What is middle grade fiction?

I get this question a lot.

Middle grade fiction is for readers who are beyond early reading chapter books, such as “Henry and Mudge” (a favorite of my boy’s when he was in first grade), but not ready for young adult themes, such as those in “The Fault in Our Stars” and “The Book Thief” (a favorite of mine).

It’s for that in between time—or the middle. MG Fiction focuses a lot on self-discovery, realizing independence, problem solving and friendship.

PACK OF DORKS centers on the lives of 10-year-old in fourth grade, and caters to readers ages 8-12. Not that readership is restricted to that age group. Just saying.

Here are a few of my favorite books of all time, which just happen to be middle grade.


Our Winn-DixieBECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo  We loved this book so much that my boy named his guinea pig Winn-Dixie. Sadly, our Winn-Dixie is a little too bitey to bring everyone around her together.

PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS by Patricia Reilly Giff

COUNTING BY 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

WONDER by R.J. Palacio

I, EMMA FREKE by Elizabeth Atkinson My Emma and I loved reading this book aloud. It has such clever dialogue and fantastic characters.


Actually, any book by Jack Gantos.  I’ve got a special place in my heart for his lovable, accident prone Joey Pigza. I think he and Lucy would get along (and get into a lot of trouble).

THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson (Moment of silence for all the feels.)

MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS by Wilson Rawls This is the first book that broke my daughter’s heart. just as it did mine when I first read it as a 10-year-old.

Which books would you add to this list?