Continuing with my Friday Favourites series, today I’ll be discussing Middle-Grade novels I love. Middle-Grade is an interesting classification because it has several definitions, but most people will agree that it books in this category are meant for younger readers who are old enough for chapter books, but perhaps too young for longer novels. Generally, though not always, the characters in the novels are pre-teen age, and many of the themes in these books are lighter (although I have to say that Harry Potter breaks many of these conventions!) Whatever the criteria for being considered Middle Grade, these books can still be appealing to adults. Here are three of my favourite:
#1. A Wrinkle In Time – Madeline L’Engle:
This was one of the first ‘chapter books’ I ever read, and I enjoy reading it just as much as an adult as I did when I was young. It has all the elements of a great SFF novel that introduces younger readers to the genre, but can also stand the test of time. I am thrilled to see that A Wrinkle In Time is being made into a movie, featuring a brilliant cast, and with an amazing female director!
This novel is a favourite of mine for several reasons; it features a spunky, but still vulnerable female protagonist, searching for her father, a scientist who has gone missing. On her journey, Meg meets several odd characters who help her on her journey. Part of the delight of the story is learning more about these odd characters, so I won’t spoil anything here, but I found A Wrinkle In Time, just strange enough to be highly unique, and human enough to be very moving, and quite profound, especially to my young mind.
#2. Flora Segunda – Ysabeau S. Wilce:
The full title of this novel is,Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, and it is precisely because of quirky, but delightful nonsense like this that Flora Segunda is one of my favourite middle-grade stories. Despite the seemingly nonsensical title, Flora Segunda is quite a clever novel (and larger series), and features impressive world-building, as well as intriguing attention to military tactics, and espionage practices. Flora’s best characteristic is her curiosity, and while it, of course, leads her astray, it is also presented as a wonderful personality trait, and it sends such a great message to similarly curious young people. I love Flora Segunda for its brash oddities, and delightful whimsical writing.
#3. Enchanted Forest Chronicles – Patricia C. Wrede:
The whole series is going up here, because I LOVE these books. Seriously, I read this series once a year, even though I can polish off one of the books in an hour and a bit. They’re SO delightful. The main character Cimorene, is an unlikely princess, who is tired of her princessly duties, and runs away to work for a dragon. Cimorene is amazing, because she is practical, and clever, and curious – she teaches herself magic, and sword-fighting, and even how to bake a souffle! The series is filled with quirky and clever magical systems, and beautiful settings.
What are your favourite middle-grade novels? Tell me in the comments below!
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