Somebody at the reading today asked me to name five books for middle-grade readers that I really liked. I named four classic middle-grade novels and one technically “grown up” book loved by young readers for decades.
Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater
The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Watership Down by Richard Adams
I was happy how quickly the titles came to me and I stand by every one. I usually say “ask me again in a week and I’ll say something else,” but five is the perfect number. I have a hard time with favorite or top three, but top five is perfect. These are the books that made me want to write kids books. The ones I wanted to start all over again and read again when I finished them. The ones I did re-read several times each.
So name two more current books, somebody said. I named two that really shaped my idea of what I wanted to do when I wrote my first books.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Holes by Louis Sachar
One of my friends was buying all of the Wayside School books. I wish I could take credit but she knew she was going to buy them all before she got there.