If You Like This Classic, Read This Middle Grade

If You Like the Boxcar Children…Try the Muskrat Mysteries by Michael Hutchinson

Sam, Otter, Atim, and Chikadee are known as the Mighty Muskrats, solvers of mysteries. In their first adventure, they must find visiting archaeologist whoe goes missing on the Windy Lake First Nation. However, they also have to deal with local politics when their cousin Denice takes her protests against a mining company to extremes. Hutchinson’s series is a modern take on the mystery serial series, featuring a diverse cast of characters who are sure to capture the hearts of readers. Perfect for fans of the Boxcar Children, but also readers who enjoy Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, and more.

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If You Like Little Women by Louisa May Alcott… Try Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy is a graphic novel retelling of Little Women updated for a modern audience.  This means not only setting the story in modern-day New York City and featuring the Marches as a blended family, but also espousing contemporary values.  Where Louisa May Alcott’s original novel may be said to have promoted virtues such as humility, hard work, and cheerfulness, Rey Terciero’s re-imagining promotes values of inclusion, diversity, and feminism.  In many ways, this feels like the Little Women many readers have wanted all along.

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If You Like Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder… Try Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Prairie Lotus is Linda Sue Park’s response to the popular Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which, though popular, has recently come under fire for depicting racist views towards Native Americans, especially through the character of Laura’s mother. Set in 1880 in the Dakota Territory, Prairie Lotus follows Hanna, a half-Chinese girl, as she attempts to build a life for herself in a new town, even though many of the residents do not welcome her. The book provides a valuable new perspective into a little-told part of history.

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If You Like Harry Potter…Try Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend


Jessica Townsend’s trilogy introduces readers to a wondrous new world full of quirky magic and humor. Readers who are looking for an engrossing adventure, with a hint of mystery, set in a fully-realized fantasy world will want to look no farther.

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If You Like Alice in Wonderland…Try Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess

Malice in Ovenland

Lily Brown is expecting to spend the weekend completing the list of chores her mother left–but then she finds a tunnel leading from the back of the oven to a strange new world. Who are the Oven Frites? And why do they think Lily’s responsible for their recent grease drought? Can Lily escape their prison and find her way home? This hilarious adventure stars a girl from the city who unexpectedly finds adventure right in her own kitchen. And the book features as message about healthy eating, as well.

14 thoughts on “If You Like This Classic, Read This Middle Grade

  1. bibliosini says:

    I definitely plan on reading Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy! The book is such a great idea and I’m so ready for this modern take on Little Women!


  2. Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

    ‘If you like HP, then try Nevermoor’ is pretty much the only statement that beings with ‘If you like HP, then try…’ that I will accept, haha. I was never a HP superfan, but its popularity has led to so many wildly inaccurate comparisons. I was surprised to find after reading Nevermoor 1 and 2 that it actually does have a lot of the same appeal factors – and not just superficial ones like a magic school or orphaned protagonist.


    • Krysta says:

      Yes, you put it so perfectly! There are so many fantasies that say “If you like HP, read this!” but none of them work for me because the comparisons are usually so superficial! Or sometimes, I think it’s just, if you like HP, read this because it’s also a fantasy. Um, okay?

      I think Nevermoor works as a great comparison, though, because it has similar elements that run a bit more deeply. We have a protagonist who discovers a magical world that they want to live in, but they don’t always know quite how to fit in. So you get a bit of that “misfit” feeling. But, also most importantly for me, is that the fantasy world is sooo well-thought out. It’s incredibly developed with its own rules AND it has a bit of that quirkiness/humor that I think people tend to overlook in HP (though I think some of that does go away as HP progresses).

      I think all that is to say is that I just love Nevermoor so much!


      • Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

        Yes to that misfit feeling! It relates to a comparison that first comes to my mind – the uneasy relationship between the protagonist and society at large, because of the protagonist’s ‘relationship’ with an infamous villain whom the protagonist doesn’t really know anything about because the protagonist wasn’t raised in that society… it’s a pretty specific trope, haha.


  3. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    You had me with the title of this post, but once I saw how deeply connected these recommendations are to the originals, I fell in love. Wonderful post! I appreciate the diversity highlighted in these recommendations a ton. This just shows me how far we’ve come over the last 50 years of publishing!

    I’m with you (and everyone above) that Nevermoor is the only close comparison to HP worth making. Malice in Ovenland sounds hilarious. I’ll be checking that out, as well as Prairie Lotus, though I’ve never read the Little House on the Prairie books…


    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I have high hopes for the future of publishing! Sometimes it feels like there is a long way to go, but we are making progress–and that matters.

      Nevermoor is so excellent! Sometimes I feel like I just go around like a one-woman advertising machine for the book, haha!

      I haven’t read the Little House books for some time. I wanted to try again, but the hold list at the library is staggeringly long.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        Does your library use Hoopla? I find that the classics are often available on that platform. Though, I do hate having to use the app to read their books… I wish I could send it to my Paperwhite!

        I’m lucky that we always have Caddie Woodlawn and Little House books available in our local library. Wisconsin Life, I guess? 😉


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