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  • Melanie Notaras

Valentine's Day Reads for Middle Grade Kids

It's February 14th and that doesn’t make it only Valentine's Day, but also Library Lover's Day! What better way to celebrate the day of love than with books, chocolate and your favourite people? And if some of your favourite people are middle graders, all the better!

If you think middle grade is too young for an interest in romance then just listen to a few kids - they’ll tell you exactly who has a crush on who in the playground. It’s a part of their lives whether we’re ready for it or not. And it's a great opportunity to experience the notion of love and romance without having actually to go through it ;)

So if you're looking for a love-inspired middle grade read for Valentine's Day, try one of the titles below. (If you can think of any more, please add them to the comments below.)

Love and Muddy Puddles, by Cecily Anne Patterson (ASIN B00HOCA7D2) : Coco Franks has finally made it into the popular group at school and is planning to have the most amazing year ever - but then her dad moves their family far away to a remote farm. All Coco wants is to move back to Sydney to be with her city friends. But it will take an unfashionable country hick, and a nervous horse called Cupcake to show her who her real friends are. Or will it be too late? Horsey middle graders will love this.

Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes (ISBN13: 9780060535452): Olive died in a tragic accident. She was Martha's classmate, but not really her friend, and she feels bad about that. Like every other summer, Martha stays at her godmother's house by the ocean and this year decides to write a journal to Olive, as a memorial. But the summer project becomes more complicated when she develops a crush on her older brother's (not very nice) friend.

Logan Likes Mary Anne! (10th book in the Babysitters Club series), by Ann M. Martin (ISBN13: 9780590251655) – Logan Bruno likes Mary Anne, and she likes him back. With a dreamy southern accent he's awfully cute, and he wants to join the Baby-sitters Club. The Baby-sitters aren't sure Logan will make a good club member and Mary Anne thinks she's too shy for Logan. But there's a rival, Cokie Mason, who's fighting for him too!

Playing Beattie Bow, by Ruth Park (ISBN13: 9780140314601) - Abby Kirk is selfish and sad, and chases a strange little girl (Beattie Bow) down a lane … and unwittingly back in time, to 1873. The Bow family adopts the strange-seeming Abbey and she gradually learns the value of love and hard work. In the meantime she falls in love with Judah, who’s engaged to Dovey. And she also learns that love sometimes involves letting go.

Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead (ISBN13: 9780385743174) – Emily has an almost-boyfriend, Tabitha sees through everyone’s games and Bridge is an accident survivor wondering why she’s still alive. They’re three best friends without much in common except one rule: no fighting. Can it get them through the seventh grade? Well, maybe until Sherm Russell arrives.

Star Crossed, by Barbara Dee (ISBN13: 9781481478489) – Mattie is excited to be chosen to play Romeo in their 8th grade school play, and confusingly finds herself increasingly attracted to the pretty, brilliant and outgoing Gemma who plays Juliet. Sweet and complicated, Mattie doesn’t understand it, especially as just days before she’d had a crush on a boy named Elijah. Can you have a crush on both boys AND girls?

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson (ISBN13: 9780439366779) – When new girl Leslie Burke beats the boys in running, it doesn’t seem a likely start to friendship with Jess Aarons, but they soon become inseparable. Together they create the magical world of Terabithia, where they reign as king and queen. Friendship or romantic love, you decide. Big emotion in this book.

A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeine L’Engle (ISBN13: 9781250153272) – Meg Murray’s family is adrift, bereft with the unexplained disappearance of their father two years ago. When a strange guest blows in one stormy midnight, it leads Meg, her genius young brother Charles Wallace, and admiring new friend Calvin in a heart-stopping journey through space.

So grab a book, a comfortable chair and chocolates for some sweet romance! Happy Valentine's Day!

This blog post was brought to you by My School Adventure - a reading fundraiser for primary, elementary and middle grade schools, where we customise an exciting adventure gamebook novel to your school including 4 teachers as characters.

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