Okay, now that we’ve got the middle grade fantasy list, what about science fiction specifically for middle graders? I’m going to be really lenient in our definitions of science fiction, so we can include dystopian books for kids like City of Ember which are more based on science, but in which the science is kind of iffy. That takes second seat to how much fun the book is for the reader.
Remember, we’re talking specifically about books published for middle grade readers, kids age 8-12. The lines can be blurry, but I want to keep books published for young adults and adults off the list even if kids those age are reading them, simply for clarity’s sake.
Also, let’s leave off anything published prior to . . . oh, let’s give it a wide swath but say 1990. Science fiction published before those years was definitely science fiction, and there are kids who still find that interesting, but like I’ve said before, it’s a forward-looking genre, and really, books published before the kids were born will probably not be regarded as forward anything. But I gave i
t a little bigger swath than what should be probably 1997-2001, because there are a lot of good books like The Giver which are still popular in schools and aren’t set at any time that the reader couldn’t imagine to be their future.
Let’s also do a subgenre breakdown in the list, so we know why we’re calling it science fiction rather than fantasy (especially time travel novels: for the sake of clarity, few of the time travel novels have plausible science in them. I mean, do *you* know anyone who has traveled in time? but for ease of listing, I’m just plunking it in science fiction). If you have a subgenre classification I haven’t used here that applies to your book, let me know.
* City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau
* The Giver, Lois Lowry
* Among the Hidden, Margaret Peterson Haddix
Running Out of Time, Margaret Peterson Haddix
Are there any cyberpunk books for middle graders? Would we even WANT there to be any? (Most of the cyberpunk I’ve read is pretty mature.)
Steampunk is one of those genres that crosses the line between SF and fantasy, too. The one that stands out most is Larklight by Philip Reeve. Others?
* A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle (this makes *both* fantasy and science fiction lists because it has elements of both. Please be careful when suggesting books like this, but if it it fits, it goes on the list)
* Many Waters, Madeleine L’Engle (also a double, fuzzy, slippage kind of book)
* Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey (this goes on this list as much as or more than it does on fantasy, given that the dragons are actually just native to the new planet) new info says this book is definitely YA–sex in later books in the series
* Dragon and Thief (Dragonback), Timothy Zahn
So far the length of this list sucks. I *know* there are more books out there, but my fantasy collection here at home is far more vast than my science fiction collection. Every SF book I think of tends to be more YA than MG. I know that Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson have spoken out about how little SF there is for kids, but I don’t know that I’d classify Crystal Doors as more SF than fantasy, and most places I’ve seen it sold in the YA section anyway.
So, what’s out there, people?