Favorite MG Fiction

This post is about Middle Grade books I wish I had read as a kid (but didn’t discover until I was an adult).

When I used to do author visits in schools, one question that students always asked me was: what books did I love as a child? And I had to admit that I couldn’t remember. I’d blame it on the lack of available options, but actually I think it was that I hadn’t found stories that I clicked with. During my years as a 4th grade teacher and then as a mom of twin boys, I was determined to make up for lost time. I surrounded my students and then my sons with literature. To this day, about 95% of what I currently read is either Middle Grade fiction or Young Adult books.

Middle Grade fiction (stories for ages 8-12) have themes focusing around friendships, coming of age, overcoming fears, and showing courage. There’s a saying: Little kid, little problems. Big kid, big problems. But what about that time in children’s lives when they’re “in between” those two stages? Middle Grade fiction serves as a bridge over this wide gap, helping readers to see themselves as they navigate the strange new world of adolescence.

I thought I’d begin my first blog post with these seven works of Middle Grade fiction. I consider them to be my launching pad that ignited an interest in reading and then burst into a full blown flame for writing stories of my own.


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Coming of age


Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
Historical Fiction about WW2, survival, friendship


Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson


Wonder by RJ Palacio
Coming of age


Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings (older MG)
Consequences and courage


The Giver by Lois Lowry
Moral questions