Middle Grade & Young Adult







I am not generally a re-reader of books. Once is usually enough when there are so many more books to get to! But the one book I have reread a lot is Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. As a kid I loved how it transported me. As an older reader I have appreciated the layers of inquiry about good and evil, science, art, society, and human relationships. Each reading for me is always different.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis were also a favorite of mine. As a kid I loved fantasy, sometimes to a fault. Spoiler Alert: You will be very disappointed if you expect faeries to pop out of the woods when Jess and Leslie start talking about “magic” in Katherine Patterson’s A Bridge to Terabithia. As a nine year old I felt a bit mislead, but it is still an excellent book.

I like some of Neil Gaiman’s books for young readers better than his books for adults (but both are really good).

I like all different kinds of funny. In elementary school I read all of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books and everything by Roald Dahl.

For young adults, M.T. Anderson will make you laugh as he relentlessly flays open hypocrisy and injustice. Sometimes he’ll just make you laugh. I also like that he believes kids are smart and refuses to write down to younger readers. Read his own thoughts about this in his 2009  Printz Honor acceptance.

I finally got around to reading Kristn Cashore’s Seven Kingdoms series. I love me some great female characters.

In sixth grade I read Newbery Award winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. I couldn’t figure out why reading  it made me feel so uncomfortable. Then I realized it was because the Logan children, African Americans living in depression era Mississippi, were never safe, not even with their parents. I had come to love the characters. It was abominable to me that they or anyone else would ever have to live with that kind of fear, uncertainty, and injustice. I felt deep appreciation for my own life and opportunities. This was a powerful experience that I could not have received from a history lesson alone. Historical fiction at its best.

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