Reading More Middle Grade

In July, I wrote about reading more “adult” books. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of middle grade – and not just because I’m behind in my goal to read 100 books this year. Young Adult is definitely my one true love in the book category world. But I can muster up some serious feelings for middle grade as well. I mean, Harry Potter... Need I say more? I will admit that sometimes when I’m reading MG I crave a little more  little more excitement or romance moving the story forward. Other times, reading about middle school kids is exactly the zone I want to be in. Here are a few middle grade books I’ve been reading and loving in the last two/three weeks. All are fantastic stories and approach diversity in interesting and important ways. Continue reading “Reading More Middle Grade”

Book Review: The Tapper Twins Go to War, by Geoff Rodkey

22875089My literature class is now focused on middle grade books, and so far I’m loving it. We are reading about Narnia and The Hobbit and childhood favorites like Holes. I’m enjoying them so much, I decided to go a little bit out of my YA zone of comfort and review an MG book that I enjoyed immensely. The Tapper Twins Go to War, by Geoff Rodkey, is a books about sibling rivalry that holds up against the classics I’m reading for my class. It is unique and cleverly put together, along with being so funny I actually laughed out loud at several points while reading this (often earning stares from strangers on the subway).

The book is told through a transcription of an oral history, where 6th grade twins Claudia and Reese describe their pretty epic prank war against each other. Photographs, interviews from friends and babysitter and text conversations between their workaholic Manhattan parents are also included.  Continue reading “Book Review: The Tapper Twins Go to War, by Geoff Rodkey”

Top Ten Books from my Childhood that I Would Love to Revisit


Happy Tuesday! Looking through my childhood books while on spring break and being in a class about picture books and books for middle schoolers definitely has me thinking about which books from my childhood I want to reread. Which makes this week’s top ten tuesday topic perfect for me! Here are some books that are definitely in need of a revisit soon. Let me know what books you want to revisit in the comments! Continue reading “Top Ten Books from my Childhood that I Would Love to Revisit”

Book Review: Dorianna, by Catherine Stine

23387844A few people who’ve been reading my blog for awhile know that last summer I wrote a first draft of a YA retelling of A Picture of Dorian Gray. I’m not doing anything with it now, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to look at it again, but that writing experience and the fact that I’m a big Oscar Wilde fan made me really excited to read Dorianna, by Catherine Stine. As you can probably tell by the name, and my opening remarks, this is a contemporary YA retelling of the same novel. And while it was very very different from my re-imagining, the concept intrigued me from the start.

Dorianna is a plain girl that’s sent to live with her aunt in Brooklyn after her father – a minister – is sent to jail for stealing from his parishioners. Being in New York feels like an exciting fresh start, but Dorianna feels trapped when boys overlook her and the cool girls bully her and make her feel like a country bumpkin. Continue reading “Book Review: Dorianna, by Catherine Stine”

Top Ten Underrated Books From My Childhood


I struggled a bit with this weeks topic. I think I follow reading trends and popularity more than I’d like to admit. Then I thought about some of my favorite children’s books that I’m shocked other people never read. A lot of these book are from celebrated and incredibly popular authors, but the books themselves I think are underrated. For example, more people have read Ballet Shoes and Half Magic than have read Theater Shoes and The Time Garden (even though too many people never read any of these books). Let me know if any of you read these books as a kid, or what some of you favorite underrated novels are in the comments. Continue reading “Top Ten Underrated Books From My Childhood”

My Top Ten Gateway Books


I think this week has been my hardest top ten tuesday yet. I was not an early reader. I was a very very very late reader, not really achieving any proficiency until 4th grade. But once I got it my reading skills progressed really quickly. Since then large portions of my time and identity have been vested in reading. These are the books that helped me make this change. Sorry to the one’s I left off. This has seriously felt like a bit of a Sophie’s Choice for me.

What gateway books got you interested in reading? What books would you recommend to a child or teenager that said they didn’t like to read? Continue reading “My Top Ten Gateway Books”

Word Count and Middle Grade Novels


I know I’ve written before about young adult books and word count already, but recently a friend asked me my opinion on the ideal length of a debut middle grade novels. It seems to me like there is the most variation in this type of book, because they are generally written for children between the ages of eight and twelve. There is a lot of changes in both reading ability and subjects of interest during that time. I’ve read online that MG novels should be between 20,000 and 45,000 words. Here are examples of how many words are in between the covers of some of the most popular MG novels.  Continue reading “Word Count and Middle Grade Novels”