Maeve Visser Knoth: "Girl Books": contemporary middle grade fiction for girls

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Girl Books": contemporary middle grade fiction for girls

One of the blog readers has asked for a list of good humorous fiction aimed at middle grade girls. In coming up with the list I realized that the books I consider humorous often deal with very heavy issues, but have a light touch. On this list you'll find books you might share with good second grade readers, and some books that would be better suited to seventh grade girls. Enjoy!

In no particular order...

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (I love this choice. The book is contemporary but has a little bit of an old-fashioned feel to it. It works well as a read-aloud too.)

Makeovers by Marcia by Claudia Mills (Mills has many realistic stories. She has a light touch and a good sense of the dynamics of friendship.)

Agnes Parker...Girl in Rpogress by Kathleen O'Dell (There are several stories about this spunky character.)

Best Foot Forward by Joan Bauer (The main character is in high school, working at a shoe store and discovering herself.)

If We Kiss by Rachel Vail (Middle school readers won't think this is as funny as their mothers will but Rachel Vail has a tremendous ability to capture the self-centered internal monologues of middle school girls.)

Ida B...And her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan (Hard to believe that I am recommending a book about in which the narrator's mother is facing cancer, but my recollection of this book is that Hannigan includes wonderfully light moments in a serious book.)

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Okay, this book has only a few humorous moments, but Perkins does such a wonderful job expressing the ways in which the small events of everyday life are monumental to the young people living through them.)

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee (Read Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time too- the companion novel)

Rosy Cole's Memoir Explosion by Sheila Greenwald (Greeenwald has written many light, thoughtful and often very funny adventures of Rosy Cole.)

Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (More tall tale than traditional realistic novel, the story of Roxie will have kids laughing out loud.)

Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look (This funny, short book takes readers into the life of a Chinese American girl.)

Ramona and her Mother by Beverly Cleary (I don't want to forget Cleary's important series- the Ramona books are the gold standard for contemporary realistic fiction.)

The Quigleys by Simon Mason (We love reading aloud the stories about the Quigley family. Each chapter is a complete adventure about one of the four members of the Quigley family. This is less a 'girl book' than a funny family story that deserves a large audience.)

Queen Sophie Hartley by Stephanie Greene (Sophie Hartley is the middle child in a big family and the two short novels about her center on the small issues of daily life.)

Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise (The story is told through letters, memos and newspaper articles in this funny book. If you enjoy this one, there are several books about the same characters.)

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
Alice in Rapture by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Both Anastasia and Alice have long series devoted to the minutae of their lives. Both girls are spunky and likeable. Both grow and change in realistic ways. The Alice books follow her into high school and the issues become much more sophisticated.)

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath (Horvath is a master at seeing humor and absurdity in even saddest situations.)

Caddy Ever After by Hilary McKay (This is the last book in a series about a wonderful, talented famil. The stories are quite funny but also quite moving.)

This is a bit of an ecclectic list. I have probably left off your favorite contemporary fiction because I am not typing in front of the library shelves. Let me know what else I should add.


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