I’ll be posting a review tomorrow of L.G. Reed’s new middle grade book, THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY. Today she is taking my place at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE with her insights on FAVORITE MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS. Take it away, L.G.
In 1968 I was ten years old. No internet. Living in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. Most of the books I read were non-fiction books on horses. I loved horses. Was going to live on a horse ranch in Wyoming. At least that was how I saw my future. Between dogs and horses, I was animal crazy.
It isn’t a wonder then that my favorite fictional book growing up was Black Beauty. In today’s parlance, Black Beauty might have been considered a fantasy, as the narrator is a horse, speaking anthropomorphically as if he had the emotions and reactions as the human characters. I’ve always loved escapism in my reading, though Black Beauty had an animal rights current that raged through the story and effected real change when it came out in 1877.
Today my reading is more varied, though I still love to escape. As I write this, some of my favorite Middle Grade novels are the Harry Potter series and Neil Gaiman’s stories, most recent being The Graveyard Book. Both have a bit of the bewitching in them that takes me out of my day-to-day life and into a world that is different. One of the things I find special about Gaiman’s books are the way he makes me see the world in a new, unexpected way.
I want to give a shout out to the books that combine graphic novels and fictional prose. Timmy Failure It’s the End When I Say Its’ the End by Stephan Pastis is a wonderful example of the style and hooked me right into the delusional world of Timmy Failure, which the kid in me found hysterically funny and the adult found poignant.
Though I love fantasy, I also love books where girls are resourceful, strong characters who don’t rely on others to accomplish great things. They may be normal, un-fantastical things, but they are done by the smart, courageous girls, rather than any male characters in the story. The Science of Unbreakable Things by Tae Keller is a recent favorite.
My latest book incorporates a smart, quirky female character and the four forces of flight (lift, thrust, gravity, drag) in what I’m calling Fictionalized Science. The Science of Defying Gravity has real science and a made-up story. Not SciFi, as the story takes place in a non-magical, current time setting, but incorporating real science into a fictional story where the twelve-year-old female protagonist reaches her goals on her own. I hope it will become a favorite book in home libraries.
About the Author
Author and publisher, L. G. Reed believes stories that provide an artistic or relationship story along with a science focus can be an effective way to hook girls into STEM, especially at the earliest ages. She targets middle school because research has shown that these years are crucial to establishing girl’s interest in STEM topics.
Reed’s background in science and technology came from her career as an aerospace engineer, and her latest book THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY reflects that. She insists, however, that the book isn’t just about science. It’s about perseverance and curiosity — because every kid has those traits. Her goal is to spark their interest and get them to think that science and tech is something they can do.
Reed’s debut novel, The Maiden Voyage of the Maryann won the Cygnus Awards 1st Place – Women’s Fantasy/SciFi Category. Her second book, a middle-grade fantasy titled Sydney Porter: Dog Girl was an Amazon best seller.
Adding to her writing, she is channeling her love of books and writers into Keyes Canyon Press, an independent publisher focusing on middle grade and young adult fiction, and poetry for all ages. Keyes Canyon Press seeks outstanding manuscripts that encourage reading and learning. Un-agented authors are encouraged to submit.