverly Cleary, Laura Ingalls Wilder...They all created characters that fed my childhood soul and stay with me today.

  2. Anne, glad you stopped by! Isn't is something how characters become part of who we are? Thank you, for creating some of those characters yourself.

  3. I'll admit it - I like to read middle grade because most of them have happy endings and they aren't too sad (except when animals die, I can't read those books). Basically, I am a sap and don't want to read a book that makes me cry. No, really that's only part of it. I like the adventure aspect of many middle grade books, adventure without a lot of blood and gore. It reminds me of all the imaginary games I played as a child.

  4. I loved reading The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs to my kids. That's the first book I read aloud to them and thought, "Ooh, this is good on the tongue." When my husband read them Little Women and The Graveyard Book I often found myself in their room, folding laundry at that time of night so I could listen in. I hope my story makes a great read-aloud someday!

  5. Dee, that's true for me too, I think. The happy, uplifting quality in MG is beautiful. But lots of MG does make me cry, probably because I'm a sap. =)

    Kristen, there is something magical about MG being read aloud. Maybe it allows us to sink into its world more deeply.

  6. I think the positive, hopeful ending is one of the reasons why I read and write middle grade, too.

    I don't read aloud often anymore, but my kids still enjoy it when I do. Maybe it's a tradition I need to revive.

  7. Andrea, I like how you said positive, hopeful ending. Because that's different than a happy, perfect ending. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Comments. Yay! They're almost as good as chocolate. Almost.