Top Ten Tuesday (18)

13 Mar

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Middle Grade Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!


So for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday I decided to give PROPS to middle grade. Because middle grade is the BOMB. Although I will say that these 10 books–a few classics, a few newbies–are probably more like ten of my favorites, but not my top 10 favorite or my only favorites. I love so many middle grade stories! These are just the tip of the iceberg, guys. TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

Book cover for Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteCharlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t mention a list of my favorite middle grade books without including this book about Wilbur and Charlotte, and what it means to be a good friend. And what it feels like to lose someone important to you. My first tear-jerker, friends, and I still love it to this day.

Book cover for A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. So I know that maybe some people would say that this is not middle grade, but I think it is, or at least that it could be. Conor is still just a kid when his mother gets sick with cancer and he has to learn to cope with her loss and the way he feels about it, with the help of the monster, one of the best characters in a book EVER. Also, THE TEARS. THE UGLY, UGLY SOBBING. Perfect. Seriously.

Book cover for The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne BirdsallThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks, #1) by Jeanne Birdsall. Do I talk about THE PENDERWICKS a lot, guys? I feel like I do. OH WELL. They deserve it. I love this crazy, lovable family like WHOA, and if you cry while reading this book, it’ll be because you’re laughing at Jane’s Cockney alter ego, Mick Hart. Or because something touches your heart. Because that’s how the Penderwicks roll, y’all. 

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Guys, this book is so wonderful. I LOVE Jacqueline Kelley, Callie Vee, Texas, pecans, family, historical ficiton, children's literature, Newbery, Darwin, Origin of Species, Grandfather, summer, turn of the century, books, science, naturalist, naturalism, evolutionthat it tells the story of a young girl who doesn’t like doing girly things, so instead she forges this great relationship with her grandfather and goes about learning things about nature and her environment. You know what I would DIE for? A book about what Calpurnia does with herself as she gets older, how she fights the system and goes to college, and learns things because, ever since that time she spent with her grandfather when she was 11, she just can’t quench her desire to KNOW things.

Brandon Mull, fairies, faeries, mythical creatures, fairy preserve, Connecticuit, Kendra, Seth, fantasy, adventureFablehaven (Fablehaven, #1) by Brandon Mull. Fairies!! Seriously, friends, the Fablehaven series is not just pure, imaginative fun. It’s almost non-stop adventure, filled with humor, high stakes, mystery, and one of the smartest, bravest sister-brother tandems EVA in Kendra and Seth. This is solid middle grade fun.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan. Honestly. CRick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Greek mythology, Percy Jackson, Anna, satyr, Camp Half-Blood, demi-gods, Mount Olympus, Zeus, Titans, Poseidon, New Yorkan’t have this list without some Percy! This is another series that just doesn’t stop. The action, the little tweeny romances, the friendships, the danger and the humor. All awesome. But one of my FAVORITE things about this series is the mythology, both the book-specific stuff about demi-gods and Camp Half Blood, but the actual mythology: Greek gods and goddesses, still wreaking havoc on humanity. Awesomesauce.

Kathi Appelt, animals, bayou, death, talking animals, award winnerThe Underneath by Kathi Appelt. *Sigh* THIS book. Yes, this book is technically middle grade. And yes, there are talking animals in it. Or, well, talking animals after a fashion: I’m not sure if we’re not just meant to be in their heads, but you get the picture. But that’s just about the only childish thing in THE UNDERNEATH. There’s almost no people in it, and the ones who are there are not good. In fact, this whole book is sad and bittersweet and steeped in some darkness. But the atmosphere is so perfectly executed and the language is SO GORGEOUS. 

Matthew Kirby, Vikings, Norse history, historical fiction, fantasy, children's literature, traitor, plot, betrayal, SolveigIcefall by Matthew Kirby. I’ve LOVED ICEFALL since I read it just a few months ago because not only is it a SOLID, perfectly nuanced story about betrayal and scheming, written beautifully, it is the perfect backdrop to introduce my girl, Solveig. Guys, Solveig is AMAZING. One of my favorite middle grade heroines. She’s strong and selfless and courageous. She’s the BOMB. 

Princess Academy series, Shannon Hale, fantasy, children's literature, Miri, school, bandits, mountainPrincess Academy (Princess Academy, #1) by Shannon Hale. AHH!! I’m so excited that this is going to have a second book!! Because if Princess Academy #2 is anywhere near as awesome as Princess Academy #1, we’re all in for a treat. Shannon Hale writes excellent fantasy, guys, and her story about Miri and the way she defends her village from bandits who want to attack them while all of the young girls are away studying to be chosen as the Prince’s bride is LEGIT. Three cheers for awesome middle grade heroines, guys! HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH! 

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. *Sigh* I started with one of Katherine Paterson, children's literature, award winner, friendship, death, fantasy, make-believe, Jess Aarons, Leslie Burkemy first tear-jerkers, and I’m going to finish with another one. There’s so much to admire about THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, guys, but I always loved reading about the imaginative kingdom where Jess and Leslie ruled together. And as an adult, I ADORE the fact that this is just an amazing story about a young boy and a young girl being friends. GOOD STUFF. 

15 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (18)”

  1. Tara @ Hobbitsies March 13, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    OoooOOoo this is a fabulous list idea! I LOVE middle grade and I’m only recently starting to branch out in it so this list helps loads! And I randomly got an ARC of Icefall in the mail a few months back (I think I still have it) so I might start there!

  2. Allison (Allure of Books) March 13, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Great list, I love that you went with middle grade!

    Definite YES for A Monster Calls, too.

  3. Katie March 13, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Whoa – I just found out on the blog I read before this one about Princess Academy 2! And how here it is again! That news alone is celebration worthy 🙂 Your list has so many great MG titles – I love the mix of old favorites, like Charlotte’s Web, with newer treasures, like A Monster Calls. I’m REALLY anxious to read Icefall too! Awesome list.

  4. Kate @ Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy March 13, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Yay! I love MG books, but I haven’t read a lot of these. I’m definitely adding them! I love Percy Jackson, of course, and I haven’t read Bridge to Terebithia in such a long time. Great list!
    My top nine epic fantasy series

  5. Jennifer (@feministfairy) March 13, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Great list idea! I loved Bridge to Terabithia and Percy Jackson! I am intrigued by Fablehaven and Icefall.

    Jennifer @ Feminist Fairytale Reviews

  6. Karis (YA Litwit) March 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    AWESOME list! I love all of these! You should definitely read The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. That one would have made my MG list for sure!

    Check out YA Litwit’s Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings and my GIVEAWAY!

  7. April Books&Wine March 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    SOLVIEG!!!! She is the mothalovin’ deal, yo.

    And also? I frakken love Percy THE SHIZNITZ Jackson.
    And I cannot even for A Monster Calls.

    And I just love love love love Wilbur the pig. ALWAYS.

    Sigh and the books I haven’t read: The Penderwicks, Calpurnia Tate, Princess Academy, The Underneath and Fablehaven? I am so down to read them.

  8. Hollie March 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    I don’t even like spiders, yet Charlotte’s Web had me crying for ages! This was probably my first tear-jerker book too, and there’s been many more since!

    My Top Ten Tuesday

  9. Candice March 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Oh, man… MG books are the best!

  10. Heidi March 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Yes to all of that! I am almost done listening to Princess Academy on audio right now, and was considering picking up Evolution of Calpurnica Tate next. =)

  11. Julie Seifert March 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Love your choices. I’ve been meaning to read Percy Jackson. I’m surprised you don’t have any Sharon Creech on here, though. Have you read her? She writes amazing MG books!

  12. reutreads March 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    I wholeheartedly LOVE this list. OMG, Terabithia. EVERY SINGLE TIME I CRY. EVERY GODDAMN TIME.

  13. Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives March 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    Bridge, Charlotte, and A Monster Calls are the only ones I’ve read! But all of them are great! I haven’t read Charlotte’s Web since I was a kid…I should re-read that sometime.

  14. Lucy March 14, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    I do have an appreciation for MG but must admit I’m not very well-read in the genre. Love A Monster Calls and Charlotte’s Web though. I’m totally bookmarking this list for future reference!

  15. Tabitha @ Tabithas Book Blog March 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    I love Princess Academy, Bridge to Terabithia, and Percy Jackson! This is a great list, thanks for reminding me of my favorite middle school books.
    – Tabitha @ Tabitha’s Book Blog
    My Top Ten Tuesday – YA Contemporary

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