Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Books to Stir the Imagination- Updated Again

Originally published 4/6/09, updated 7/21/10:
[Now Jeannette, you can skip this list, since I know you aren't so into fantasy. :) But for any parents or doting uncles out there, here is a list of books I've personally read and highly recommend as books which will draw in the young mind and foster wholesome imagination, creative thinking, as well as moral fibre. I've got several young friends & cousins who have served as my "test audience" over the years, too. All but one of them are BOYS, the oldest of whom is now a teenager. SO if they like it, you know it's good!]

- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, The Horse & His Boy (personal favorite), Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, the Last Battle, C.S. Lewis (my gateway books of choice!) :)
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick - the illustrations make this book a unique experience
- Michael Hague's Favorite Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Anderson- this is my favorite version because Michael Hague's illustrations are amazing. It also contains my favorite HCA tale, "The Snow Queen," as well as all the other classics you love ("The Little Match Girl," "The Ugly Duckling"). My friend Kyle & I used to read these aloud to each other in college.
- The Borrowers, Mary Norton (and all the sequels)
- The Castle in the Attic, Elizabeth Winthrop
- The 21 Balloons, William Pene du Bois
- D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
- Roverandom, and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
- Tatsinda, Elizabeth Enright
- The Princess & the Goblin, and The Princess & Curdie, George MacDonald
- 1001 Arabian Nights
- Dinotopia, James Gurney. Just the illustrations will set your mind imagining!
- Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
- The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
- The Chronicles of Prydain: The Book of Three, the Black Cauldron, The Castle of Lyr, Taran Wanderer, The Foundling and The High King (Newberry Award), Lloyd Alexander
- The Arcadians, Time Cat- also by Lloyd Alexander
- Peter and the Starcatchers, Peter and the Shadowtheives, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
- Redwall, Mossflower, Martin the Warrior, the Legend of Luke..., Brian Jaques - the whole series is good, but after a while they all start sounding the same. I'd start with the first written because they are truly original.
- On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North or Be Eaten! Andrew Peterson (final sequel is due soon!) - NOBE is even better than OEDSD, and I expect the next will be even better
- Meet the Austins, The Moon By Night, The Young Unicorns- Madeleine L'Engle (The Young Unicorns is especially wonderful)
- The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare
- A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet (my favorite book of all time!), Madeleine L'Engle
- The Spiderwick Chronicles, Holli Black & Tony DiTerlizzi
- Dragon King Trilogy: In the Hall of the Dragon King, Warlords of Nim, The Sword and the Flame, Stephen Lawhead
-The Cooper Kids Adventure Series: The Door in the Dragon's Throat, Escape from the Isle of Aquarius, The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey, Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea, The Tombs of Anak, The Secret of the Desert Stone, The Legend of Annie Murphy, Flying Blind or Mayday at Two Thousand Five Hundred Feet, Frank Peretti
-The Harry Potter books 1-3, J.K. Rowling
- The Giver, Lois Lowry (sequels: Gathering Blue, Messenger. Be prepared to discuss this book, as it could be one of the strongest appeals against communism short of Orwell's Animal Farm!)
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians (5 books), Rick Riordan- not to the caliber of Harry Potter, but funny, fast-paced, and full of reincarnated Classical myths (WONDERFUL accompaniment to a Classical curriculum)
- The Kane Chronicles (The Red Pyramid is the first, and only one currently in print), Rick Riordan- I'm concerned that he will be writing a volume every 6 months, as that usually means quality will plummit. However, the first volume is great! :) These do for Egyptian legends what Percy Jackson's adventures do for Greek mythology.
- The Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan- so far so good- out October 12, 2010 (visit www.camphalfblood and enter the password "newhero" to read the first two chapters)
- The Ranger's Apprentice Series, John Flanagan- fun, especially if you have a grasp of European culture, geography & history
- Dragon Rider, Cornelia Funke

For a bit older audience:
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien (OF COURSE!!)
- The Children of Hurin, J.R.R. Tolkien --be prepared to cry.
- Anthem, Ayn Rand
- Inkheart, Inkspell & Inkdeath, Cornelia Funke
- The Trophy Chase Trilogy: The Legend of the Firefish, The Hand that Bears the Sword, The Battle for Vast Dominion, by George Bryan Polivka -- although I don't agree with its pacifist leanings, it's well-written, refreshingly Christ-centered, and all this without being cheesy!
- The Seventh Tower series, Garth Nix
- Many Waters, Madeleine L'Engle
- The Echorium Sequence: Song Quest, The Crystal Mask, Dark Quetzal, Katherine Roberts
- Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums, Anne McCaffery (be very careful of her other Dragonriders of Pern books, some of which normalize homosexual relationships-- they aren't the focal point ever, but still... be careful. This trilogy I've just outlined is great, though)
- Harry Potter series (all 7 books), J.K. Rowling
-The Arm of the Starfish, Dragons in the Waters, An Acceptable Time, Madeleine L'Engle (I do not recommend House Like a Lotus)
-The Inheritance Cycle: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Christopher Paolini (the concluding volume is due out sometime in 2010)
- The Abhorsen Trilogy: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Garth Nix (another one due out next year)

Lastly, these are picture books for your youngest audiences
1. Tikki-Tikki-Tembo, Arlene Mosel
2. The Lost Princess, George MacDonald
3. The 5 Chinese Brothers, Claire Huchet Bishop
4. The Littles and their Friends, John Peterson
5. The Lightlings series, R. C. Sproul


Jeannette said...

Believe it or not, Christina, I read through your whole list. I was interested to learn that Dave Barry has co-authored fantasy books...I might actually like those books! ;)
Thanks for your prior post in defense of magic. Great job making your case. I really wish I derived as much pleasure from fantasy as so many others...maybe I should keep trying. BTW, we hope to see you next weekend.

MSF said...

I love A Swiftly Tilting Planet!!! Have you read St. George and the Dragon? The girls like that one (I do, too!). Great lists!
How're you feeling?

Kathy said...

We are loving On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness! I told Andrew everyone says the second in the series is even better. He thinks that would be impossible :)

Great list! Gives us lots of ideas for the coming months.


Eowyn's Heir said...

Thanks, Kathy!! :) Ryan is trying to convince me to start a book-review site.

Kathy said...

Oooo, after looking at your apostrophe post on comment should have looked like this:

We are loving On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness'! I told Andrew everyone say's the second in the series' is even better. He think's that would be impossible :)

Great list! Give's us lots' of idea's for the coming month's.

MWAHAHAHA! You're head just exploded, didn't it? :D


Jeannette said...

I think the book review site would be excellent!

Eduard said...

nice. thanks for sharing.

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