Sunday, May 14, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Anna Staniszewski

Today on the blog I'm pleased to present a guest post from Anna Staniszewski! Ms. Staniszewski is the author of multiple MG books, including Once Upon a Cruise, and picture books, including the upcoming Dogosaurus Rex, which releases August 1st.

Here's the guest post!

Five Funny Middle Grade Books Everyone Should Read

When I tell people that I’m a middle grade author, they usually stare at me blankly until I explain that “middle grade” means I write novels for young readers. Then they often ask what genre I write in. That’s actually a tough question because my books range from realistic to fantastical to supernatural. The thing they all have in common—I hope—is that they’re funny.

It’s not always easy to “write funny,” especially on days when I’m not feeling particularly jovial. That’s why I keep a stack of “go to” funny books to help get me in the right mindset. And honestly, I think they’re books that everyone should read.

1. The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Nothing is funnier than an alien invasion, right? I love this book’s wacky sense of humor against the backdrop of a global catastrophe. If I’m ever struggling with the right balance of humor and danger in my own writing, I go back and reread this book.

2. The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

A family story set during the Civil Rights Movement might seem like another unexpected place for humor, but that’s what makes this book work. I fall in love with the quirky Watsons every time I reread their story, and the fact that I laugh with them means that I also cry with them when bad things happen.

3. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

This is on the younger end of middle grade, but Alvin Ho has to be one of my favorite characters. He’s neurotic in a completely relatable way, and his everyday misadventures make me laugh every time.

4. Whales on Stilts by MT Anderson

If you’re looking for a serious dose of the absurd, this is it. If I ever need to loosen up with my own writing, I revisit this hilarious tale (tail?) of three kids trying to stop a whale uprising.

5. Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski

It’s no secret that I adore fairy tales, but what made me fall in love with this series was the voice. These books have so much attitude and personality, it’s downright magical.

And voila. That’s my “go to” list of funny middle grade titles. What’s yours?

I really need to read some of these books! And thank you so much to Ms. Staniszewski for participating in this event! :)

Author bio: Anna Staniszewski is the author of several tween novels, including The Dirt Diary and Once Upon a Cruise, and the occasional picture book, the newest of which, Dogosaurus Rex, will be coming out this August. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching at Simmons College, eating way too much chocolate, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at

Here are a few links:

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