Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Middle Grade Musing and Giveaway

It's amazing how much has changed in the world of books in just a few decades. Genres like steampunk, urban fantasy and paranormal romance have grown and firmly established themselves in the market. Bookstores have made room for expanding popular categories like young adult, graphic novels and new age. Most of these stories were barely represented in the shop I worked in just under ten years ago.

But I want to address middle grade fiction, which is roughly meant for ages 9-12, and has also transformed significantly since I was a child. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed devouring whatever was available to me: Madeline L'engle, Roald Dahl and Katherine Paterson immediately come to mind. Most titles in this age group are timeless and will be read by many generations; a wonderful thing.

Now that I've reached that age where most of my friends have started families, I've noticed something wonderful happening. I know families with multiple children of varying ages that sit around every night and read together. Not only that, but every one of them, parents included, are loving the middle grade stories they share. I hope to experience the same thing when I take the parenting plunge.

Authors like Rick Riordan, Cornelia Funke, Christopher Paolini, Jane Yolen, Angie Sage, Eion Colfer, Douglas E. Richards, and many more, are proving that young readers want more than just the standard books to check off their class reading lists. The lines between categories may be blurring, but great stories for all-ages audiences are definitely on the rise.

I'm very pleased to be able to offer up an ARC for the new Lisa McMann middle grade book, The Unwanteds. Here is the blurb:

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

If you’d like this one to be yours, just follow our blog and leave a comment below letting me know your favorite middle grade author, past or present.
The contest will run until midnight next Monday, 15th, and one winner will be chosen using Random.org. I'll announce who the lucky person is in my post on the 16th. Good luck everyone!


Becky Lees said...

My favorite MG author is John Flanagan. Love his Ranger's Apprentice series.

Ciara said...

Ella, I'm one of those parents with kids of multiple ages who love to read together. I'll check this book out. :)

KendallGrey said...

Holy cow, that blurb gave me chills! Seriously. If I don't win this, I'll definitely buy the book.

I used to teach middle school language arts, so these kinds of books are really special to me. I love, love, LOVE Susan Cooper's THE DARK IS RISING. Way better than HARRY POTTER books, in my opinion. (Please don't shoot me for saying that!)

Another all-time classic fave (though it's contemporary fiction and probably on the young side of MG) is Ellen Raskin's THE WESTING GAME. I've read that one about 20 times, and I still cry at the end. Never get tired of it!

Off to tweet this give away now. :-)

Andrea said...

This sounds like a great book!
I've had my eye on it for a while now. Can't wait to read it.
My favorite MG series is The Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan.
I follow the blog (Andreat78)

Rosi said...

This looks like a wicked-good read. I'd love to read it. I'm a follower and a subscriber.

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