Thursday, September 1, 2011

Middle Grade Month

Welcome to September and one of many monthly topics. This month is all about middle grade books.

The first question is of course: What is Middle Grade?

Often found in the children's section of book stores, middle grade is a term generally used for books geared towards readers aged 8-12. Though like many genres, there are some gray areas even with the age range of the readers and subsequently, the main characters. Not every store places the same either. Sometimes the same book can be found in young adult in one store but middle grade in a different store.

Here is a site that tries to put a light to the difference between middle grade and young adult:

Age: Often, the age of main characters (and readers) are 8 to 12 years old, though sometimes depending on the story, a character can be a little older and still be considered middle grade. 13 is sort of an in between age because many see young adult as 14-18, so the story does really matter.

Length: While one might expect middle grade books to be shorter, that is not always the case. Especially for established authors in genres like fantasy, the novels can be quite long. In fact, I have one I read an ARC for that is actually longer than a few adult epic fantasy novels I own.

Subject: The subject matter is a little different from young adult, for the most part. Not that there isn't questionable content in any middle grade books, but the focus of plots are often viewed as different. According to the Write4Kids site listed above explains the difference between middle grade and young adult with how the middle grade conflict is focused more inward to the main character. When the character grows, the changes are more focused. Young adult had inward change too but that is often affect by outward influences and a "bigger picture" plot. Of course, there are always exceptions.

While I don't know much about middle grade, I am going to try and learn more this month. Also, over on Reading at Dawn, I will be reviewing middle grade books all month. Hope everyone enjoys September.

What does middle grade mean to you?
Do you read and/or write middle grade?


Rachel Brooks said...

I read and write middle grade books. Writing middle grade is quite different than writing young adult, which I also read and write. It's nice to do both, since each stretches different writer muscles.

Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

Dawn Embers said...

Rachel Brooks - Thanks for commenting on my blog and for following. Good point about stretching different writing muscles.