My favorite genre has to be upper-middle-grade or what I like to call “tween” books.
Tween: a word we are hearing more and more. But what exactly is a Tween? A tween is a boy or girl between the ages of 9-13. Kids during these years are in the in-between—they are no longer little kids but not quite adolescent. If we were referring to girl who is a tween we might say, “She is too big for toys but too little for boys.”
Just as we have a book market for adults, young adults, and children, we also have a book market for tweens. The genre is also called middle-grade. Tweens are in the “in-between”, looking for books that are introducing adult concepts but in a friendly way.
According to Barnes & Noble the top of the bestsellers list in Tween’s fiction are: Harry Potter, Maniac Magee, and Percy Jackson. Each of these books contains a lead character that is within the same age group, normally about twelve, who tweens can relate with. Harry Potter is in the in-between. He is a wizard boy, raised in a non-magical world. One of his greatest challenges is fitting into both. As he grows in age, he grows to embrace one world over the other—much like tweens as they grow into adulthood. Jeffrey Lionel, “Maniac” Magee, is a tween who has to overcome the difficult challenge of losing his parents, running away, and encountering racism—all adult concepts but taught in a friendly way. Percy Jackson, like Harry Potter has to find his place in-between two different worlds. Percy also introduces the concept of love to tweens. As he gets older, Percy gains a fondness for his friend Annabeth, who becomes his girlfriend. Love is a huge concept in tween books.
Tween books are bridges to help tween cross over. To help them find their way out of the in-between. These books help tweens embrace themselves and help them find their identity in a world full of loud voices. What’s your favorite genre?