Juvenile & Children`s Books/Middle Grade


Hi Josiah,
I am striving to become an children's author and I am currently researching for several possible fiction books, which have plots that are fitting for middle grade (ages 9-11, or 12).

But, in your opinion, could middle grade readers handle a psychological-type book, as in the book Shutter Island, but, of course, keeping in mind my intended audience it won't be as dark as that book.

Thank you,

Hi Nancy,

Your question is a good one, and calls for careful thought. As someone who read a great variety of literature while in elementary and middle school, I can answer from experience that I do believe middle-grade readers can handle junior novels with the type of complex psychological aspects you describe. Elaine Marie Alphin is one good example of an author who has dealt with surprisingly dark psychological matter, and done so primarily for a middle-grade audience. Ultimately, I believe middle-grade readers can handle quite a bit, and as you work with your agent and editor to create and refine a story that could sell, you'll find the right level of psychological challenge with which to confront your young readers.

Good luck on your quest to become a published author. I know the road isn't always an easy one, but it's eminently worth the time spent to travel down it.

Thanks for the question, and if you have any followups, or would like a more detailed response, please don't hesitate to write me again.


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Josiah Jones


I can answer a wide variety of questions about children's literature from almost any time period. My mind is particularly sharp with small details of the literature in question, and I have an extensive personal library of children's literature to reference should the need arise. I am ready and willing to tackle any question that is brought to me. My strongest facet of expertise is probably recommending books for kids and teens.


I am a reviewer of books for young readers on the WWW.Goodreads.Com website. I have most likely read more than 1,000 children's books, and I also write stories of my own for young readers.

High School Diploma, Christian Liberty Academy

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