Revisiting Classic Middle-Grade Books

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get on top of my ever-growing reading list. And yet, I love revisiting a handful of favorites in each genre from time to time. Here are six middle-grade books that are still relevant today. When your middle-grade reader has burned through Harry Potter, the latest Percy Jackson, the fourth Magic Thief, and the last Ranger’s Apprentice, point them to some of these classics.

Westing Game
A classic whodunit, The Westing Game tells the story of sixteen people brought together for the reading of Sam Westing’s will. When they’re challenged to find out who murdered him to inherit a share of his vast fortune, a series of slap-stick adventures ensue.

The Book of Three

One of the books that inspired the fantasy genre as it exists today, The Book of Three is the first in the Chronicles of Prydain series that tells the story of Taran, an assistant pig-keeper with a much larger destiny.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

If I had to credit one book with my desire to write children’s books, it would be this one. Any book that can capture a child’s imagination so thoroughly that she’ll venture into every coat closet in her small midwestern sphere hoping against reason and logic to end up in Narnia is worth revisiting a century after it was originally published.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Recent news gave me reason to pick this book off of my daughter’s shelves this weekend. The story of a brother and sister who decide to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, they become obsessed with a mysterious marble statue of an angel they believe was carved by Michelangelo. The details of their life in the museum (living off of money scavenged from their “bathtub”–the museum’s fountain, sleeping in an ancient bed that’s part of an exhibit, hiding in a bathroom stall each evening at closing time) are as interesting as the mystery itself, which brings them in touch with the reclusive elderly benefactor and the mixed-up files that will answer their questions about the Angel.

Harriet the Spy

As the mother of an eight-year-old who writes everything down in her notebook, I appreciate this cautionary tale of Harriet, who goes through great misadventures when her friends read what she’s written about them in her own secret book.

A Wrinkle in Time

The first in a series of fantasy books called the Time Quintet, A Wrinkle in Time introduces readers to Charles Wallace and his big sister, Meg. When their father goes missing, a magical stranger comes to take the children and their friend Calvin to another world where they have to overcome their own fears and insecurities to save him.

What books have stuck with you over the years? Are there ones that you can’t wait to introduce to your children?

One thought on “Revisiting Classic Middle-Grade Books

  1. I’m nearly at the time in life when I’ll be introducing books to my grandchildren. I love your list of classic YA books, and I suppose I will have to consider this fully and respond next Monday. Giving you credit for this backward journey of 30+ years, of course. 🙂

Comments are closed.