Middle Grade Trends/Ideas/Plots we’d like to see

So… what do I do with this precious “From the Mixed-Up Files” blog space ? I could use it to increase sales for my own version of the Chia Pet… something I call the Knee-a Pet. I’ve been making molds of famous peoples’ kneecaps. Just slather on the mud and seed mixture and, whala, a beautiful growth of crabgrass and dandelion springs forth on the popular icon’s patella.

But that would be sort of self deprecating … self loathing, (not to mention get me banned (or band) from the exclusivity of this tight knit group of talanted MG authors).

I know! Hey, Elissa! Can we turn up the lights? Let’s open up some discussion, like they used to do on The Carol Burnett Show (No Tarzan yells, please). Let’s talk about the trends/plots/premises/themes/ideas we’d like to see in Middle Grade books.


My first thought would be a mafia book that takes place in the boy’s bathroom – too late; Chris Rylander’s book THE FOURTH STALL just hit the bookshelves.  

Then I thought… how about a girl with magical powers that don’t always go right… oops, the third book in that series THE MAGIC REPAIR SHOP by Amanda Marrone just came out last month.

Where does that leave me then? Hm. Well… of course I haven‘t read every Middle Grade book out there, so some of my wants/needs may already exist. If you know of something that matches any of the comments on this post, feel free to address them in a reply.

  • I’d love to see something along the lines of a new Dr. Doolittle or Encyclopedia Brown or The Hardy Boys
  • How about boy books that deal with father/son relationships… in particular when they don’t see eye to eye.
  • THE FLY GUY books by Tedd Arnold are great… maybe some more “pet” insect books would be cool.
  • Hygiene (something fictional and funny).
  • A train mystery with siblings solving the crime.
  • Travel and vacation adventure books.
  • Books that twist the imagination to the point that the distorted images drip out like drops of rainbow… in other words, something along the line Roald Dahl.

How about you? What TRENDS/PLOTS/THEMES/IDEAS/STORIES would you like to see in Middle Grade books?


For everyone who comments, I will draw a name on Saturday (March 26th) and that person will win all THREE books (signed by the author) of THE MAGICAL REPAIR SHOP series by Amanda Marrone.

Yes, if you even just comment “fanorkle”, you can still win.

So let’s discuss, shall we?

Brian Kell