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I cannot deny, I am a lover of middle grade fiction. I am a lover of fiction in general, but middle grade does hold a special place in my heart, even as an adult. These are books I cannot wait to share with my son when he is old enough.
So, what were (are) my all time favourite middle grade reads? I’ve put together a list of the books I loved as a child, and the ones I think will still be loved by all today.
1. Harry Potter
This goes without saying, really. I have mentioned Harry here before and (despite not agreeing with JK Rowling’s backward thinking) they remain some of my all time favourite books. I’ve read them so many times I could probably recite them from memory. The Harry Potter series is actually the best selling series of all time, and has been translated into 80 languages.
The books tell the story of Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, as they navigate a magical world of mystery and danger. They spend the series trying to thwart a great evil and face many challenges along the way. The books are full of wonder and even after all this time, I’m never bored reading them.
I’ll be honest, I read these books as an adult and I LOVED them. They follow a boy called Torak and his wolf, with whom he can communicate. Along the way we pick up a girl called Renn too, and we follow them on a journey though ancient northern Europe as they try to vanquish the evil that overshadows the land.
These books are rich in history and folklore. The author, Michelle Paver, extensively researches each novel by living with and talking to native tribes. She then incorporates their practices and traditions into her characters. I learnt loads from these books, even as an adult, so I think they would really capture the imagination of a child.
3. Alex Rider
These were some of my all time favourites growing up. In fact, ask 10 year old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and she’d tell you “a spy!”. I even went as far as to learn Morse code!
Written by Anthony Horowitz these books follow Alex, a reluctant recruit of MI6 as he jets off on undercover missions to fight bad guys. There are quite a lot of books in the series, the most recent one was published earlier this year (April 2020). The first novel, Stormbreaker, was actually adapted for film in 2006 but if I’m honest, it wasn’t that great. The book is much better.
These books, written by Robert Muchamore, are actually more aimed at the YA audience, but I think they would be good for kids 11 and up. They have more mature themes and can get a bit dark in places. I loved them as a kid though.
They continue with the Spy theme, and follow a boy called James and his sister Lauren as they embark on a variety of missions to bring down bad guys and stop terrorist plots. They are full of action and danger and are impossible to put down.
5. Young Bond
You may be noticing a theme here, but my inner child always wanted to be a spy! These books are in much the same vein as the two above in that they are about a reluctant kid spy. However, these tell the story of a young James Bond, fighting bad guys long before he became the infamous martini drinking spy we all know and love.
I only ever read the books written by Charlie Higson, so I cant speak for the more recent ones written by Steve Cole. I loved the Charlie Higson ones though, I have to say. Again, these books do contain more mature themes, but more often than not middle grade and young adult fiction tackles these issues in a tactful and age appropriate way.
I loved all of these series growing up, and I can’t wait to share them with my own son. If you enjoyed these series growing up, or if you can think of any more, let me know in the comments!