Back on August 7th NPR announced the results of their summer’s poll seeking the Top 100 Teen Books. When I used this list for a YA panel I participated in, I noted a number of these titles are commonly shelved as Middle Grade books. Several people at that talk and since (especially with the holidays upon us) have asked me for recommendations for the younger crowd, specifically for kids who have read the Hunger Games at the ripe old age of say, eleven, and think they should now shop in the teen section for their next read.
Every library and bookstore section has a range of reading and maturity levels. Of course every reader varies, but it’s fair to say at the younger ages, it helps if the parent/adult knows the book, reads a review or asks for help to know what you’re getting into. Of course, this takes time!
There are so many books, I can’t cover them all, but for starters I took the NPR list (original on website here) and have broken it down to which of those books are shelved in the juvenile fiction section – grades 3 to 6. Per my daughter’s suggestion, I left off literary fiction titles that might be read in 6 to 8th grades. Few kids want to be gifted a ‘school book’.
I have made some notations, if I know something of the book. Please note the numbering is from the original list, in case you’d like to go back and mark up a printout.
1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
11. The Giver (series), by Lois Lowry
14. Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery (younger MG)
15. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman (older MG)
30. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
31. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
36. Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
40. Abhorsen Trilogy / Old Kingdom Trilogy (series), by Garth Nix (in teen, but I’ve read them and they fit the older MG reader)
42. Discworld / Tiffany Aching (series, by Terry Pratchett (Discworld is adult fantasy, but suitable for older MG – a favorite series of mine. Tiffany Aching is a series for younger shelved in teen, but good for MG)
44. The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper (loved this series)
51. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (shelved multiple places)
60. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury (Gr 6+ fantasy novel)
65. The Bartimaeus Trilogy (series), by Jonathan Stroud
73. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle (Gr 6+ – fantasy novel)
76. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
80. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
81. Daughter of the Lioness / Tricksters (series), by Tamora Pierce (in teen, but good for older MG)
83. The Immortals (series), by Tamora Pierce (in teen, but good for older MG)
84. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series), by Patricia C. Wrede (younger MG)
86. Circle of Magic (series), by Tamora Pierce
92. Leviathan (series), by Scott Westerfeld (in teen, but good for older MG)
94. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (series), by Diana Wynne Jones
98. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
100. Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace (younger MG)
Sorry, I found I couldn’t stick to where the books are shelved. Perhaps I need to cull out an overlap list, for that awkward 11 to 14 age group. More on my to do list!