Favorites Friday -- Part 3

“What is your favorite book?” Readers get asked that question All. The. Time. Can you pick just one? I certainly can’t. So, I’ve put together a master list of some of my all time favorites, and then divided that list into categories. I’m sharing a different category over the next few weeks on what I’m calling Favorites Friday. 

Today we’re looking at books for the Middle Grades. The books for this age group changed radically when a little book series about a boy wizard appeared on the shelves. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Harry Potter series?! Up until that time, no one expected kids to read books in excess of 200 pages. Compared to the other books on the shelves, Harry Potter was gigantic. And now books for middle grades vary by size almost as much as by subject matter. I’ve included books of various sizes in this list. 


A Series of Unfortunate Events By Lemony Snicket

Soon after the death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children find themselves mired in one sticky situation after another. Battling against their evil uncle, Count Olaf, Count Olaf’s companions, and the mysterious V.F.D., the children must learn to rely on each other to survive. 

Full of delightful wordplay and fun “Aha!” moments, this series is sure to please a young reader who is ready for a more complex plot. 


39 Clues By Various Authors

Dan and Amy Cahill travel the world in a race against their relatives to solve the 39 Clues. What will they find at the end of the quest? Will it be treasure? Or power? Or both? Or maybe something else altogether. One thing they know for sure, Dan and Amy need to use each other’s strengths to solve the clues and win the race.

I first started “reading” these by listening to the audiobook version. One day I brought the paper version of the book home and got my older daughter hooked on them — parenting at its finest! There are multiple spin-offs from the original 39 Clues series, but I like the originals the best.


Adventures of the Northwoods Series by Lois Walfrid Johnson

The year is 1906 and life in the Wisconsin Northwoods is not easy. Kate O’Connell discovers this truth for herself after she and her mother move from their busy life in Minneapolis to a farm in western Wisconsin. When a stranger is seen in the woods, Kate must decide if she wants to continue to mourn her old life or to embrace her new home and new family.

Immerse yourself in Kate O’Connell’s world of 1906 and beyond. I grew up learning to love and respect others, to face difficulties head on, and to follow my dreams right along with Kate —and you will too. I can’t endorse this series highly enough. Give it a try and then let me know what you think.


The Mysterious Benedict Society By Trenton Lee Stewart

An ad is placed in the newspaper, and only the most gifted children need apply. Reynie Muldoon takes a chance and applies. After passing a series of tests, Reynie and a group of children he soon calls friends, find themselves mired in a mystery every bit as mysterious as Mr. Benedict himself.

If you or your middle grader loves puzzles and mysteries, you will enjoy The Mysterious Benedict Society. There are several other books in the series and each as satisfying as the last.

That's all for now. Next week dive with me into the world of tween/teen reads. 

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