It’s the end of the world – literally. Dystopian novels have been the rage for a while, and the theme has trickled down to the middle grade level.
The problem is that not all middle grade readers are ready for some of the situations and the violence of several of the new, popular novels in this genre. Better the theme than some of the situations intended for an older reader.
So here are a few that your middle grade reader might like:
1. The City of Ember by Jean DuPrau (4 books in this series)
Ember was created many years ago underground by the Builders. It contained everything the people would need to survive a limited amount of time down there. Now that everything is running out, winding down, and breaking, it looks like civilization might end. In comes Lina and Doon who just might be able to help their people out of their predicament.
2. The Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Among the Hidden series)
In the future, families are limited to 2 children, but Luke is a third. As a third, he has spent his life in hiding. Now there is a development that goes in behind his house. His parents become even more fearful and his limited outdoor time has become nonexistent.
He discovers another third in one of the new houses behind his farm. She gives him hope and an idea that there might be a way out of it.
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry (4 books in this series)
Jonas is getting ready to be assigned his role in the community. His community is a very structured place. One in which all decisions are taken from the dwellers who never have to deal with the uncomfortableness or dirtiness of actual living. There is no death; there is no pain; there is no hunger; but there are none of the highs of life either.
Jonas is chosen to receive special training from The Giver. Training in which he alone gets the memories of true pain and pleasure. The way he and the Giver choose to deal with his increasing knowledge is where the trouble lies.
4. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer (Stand Alone book)
Three children set out to explore their city to earn a scout badge. They have been very protected and never been allowed outside the walls of their home even unaccompanied.
The oldest Tendai is 13 and is supposed to be taking care of his younger sister and brother. Of course, something goes awry. For all dad’s power, he can’t seem to track them down. Mom turns to a detective agency (hence the name) where each member has a very specific gift.
The children go on an odyssey where Tendai learns a lot about himself. His parents learn that they should be educating the children about their city and not hiding them away.
5. The White Mountains by John Christopher (Tripod series)
Long ago the Tripods came to Earth and enslaved the population. The only time people aren’t controlled by the Tripods is during childhood. Will is about to lose this freedom has heard that he may be able to keep it, if he chooses to journey to the White Mountains.
Hope this helps, and happy reading!