A row of middle grade fantasy books in front of a couch

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I’ve had these four middle grade series on my shelf for ages. It’s time I read them! I’m aiming to read at least one book from each series this month during Middle Grade March.

What is Middle Grade March, you ask?

It’s simply a challenge for us adult readers to explore middle grade books and hopefully even read one or two.

What is middle grade fiction?

Book genres are labels used by publishers, librarians, and booksellers to figure out where to shelve a book and how to market it. Middle grade books are generally for readers ages 8 to 12, and often star protagonists who are 10 to 13. These books deal with all the things that kids that age are going through. Reka Simonsen, executive editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers, explains it this way,

“Middle grade fiction deals with the things kids are going through at those ages: friendships made and lost, family relationships changing, physical changes, a wide range of school experiences, and a growing awareness of the wide world outside of oneself and the injustices it often contains.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Books in this category are a step up in length and complexity from chapter books, but are still wary of things like sex, drugs, and rock and roll that are often explored in young adult (YA) books. They are often adventurous, sweet, and fun. While they often work through difficult themes like changing friendships or family relationships, they do so in a way that’s easy for the younger readers to understand.

Here are the four middle grade fantasy series that I’m hoping to dive into this month.

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman on a wood coffee table

Originally published in 1995, this series is considered a classic of fantasy. Sometimes marketed toward young adults, and sometimes toward children, it tells the story of two kids—Lyra and Will—as they journey through parallel universes and meet dangerous people and creatures.

Books in the series:

  1. The Golden Compass
  2. The Subtle Knife
  3. The Amber Spyglass

I picked up all three of the books in this series at a used book sale a few years ago and haven’t picked them up yet. I know some people love these books and others hate them. I’m intrigued to see where I stand.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series on a wood coffee table

The first book in this series was published in 2005 and tells the story of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson who learns he’s a demigod and that to save the world from another war between the Olympian gods, he has to find Hades and steal back Zeus’s lightning bolt.

Books in the series:

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. The Sea of Monsters
  3. The Titan’s Curse
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
  5. The Last Olympian

I found the first book in this series at a used book sale years and years ago. Two years ago, I finally read it and loved it! And, just last month, I found the rest of the series—in pristine condition—at a thrift store. I was stoked! I’m excited to dive in again. I may start by rereading The Lightning Thief though, so I can remind myself what happened and who the characters are.

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia book series on a wood coffee table.

Originally published between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia are established classics in children’s literature. I’ve decided to lump them into my Middle Grade March post because of the age of many of the characters in the series. The series tells the history of the magical land of Narnia, a place with magic and talking animals. The most famous book is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Books in the series:

  1. The Magician’s Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  3. The Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
  5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

I have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But I haven’t read the entire series, or read all the books in order. While The Lion was the first book written and published, it isn’t the first book in the internal chronological order of the story (which I have placed them in above). While some choose to read the books in the order they were originally published, most readers and publishers prefer to read them in the chronological order of when the stories take place. I have a beautiful set of paperbacks, purchased by scouring used bookstores, and plan to finally read through them all.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Spiderwick Chronicles in one volume on a wood coffee table

Published in 2003, this series follows twins Jared and Simon, and their sister Mallory as they explore a world of faeries and other mythical creatures. Their family moves into a ramshackle mansion where they find a strange book—a field guide of sorts—that starts their adventure into the strange world that exists parallel to our own.

Books in the series:

  1. The Field Guide
  2. The Seeing Stone
  3. Lucinda’s Secret
  4. The Ironwood Tree
  5. The Wrath of Mulgarath

One of my older brothers gave be a gorgeous hardcover edition of this entire series when I was in college. I don’t think he realized it was a children’s book (haha), but I’ve held onto it all these years. I think I may have read it back then, but I honestly don’t remember. It’s a beautiful book with lovely illustrations and I’m excited to dive in.

trishajennreads' black glasses

There you have it, four middle grade fantasy series that I have on my shelf and hope to read this month for Middle Grade March.

Have you read any of these? What’s  on your March TBR?

Text: Four Middle Grade Fantasy Series to Read During Middle Grade March // Image: A row of middle grade fantasy books in front of a couch