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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Books for All

Did you see the Wall Street Journal article about grownup readers embracing Middle-Grade novels?

If not, take a minute and CLICK RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

(Clever title: "See Grownups Read." Wish I'd thought of that.)

Of course, most everybody knows about the Wonder phenom.  
I've recommended that book to plenty of friends who possibly haven't read a kids' book since they were or had kids. And they've been bowled over.

It sure makes my job easy, fun, and hardly like work that part of the requirement to write for kids is to read for them.

But I often feel a tad guilty when someone asks me for a recommendation and all I can give them is novels for ages "ten and up."
Or maybe ages 9-12.
Because that's what I'm mostly reading. 
And that ten and up, I'm usually quick to point out, means Way Up.

Recently I've read or am reading a ton of books that span the ages, so to speak.

Counting by 7s features a couple of adult characters that outshine any in a novel written for adults.

Even the decidedly child-friendly newest from Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses, I'd easily recommend to child-less adults. And by that I mean those with no current connections. You may not have taught, parented, or written for kids in the past ten years, but you'll love this novel.

Perhaps historical fiction falls into a category of its own here. But so much I've read truly defies age categorization. Check out these novels and I challenge you to say they are "only" written for middle-grade readers.

The Ballad of Jessie Pearl

Hattie Ever After 

Whistle in the Dark

What I Came to Tell You

CLICK HERE for an interview with the author, Tommy Hays
("I did set out to write a novel that my children would relate to, but I didn’t think to myself this is going to be a YA novel or a middle grade novel, which is actually how it’s technically classified.  I set out to write the best novel I could for whoever would like to read it.  I consider it a novel as much for adults as children.  I just met a wonderful author named Holly Sloan who has a wonderful middle grade novel out called Counting by 7s.  We presented together at the Southern Festival of the Book.  And she said she wrote her book the same way ..)

I could go on and on. But you get the drift.

I'm not saying this is a new development in the world of reading. And I'm not talking about the Young Adult crossover books that we know are being read by adults and "new adults."

But these days, aren't there are more older-than-Middle-Grade readers out there adding their names to the reserve lists at libraries, downloading them to their e-readers, or buying them as gifts but reading them first?

My humble opinion? Yes, there are. 


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