One of my favorite authors (and nicest people ever) is Lisa Schroeder. I adore her YA novels in verse, and her middle grade books It’s Raining Cupcakes and Sprinkles & Secrets are the sweetest (pun intended) and most beloved middle grade books I’ve read in recent years. I’ll even go so far as to call them classics in the makings. Readers will love discovering this books for years to come — they are truly a literary treat (again, pun intended).
Today, we’re THRILLED to be hosting an exclusive guest blog from Lisa, as she talks about her favorite middle grade reads. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!
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Middle Grade Musings
by Lisa Schroeder
I have always loved middle-grade novels. When I think back to my childhood and teen years, I have the strongest memories of reading when I was in that 8-12 year old range. I can still remember lying on my bed reading WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS and crying at the end. It was the first time a book made me cry, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get over it for days. That boy in the Ozark mountains was real to me, and so were his dogs.
The middle grade books I loved then and I love now have characters who I admire in some way. Often they are characters I could see myself being friends with. I really do think that more than plot, for middle grade readers, it’s about the characters. Even in the Harry Potter series, with all of the twists and turns the plot took over the course of the books, it was the characters we cared about most.
On any given day, my favorites list would change, but here it is today, with a few I fell in love with as an adult, and a couple from my childhood that I remember with much fondness.
BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo
Obviously, I’m a sucker for dog books. But more than that, Opal is a girl who longs for friends, and haven’t we all felt, at one time, like her? The voice is so spot-on and as soon as we meet Opal and see how she wants to give that dog a home, we can’t help but like her.
One of the best books I’ve ever read. I was laughing one minute and crying the next.
REACHING FOR SUN by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
A beautiful novel-in-verse that didn’t get nearly the attention it should have. The poetic writing is so lovely, and I will often pull this book down from my shelf simply to read a few pages and remember what it is a verse novel should do for the reader. It’s also a great story with characters I loved.
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren
It’s so hard to choose from all the books I loved as a child, but I know for sure I absolutely loved Pippi Longstocking. In a way, the quiet, reserved girl I was wanted to be more like Pippi – able to do and say most anything she wanted (never at the expense of anyone else, however) and she was so funny!
Of course I have to put this one here. To remember how a book moved you, years and years after the fact, that is no small feat. I should reread it as an adult and see what I think.
Yay for middle grade! Thanks, Novel Novice.
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Check out Lisa’s website here to learn more about her books. Here’s a bit about her two middle grade novels:
Twelve-year-old Isabel dreams of traveling but has never been out of Oregon, and so when her best friend, Sophie, tells her of a baking contest whose winners travel to New York City, she eagerly enters, despite concerns about her mother, who is opening a cupcake bakery. Includes recipes.
Twelve-year-old Sophie has always dreamed of being an actress, in front of the cameras and in the spotlight. So when she’s given the opportunity to audition for a T.V. commercial, and a chance to make her dreams come true, she’s not just happy–she’s over-the-moon happy.But then Sophie finds out what exactly she’d be advertising. And she knows her BFF, Isabel, wouldn’t be happy about it at all. So she keeps the specifics of her budding acting career under wraps, as she doesn’t want their friendship crumbling faster than a stale brownie. But like sprinkles on a cupcake, secrets can be difficult to contain.
In this companion novel to It’s Raining Cupcakes, Lisa Schroeder offers up another fun story about friendship, dreams and scrumptious sweet treats.
For the comments: Have you read any of Lisa’s books? Which ones are your favorite?