CLiF is delighted to welcome Caitlin Corless to our blog roster. Caitlin’s blog, Middle Ground, will focus on middle grade and young adult book recommendations, award and conference coverage, and more.

I was one of those kids who secretly stayed up past her bedtime and read books under her blanket with a flashlight. Nearly twenty years later, while I no longer have an enforced bedtime and can now read with the lights on, not much has changed. I’ll still stay up late with a good book, and I still read young people’s literature.

While reading middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) literature is essential to my job as a youth services librarian, the truth is I would still read these books even if I didn’t have to. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • It’s some of the best and most important literature out there. These are the books that can help shape a young person’s life. Young readers can connect with the themes and issues characters face, which can give them a sense of belonging.
  • They’re fun. Many MG and YA books allow their readers to escape to new, fantastical worlds, meet interesting characters, and step into someone else’s shoes for awhile. They can be edgy, emotional, exciting, and hilarious.
  • They’re not just for young people. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter have shown us that MG and YA books are for anyone who likes an exciting, entertaining adventure. A good MG or YA book will make us think, feel, and experience new things no matter our ages.
  • Reading young people’s literature is a great way to connect with the young readers in your life. Talking to kids and teens about books is one of the best parts of my job. Give it a shot with your child!
  • Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, exposing kids and teens to literature can make them lifelong readers and learners. It can make them think. It can open their eyes to new worlds and ideas. It can turn them into the kinds of kids who secretly stay up past their bedtimes and read under the covers with a flashlight.

Caitlin is a youth services librarian at the Essex Free Library. She holds a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College with a focus on Young Adult and Children’s Literature and Services. An avid reader of middle grade and young adult literature, she is also a middle grade fiction writer and a member of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Committee.

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