Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Favorite Fantasy Books For 'Tweens

My friend's almost twelve-year-old daughter loves reading, but she is in a bit of a reading rut at the moment. She needs a little Jump Start for the New Year. (By the way, this post isn't about books for girls, so if you have a 'tween son, keep reading).

photo: Annie Spratt

She's done the Anne of Green Gables and Betsy-Tacy books.
She moved on to Narnia and Harry Potter and found she loves fantasy.
She tried Ender's Game, but says she isn't as fond of science fiction ("yet," said hopefully to me by Mom).

So as it now stands, my friend's daughter is reading the Percy Jackson books over and over because she just doesn't "know what else to read".

I passed along some fantasy titles that our sons and daughter really enjoyed during the 'Tween Years...did I leave out your favorites?

1. The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. This (not-to-be-missed!) series of children's fantasy novels recounts the adventures of a young man named Taran, who is awarded the humble "honor" of Assistant Pig-Keeper (of an oracular pig, named "Hen Wen"), but dreams of being a grand hero. He finds himself caught in a struggle between good and evil with the help of his unlikely companions: stubborn Princess Eilonwy; a bard named Fflewddur Fflam; a wild, yet gentle creature called Gurgi; and a dwarf named Doli. The book focuses on Taran's progression from youth to maturity, with the series being loosely based on Welsh mythology. The Book of ThreeThe Black CauldronThe Castle of LlyrTaran WandererThe High King (ages 9-12).

2. George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie. Although George MacDonald wrote The Princess and the Goblin primarily for children, his fantasy continues to delight readers of all ages. This fantasy story surrounds a young princess (Irene) and a miner boy named Curdie. The princess's great-great-grandmother, who lives high up in the castle turret and appears either as very old or young and beautiful, admonishes Irene to behave courageously and to overcome her fears as Curdie strives to save her from the evil goblin's plan to kidnap her. MacDonald's books contain the elements of good story telling—an exciting, well-paced plot and believable characters, who have human weaknesses as well as strengths. (ages 8 and up)

3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester (ages 10-12) is a fantasy story of a mysterious tollbooth appearing in the home of a young and bored time-waster, a boy named Milo. Boys especially will enjoy the humor, wordplay, and brain teasers as the tollbooth allows Milo to stumble upon many adventures of the mind! (An example of the quirky humor, fun use of words and logic? Milo arrives at the "Island of Conclusions" by jumping, of course!)

4. Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (ages 9-12). From Books That Build Character: "This novel is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of children's literature...critic Humphrey Carpenter has noted that TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN is, in essence, a reversal of PETER PAN. In Pearces's novel, a boy has to come to terms with the fact that time cannot be stopped, that change and growth and loss are part of human existence...Tom's brother has measles, and so Tom is forced (unhappily) to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle...one night he hears an old grandfather clock strike thirteen. When he goes down to investigate, he decides to step outside, and he discovers himself in a beautiful garden rather than a paved driveway...he meets a pretty young girl named Hatty. After many puzzling visits, he begins to realize that each one occurs at a different point in time in Hatty's life...she perceives him as a ghost who appears only after long absences...The author resolves these mysteries in a satisfying and moving conclusion. Tom's experiences cause him to leave his angry, self-preoccupied life behind, and learn something about love, time, and the importance of memory." The descriptive writing and plot in this book made a huge impression on my older son. To this day, he sites it as a favorite.

Happy Reading in 2018!
So many books, so little time!

Do you have a 'tween who enjoys mysteries?  Go here for my past "Who Dunnits for Preteens" post.

How about sci-fi?  You'll find my book list here.

Time for me to get working on a non-fiction list for 'tweens!  Any recommendations?

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