I'm of the belief that if you want to write well, you need to read - a lot. If you're keen to hone your individual writing talents, a priceless way to improve is to spend time reading the genre you're passionate about.
In this new series of posts, I'll be featuring some of our finest Australian authors, who will suggest titles in the genre they know, love and write in. I hope these book suggestions help you hone your own understanding of your writing and how effectively you are producing.
Middle Grade Fiction
MGF generally bridges the gap between junior fiction and young adult. It's generally targeted at children between the ages of 10 and 14, though this can vary, depending on the child's reading level and maturity. MGF books tend to have a more sophisticated vocabulary and plot, and can feature characters and storylines with more advanced content--with themes like mystery, fantasy, romance and even horror. It never contains adult language or theme (it's still 'PG'). Like YA, this genre is rapidly gaining popularity and momentum.
If you are keen to write Middle Grade Fiction, author Jen Storer has some fabulous recommendations on books in this genre. Her MG book Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children (Penguin 2009, see my review) has been shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards 2009, the Western Australia Young Readers Book Award 2010, the Children's Book Council of Australia - Book of the Year 2010, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2010. It also won the Australian Publishers Association Book Design Awards for Best Designed Children's Fiction Book 2010. Learn more about this talented writer at www.jenstorer.com.
The Touchstone Trilogy by Steve Augarde (The Various, Celendine, Winderwood)
Skellig by David Almond
Heaven Eyes by David Almond
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
Clair de Lune by Cassandra Golds
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Di Camillo
The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis
Phantastes by George MacDonald (the edition with intro by C S Lewis)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling
Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton
Jen's Recommendations for Adults Works that can improve MG writing
Under Milk Wood Dylan Thomas
The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Cosmo Cosmolino by Helen Garner
Jen's Non-fiction Suggestions
The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Keep Smiling Through: The Home Front 1939-1945 by Susan Briggs
The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom: A Celtic Shaman’s Source Book by Caitlin and John Matthews
The Celtic Wisdom of Trees: Mysteries, Magic and Medicine by Jane Gifford
The Road to Nab End by William Woodruff
See Writing Picture Books with Gus Gordon