This week I have the opportunity to attend LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything) and participate in panels. One of the panels I’ll be on is discussing why we love eleven to fifteen-year-old protagonists. From Harry Potter to Kendra and Seth Sorensen in Fablehaven, we follow the adventures of pre-teens who go about trying to save the world.
I still remember when I turned ten and then eleven. I felt an empowerment, like I could do anything. I was this small farm girl in Idaho, but my dreams were huge. If Gandalf had shown up at my doorstep, I would have gone on a thousand adventures with him if he’d asked.
It’s the time right between being a child where anything is possible, and adulthood, where we sometimes forget that we can do what we set out to do. This age group is ready to go out and save the day, and not fear those things that adults or children fear, because they have something to prove.
When I began writing my book in the Gates of Atlantis series, I quickly fell in love with the characters and how they interacted with those around them. They worried a little less about getting the girl or boy and a lot more about finding a place to fit in while fighting for the world they loved so much.
I believe one of the reasons both adults and children love these characters so much is because it’s an age that everyone can relate to. We’ve all been through that stage, and we’ve felt those torn emotions ourselves.
Back in 2010, I owned a bookstore where we sold books of all genres. The Young Adult and Middle Grade sections outsold anything else by far, and not just to kids. Most adults who came in bought those books as an escape. They told me that they had enough of the adult world all day every day, and they wanted to get away. By going back to these characters, they were able to forget the cares of the world and go fight dragons, trolls, or evil wizards. They could become someone else.
So who is your favorite middle grade protagonist, and why?