Literary Rites Of Passage

I bought Puddin’ some summer reading books for a graduation present this week. Yes, books. I’m on a simplify and add more value to our lives kick, and expensive gadget presents are out – books are in. More on that later.

This week, in addition to all the festive graduation stuff, they also watched “THE VIDEO” – yes, that video. The one where girls watch a different one than the boys.

So one obvious choice was this one…


I’ve actually been a little surprised “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” has not come up along the way  because it was the must read book of my 5th grade experience.  But I’ve found that Judy Blume (at least our school) has become a casualty of Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, and 39 Clues. If it’s not a series that Scholastic can push at the book fair then it doesn’t get attention.  Judy’s must read books from my childhood have sadly been overshadowed and over looked.

I’m on a mission to change that and to introduce her The Mother of the Young Adult Literary Genre. Because let’s face it – without Judy, there would be no John Green, no Sarah Dessen, no Cecily von Zeigesar, no Stephanie Meyer.

So we’ll start with Margaret. And after that will move on to Deenie, and Iggie, and Sally J .. 

And we’ll steer clear of “Forever” for a few years.. so she won’t pass a dog-eared copy around her 6th grade class like I did. LOL  (see what happens when mom’s don’t read)

I’d love to see Scholastic do a “Throw Back” themed book fair and feature some of the best loved YA books from the last 30 or 40 years instead of new stuff – wouldn’t that awesome!?!

I mean I’m sure that there were awesome YA novels published in the 80s and 90s that I never heard of since by then I was in high school and college and that whole internet thing hadn’t really caught on yet. But whatever those books are, they are sitting dusty on some library self somewhere, unknown to these kids who only get pushed the latest and greatest it-must-be-a-three-part-series-whether-the-story-holds-up-that-long-or-not from the publishers. (Insert publishers just care about profits these days rant)  I’m looking at you Divergent series, I’m looking at you.

Seriously – when was the last time you saw “A Wrinkle In Time” featured at the book fair? That book alone hooked me on Sci-Fi for years to come. That book changed me in ways only a great book can. It set me on a path of interests that I would never have followed other wise, it made me like science and math and effected choices I made about education and professions.  And let’s face it, as entertaining as Vampire Boarding School Series are – and I admit they are… they just don’t have that kind of effect.

So help me out, what other awesome books for middle-schoolers came out in the 80s and 90s that I don’t know about ..what are some can’t miss it books from the last 30 years that a soon to be 6th grader should be reading?


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