There are books from my middle school years that have stayed with me into adulthood. They were formative, in ways both big and little.
Between the waters of my childhood Michigan home and the Island of the Blue Dolphins, my love of nature was cemented. Anne-with-an-E Shirley taught me how to treasure my imagination. When Matilda rose victorious over the Trunchbull I felt validated as a reader. If the book began with a map or three, had a talking dragon or a roguish elf or a wise old wizard, it had to be mine. And the meal scenes of the Little House on the Prairie and the Redwall series turned me into a lifelong foodie and voracious fan of food writing.
There's something about middle grade books that I can't find in the teen or adult shelves. It's hard for me to explain this but I think it's because at no other time are we ready for whimsy or magic or joy as when we are around 7 to 14 years old. We can sense the extraordinary and still be excited that maybe, MAYBE one day we too can be a student of magic...or perhaps a talking mouse or an apprentice hedgewitch or fly on the back of a winged horse.
I love these stories. I revel in solid worldbuilding and delight in carefully crafted magic systems. For now, I am writing. If you want to get in touch with me, just head over to the Contact page.
I wish you joy and whimsy and magic, too.