Renewed Love of Middle Grade

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

Hope everyone has been well since my last post, which was actually less than two months ago. I’m not sure just how long I can keep going at this dizzying pace they have me on now, but I do appreciate the confidence they’re showing by putting me up so often.  So, with that being said, it’s time to once again dive into my spot.

As always, I had to think about what to write about, but this time I didn’t have to think too long. In the past, I’ve written about fresh starts, but this year, at least for me, really did feel like one. You see, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a teacher, and for the most part I’ve taught high school, but this year, with much trepidation, I started teaching middle school. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, though I do have to say that the one thing I was looking forward to, was the chance to cover Middle Grade books now. Not that I didn’t like the books I did with my High School students, but my heart and my sensibilities have always leaned toward Middle Grade, so this definitely does feel like a brand new start. And I’m using that opportunity to go back and read books which I enjoyed and started with Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. I always found Hoot a fun book. It is about a middle-school boy’s efforts to stop a pancake house from being built over land which houses nests of burrowing owls. The book is funny and raises issues for kids to be aware about. And for the most part, this is what I enjoy about Middle-Grade books. They do make you think, but I think they are a lot of fun to read and for me at least, to write as well.

hoot book

And that’s the thing that got me the most, even more than the book, and by the way, it is a good book. But, the thing that did get me, is how much I enjoy Middle-Grade. How much I enjoy being around kids who read it. Seeing it through their eyes. I think being around that, will help me more as a writer. I know the advice given is to always read what you write, and I’ve done that, but when the majority of your day is spent discussing the darker aspects of most YA novels, it has a tendency to seep into your mind and thus your writing. Not that there aren’t some dark MG books out there, but usually there is a differentiation of subject matter between the two.

This year, I do have a sense of newness and rediscovering myself. I’m hoping, as many other writers do, that this is my year. I’ve gotten very close a few times, but couldn’t quite get over the hump. This year I hope it will be different. And to that end, I’m actually having fun with my current story. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy writing before, since that wouldn’t be true, but writing has the last few years become something of a refuge for me. Whenever things have gotten rough in my life, it’s writing that helps me escape. Right now, it also has a renewed sense of fun for some reason and I think a lot of it does stem from teaching that age range now. I love introducing some of these Middle Grade books that I love to my students. Seeing their reactions. And quite honestly, that’s now fueling me. They ask me about my writing and actually get interested about what it is that I write. I love my when my own kids get the same way. Asking me about my stories. My kids also are finally at the age of which I write for and I know that also has helped me have some fun with it. I now get to talk with my kids about my stories and that’s a lot of fun.

middle school students

So, inside I have to believe that this is my year. Hope and belief go hand-in-hand for me. And once again, I also hope that that all others who have been close and haven’t yet managed to get over the top, that it happens for you. Leave a comment and let me know about your writing and how it’s been going. I might actually make my students leave comments, since I think I had zero last time, so I’m hoping to at least double that.

And that is why I teach Language Arts and not math.

Good luck everyone!



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Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time chauffeuring around his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into, in particular the Choose Your Own Adventure Series, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. He is the author of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which is out now, and its sequel, From Sunset Till Sunrise. He is the co-host of the YouTube channels, Pop Culture Retro, Comics and Pop. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com,, and his own website,
  1. I’ve taught k-12 and absolutely LOVED teaching middle school and being around that age group more than I ever thought possible. Enjoy your year and the wonderful energy your students share. 🙂

  2. I too, hope that something good comes your way this year. I was hoping for a change this year too. Sent out many submissions, but so far haven’t gotten a positive response yet. But I’m going to continue to polish, re-write, edit, submit, over and over until someone gets tired of seeing my name coming across his/her desk…or until I find the right “home” for my work. Good luck to you….and thanks for the great article…it gave me encouragement.

  3. I hope this is your year. Maybe being with the middle-school kids will make your dialogue just a little more authentic or give you some kind of edge to make that last big step. Good luck.

  4. Truly hope this is the year you are working toward. Good luck!

  5. Love the enthusiasm of your post

  6. With the Jewish New Year coming in a few days, it’s a nice time for your new start. L’Shana Tova v’Metukah.