Take Me Away!

Summer reading should have an element of escapism. Here’s a wonderful quote from a new book, Fleabrain Loves Franny (Joanne Rocklin) that describes the experience of getting lost in a story: “When Franny read a book, the waiting stopped. Pittsburgh time slipped away when she was reading, and only the hours of the other worlds were true” (p27).

Fantasy is especially magical in this way. When a world has its own unique setting and creatures, it is easy to be absorbed in its world and forget your own. Although most fantasy is known for castles, adventure, magical creatures, even books with talking animals are considered fantasy and encourage kids to think outside the limitations of their bedrooms.
Harry Potter is an obvious choice for a great fantasy summer read. With seven volumes, a reader can become completely absorbed in the world of Hogwarts. But if you’ve already read the Harry Potter series, here are some other ideas to help you escape to a new world:

  1. Keeper of the Lost Cities (Shannon Messenger). In this fantasy series, Sophie Foster has never quite fit into her life. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks… Sophie has hidden memories that she needs to uncover to save the world, and she will do it with the help of a new Telepath friend. The 5th and final book in this series will be released this November, AND the author, Shannon Messenger, will be coming to Once Upon a Storybook in August!
  2. Peter Pan (Barrie) The ultimate story about a kid who won’t grow up has spawned a number of new fantasy adventures (like Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry). Peter’s world is a child-centered adventureland. Especially appropriate for boys, Barrie’s book is full of mischievous fairies, aggressive boys, and wayward pirates.
  3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis) This notable story from the Lewis Narnia series is the most enchanting of the books in the classic series. This ultimate good vs. evil story, known for its spiritual allegory, stands firmly on its own even for the most secular readers.
  4. Roald Dahl books (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, James & the Giant Peach, The BFG) Everything by Dahl has a unique Dahlish voice that makes the fantastic seem normal and the normal seem strange. A little big ghoulish, a little bit fantastical, and a little bit morbid—these books hook kids because of their oddness and creative use of language.
  5. Fairest (Gail Carson Levine). Takeoffs on the traditional fairy tales, Levine modifies her stories just enough that you know you are not reading the original. The twist in Fairest is that members of the kingdom are judged on the quality of their voices, which is especially powerful for one who can “throw her voice” to help others. Especially good for girls, as the protagonists are female, readers will enjoy Levine’s twists on the typical fairy tale.
  6. Land of Stories (Chris Colfer) In this magical series, a brother and sister duo fall into fairy tale land and need to rescue their father who has fallen in previously. All of the typical fairy tale characters live in various regions of this world, and readers enjoy running into the Big Bad Wolf and Sleeping Beauty, among others. The latest book in this series has just been released!

There is no end to the variety of books in the fantasy category. Let us help you choose an interesting one today!