|Stacy Whitman, Editor, Tu Books|
|Tyler Whiteside, author of the Janitors MG series|
|E. J. Patten, author of the Hunter Chronicles|
What is middle grade?
- MG is for reluctant readers ages 8-12 or 13
- Middle readers are those not reading Magic Tree House anymore
- Middle as in middle school
- Harry Potter
- Relationships such as friendship
- Not much sexual tension, but maybe some puppy love.
- Not so much about coming of age; more about transition from child to teenager
- Realism shorter (35,000-80,000)
- Eg: Spiderwick
MG Reading Level
- Most YA is written at a 7th grade reading level some is written at a 4th-5th grade reading level
- It’s okay to use big words and 1st person for MG readers
What boys like to read about:
- Boys love nonfiction, too—Magazines, the Internet, Legos
- Fantasy and sci/fi are great for those reluctant readers
- Transition into classics or Newberry award winners
- They are at an age where they are establishing gender identity
POV in MG books:
- MG seldom switches POV, though it happens every now and then
- The reason why middle graders come back to a series is because they fall in love with a character.
- If they are invested in certain POV, the reader probably wants to see that POV in next book.
Do’s and don’t’s for MG books:
- Remember what its like when you were at that age, but also remember that times are different, though there are some constants such as developmental/emotional
- Don’t introduce too many complications, but you need a few to move story forward
- Make the character roughly 1-2 years older than the readers, topping out at 13.
- Diary of a Wimpy kid is an example of young MG
Humor in MG Books:
- Potty humor is common in MG books for boys.
- Young boys like slap stick
- Advanced potty humor: If you can use gross stuff for cool inventions or magic, (like using garbage to create weapons to fight monsters) boys like that.
- Stacy doesn’t like potty humor and doesn’t typically acquire books that include it (good to know)
- Rick Reardon’s Galaxy Games
- Artimus Fowl
- Fable Haven
- Percy Jackson
- Heroes of Olympus
- The red Pyramid
- Lark Light