Today is one of my kiddos’ birthdays, and she is 11. So in her honor, these are 11 middle-grade books that I have loved to read as an adult:
1 – Princess Academy trilogy by Shannon Hale. The potential princesses are not sitting around waiting for a boy to sweep them off their feet, but take the initiative to do things for themselves and their communities.
2 – Dragon Slippers trilogy by Jessica Day George. Spunky female protagonist and dragons and fighting against evil magic. What’s not to like?
3 – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Because duh, it’s Harry Potter.
4 – Ban This Book by Alan Gratz. One of my kids brought this home from the school library – about some kids fighting back when an overzealous parent gets hyped up about censoring their school library. The reasons people give in real life about banning books (Shel Silverstein encourages children to throw food) are replicated by the characters in the book and some are hilarious.
5 – Blended by Sharon M. Draper. Middle school biracial girl dealing with her parents’ divorce, custody and visitation, and race issues including a police shooting.
6 – We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor. It’s a pretty dark story about kidnapped child soldiers who have been transformed to breathe fire, and how they get out of it.
7 – Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. An art mystery in New York City involving the Met.
8 – Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Kid with facial deformity deals with school classmates. The follow up of Auggie and Me that tells the story from the perspective of the other kids really adds to it.
9 – The Green Bicycle by Haifaa al Mansour. A girl in the modern Middle East is not allowed to own a bike, or even to ride one. But she figures out a way to get around the rule. This was SO eye-opening about life for females in other parts of the world.
10 – Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas. A Japanese family is taken from California to an internment camp during World War 2, told from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl.
11 – Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This is my favorite classic literature, even more now because my family went to Prince Edward Island as part of our vacation in 2018. We went to the places that LMM lived and based the Anne books on. I always thought the language of describing the scenery was a bit over the top, but now that I’ve seen it – it’s NOT! It’s really, actually that pretty there! And Green Gables is a real house! It belonged to LMM’s aunt and uncle, and they really lived there! And now it’s decorated to be like the Anne books, including with a brown dress with puffed sleeves hanging on the closet door. I about burst into tears when I saw it.