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This week on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (sponsored by the lovely Shannon Messenger) I’d like to talk about sleuths. But first, some painful childhood reminiscence.
Despite my mother being a public librarian, as a child I didn’t use the library nearly as much as you might think. I lived in a house full of books, and though many of them weren’t suitable or of interest to me, others captured my interests so fully that I read them over and over. But it was a slightly random collection. I’ve previously blogged about books I read over and over. All of these were books I or someone in my house owned.
That’s the clincher. I’m the youngest of four girls. Of those books that I read and re-read most were not purchased for me. So, no matter my age I read things suited to the tastes of intellectual older girls. I have strong memories of reading books just because I found them laying around the house. I often wonder what my childhood reading might have been like if I’d had older brothers instead. I might have been more into comic books, superheroes or high fantasy maybe.
At some point in my childhood, I found a Nancy Drew book laying around. It was a kind of double feature with THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE and THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK. I don’t remember the OLD CLOCK very well but I must have read THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE about a dozen times. I’m not sure what captured my imagination about this particular story. I’d always liked hidden passageways (I still do!) so I guess that’s part of it. But I also think I really liked Nancy. She was beautiful but sensible, smart but feminine, vulnerable but brave.
I never got really obsessed about Nancy Drew or anything. I think that’s a little sad. I just re-read this book over and over like a kid marooned on an island. I’m not sure why I someone didn’t notice me reading it and suggest I take out a few more of the fifty or so Nancy Drew books I’m sure they had shelved twenty feet from where my mom worked every day. Perhaps this is a conversation I should be having with my shrink.
At any rate, sleuths were, are and I think always will be cool for kids. NANCY DREW, THE HARDY BOYS, NATE THE GREAT and ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN all solved their rather gentle mysteries in my day (though Nancy was OLD by the time I read her). Nancy Drew has been re-booted for my daughter’s generation, joined by new gentle sleuths such as THE SISTERS EIGHT, SAMMY KEYES as well as more hard core young sleuths investigating murders such as THEODORE BOONE .
Sleuth fiction is a great change of pace for a kid reader who is stuck in reading rut. I think there is something very satisfying about reading a mystery and trying to puzzle it out along with the sleuth hero. THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE is short, about 36,000 words, and has reading level of grade five making it a perfect and contained book for a young reader who is looking for something a little different.
Speaking of sleuths, I can’t wait to read the new series SLEUTH OR DARE series by Kim Harrington. Great title. Great covers. This new three title series just came out this summer. One for mother daughter front porch reading club for sure!
For more MMGM fun check these other blogs:
- Joanne Fritz @ My Brain on Books
- Sherrie Petersen @ Write About Now
- Brooke Favero @ Somewhere in the Middle
- Myrna Foster @ Night Writer
- Ally Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy
- Barbara Watson @ Novel and Nouveau
- Deb Marshall @ Just Deb!
- Anita Laydon Miller’s Middle Grade Blog
- Michael G-G @ Middle Grade Mafioso
- Natalie Aguirre @ Literary Rambles
- Ms. Yingling @ Ms. Yingling Reads
- Jennifer Rumberger
- Pam Torres @ So I’m Fifty
- Mary @ Writer’s Butt Does Not Apply to Me
- The Accidental Novelist
- Gina Carey
- Nye Louwen – My Spirit
- Laurisa White Reyes @ Apocalypsies
- Andrea Mack @ That’s Another Story
- The Mundie Moms @ Mundie Kids