The Trouble With Books for Eight-Twelve Year Old Readers
Updated: May 30
Is there trouble, you ask? Ha! Yes, there is. Okay, this is my rant for the month. I will say what I have to say. You can get mad at me if you want. Then we can kiss and make up and move on. How's that? Woo Woo Woo. I still love you!
Let's get right down to it. The term for books for this age group is middle grade fiction (MG). Now go to a school and look at an eight-year-old and a twelve-year-old. Or maybe not. That may look suspicious, and I'm not trying to get you arrested. You know what I'm trying to say though. There are physical differences, right? Well, their reading levels and preferences are different also, but they're both considered middle grade (Insert me screaming, "Why?").
All MG books are not created equal. "What is that you say?" (That's what I pictured someone asking.) A book that's amazing for one middle grader will be amazing for another, right? Errr... not exactly.
If you're reading this, I assume you know I write MG. Now keep in mind that children read up. That means that seven and eight-year-olds may read books for nine or ten-year-olds, etc. Whoa, that puts them in MG.
The issue with books for this age group is that some of the books written for middle graders seem nothing more than young adult fiction (books for 13-18-year-olds).
I know, I know. Before you say it, I know middle school students actually range in age from eleven-fourteen. But here's the thing. Some MG can come across as too young for some readers, while YA (young adult fiction) is too old. That's right. I said it. It's just my opinion (and L. B. can do that on L. B.'s blog) that a ten or eleven-year-old should not be reading YA.
What? Blame the authors? Nope. Lay off my tribe. It's not our fault. It's hard for authors who write MG to create a novel that suits the full MG spectrum.
We want to write books that will grab our readers, put them in a chokehold, and flip them over onto the ground. Okay, I just watched a movie on Amazon Prime about a female wrestler, Paige. That's where that came from. LOL.
We try to keep things light and interesting for young readers, while older readers want more action and conflict. What's a girl to do?
I'll tell you what I've done. I've updated my website to help parents out a bit. Instead of listing books by titles in the drop-down menu, I've listed them by age group so you know exactly what age each series is appropriate for.
Under my young adult science fiction pen name, I realized my latest release is on the younger side. So on Amazon, I made sure the description states it's for fourteen-seventeen-year-old readers. That means thirteen-year-olds can read it (As I said, kids read up). It's clean with no profanity or sex. (You can check it out here if you're interested).
From my author visits at schools, I can tell you that the middle school students I've presented to would love my Sheena Meyer series and would find my Lolo and Winkle series funny, but too young for them. If an author writes different types of books as I do, I think it's a good idea to further organize their catalog this way. What do you think? Am I wasting my time?
So there you have it. If we, as authors, can make it clear for parents what ages our books are appropriate for (beyond saying middle grade) I think it would help a great deal. My rant is over. Are we still cool?
Thanks to you, my wonderful readers, The Girl Who Looked Beyond the Stars is my best seller yet. Thank you for your reviews. I am overflowing with appreciation for your support. If you haven't read it yet, check it out here. For twelve-fourteen-year-old readers.
It's been a while since I've shared something that I've gone nuts over. Trust me. You need to try this Spinach and Feta Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust! I'm so serious. My mouth is watering as I type.
The first photo is from the heartysoul.com website. The second photo is my finished product. I nailed it, right? The only changes I made were the addition of broccoli, garlic, and almond milk instead of milk. Delish! I made it three days ago. I'm making another today. Try it and let me know what you think. :)
Guys, thank you so much for stopping by. My next blog post will include a cover reveal for the third book of the Sheena Meyer series.