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60+ short middle-grade novels kids will love

60+ short middle-grade novels kids will love

I’ve been busy.

Noticing a trend in the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook (YKNR) community of members looking for ‘short middle-grade novels’, I set out to write an article for the YKNR newsletter’s paid subscribers about what might be driving the interest, some bookseller recommendations and some insights from writers about the joys and challenges of writing ‘short’.

You can read it here (we have a free trial available so you can have a look at what we’re doing over there!).

But, of course, I also asked the wonderful YKNR community for its recommendations – specifically for middle-grade novels that are 240 pages or under – and, of course, our members delivered!

I’ve compiled a list below of those recommendations, indicating page numbers where available. Click the title to see more about the book or to purchase.*

Hope you find a great new book for your young reader here! Let me know if you do!

 

60+ Short Middle-Grade Novels (240 pages or under)

 

Middle-grade novels up to 150 pages

Miss Penny Dreadful (series) by Allison Rushby (144 pages)

Frindle by Andrew Clements (128 pages)

Kingdom of Silk (series) by Glenda Millard (96 pages) “Such beautiful books that treat difficult subjects so gently. The vocabulary, the descriptions make me stop reading to just appreciate them.” – Amanda

Annabel Again by Meg McKinlay (144 pages)

How to be the New Person by Anna Branford (128 pages)

Sea Glass by Rebecca Fraser (112 pages) “For 7-12 year olds. We loved it! (Was shortlisted in Readings Children’s Prize last year.” – Danielle

Uncle Xbox by Jared Thomas (64 pages)

Birrung The Secret Friend by Jackie French (144 pages)

Losing The Plot by Annaleise Byrd (144 pages)

Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid (144 pages)

Barney and the Secret of the Whales by Jackie French (144 pages)

Rowan of Rin (series) by Emily Rodda (138 pages) “Emily Rodda is the master of a whole story in a small novel.” – Gillian

 

Middle-grade novels 151-180 pages

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (162 pages)

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan (176 pages)

The Elephant by Peter Carnavas (180 pages)

Songbird by Ingrid Laguna (176 pages)

Blueback by Tim Winton (168 pages)

Rocket by Dave Lowe (180 pages)

The Dragon Defenders (series) by James Russell (180 pages)

 

Middle-grade novels 181-200 pages

Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo (192 pages)

The Barrumbi Kids (series) by Leonie Norrington (196 pp) “Actually my kids didn’t read this, but I did and loved it.” – Suzy

Aster’s Good Right Things by Kate Gordon (196 pages)

Ella At Eden (series) by Laura Sieveking (192 pages)

Michaela Mason’s Big List Of Worries (series) by Alexa Moses (192 pages)

Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman (192 pages)

The Lorikeet Tree by Paul Jennings (192 pages)

The Reindeer and the Submarine by Beverley McWilliams (200 pages)

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (192 pages)

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett (192 pages)

The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan by Felice Arena (192 pages)

 

Middle-grade novels 201-239 pages

My Brother Ben by Peter Carnavas (208 pages)

The Unlikely Heroes Club by Kate Foster (208 pages)

The First Summer of Callie McGee by A. L. Tait (208 pages)

Who Am I? by Anita Heiss (208 pages)

Huda and Me by H Hayek (208 pages)

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll, illustrated by Kay Wilson (208 pages)

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (208 pages)

Exit Through The Gift Shop by Maryam Masters (216 pages)

The Lost Library by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead (224 pages)

The Callers by Kiah Thomas (224 pages)

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (224 pages)

Surface Tension by Meg McKinlay (224 pages)

Tiger Daughter by Rebecca Lim (224 pages)

Berani by Michelle Kadarusman (224 pages)

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble (224 pages)

Cog by Greg van Eekhout, illustrated by Beatrice Blue (224 pages) “Has been popular in my school library with y7/8s.” – Amy

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson (224 pages)

The Mud Puddlers by Pamela Rushby (224 pages)

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo (224 pages)

 

Middle-grade novels 240 pages

Ferris by Kate DiCamillo (240 pages)

Ban this Book by Alan Gratz (240 pages),

Haywire: The Dunera Boys by Claire Saxby (240 pages)

Queenie In Seven Moves by Zanni Louise (240 pages)

Pippa’s Island (series) by Belinda Murrell (240 pages)

Liars (series) by Jack Heath (240 pages)

The Bravest Word by Kate Foster (240 pages)

Hamlet Is Not OK by R. A. Spratt (240 pages)

The Letterbox Tree by Rebecca Lim and Kate Gordon (240 pages)

Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender (240 pages)

My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva (240 pages)

Crookhaven (series) by J. J. Arcanjo (240 pages)

 


 

a l tait profileAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

*This post contains affiliate links. See contacts page for details

New A. L. Tait novel in 2025

New A. L. Tait novel in 2025

I’m excited to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Scholastic Australia for a new A. L. Tait novel, to be published in 2025.

I can’t wait to work once again with publisher Laura Sieveking and the rest of the Scholastic team – the same team who fell in love with Callie McGee and brought her so successfully into the world in 2023!

It’s my 10th contract and just as thrilling to me as the first one I signed all those years ago – though, these days everything is done digitally, meaning I have to get more creative with my photos…

I’ll share more details when I can!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE, have a look!

Best middle grade books 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

a l tait profileAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

Order signed copies of A.L. Tait books

Order signed copies of A.L. Tait books

It’s that time of year when our minds turn to books as gifts!

If you’re looking for Christmas, end-of-year, graduation, festive season or holiday gifts I’m here to help, with signed copies of any or all A.L. Tait novels awaiting your order!

That’s right. Signed copies, personally dedicated if you so wish, of the following (click the title to read more about each book):

 

The First Summer of Callie McGee

The Fire Star (Maven & Reeve Mysteries #1)

The Wolf’s Howl (Maven & Reeve Mysteries #2)

Race To The End Of The World (The Mapmaker Chronicles #1)

Prisoner Of The Black Hawk (The Mapmaker Chronicles #2)

Breath Of The Dragon (The Mapmaker Chronicles #3)

Beyond The Edge Of The Map (The Mapmaker Chronicles #4)

The Book Of Secrets (Ateban Cipher #1)

The Book Of Answers (Ateban Cipher #2)

 

CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE DETAILS AND TO ORDER SECURELY

 

Some fine print

Books are available to order only in Australia (sorry) and only until 14 December, 2023.

Each book costs $25 (including postage within Australia), and I’m happy to sign them personally to the recipient.

I’ve also got options for you to order all four books in The Mapmaker Chronicles series, both Ateban Cipher novels, and both Maven & Reeve Mysteries in different bundles.

Posting from the south coast of NSW, so allow up to five working days for delivery. Last orders 14 December at 5pm.

Thank you!

 

ORDER YOUR SIGNED COPIES NOW

 


 

A. L. Tait The First Summer of Callie McGeeAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and sign up for the Your Kid’s Next Read newsletter

Inspiration is in the wind: 3 ideas behind The Wolf’s Howl

Inspiration is in the wind: 3 ideas behind The Wolf’s Howl

I’ve done a lot of talking about inspiration since The Wolf’s Howl (Maven & Reeve #2) launched in August.

“Where did the inspiration from?” is one of the most common questions asked in any interview, radio, podcast or print (tip for aspiring and new authors: have an answer ready… more tips here).

But I also talk a lot about inspiration and where ideas come from every single time I do an author talk or school workshop. Endlessly discussing the fact that ideas for stories are everywhere (they are) and that writers are people who’ve trained themselves to see them (they are).

They are in the things we see, the things we feel, the things we hear, the things we say, the things we read… and so on.

Everywhere.

Today I realised that, despite all that talking, I haven’t written about the various things that specifically inspired The Wolf’s Howl here on my blog.

So here they are.

 

Three things that inspired The Wolf’s Howl

The ‘August Winds’

I wrote this novel, about Maven & Reeve’s visit to the bleak, isolated, windswept fief of Glawn in August last year. Where I live, on the south coast of NSW, August is a windy month. Really windy. It blows up in the west, whips through town and makes everyone really, really irritated.

Every time you step outside, you have to confront it.

I started to wonder what it would be like to live in a place where the wind howled like that all the time. What would it do to the people who lived there? How would it affect their manner, their fashion, their hairstyles?

And so Glawn was born.

 

Lockdown 2020

It didn’t really occur to me until I began talking about The Wolf’s Howl in interviews just how much the 2020 lockdowns had imposed themselves upon the book. Not in any obvious ‘plague-story’ way, but in the sense of isolation that permeates Glawn Castle.

The subconscious is a powerful kingdom.

 

A visit to the Netherlands in 2019

Glawn is a sodden, soggy place, dotted with windmills. In 2019, I was lucky enough to visit Kinderdijk in the Netherlands, a small village near Rotterdam featuring a series of 19 historic mills, all of which remain operational and three of which are set up as working ‘museum mills’.

The experience of being inside one of those mills, with the sails thundering around outside, informed several scenes in The Wolf’s Howl.

 

Learning to spot ideas

Of course, there are a whole lot of other things that come into play when you’re creating a world and building a story. Sometimes you can only ‘see’ the inspiration behind a novel once that novel is complete.

But writers are naturally observant people. They take notice – and they take note.

I keep a file on my computer where I dump links to articles and blog posts that interest me. It’s also where I keep snippets about the things I see, hear, think, and feel.

Once an idea crystallises into a character or a setting, I open a new document and write down everything I know about that character or setting. I give it a label. And file it in my Works In Process folder.

There are bits and pieces of stories in that folder that date back years.

If an irritating wind can be useful, then you simply never know what will be useful.

 

Allison Tait podcastAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

News, reviews and interviews: The Wolf’s Howl

News, reviews and interviews: The Wolf’s Howl

THE WOLF’S HOWL (Maven & Reeve #2) has been out for a month and, despite the fact I’ve been unable to leave home, I’m only just catching my breath. The pandemic may have changed the way a book launch has to operate, but it seems it’s no less busy.

So I felt it was time for a little update.

 

Book Week news

I managed to visit four schools and a book club during Book Week 2021. Zoom visits are more intimate than face-to-face author talks in some ways – you certainly get a close-up view of what everyone’s up to in the crowd! I talked about some of my experiences on episode 18 of the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast if you’d like the insider view.

A highlight of Book Week is always the costume parade and given that I was unable to attend any in-person this year, Megan, Allison and I decided to bring the Book Week Parade to us in the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook group. It was an amazing virtual event with 220+ entries, and allowed us all to put books front and centre – which is what it’s all about. Join us for the next event (not that I even know what that might be yet!)

My favourite costume of the week? How could I go past Megan from Children’s Books Daily all dressed up as Maven?

REVIEWS

“A powerful tale of danger, mystery, loyalty and betrayal… THE WOLF’S HOWL is recommended.”⁠

“I would unquestionably rate this novel 5/5 stars.”

“It’s such an exciting series, and one to follow for sure as each book is released.”⁠

“A series not to be missed by those younger readers who enjoy books involving more substance and thought.”⁠

I’ve been thrilled by the reviews of THE WOLF’S HOWL, and have finally updated that page on my website to showcase some of them. Check it out for the full reviews. 

INTERVIEWS

Huge thanks to Dr Helen Edwards for this interview on her blog. Read it for insights into the inspiration behind The Wolf’s Howl and other fun facts like why I want my boys to learn to make their beds every morning…

For a slightly different take, Val interviewed me for So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, asking me for the secrets of a successful writing career. You can hear my thoughts here.

I’ve got more to share, but I’ll save it for another next exciting instalment!

 

Allison Tait podcastAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

 

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