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Mastering Fantasy

She was a liar. No one in middle school believed her stories and she knew it, yet she kept lying to them. It wasn’t until she met the unicorn in the supply closet that she discovered she had to find a way to make them believe she’d seen the creature,


Middle Grade Books 101


What is a Book for Middle Graders?

  • Novels or nonfiction for ages 8-12 or 10-14. Lengths can vary from 84-200 pages (novels are usually over 100 pages long), or 20,000-40,000 words. Illustrated nonfiction may have fewer words.
  • Characters are children ages 9-14 (average character in middle grade

Kirby Larson’s Middle Grade Reading & Resource Master List

Kirby Larson’s highly selective suggested reading list*:

Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko

Alabama Moon, Watt Key

Alchemy and Meggy Swann, Karen Cushman

Amelia Lost, Candace Fleming

The Bamboozlers, Michael de Guzman

Belle Prater’s Boy, Ruth White

Chicken Boy, Frances O’Roarke Dowell


Word Counts, Page Counts & Age Groups: Middle Grade & YA

Middle Grade for Ages 8-12, fiction and nonfiction: Books are 84-150 pages long on average, with manuscripts of about 20,000-35,000 words. No illustrations in fiction; nonfiction may have photographs or black-and-white drawings. No restrictions on writing style, but characters in fiction tend to be 10-13 years old.


Upper Middle

PODCAST – Middle Grade Author Donna Gephart on Reaching Young Readers

Laura chats with award-winning author Donna Gephart  about writing humorous middle grade fiction,  tapping into the concerns of that age group, and reaching her market. Visit to see the trailer for her newest novel, How to Survive Middle School.




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