Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Four-year-olds, coffee cake, and awesome middle grade books

My three-year-old just turned four years old. We let him pick his own cake at Costco and he chose...


Cinnamon coffee cake!

Random, right? It had this pretty drizzled frosting on top, which I think is why he chose it. But it just goes to show that you can't predict what kids will like.

If you are a parent of tweens or young teens, then you know the challenge of finding age-appropriate books that your kids actually want to read. Some kids, like the nine-year-old girl who seriously asked Robert Pattinson to please bite her, seem to jump straight from Fancy Nancy to Twilight, missing middle grade altogether. And when I hear about my twelve-year-old niece reading The Hunger Games, it makes me wonder:

What happened to Harry Potter?

What happened to Percy Jackson?

The Mysterious Benedict Society?

The Name of This Book is Secret?

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm)?

I'm sure you can name several other middle grade gems from this decade. If not, I highly recommend you check out From the Mixed-up Files of Middle-Grade Authors!! They have links for parents on how to get your kids to read, awesome book lists nicely categorized for easy searching, and the latest middle grade news and book releases.

It's an amazing gift to be able to share the joy of reading with our kids. There isn't a single age-group that literature misses from picture books to early readers to middle grade to young adult. And there is something your kids will love. It's just a matter of knowing where to look, letting them choose from age-appropriate options (your discretion, of course), and, yep, trial and error.

My four-year-old son might like the cinnamon coffee cake he picked. He might not. But once we cut that cake today, we'll find out. And if he hates it? There's always ice cream.

Have you read any amazing middle grade lately? (We're loving some Mysterious Benedict Society.) Any of my writer friends working on a middle grade idea? (I've always wanted to write a fairy tale adaptation of Snow White or Beauty and the Beast.)

p.s. We're giving away a pre-order of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY over at Operation Awesome today! Not middle grade. It's historical YA, and the video trailer on Amazon.com made me cry.


  1. Happy Birthday to your son! He's kinda all grown up now. How the years fly! And *sneaks a cake crumb* his cake is delicious!

  2. Thank you, Kittie! I have a hunch you're right about that cake. :) Yay for birthdays as an excuse to eat sugary baked goods!

  3. Hi Katrina,

    I must happen to be finishing up the final edit on my M/G fantasy, AMBER AND THE WHISPERING WILLOWS.

    It's the first of a series. I am currently finishing the first draft of the second in the series.

    It's on the lines of HP except Amber is part elemental and has a gift to control the winds. Her best friend, Nina can grow anything green. They fight against an Evil being from the fairy world who created a toxic plague that is killing off all the vegetation in the fairy and human realms.

    That's the gist of it. The other books will feature the other elements and the final book will have all four elementals finally destroying the evil force once a for all.

    I also illustrated the cover and chapter pics.... if your interested hop over to my blog and look at the top right under illustrations.

    Sound good?


  4. I love coffee cake... or I used to, it's been too long.

    We called and left a "happy birthday song on your phone for the little guy. I hope he had a wonderful day!

  5. Mmmm cake!

    I hope he had a great birthday. Four! he'll be learning to drive next. :)


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