2020 Category Description: Middle Grade Fiction

Cybils Awards logo, 500 px

Middle grade fiction is realistic fiction for pre-teen readers ranging in age from 8 to 12 with protagonists who are around the same age as the reader. These characters are beginning to be more aware of the wider world around them, as well as changes in themselves and their friends as they begin to mature. Pre-teen characters are dealing with some external issue or event that has suddenly disrupted their life and with which they must struggle and from which they will hopefully grow. The stories are more involved than those in chapter books, with more complex sentences and longer chapters, but less so than in YA fiction. They can be adventure stories, coming of age tales, historical fiction, humorous narratives, mysteries, and sports stories, and are all set in the real world. In other words, there are no fantastical elements whatsoever in this category of middle grade fiction. Nor is there graphic sex, gratuitous violence, or an abundance of bad language. This year, Middle Grade Fiction will be accepting novels written in verse as well. Things to ask yourself when nominating a book in the Middle Grade Fiction category are: 1- Is this book well crafted and well written? 2- Are the themes age-appropriate and relevant to the middle grade reader? 3- Is it a book that middle graders will want to read and stick with to the end?

— Joella Bagshaw, category chair