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Should You Read Middle Grade Books? A Flowchart

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Karina Glaser

Contributing Editor

Karina Yan Glaser is a full-time writer and illustrator with 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. Karina is the New York Times bestselling author of the middle grade books, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two daughters, and an assortment of rescued animals. One of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can't go anywhere without a book. Website:; Twitter: @KarinaYanGlaser; Instagram: @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting

I love all children’s books, but I tend to be a little overly enthusiastic about middle grade books.

“What are your favorite middle grade books?” I’ll ask the woman I just met on the subway who is sitting next to my daughter and commenting on how much she likes my daughter’s shoes.

“Middle grade? What’s that? Is that like The Hunger Games?”

For those of you who might be a little confused about what falls into the category of middle grade books, here’s a quick little primer in twenty-five words: The target age group is generally eight to twelve (sometimes nine to thirteen), and famous middle grade books include Harry Potter, Charlotte’s Web, and Matilda.

Should you be reading middle grade books? What if you’re not between the ages of eight and twelve? Check out this flowchart to see.

Flowchart Should You Read Middle Grade Books?

The following are links to the book recommendations if you want to check them out. (And I have many, many more recommendations if you need them; it was painful to keep this list within the confines of a flowchart!):

Esperanza Rising by Ram Munoz Ryan

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

Mosque by David Macaulay

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhai Lai

I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo


Do you have a favorite middle grade book? Please share!


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