Stacey Loscalzo

Dec 10

Children’s Books for Grown-Ups

by Stacey

I did a happy dance when I read the Wall Street Journal last week. And no, that doesn’t happy very often.

You see, the cover story of the Arena section was titled “See Grown-Ups Read. Read, Grown-Ups, Read.” And it said pretty much what I have been saying for years. There are really, really good books written for middle grade readers and adults are and should be reading them.

What began as the Harry Potter phenomenon has transcended that series. Adults are now reading more and more books aimed at a much younger audience. But as David Baldacci, an adult author, says “A lot of the most interesting work in fiction is coming out of that genre.” And adults are catching on. The article continues to say that children used to emulate the reading habits of the adults in their lives and now, adults are looking to what children are reading in order to stock their shelves.

If I am in a reading rut, the very first thing I do is find a young adult or middle grade book to read. I am immediately reminded of all that I love about the reading.

In case you find yourself in a rut during this busy time of year, here are some of my favorite ‘children and young adult books for grown-ups.


Paper Boy by Vince Vawter


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Endangered by Eliot Schrefer


Real Boy by Anne Ursu


  1. Kristen says:

    I see Eleanor & Park come up on so many lists — I think it’s time for me to check it out already! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

    • Stacey says:

      You really should check out Eleanor and Park. Really good. The author has a new book out too- supposedly not quite as good but I haven’t read it yet… 

  2. Shana Norris says:

    I just saw Counting by 7s in the “you may like …” suggestions when browsing Amazon yesterday.  I can’t wait for my 7 and 8 year olds to be ready to read middle grade fiction.  That might be the only good thing about a daughter in middle school … (speaking from the experience of having had one there a few years ago!)

    I don’t remember there being so much great fiction when I was that age.  I was amazed when I started reading books along with my oldest daughter when she was in middle school.  

    Sometimes it’s nice to pick up young adult fiction if I’ve spent a few weeks making my way through an especially literary novel.  Being able to breeze through a great book quickly and effortlessly is like a breath of fresh air.

    • Stacey says:

      I agree. I remember loving what I read in the middle grades but I’m just not sure it was the same caliber. There are just some amazing middle grade books out there now. 

  3. Tamara says:

    I have always loved children’s books for grown ups. I can browse the young adult fiction section in bookstores for hours. I have a whole collection. I am relieved I’m not the only one. Confession time – I re-read the whole Sweet Valley Twins series when I was in college. And I’m not talking Sweet Valley High – I’m talking about the middle school series..

    • Stacey says:

      Tamara- you are so not alone!! I love reading children’s books. And I am so glad you mentioned the Sweet Valley Twins. My older daughter loves the Babysitter’s Club series. I may just have to introduce her to this one…

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