Give me your children…’s book suggestions.

Hey lovelies.

It’s possible that I’m maybe considering trying to one day write a middle grade series. Maybe.


I have the idea. I know the story. But I feel like my exposure when it comes to MG is perhaps a bit lacking, and so I turn to you, dear folks.

Give me your brightest.

Give me your best.

Give me your morbid and whimsical and splendid.

Leave your offerings in the comments.

And then go eat a cookie. Or a Girl Scout Cookie.

Mmmmmm…Thin Mints…

73 thoughts on “Give me your children…’s book suggestions.

  1. Alison Cherry says:

    You keep giving me such excellent procrastination tools!

    The Boneshaker, Kate Milford
    Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool
    The Penderwicks (and sequels), Jeanne Birdsall
    The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart
    Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine


  2. Lauren says:

    Obviously Jacob Wonderbar, for younger MG. James Dashner, Rick Riordan. Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Harry Potter, natch. Heather Brewer. Claire Legrand’s sounds awesome & I can’t wait for that one…hmmm….Judy Blume!! Timeless!

    • veschwab says:

      Am SO excited for Claire’s!!! And this is I’d say on the older/darker side of MG, so a re-read of Pullman might be in order…

  3. Books by Lois Sachar, Kevin Emerson, the Little House on the Prairie series (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

  4. Becky B. says:

    Recent favorite MG that I’ve read is: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis.

    They both are really, really great stories. 🙂

  5. The Phantom Tollbooth (I like to re-read it annually), Matilda and The Golden Compass

    • veschwab says:

      I cannot believe I’ve not read The Phantom Tollbooth, and I’m planning a re-read of the entire Dark Materials 🙂

  6. I loved the SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY, Nikki Loftin’s debut, coming soon. It’s got evil witches and is wonderfully gruesome like a Grimm tale. I also just read the first book in THE LAST APPRENTICE series by Joseph Delaney. It was so good I devoured it. Actually, it has some similarities to THE NEAR WITCH.

  7. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
    When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
    Mysterious Benedict Society

    • veschwab says:

      The Graveyard Book is one of my FAVORITES. And I keep meaning to pick up these other two, for very different reasons. They both seem vital to this reading list.

  8. Here’s my favorites that were released in 2011:

    The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

    Wildwood by Colin Meloy

    Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

    The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

    Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver

    The Secret War by Matt Myklusch

    The Familiars, Secrets of the Crown by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrea Jacobson

    Nicholas ST. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce & Laure Geringer

    Kat the Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

    A True Princess by Diane Zahler

    Vordak The Incomprehensible Rule the School

    Other favorites:

    Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson

    The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

    Cahills vs Vespers: The Meduse Plot (The 39 Clues) by Gordan Korman

    Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

    The Dragons of Noor by Janet Lee Carey

    • veschwab says:

      YOU RULE.

      Also, Wildwood is the one I’m kicking off this reading challenge with!! And Liesl and Po is waiting on my shelf 🙂

  9. Tricia Scott says:

    Just asked my 12 year old daughter. Her recommendations are:
    Every Soul A Star
    Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest
    Books of Elsewhere
    I’m Falling In
    Kat, Incorrigible

    Your book is on my nightstand and I am itching to get to it! Must read faster!

  10. Ooo, lots of the good ones have already been covered! For beautiful, fairytale style prose I love BREADCRUMBS, by Anne Ursu and PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale.

    For fun historicals with lots of heart I love SELLING HOPE by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb and THE APOTHECARY by Malie Meloy.

    For fantasy/adventure I LOVE Brandon Mull’s BEYONDERS (bit more Tween, than MG though) and THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens.

    Gah–there are so many! WIll probably be back with more…

    • veschwab says:

      Breadcrumbs shows up in nearly every discussion lately about good MG, so I MUST pick that up. And someone on Twitter said APOTHECARY so I will consider yours a second to that motion (also THAT FAMILY IS TOO DAMN TALENTED, what with Colin AND Malie). Also been meaning to give THE EMERALD ATLAS a go.

    • Oh, yes, BREADCRUMBS and PRINCESS ACADEMY. Did you know there’s a second PRINCESS ACADEMY this fall??? I can’t wait!!

      I still have an ARC of the first BEYONDERS from work that I will someday fit in. Oh, and Victoria, I forgot to add in my other comment: I also enjoy these series: RANGER’S APPRENTICE and KNIGHTLY ACADEMY!

  11. OHH–duh. The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley is one of my all time faves. His N.E.R.D.S. books are also great, but they’re a tiny bit younger. I also echo the love for THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and THE UNWANTEDS. And if you haven’t read A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS you need to.

    *will probably still be back with more*

  12. Erica says:

    The T*Witches series by Randi Reisfeld and HB Gilmour remains one of my favorite MG series to this day. Or anything by Katherine Roberts – especially Spellfall (fantasy) and her Echorium Sequence (High fantasy)

  13. Kristin Tubb says:

    Oh, where to start?! The best middle grade I read last year was THE STRANGE CASE OF ORAGAMI YODA. Currently reading DARTH PAPER, too. I loved THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY by Adam Rex, and just starting OKAY FOR NOW. Classics: WRINKLE IN TIME (my all-time fave), A SINGLE SHARD, BRIDGE TO TERRABITHIA, FROM THE MIXED UP FILES…, THE WESTING GAME, anything by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume. I’m sure I’ll think of more! 🙂 Have fun, and YAY MIDDLE GRADE! 🙂

    • veschwab says:

      Ah, look at you with ALL THE SUGGESTIONS!! Huge fan of those classics, and will do my best to check out these newer ones!! Also, several people have insisted on yours, so that’s right at the top of my list!

  14. Anna says:

    Fablehaven x 1000. Also the Artemis Fowl series is amazing.

    • veschwab says:

      I’ve never read FABLEHAVEN. Will investigate!

      • Anna says:

        It’s full of so much imagination, and creatures and SUCH interesting characters, and they’re just amazing. Most books after awhile I forget what happens in them (not the TNW though muhahah), but with Fablehaven I can remember every little thing in every book, it’s mind blowing 🙂

  15. Chloe P. says:

    I LOVE The City of Ember, and Erin Hunter’s Warriors series (which, in case you haven’t heard of it, is about cats and is totally awesome). Also, although people have already mentioned these, I’d like to add to the love for The Graveyard Book and The Phantom Tollbooth.

  16. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente and Matilda by Roald Dahl (of course). I need to read more MG books myself.

  17. brendan says:

    The Guild of Specialists series, starting with OPERATION RED JERICHO.


  18. rklipman says:

    The Animorphs Series, by K.A. Applegate, which will probably be my favorite books ever until the day I die. I still own the entire thing. (It is currently being reprinted by Scholastic.)

    The Seventh Tower series, by Garth Nix.

    Spiderwick Chronicles.

    And, really random and a lot older – a book I used to love called Seven Spiders Spinning. Which is apparently by Gregory Maguire??! (yes, THAT one. how weird!)

    • veschwab says:

      Been meaning to experience Nix, so this seems a good time. And no way, re: Maguire?! The many lives of an author.

  19. Claire says:

    UGH okay so by now most of my suggestions have already been mentioned, but WHATEVER I shall still give you all my faves:

    LIESL & PO by Lauren Oliver (PERFECTION)
    THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster (oh, the PUNS)
    MATILDA and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl (duh)
    DOWN THE MYSTERLY RIVER by Bill Willingham (worth it for the bear alone)
    A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle (double duh)
    HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman (BEST. EVER.)
    ICEFALL by Matthew Kirby (really, really lovely)
    THE PAINTED DEVIL and A DARKER MAGIC by Michael Bedard (kind of obscure but OH SO CREEPY and DARK)
    KAT, INCORRIGIBLE by Stephanie Burgis (delightful!)
    WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead (Victoria. you MUST read this. you have no choice. I COMMAND IT.)
    PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow (I can’t decide if this is older MG or younger YA, but either way, you should read it; one of my favorites of ALL TIME)
    THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart (so much FUN)
    THE DOLLHOUSE MURDERS by Betty Ren Wright (the first book that scared the ever-living CRAP out of me)
    PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale (SO wonderfully written!)
    CORALINE by Neil Gaiman (duh duh DUH)

    Books I Haven’t Read Yet But Intend To, and Soon:

    THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
    THE AVIARY by Kathleen O’Dell
    THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall
    THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY by E. L. Konisburg
    A TALE DARK AND GRIMM by Adam Gidwitz
    THE BOOKS OF BAYERN by Shannon Hale
    THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge
    TIME AT THE TOP by Edward Ormondroyd
    THE SATURDAYS by Elizabeth Enright
    THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry

    . . . That’s probably enough for now.

  20. reutreads says:

    Mysterious Benedict Society, A Series of Unfortunate Events, (OMG SO GOOD) Rick Riordan books, and Zombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz.

  21. Grace Smith says:

    The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart
    The Jack Blank series by Matt Myklusch

  22. Kevin says:

    You have to check out Adrienne Kress’s ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN. Perfect example of exemplary MG

  23. Sophie says:

    OneI haven’t seen on here is Margaret Peterson Haddix AMONG THE HIDDEN (Shadow Children Series). Loved reading it with my DS. Dystopian. Very cool premise.

  24. Last year, my two favorite MG novels were THE PRINCESS CURSE by Merrie Haskell and LIESL & PO by Lauren Oliver. My all-time favorite authors growing up were Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle. One of my favorite MG contemporaries atm is OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon Draper. 🙂

  25. Mike Jung says:

    Millicent Min, Girl Genius (and anything by Lisa Yee, really); 8th Grade Superzero; One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street; Mudville; Dani Noir; Water Balloon; Neil Armstrong is My Uncle (And Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me); every one of the Theodosia and Nathaniel Fludd books; Nowhere Girl; Ways to Live Forever; Operation Yes; Words in the Dust.

  26. I’m just going to second some of these brilliant chices. Like Icefall.(FAVORITE BOOK LAST YEAR, NO JOKE)

    And Penderwicks and Princess Academy and The Black Caldron series by Llloyd Alexander. AND the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. (AWESOME)

    Also, it’s more classic MG, but the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books are worth a read only because they are HILARIOUS.

  27. Anything by Lloyd Alexander. I absolutely love his Prydain Chronicles. Timecat is also awesome. A time traveling cat taking his boy to visit different points in history? Come on! What’s not to love?

  28. Shelby Bach says:

    A Tale Dark & Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz!! (so lovely and gruesome)
    Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu
    any of Kate DiCamillo’s books, if you’re in the mood for lovely spare language
    Where You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
    Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin
    Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick (author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret)

    But of those, the top two get like a million extra stars next to them. Read them first!

    • veschwab says:

      Have been meaning to pick up literally every one of these (except for DiCamillo, whose books I’ve read and LOVED).

  29. Oh well, I’m not sure if all of this is still middle-grade anymore but I wouldn’t have minded as a 12-year-old:

    The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
    Coraline – Neil Gaiman
    M is for Magic – Neil Gaiman
    The Books of Magic series – Carla Jablonski (I believe Neil has his fingers in there, too^^)
    Waking Dream – Rhiannon Lassiter
    Bad Blood – Rhiannon Lassiter
    The Dead of Winter – Chris Priestly
    Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror series – Chris Priestly
    Goosebumps series – R.L. Stine (you have to pick & mix a little)
    Mist series – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  30. I enjoyed this series as a whole: The Relic Masters by Catherine Fisher. I’m finishing the last Percy Jackson book now. I also really liked Riordan’s Kane Chronicles.
    There are some great suggestions here that I will need to check out myself

  31. Taryn says:

    I’m not sure whether these are technically all MG, but I loved them:

    The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
    His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman (already mentioned but amazing!)
    Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, I have read most of them and I loved them and plan to read them again.
    Gail Carson Levine books are good, such as Ella Enchanted
    A Wrinkle in Time (of course!)

    I have not read these but want to badly:

    The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman ( I know, I know how could I not have read it yet!!)

  32. Daisy says:

    Everyone has already suggested so many amazing books! But I just want to add Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George, I read it recently and it was AMAZING! The castle is a whole character by itself and it was just wonderful 🙂

  33. jpmsull says:

    FLYAWAY by Lucy Christopher (probs already recommended), THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne M. Valente, (CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, but duh), CHARMED LIFE by Diana Wynne Jones.

  34. Norman says:

    Liesl and Po is a must read for that classic magic feel. Janice Hardy’s The Shifter, is awesome for world bulding.

    • veschwab says:

      Liesl and Po is a definite. It’s sitting on my shelf. And a few people on Twitter mentioned The Shifter, so I’ll add it to the pile!

  35. Annika says:

    Okay, with apologies for any repeats because I have not read the other comments…

    Paula Danziger is the premier MG author. Her stuff feels a little dated now but I do not think MG as it exists today COULD exist without her.

    Some other favorites from my childhood include Gone-Away Lake and its sequel; Summer of My German Soldier; The Cybil War; Me and the Terrible Two. (The last two might be a bit younger, I have not looked at them in 20+ years but remember them VERY fondly.)

    More recently, I love love LOVE Danette Haworth’s books, especially Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning and Me And Jack. I also adored Millicent Min, Girl Genius; The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate; Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out Of A Tree; Because of Winn-Dixie; and I just read My Name Is Olivia…and I Can’t Do Anything About it (which I think comes out next month) and it broke my heart into one million pieces. And of course Nova’s Dani Noir.

  36. I’ve only seen one mention of Diana Wynne Jones here – my very very favourite! I would recommend almost everything but the early Chrestomanci books are brilliant: CHARMED LIFE, LIVES OF CHRISTOPHER CHANT and WITCH WEEK are my personal picks. Also HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE of course and I feel like you would like FIRE AND HEMLOCK (although I might push that a little closer to YA than some of her others.) In non-fantasy, my other all-time favourite MG novels are classics like THE EGYPT GAME by Zilpha Keatley Snyder and THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY by E.L. Konigsburg.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: