Reading for Middle Grade Fiction with Jen Storer

Thursday, 7 August 2014

I'm of the belief that if you want to write well, you need to read - a lot. If you're keen to hone your individual writing talents, a priceless way to improve is to spend time reading the genre you're passionate about.

In this new series of posts, I'll be featuring some of our finest Australian authors, who will suggest titles in the genre they know, love and write in. I hope these book suggestions help you hone your own understanding of your writing and how effectively you are producing.

Middle Grade Fiction

MGF generally bridges the gap between junior fiction and young adult. It's generally targeted at children between the ages of 10 and 14, though this can vary, depending on the child's reading level and maturity. MGF books tend to have a more sophisticated vocabulary and plot, and can feature characters and storylines with more advanced content--with themes like mystery, fantasy, romance and even horror. It never contains adult language or theme (it's still 'PG'). Like YA, this genre is rapidly gaining popularity and momentum.

If you are keen to write Middle Grade Fiction, author Jen Storer has some fabulous recommendations on books in this genre. Her MG book Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children (Penguin 2009, see my review) has been shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards 2009, the Western Australia Young Readers Book Award 2010, the Children's Book Council of Australia - Book of the Year 2010, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2010. It also won the Australian Publishers Association Book Design Awards for Best Designed Children's Fiction Book 2010. Learn more about this talented writer at

Jen's Recommendations

The Touchstone Trilogy by Steve Augarde (The Various, Celendine, Winderwood)

Skellig by David Almond

Heaven Eyes by David Almond

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Clair de Lune by Cassandra Golds

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Di Camillo

The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis

Phantastes by George MacDonald (the edition with intro by C S Lewis)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling

Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton

Jen's Recommendations for Adults Works that can improve MG writing

Under Milk Wood Dylan Thomas

The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Cosmo Cosmolino by Helen Garner

Jen's Non-fiction Suggestions

The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Keep Smiling Through: The Home Front 1939-1945 by Susan Briggs

The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom: A Celtic Shaman’s Source Book by Caitlin and John Matthews

The Celtic Wisdom of Trees: Mysteries, Magic and Medicine by Jane Gifford

The Road to Nab End by William Woodruff

See Writing Picture Books with Gus Gordon

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