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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 11, 2024

J is for Juvenile Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter J

For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the genre/category and an example or two. I would love to know your thoughts on the genre/category and if you have any reading suggestions. Be sure to check out all of my A to Z posts.

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I can remember as a child being so excited when I moved out of the children's section and into the juvenile section of the library. I realized some years ago that there is no longer a juvenile section at the library, at least it isn't labeled as such.

I tried to find a definitive description of Juvenile Fiction but there seems to be some disagreement as to what constitutes juvenile fiction. Some sites stated that all fiction meant for minors (ages 0 to 18) is juvenile fiction. Others listed middle grades and young adult novels as juvenile fiction. And still others describe it for middle schoolers or pre-teens.

I think the last description is closest to what I remember being in the juvenile fiction section. I also think that is partially why the term has disappeared - it has been replaced with middle grades. However, I still don't think there is a section labeled middle grades at my libraries either.

Until my eighth grade year, I attended as a school that was a K-8 "elementary" school. In my eighth grade year, the 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade classes moved to a new school building and became a "middle school". Before there were "middle schools" some school districts had Junior Highs that were often 7th, 8th, and 9th. I also think this is why the term juvenile fiction was used when I was growing up.

What I remember from the section, it contained books for the transitional years between chapter books and long-form young adult novels - so for the 10 -12-year-old crowd. That is where I discovered the Bobbsey Twins before moving on to The Babysitters Club. There were several Judy Blume novels, including Are You There God? It's me Margaret. 

I have an author friend who started a publishing house that is focused on juvenile fiction. If you are looking for great reads for pre-teens and teens, then check out the Owl's Nest Publishers.

Do you think there should be a clear "juvenile" or middle grades section? If not, should it be grouped with children's fiction or young adult fiction? As the pre-teen years can be a time that kids either draw away from books (because of other interests that now take up their time - video games, sports, etc.) or more drawn to books (because they are better readers, find solace in books during an awkward stage of life, etc.), I think making titles easier to find that speaks to pre-teens on their level is important. 

My favorite example of juvenile fiction that is more current than what I read at that age is The Gateway Chronicles. Here is the first book in the series:

The Six by KB Hoyle

book cover of middle grades fantasy series The Six by KB Hoyle

A middle-grade portal fantasy perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Wingfeather Saga Darcy Pennington hates her life. She is an insufferably average teenager with no true friends, crushing social anxiety, and an indescribable sense of not fitting in anywhere. When her parents force her to attend Cedar Cove Family Camp the summer before her eighth-grade year, Darcy once again finds herself on the outside of an established social circle.But the camp holds secrets, and when Darcy begins to have strange experiences, she comes to believe she's either losing her mind or on the brink of a discovery that could give her life purpose.An unwitting tumble through a magical gateway lands her in a new world called Alitheia, and Darcy must convince five other teenagers at the camp to not only befriend her but follow her on a journey beyond their world and their wildest dreams to save Alitheia from an ancient, shadowy foe.

Buy The Six at Amazon

Read my review.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. I love Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. Also love Wonder, by Rachel Vail, published in 1993. Absolute best book ever! And I loved the Narnia Chronicles. Growing up, I loved the Donna Parker mysteries, and probably still would. My bookshelves were overflowing so some of my books went up to the attic. I might just have to grab a few and bring them down for another read.

  2. I always thought young adult was the same as juvenile fiction, but I suppose middle schoolers would be suited to their own content...They aren't where high schoolers are socially or mentally, but intellectually in a different location that elementary school...Interesting topic.

  3. My local library has moved the YA books to the main floor (it's own nook there) and all the shelves on the children's floor is clearly marked for age.

    Ronel visiting for J: My Languishing TBR: J