Monday, April 27, 2020

MMGM: MG Comfort Reads

With all that's going on, I thought I'd post some links to some MG books that either make you laugh or take you to another world. Books can heal. They can also take you to other worlds when travel is not an option. I've also added a few classics at the end of this list that are in the public domain should you not be able to access your library.

Funny MG:

Alvin Ho--This kid who is afraid of everything will appeal to the younger middle grade set. My favorite is his book about traveling to China.

Ungifted--I've enjoyed all Korman's books I've read so far, but this one about an ungifted boy who ends up in a gifted school is especially hilarious.

Watsons Go to Birmingham--This is a serious book about the civil rights movement, but it has many funny moments. I especially enjoyed how this family dealt with their teenage son. :)

A Whole Nother Story--I'm always surprised this title is not more well known. How can you not chuckle about this family with their ever changing secret identities, a pet sock puppet, and a narrator doling out unsolicited advice? A favorite of my senior in high school when he was in late elementary school/middle school.

Take Me Away MG:

Penderwicks: I've enjoyed this whole series. This is a great title for anyone who likes to live with a family who's creative and intelligent and has adventures in our ordinary world. Great inspiration for ways to have fun that's not digital.

Gail Carson Levine Books--This link will take you to The Two Princesses of Bamarre review, my favorite, but all of her books take you away to another world with intricate languages, customs, fairy tale elements, and cultures.

Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place--This series about children raised by wolves and their governess reminds me of The Series of Unfortunate Events, but not as dark. It has a lot of literary humor woven throughout by the omniscient narrator. And its settings include the seaside, London, the English countryside, and Russia!

Bloomability: I don't have a review posted for this book yet, but it's my favorite Sharon Creech. A girl unwillingly goes to a Swiss international school and learns to "bloom." If you have had to cancel travel plans due to the epidemic, this book might help ease the pain.

Classic MG:

Railway Children or The Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

Nesbit was one of the first writers to write for children. These are my two favorites. Railway Children, like the Penderwicks, will inspire you to find fun in the ordinary. Five Children and It is a fantasy about a creature who grants whatever you wish with hilarious results! (However, I don't recommend the movie. The book is so much better!)

The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I include this one, because Sara is a great example of how to keep your dignity when your life is turned upside down. She acts like a true princess, being kind to everyone no matter her circumstances or how she is treated.The ending of the book is different (and more believable) than the movie.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Pollyanna gets a bad rap for being too perfect at times. But personally, I needed this book to remind me to play the “Glad Game” and count my blessings right now.

I hope that you are finding solace in stories right now. What are your favorite comfort reads? What you watching right now? Let me know in the comments!

To join the MMGM fun or read more MG reviews, go to Always in the Middle.



  1. Books can heal and inspire us. Thanks for sharing some you enjoyed. I've enjoyed a few of these too, like The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

  2. A nice selection - we do need to smile. Never read Pollyanna but I do remember the Disney movie.

  3. Superb choices! I've read a few of these but will look to add a few more to my library. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  4. Wonderful selections, some I've never read. Too bad the library is closed :( Thank God for a good home library with lots of different kinds of books and still I'm purchasing more books.

  5. You are right, these are comfort books! Haven't read all of them, but a few. Loved The Little Princess (watched the movie recently on ROKU) and Polyanna. Need to read the Penderwicks and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. Your list makes me long to read the Anne of Green Gable series again.

  6. I've read many, but not all. The high quality of your recommendations makes me want to order the ones I haven't (yet) read :)

  7. I read Alvin Ho several years ago and really enjoyed it. I've actually never read any of these others, although my son loves Gordon Korman. A couple I remember loving from childhood are The Boxcar Children and The BFG.

  8. Thanks for the recommendation of humorous books!

  9. Some nice picks. I did a modern re-write of Five Children and IT for an ESL publisher a couple of years ago. And I must look for Bloomability; I loved Pollyanna as a kid. Thanks!

  10. Wow. That is quite a list. I haven't read most of these. I think I will try to get my hands on a copy of Bloomability. I like other books of Creech's I've read. Thanks for the list.

  11. Thanks for the recommendations, Jenni. The funny ones look appealing.