Thursday, December 05, 2019

2020 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Girl reading a book by Federico Zandomeneghi

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2020
# of books: minimum 12

Level One: Read ANY twelve books throughout the year.
Level Two: Themed Then and Now Pairs (minimum 6 pairs, or twelve books)

Sign up for either (or both) by leaving a comment.

Level one is self-explanatory. Any means ANY. If a book qualifies as being for a middle grade audience, then it qualifies as ANY. Fiction. Nonfiction. Graphic novels. Poetry. What is a middle grade audience? There's a younger range and an older range within middle grade. Certainly there are distinctions between books published for twelve year olds and books published for eight year olds. But essentially think books for mid-to-upper elementary schools and/or lower middle schools.

Level two is, I hope, a fun twist to the challenge. Read two books that share a theme. One book representing "then" and one book representing "now." Then and now are subjective terms certainly. Depending on one's own age, life experiences, and reading habits. But there should be around a twenty year gap (or more) between the "then" and "now" books. For example, you might compare CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker to RAMONA THE PEST by Beverly Cleary.

I have a list of suggested themes, but, by all means feel free to come up with your own!

Suggested themes:

Newbery Winners
Newbery Honors
Coming of age novels
Problem novels
Family/Dysfunctional Family
Series books
Animal Fantasy
Science Fiction/Dystopias
Ghost Stories
Young Love/First Romance
First Job(s)
Historical Fiction
Rural setting
Urban setting
School setting
Characters from TV, movies, games, etc.
New Experiences
British Authors
American Authors
Australian Authors
Canadian Authors

How was the subject treated then? How is it treated now? Were there any similarities in the two books that you read? Were there any differences? How well did your "then" book age? Is it dated or still relevant? Do you think your "now" book will age well? Could it become a classic? Which did you prefer? Which would you recommend to an actual child?

If you have a blog, write a post reviewing both books...OR...write a post comparing the two and linking to your reviews. If you don't have a blog, then you can share your thoughts in a comment on one of the check-in posts.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Jamie Ghione 1:19 PM  

In for level one.

Elizabeth,  3:36 PM  

I just finished my first two books for this challenge! I'll be posting my reviews on my goodreads ( and the reviews on my instagram! (

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
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