Follow TV Tropes


Middle Grade Literature

Go To

"I think anytime you're writing to the middle grades, you're writing to young readers who are trapped in a number of ways between two worlds: between childhood and adulthood, between their friends and their parents. Often they're trapped, trying to identify where they fit in their culture."

Middle Grade is a publishing term for books within Children's Literature aimed towards readers that are 8 to 12 years old. They are short in length, averaging about 65 to 250 pages and typically do not feature illustrations (if they do, they are small or appear sparingly unless they're graphic novels). While dealing with "heavier" subjects than your typical children's book, they are distinct from Young Adult Literature as they do not feature gratuitous violence, very few instances of profanity, and it's No Hugging, No Kissing when it comes to romance, though crushes and first kisses are usually fine. Primary School (usually grades 3-5) and Junior High are common settings, though some books featuring older teens can be Middle Grade, depending on content. The plot and conflict are usually driven by external forces; the Call to Adventure is more common than the Coming of Age.

That's not to say that there isn't a degree of What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? that are found in the books. Some books aimed to the older Junior High audience tend to be more envelope-pushing as opposed to the books for younger readers. It's not uncommon to see some middle grade books being labeled Young Adult. The Harry Potter books are a prime example as they hug the line between Middle Grade and Young Adult — the series grows progressively darker, however it is still written well within the guidelines of middle grade fiction. There is a lot more "crossover" appeal for middle grade books as they can be popular with all ages, and often times they end up as required reading assignments for educational purposes.

Before the Middle Grade term became the codifying term in The New '10s, these books were previously known as "intermediate" or "middle reader" books. During that same period, the category would go through a bit of a boom, especially books about the Junior High experience.

So basically, if Children's Literature is the young child and Young Adult is the teenager, Middle Grade is the "tween."

Starting in the late 2000s and rising in the 2010s, many of these books became to be published as Comic Books—advertised as Graphic Novels. Many graphic novels of this type tell the same coming of age stories, but with fill illustrations along with or replacing most of the text.

The television equivalent is the Kid Com, or the Tween Drama. The rough manga/anime equivalent is Shoujo and Shōnen, depending on the series. Light novels are of a similar reading level (an average middle or high schooler could read them without too much of a language barrier), but the target demographic of light novels is often much older than that of middle grade literature.

List of Middle Grade book and series

    open/close all folders