Middle-Grade Renaissance by Tyler Whitesides

I’ve always loved to read. My early years were full of wonderful middle grade fiction. But, as is often the case, I quickly grew out of that genre and into epic fantasy, like Terry Brooks, and classics, like Dumas. It wasn’t until years later, as I picked up a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia, that I rediscovered the magic of middle grade.

C.S. Lewis’ dedication of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is for his goddaughter Lucy. His inscription to her states:

“…You are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it.”

Such was my rediscovery of middle grade. And after getting a fresh taste for this genre, I just couldn’t stop.

I would like to talk briefly about three series that I read in my MG renaissance.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

I loved the blend of magic/myth with modern day elements. Mull has a way of stringing the reader along and delivering some really powerful plot twists.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I felt smarter after reading this series. Artemis was such a fascinating, complex character. I couldn’t wait to find out what he would do next. The high-tech gadgets and scientific lingo made me feel like I was watching a favorite episode of Star Trek – but with faeries!

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

I really admire Stroud’s dual narration. Bartimaeus’ first-person voice is witty and hilarious, while Nathaniel’s third-person narration is dramatic and poetic. The two combine to create an awesome reading experience!

After rediscovering the MG genre, I decided to try to write something in it. That was when something really clicked for me. That was when I knew this was my genre!


  1. I started reading Artemis Fowl late one Friday night and by 2am was annoyed with myself that I was too tired to keep reading. If I'd had the chance, I would have read it through in one sitting. There was something so richly interwoven in Colfer's world, so many things both big and small, that made me admire his imagination and skill in putting it all into words.

    It's a book I've recommended often as an example of how funny and imaginative MG books can be.

    -- Tom

  2. Thanks for this. In the past few years I've fallen in love with MG and have concentrated on writing it. My favorites to read right now are Adam Rex and Frank Cottrell Boyce. For me, humor is a huge part of the appeal.


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