We recently asked Candie Moonshower, author of The Legend of Zoey, what titles she would recommend for both middle grade and young adult readers. Here's her "short" list of such titles.
Most elementary school children read what falls under the category of middle graders, of which the Blume "Fudge" books are a great example. Middle grade novels are, generally speaking, geared toward readers as young as seven or eight, who have moved beyond chapter books, up to 14 or 15 year olds. Young adult novels fall into the age range of 12 to 21 years of age, depending on subject matter.
Since the Fudge books, middle graders have expanded immensely to include subjects that are fairly sophisticated, and length has expanded, too (think Harry Potter books, which are classified as middle graders). My own book that is coming out next year, The Legend of Zoey, is classified as a middle grader, but I like to think of it as an "older" middle grader, since there is some talk of childbirth in it, and death, too.
Some GREAT recent middle graders to read, to get a feel of the difference between these novels and the middle graders of 20 years ago, include (and there are MANY others, this is just a small sampling):
- Sid Fleischman books--ALL of them, especially The Whipping Boy
- Richard Peck's books--ALL of them
- Bud, Not Buddy; and The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963; and Bucking the Sarge, three books by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee
- Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko
- Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine
- Stopping to Home; Seaward Born; and Wintering Well, three books by BIW's own Lea Wait!
- Cold in Summer and On Etruscan Time, two books by Tracy Barrett
- The Midwife's Apprentice; Catherine, Called Birdy; and The Ballad of Lucy Whipple; and other books by Karen Cushman
- Sharon Creech's books--there are several, all excellent
- Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate Di Camillo
- Elaine Marie Alphin's books
As far as recent young adult novels, here are a few titles and/or authors you must read:
For teen romance, read
This is just the SHORT list. If you go to Amazon.com and look any of these up, be sure and check the box where they tell what other books teens bought when they purchased the title you've looked up! If I think of others (and I will), I'll give you a shout!
Candie Moonshower taught herself to type the summer after she turned eight, believing that writers type. Later in life, Candie's son, David, told anyone who asked, "My mom's a typewriter." After years of publishing articles, essays, stories and reviews for adults, Candie's novel for teens, The Legend of Zoey, which she typed herself, will be published by Delacorte in 2006. Dreams do come true! Visit Candie at http://www.CandieMoonshower.com
Check these titles out at your school or local public library! If you'd rather purchase them, we've linked them to amazon.com where titles are usually offered at a good discount, especially if you purchase them used. Another great place to check is AddALL. Type the book ISBN and click "Fint It!" This will look at many online booksellers and tell you where you can get it at the best price.