4 Middle Grade Series to read with your kids

4 Middle Grade Series to Read with Your Kids

Reading with your kids is an amazing experience that will enrich both of your lives. It should be super fun. A lot can go wrong, though. It’s hard to find kid’s books that are both exciting enough to keep a kid’s attention, and not make you want to gouge your own eyes out.

Here are four series (and two stand alone books) that both you and your kids will love!

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

I know, I know, everyone is talking about these. I promise the rest of the list will be a little more obscure.

The series surrounds the Baudelaire children, who have recently lost their parents. They now bounce from guardian to guardian, while seemingly every aspect of their life goes awry.

These books are hilarious for adults and children alike. The kids are adventurous, intelligent kids (I think we can all agree we’d like our kids to see more protagonists like this). The antagonist, Count Olaf, is also just genuinely great.

The books are super short, and it’s a plus that the show just came out on Netflix. Finish the books, then watch it together! Compare and contrast the differences with your kids.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl II is a 12 year old criminal mastermind. The first book in the series entails his capturing a fairy and holding her ransom to exploit the Fairy People.

These are smart reads, I recommend them for kids in the 10-12 range. They are so fun, and you will love them too.

The covers are also gorgeous, if that matters to you. (No judgement; I appreciate a beautiful cover.)

The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

I died the first time I stumbled upon these. No seriously. Pseudonymous Bosch. That kills me. (For everyone who is not a super art history nerd, Hieronymus Bosch was an old school, super weird painter.)

The Secret Series involves three kids in a secret society. Each book is centers around one of the senses. For instance, This Book Is Not Good For You is all about chocolate, which is obviously taste.

The 39 Clues by Rick Riordan (and others)

39 Clues by Rick Riordan

Everyone knows Riordan for the Percy Jackson series, which is also fantastic. This, I think, is aimed at kids a little younger.

The Cahill children, a brother and sister, have been invited to participate in a treasure hunt that their deceased grandmother explained in her will. The children race around the world, looking for the 39 clues.

These books are witty, which is fun for adults. The adventure, travelling, and treasure-hunting is fun for the kids.

 

And two stand-alone novels worth mentioning:

The Egypt Game by by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Egypt Game by by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Egypt Game is about two girls who realize they’re both obsessed with Ancient Egypt. The girls set up a meeting place, and hold the Egypt game.

I’m all for any book that can help a kid’s interest in a subject that could be considered educational. My kid did sooo much research on Ancient Egypt after having read this!

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tolbooth by Norton Juster

Milo travels to the Kingdom of Wisdom, and goes on a quest to help two princesses, Rhyme and Reason.

I mean! SO fun. This book is so punny and delightful for everyone involved.

 

What About You?

What books do you like reading with your kids?



 

Why We broke up novel by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up: So Much More Than Teen Angst

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Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Published by Little Brown Books in 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Pages: 354

 

I was so excited to read this book that I bought it, get this, at full price. As an avid thrift-store shopper and Dollar Tree aficionado, paying $20 for a book is hard for me. I am honestly used to saying things like, “I dunno, four dollars seems unreasonable.” (Btw, only at Goodwill does a sentence like that make any fucking sense.)

Anyway! My love for Daniel Handler came fast and hard when I read Adverbs, the most nonsensical nonsense I’ve ever read and loved. He is a genius. A god. I only fell harder when I found out that Lemony Snicket was, in fact, his alter ego. Enter: Why We Broke Up.

To Give You a Quick Description:

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

The Book Itself is Gorgeous

Why We Broke Up has amazing illustrations all throughout.

Illustration from Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

A Simply Unmatched Writing Style

No one, NO ONE, writes like Daniel effing Handler. The kind of writing that simultaneously makes you want to write write write and give up because you’re not Daniel Handler.

Why We Broke Up is in the format of letters from Min to Ed, explaining to him, well, why they broke up. It is so, unbelievably poignant. A grown man manages to capture the feelings of a thirteen year old girl better than anyone would expect. Take this excerpt, for example:

“Ed, it was everything, those nights on the phone, everything we said until late became later and then later and very late and finally to go to bed with my ear warm and worn and red from holding the phone close close close so as not to miss a word of what it was, because who cared how tired I was in the humdrum slave drive of our days without each other. I’d ruin any day, all my days, for those long nights with you, and I did. But that’s why right there it was doomed. We couldn’t only have the magic nights buzzing through the wires. We had to have the days, too.”

Tell me you can’t read that in the voice of every teenage girl you’ve ever known? It is on. point. It was my life, for sure. I have held the phone close close close.

The Characters Make This So Great

Min is smart, focused, and motivated to become a director. Then we have Ed, who is, uhh, none of these things. Ed is a very mediocre dude. What felt so real to me is that people like Min do fall for people like Ed. People who could not be more opposite. And not in a good, opposites-attract-and-help-each-other-grow kind of way. In a smart-girl-falls-for-dumb-crappy-dude way. We all know this. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all done it. This is the human condition in one of its less flattering forms.

I’d Recommend Why We Broke Up to Anyone and Everyone

but especially anyone who loves YA romances that you know won’t turn out well.

Here’s a link in case you’d like to purchase Why We Broke Up on Amazon! *I only link up books I’d give 5 stars and believe in 100%*

Illustration from Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

 

What About You?

I LOVE that this is a novel with gorgeous illustrations. Do you have any others to recommend?

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/pole-vaulter. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.