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Can I Get Kid Lit?

Welcome to Episode 7! This episode is all about kid lit, middle grade, and YA, so I invited in kid lit expert Karina Yan Glaser. Karina has had a varied career teaching and implementing literacy programs in family homeless shelters and recruiting healthcare professionals to volunteer in under resourced areas around the world. She is currently a contributing editor at Book Riot and an advocate for literacy in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @KarinaYanGlaser.

karina glaser


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Need a book recommendation? Fill out the form at the bottom of the post, or email and we’ll help!



Hi! I love Book Riot’s podcasts and I’m really looking forward to this one! Do you have any biography or autobiography recommendations that are appropriate for 12 year olds? I have been searching, but I am having trouble finding something that isn’t too simplified (it’s for an assignment) or too mature. I am helping gather titles for a class’s project, but it has been a while since I was 12, so I’m having some trouble. I know each kid is different, but I am looking for some good titles to recommend to seventh graders. Any help would be super appreciated!!! -Kate



My newly minted 5th grade girl is a reluctant reader. She’s loved the and finished the Dork Diaries series, the 26th story Treehouse, everything by Telgemeier, and the Kingdom of Fantasy Series by Geronimo Stilton.  She’s not a fan of Harry Potter, think Percy Jackson is ok.  Her biggest hurdle is that she plays soccer 4-5 days a weeks so please offer book pics that aren’t terribly long or slow paced. She hates super girly books.  Thanks in advanced! –Jessica


Dear Get Booked,

My daughter is in 7th grade and is a good reader, but she cannot seem to find a book that she likes and connects with enough to finish.  The only book that she has found that she really likes is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.  She has read this book at least 5 times and can quote passages from it.  Any help you can give would be greatly appreciate.  Thanks! –Leah


Hi Amanda,

I just finished rereading the Little House on the Prairie books for maybe the 20th time, while perusing the more autobiographical “Pioneer Girl.” Any suggestions for a reader who wanted more than anything to be Laura Ingalls Wilder when she grew up?  –Samantha


Dear Get Booked,

I’ve reached that point in my 20’s where pretty much everyone I know is having babies. I have two mom-to-be friends who love books as much as I do, and I know they will be consistently reading to their children and exposing them to a literary environment from an early age.  I would love to give them children’s books as presents, but I want to go beyond the standard Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle repertoire. Do you have any recommendations for books that feature diverse characters and substantial stories? Both of my friends are giving birth to girls, so if you know of any books featuring inspiring, strong female characters that would be great as well! Thanks in advance! –Liz


Hi there! My best friend’s sister had a baby boy 9 months ago, and she’s looking for book recommendations to build up her baby boy’s library! She’s in the market for children’s books about/written by African Americans – any suggestions? Thanks guys!
– Chelsea


Hi Book Riot!

I’m a 13 year old girl and every night my dad reads to me before I go to sleep. In the past we have read books like the Harry Potter series and other middle grade books and series, but recently it’s been harder to find books we can both enjoy. Currently we’re reading Coma by Robin Cook, and while it is an interesting plot, I just can’t get behind the way the protagonist Susan Wheeler as portrayed as the medical student who is only given an advantage because of her beauty, despite being the most brilliant one in class. The same thing has happened multiple times, and we’ve had to stop reading some books because the writing and message, such as the Athena Project. My dad also has very specific tastes, and prefers action or thriller stories, with minimal depth or emotion. He also falls asleep really easily at night and while he tries, he usually zones out when he isn’t interested in the story. I can’t really think of anything that could satisfy both of us and I would really appreciate any suggestions. Thanks! –Anjali




Books Discussed on the Show!

I Am Scout by Charles Shields 

I Am Malala (young reader’s edition) by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

The Boys in the Boat (Young Reader’s Edition) by Daniel James Brown

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson

Holes by Louis Sachar

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Girl who Circumnavigated FairyLand in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld

Breakaway by Kat Spears

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck (not a kid’s book!)

Little House in Brookfield by Maria D Wilkes (more here)

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia

Not Norman by Kelly Bennett and Noah Z Jones

(Board books I love: The Bear Snores On, Workman’s Indestructibles)

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

(Board books: Andy Warhol’s Colors by Susan Goldman Rubin; A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na)

Sabriel series by Garth Nix

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand