Middle Grade Book Discussion Groups


Are you in a book club? What kind of book club? Do you discuss books for grown-ups or books for kids?

Most of the books I read are middle grade or YA. But it took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t the only grown-up (am I really a grown-up?) who read kids’ books…thus maybe a book discussion group for grown-ups who want to discuss kids’ books wasn’t a terrible idea.

My first book club was made up entirely of people who were also writing kids’ books. We alternated between middle grade and YA, and we discussed the books from a writer’s point of view. How did the author develop this character? How did he evoke a sense of place? What do you think of the structure? The plot? Why did an editor say yes to this? Would it have been published 10, 20, 30 years ago? Why did it win X award? Why was it passed up for Y award? What does this author do really, really well? What could she improve upon? This was a great group, but alas I moved away so I’m no longer in it.

I am in another book club, though. This one is mostly a middle grade book discussion group and it’s made up of authors, librarians, teachers and booksellers. People who are passionate about middle grade, but coming at it from a variety of professions.

book-club-clip-art-290707Here is how we operate:

  1. We meet once a month…at someone’s house.
  2. If it’s your house, your responsibilities are to:
    1. Choose the book
    2. Send out a reminder to the group that includes your address and directions, if necessary
    3. Lead the discussion and provide some additional information on the book, which could include notes from an interview with the author, reviews, anything that enriches our experience of having read the book and adds to the conversation
    4. Provide beverages
  3. Everyone else will:
    1. Let the host/hostess know if they’re coming
    2. Bring treats

It’s all very low key and easy. We also leave a little time for socializing and everyone gets a chance to share what other books they’re currently reading. It’s a great way connect with other kids book people and stay current on what’s being published.

If you’re interested in being part of a kids’ book discussion group, check out Forever Young Adult, which is an international YA book discussion group that hosts club meetings in many cities. Each club, no matter where it’s located, reads and discusses the same YA novel each month. If you know of other national or International kids’ book clubs for grown-ups that are open to anyone, please let us know!

You might also consider starting your own club. Reach out to other authors, teachers, librarians and booksellers. You might be surprised how many people in your community also read kids’ books.


Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of the Haunted Library series, the Buddy Files series and many other books. For more information visit her website or look for her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Dori Butler
Dori Hillestad Butler is an award-winning author of more than 50 books for young readers, including the Haunted Library series, the Buddy Files series, and the King & Kayla series. Her Buddy Files #1: Case of the Lost Boy won a 2011 Edgar Award and her books have appeared on numerous children’s choice and teen award lists. Dori grew up in southern Minnesota, spent 19 years in Iowa, and now lives in the Seattle area. She enjoys visiting schools and libraries all over the country and dreams of doing an author visit in all 50 states.
  1. Love this idea for MG Book group! 🙂

  2. Hi, Dori! I enjoyed that first book club enough to drive 90 miles to get there. Glad you’ve found a new one.

  3. Cool! I haven’t been in the area all that long (a year and a half), so I’m always happy to meet new people here! I hope you can get another YA/MG group going!

  4. You make me miss the YA/MG book discussion group I used to be in up in Everett, WA. We were a mixed group of writers and librarians, but as one retired and moved, another married, another started spending all her free time out of town… the group dwindled and died. Anyone interested in meeting at the Everett Public Library? I’d love to get another group going.
    BTW, Bridget at Penguin just mentioned you yesterday as another Penguin author from the Puget Sound area.