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Booklist update

Let's take a look at what we have so far for our middle-grade fantasy book list. I've actually put it in alphabetical order at this point, so we should be able to see anything left out more easily. Forgive any mistakes in alphabetization--this was done very quickly and had to take "the"s into account and I'm not sure it was completely accurate! But at least it's better than it was.

* A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L’Engle
* Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, Brandon Sanderson
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
* Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Babe: The Gallant Pig, Dick King-Smith
* Babymouse, Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm (strictly speaking, this is a graphic novel, which opens up a can of worms, but it's so fun!)
Beauty, Robin McKinley
Bedknob and Broomstick, Mary Norton
* The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, Lloyd Alexander
* The Borrowers, Mary Norton
* Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
Chasing Vermeer, Blue Balliet
* Children of Green Knowe, L.M. Boston
Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure, P.B. Kerr
* The Chrestomanci Chronicles, Diana Wynne Jones
Coraline, Neil Gaiman
* The Dalemark Quintet, Diana Wynne Jones
* Dragon Keeper, Carole Wilkinson
* Dragon's Milk, Susan Fletcher
* Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey (?)
Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
* Fablehaven, Brandon Mull
* Five Children and It, E. Nesbit (and pretty much anything by E. Nesbit)
The Folk Keeper, Franny Billingsley
Half Magic, Edward Eager
* Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, Daniel Pinkwater
* Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones (well... more YA, really, but House of Many Ways is more middle grade, so...)
* Hugo Pepper, Paul Stewart & Chris Riddel
The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks (though perhaps should be phased off any recommendation lists, due to cultural inaccuracies, but it is a title that grabs kids)
* Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
* Into the Wild, Sarah Beth Durst
James & the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl (man, I loved this one in about 3rd or 4th grade)
* Larklight, Philip Reeve
* The Last Apprentice, Joseph Delaney
The Last Dragon, Silvana de Mari
The Light Princess, George MacDonald
* The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
* The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Narnia), C.S. Lewis
* Little Sister, Kara Dalkey
The Magic Thief, Sarah Prineas
Many Waters, Madeleine L’Engle (part of the Wrinkle in Time series, technically, but far enough forward that I kind of count it separately)
* Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers
May Bird and the Ever After, Jodi Lynn Anderson
* Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom), Garth Nix
The Mouse and His Child, Russell Hoban
My Rotten Life: Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie, David Lubar (ARC, to be published this August)
* The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart
Of Mice and Magic, David Farland
* Over Sea, Under Stone, Susan Cooper
Penderwicks (is this fantasy? I haven't read it)
* Pendragon, D.J. MacHale
The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Pope (not technically fantasy, and perhaps YA? But oh so good!) (?)
Peter Pan & Wendy, J.M. Barrie
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
The Power of Three, Diana Wynne Jones
Princess Academy, Shannon Hale
The Princess and the Goblin/The Princess and Curdie, George MacDonald
The Princess Bride (kinda sorta--perhaps more YA?)
* The Princess Tales (Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, etc.), Gail Carson Levine
* Protector of the Small, Tamora Pierce
* Red Dragon Codex, R.D. Henham
* Redwall, Brian Jacques
* The Seeing Stone, Kevin Crossley-Holland
* Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
Standard Hero Behavior, John David Anderson
* The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm), Michael Buckley (I LOVE this series)
* The Spiderwick Chronicles, Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi (that's one that's on the young end, but still enjoyed by 9-10 year olds)
* The Stink Files, Holm & Hamel
* The Story of the Treasure Seekers, E. Nesbit
Stuart Little, E.B. White
The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
* The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner (would this be YA or middle grade, really? I'm about to read it so will have a better feeling after, of course)
* The 13th Reality, James Dashner
Tom's Midnight Garden, Phillippa Pearce
The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White
* Vampirates, Justin Somper
* Warriors, Erin Hunter
* The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett
Well Wished, Franny Billingsley
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
The Witches, Roald Dahl
* Whales on Stilts, M.T. Anderson
* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Terry Pratchett also has The Bromeliad trilogy (Truckers, Diggers, and Wings). It's decent, but not his best work. However, you should definitely have The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents on there, also by Pratchett. Carnegie award winner, and fantastic book.

Another important one you're missing is Skellig by David Almond, and what about The Invention of Hugo Cabret? Not strictly fantasy, although it did have a fantasy flair to it.

And what about The Rats of NIMH or Watership Down? Are you avoiding anthropomorphic fantasies? If you're not, I'd also think about Tailchaser's Song, by Tad Williams. It's been a while since I read it--not sure if it's middle grade or not, but I enjoyed it back when I read it.

That's a start for me--if I have time, I'll think about it some more and see if anything else comes to mind. Interesting list, BTW.
Jan. 6th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
I read Skellig as a YA, but it was years ago and I can't remember why I put it in that category as opposed to MG.

And I'm not avoiding anthropomorphic fantasy on purpose--it's just not my thing so I often forget them. Thanks for the reminder of those two classics. I've never heard of Tad Williams doing anything for middle grade readers, so I'm a little sketchy on whether that would really count. I might ask Brandon at writing group--from what I remember he really likes Tad Williams and might be able to offer an opinion.

I've never heard of those Pratchetts and will have to read them!
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I haven't read Hugo Cabret, so I wasn't sure if it was fantasy or not. Will have to investigate, because I'd love to include it.
Jan. 7th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
It's not really fantasy--but it feels like it a lot. Read it--it'll take you all of two hours or less. Probably much less.

Oh--and what about The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword? Are those more YA than MG? (I read them in elementary school, but I realize I was reading way ahead of my grade level.) I also read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy back then. Do those count?
Jan. 7th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
I considered Hero et al but they're truly YA. Just because a kid *can* read them before 12 doesn't mean they're written *for* that audience. I read a lot of things in my middle grade years myself because I could, too, but yeah.

And this is where making a list gets tricky: do I include books that blur those lines? I'm still deciding.

I'm not sure if those others count. I've never read them. So I'll have to check into it!
Jan. 6th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
You're missing Un Lun Dun from China Mieville. Best middle-grade fantasy I've read in a while.

Also: City of Ember, Susan Cooper's Boggart, the Septimus Heap books, the Charlie Bone series, Snow Spider (the Magician trilogy), and maybe the Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer, which is actually more time-slip specifically.

If I come up with more, I'll let you know.

Jan. 6th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Hm, I thought I'd added Charlie Bone, because someone else suggested it in the previous entry. Odd. I'll fix that.

I haven't had the chance to read Un Lun Dun myself yet, and I've heard it's good, but I thought it was YA! Thanks for the heads up.

I've always considered City of Ember more dystopic SF. Was there magic in it? I can't remember. I'll have to make a separate list for SF--which I imagine for this age range will be a little shorter.

But these are all great suggestions. Thanks!
Jan. 7th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
I thought Un Lun Dun was going to be YA when I bought it, but it does turn out to be middle grade - both for the writing style and the character age. I've given it to high schoolers who love it but always tell me it reads young.

You're probably right about Ember, especially because of the magic. I guess I mentally categorize books with non-real science to be fantasy. Which is what I mean about the Gideon Trilogy. I mean, the kids travel through time with an anti-gravity device - but the whole thing feels like such bad science that it reads magic to me. Same with that book in which the kids travel back in time by way of elevators.

I'm on a panel at ICFA about time-slip novels - and I'm sure the whole science/fantasy thing will come up. Should be interesting.

Edited at 2009-01-07 08:13 pm (UTC)
Jan. 7th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think time travel stories especially have that slippage between fantasy and science fiction (I think of the difference between the two more of a continuum, really) because really, aren't *all* fictional time travel devices fantasy, in the end? Even the Doctor himself is a lot of junk science, though it's fun to watch. A whole lot more fun than the convenient time travel of a "temporal displacement" in Star Trek.
Jan. 6th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
A few I loved in MG though not sure they count- The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews, ElfQuest- though this is a Graphic Novel series and probably doesn't count- by Wendy and Richard Pini, and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.

I also did a book report on the Hobbit in sixth grade, though not sure if that counts as MG anymore.

You've already named a lot of my favorites- nice list. I will pass it around to the MG teachers at my school when you have a finished version.

I'm sure I'll think of more . . .

Sea of Trolls and Land of Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer.

See . . . more :)
Jan. 6th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
Odder and odder. I added The Neverending Story to the list, too, and now it's not there. Dang, I need to go back and be sure that the suggestions from the last post actually got added!

Sea of Trolls was marketed as YA, as far as I'm aware, but I haven't had a chance to read it myself. I love The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, and nearly included it on this list before I remembered that wait, it's not only YA, but it's also SF and not fantasy! (The line does blur so easily, though.)

I'm not sure I'd include The Hobbit or not. I read it in high school myself, and found it boring at that time (it took me two years to finish--boring while exciting at the same time) and I wonder. Yet it was written as a children's story, unlike Lord of the Rings. Will consider this.

I included Babymouse--like I said, can of worms--but hey, if it's great fantasy and middle graders love it, why not? I was tempted to put a few picturebooks on it myself, like A Practical Guide to Dragons, because kids that age love it. It's a picturebook but so much more, you know? Still pondering on that one.
Jan. 7th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
The Neverending Story is being sneaky for you- hopefully it stays put this time.

There are many that blur the SF fantasy lines, as well as the MG YA Adult lines. One of my favorite MG authors was Stephen King but I don't think anyone would put The Shining in a MG section :). Of course, in my MG years there wasn't even a YA area, so we didn't have as many choices as there are today.

I'm not sure how I got through the Hobbit- probably because it had little adventures along the way. I also had a lot of time on my hands. I know it was written as a children's book but I'm not sure where to place it . . .

Our local library has Sea of Trolls in the kid's room and Land of Silver Apples in the YA area. I talked to the librarians about how they decide MG vs YA (they're seperate rooms in the library) and the librarians said it was often a tough call. They go by age of the protagonist and the maturity of themes. The protagonist is 11 years old in Sea of Trolls so that's why it seemed younger to me.

Whatever gets kids reading is happy news to me. Babymouse looks like fun. The more, the merrier :)
Jan. 7th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
I'd definitely add The Hobbit. Read it in second grade and loved it.
Jan. 6th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
Oh! I love The Neverending Story. I wish I owed that book. I wonder if it's been reprinted.
Jan. 7th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Neverending story is a classic. I just checked- still in print. Hurrah!

PS Love your icon!
Jan. 6th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
What about The Indian in the Cupboard books? Or, if you prefer, other Lynne Reid Banks books: Fairy Rebel and The Farthest Away Mountain. I don't think any of them won anything, but the Indian books were very popular at one time. I think Farthest Away Mountain is my favorite.

I also love Dealing with Dragons, etc. (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles), by Patricia C. Wrede. Even though I read them in middle school and the heroine is 16 in the first book, I'm pretty sure they are still middle grade for reading level. Unfortunately, I don't think they qualify as popular or winning anything.
Jan. 7th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Indian in the Cupboard is on the list. I've never read those others by her and am intrigued. The Indian books are iffy because of the cultural appropriation issue, not to mention I'm not sure how kids nowadays received them, but I'm keeping them on the list for now.

I think Dealing w/ Dragons etc. falls in the category of little-known books that ought to be known better. I didn't discover them until college and I *love* them.
Jan. 7th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
I was a big fan of John Christopher's Tripods series when I was a kid. The White Mountains was the first title in the trilogy. That is probably more sci-fi than fantasy, but I just wanted to throw it out there as a cherished memory.
Jan. 11th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Great list! And then there is the middle grade shortlist from this year's Cybils Awards, which includes such gems as The Book Thief, by Sarah Prineas.

I hope you like The Thief! MWT is my favorite author.
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
Add to MG Fantasy
The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek by Evelyn Lampman was a favorite of many from years back and is still in reprint (I don't know if the sequel is or not).
Sep. 12th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Its really huge resources...I'll take a look on it...better to begin now...:) and pick the best one...Fantasy books are my kids like...Thanks for sharing...

Imee from Philippines
ChooseYourOwnAdventureBooks.org for Kids, Adults and Teachers
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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