Monday, September 7, 2009

If I had to name the number one fiction genre currently the hit with the fifth graders, it would undoubtedly be Fantasy. Here are three fantasy books that are favorites with my readers.

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud, published 2009 by Disney/Hyperion Books is the story of young prankster, Halli Sveinsson. When a practical joke goes too far, Halli is forced to set out on an epic quest that is layered over those of his heroic ancestor, Svein. Both adventures are set in a medieval world flavored with a dose of Norse mythology. The narrative moves seamlessly back and forth between Halli's adventures and the legendary Svein's providing a double dose of excitement.

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner, published 2005 by Penguin Books, is an historical fantasy/fairytale set in a seventeenth century London where magic and fairies are mingled with the harsh realities of everyday life. In Cinderella fashion, Coriander is left in the care of her abusive stepmother, but unlike the fairytale Cinderella, Coriander must orchestrate her own rescue. Told in first person by the heroine, Coriander relates her childhood struggle to use the magic powers inherited from her mother to protect herself and the fairy world where her mother was born.

The People of Sparks, sequel to the very successful The City of Ember, by Jeane DuPrau, is a far cry from the historical realm, taking place instead in a post apocalyptic world where resources are scarce and civilization is on the brink of destruction. Lina and Doon, the intrepid protagonists from the first book, lead the survivors of Ember to the town of Sparks where they seek refuge and form an uneasy alliance that is soon endangered by suspicion then sabotage. New characters are introduced and minor characters from The City of Ember emerge to continue the story and bring new tension to the narrative.

To check out reviews by youthful readers visit Scholastic's Kid's Page.

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