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Topic: Fantasy books appropriate for kids

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Subject: Fantasy books appropriate for kids
Date Posted: 5/6/2013 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2008
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My 9 year old LOVES fantasy books (she seems to have a particular affinity for dragons) and mythology and is a voracious reader.  Though she is young, she reads at about a 9th grade level but is fine with younger books, too.  Obviously, many of the books within the genre not marketed specifically as children's books contain some inappropriate subject matter (mostly sex, but also some graphic violence, though she often self-edits and skips violent sections), whereas many also do not.  I'm not a complete prude, but she is 9, and I've read plenty of books that I know she'd like in a few years, but aren't really appropriate for her now.  We're long past the point where my husband or I can preread all her books, given that she reads so much more than we do.  So, I'm looking for some suggestions for books that may be appropriate for her; the concept of love and procreation is fine, but no real sex scenes, rapes, or strongly violent themes.  I'd love perhaps some less-recent books, or maybe those a little more off the beaten path these days.  Books/series that she's read and liked include:


Dragonquest & other Anne McCaffrey books of that series

Wings of Fire series

Septimus Heap series

Inkspell, etc. Cornelia Funke books

Fablehaven series

Time Triology by Madeline L'Engle

and of course the Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia series.

I'd appreciate any suggestions. Neither the Fantasy nor the Children's forums seem to get a lot of action, so I figured I'd post here.

Date Posted: 5/7/2013 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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I'd recommend Robin McKinley.  She writes children, teen and adult fantasy fiction, has strong female characters and has won a number of awards, including a Newbery.

A good starting title for younger readers is The Blue Sword, and its sequel, The Hero and the Crown.

She might also enjoy Sharon Shinn's Summers at Castle Auburn.

And how about some of Anne McCaffrey's other books, like her Acorna series?  Book 1 is The Unicorn Girl.

Last Edited on: 5/7/13 9:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/8/2013 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. The first is The Book of Three. From the books you've listed, I think she'd enjoy them - I did at her age!

Date Posted: 5/10/2013 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
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How about these (from a fellow dragon lover):

David Rain series by Chris D'Lacey--Book 1 is The Fire Within

Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede--Book 1 is Dealing with Dragons

How to Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell

Dragon Slippers series by Jessica Day George

Dragon Keepers series by Kate Klimo

Books by Laurence Yep, Ruth Stiles Gannett, and Jane Yolen, E. D. Baker, Elizabeth Haydon

Donita K. Paul (Dragonkeepers series and Valley of the Dragons series)--technically Christian fiction, though the religious references are not overt--adult novels safe for kids

Bryan Davis--Dragons in Our Midst series--again technically Christian fiction for kids through YA. 

Just a note--I'm not religious, and I still liked Paul and Davis' books.  Hope this helps!  Enjoy!

Date Posted: 5/10/2013 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy; The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

For some lighter/funny ones: the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (there are about 40 of them, they can be read in any order, my favorites are A Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal and Mort) and Edward Eager's Tales of Magic: Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, The Time Garden.

Date Posted: 5/13/2013 12:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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The Young Adult forum is pretty active.  And those folks are really knowledgeable about the sexual content of the books.   That said, I am a big fan of Robin McKinley.  

I just read Gail Carriger's YA paranormal, Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, Bk 1) .   Gail's books are usually very polite about sex, as they have a Victorian tone.  This one is set at a girl's boarding school.

Date Posted: 5/18/2013 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
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Anything by Diana Wynne Jones.  She was a British fantasy writer.  Howl's Moving Castle was made into an animated movie.  Her Chrestomanci series is wonderful also.

Date Posted: 5/18/2013 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2010
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She might like Edward Eager's books about ordinary children having magical adventures: Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Seven Day Magic. They're a lot of fun!

E. Nesbit is a classic choice for children's fantasy fiction as well: The Enchanted Castle, Five Children and It, The Story of the Amulet.


Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 6/5/2013 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
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I second the Discworld series.

Also, if she is reading at a 9th grade reading level, she may be able to read the Lord of the Ring and the Hobbit. Start her with the Hobbit and see if she can grasp it. My daughter read it at age 11 and she was only on a 6th grade reading level.  Sorry, relooked at your list an LOTR was at the top.

What about The Firebringer series by Meredith Ann Pierce, or some classics like The Neverending Story or the Last Unicorn?

Last Edited on: 6/5/13 6:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/14/2013 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
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My 11 year son is reading the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.  There are a ton of them.  Has she tried the Inheritance Cycle, starting with Eragon

Last Edited on: 7/14/13 10:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Joseph C. (joec) - ,
Date Posted: 8/5/2013 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2010
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I agree about the Inheritace cycle, and the author's story is inspirational to a young reader too.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inheritance_Cycle#Publication_history

Also, I really loved the Eli Mopress books by Rachel Aaron. I got the omnibus and couldn't put it down till I had read all three books.

Joseph C. (joec) - ,
Date Posted: 8/5/2013 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2010
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BTW, Let us know if your daughter likes any of these please!

Date Posted: 8/15/2013 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2012
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I remember loving Tamora Pierce's books back in middle school, specifically the Song of the Lioness quartet

Last Edited on: 8/15/13 9:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2013 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
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The "Wrinkle in Time" series by Madeliene L'Engle is older, but it's still popular.

OOOps, is that the time trilogy she's already read? sorry...

Last Edited on: 8/17/13 10:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2013 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2008
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Per at least one request, here is an update. Though I don't know ALL of what she has read and hasn't read, I gave her all of your lists and have tried to pay attention to the library books she checks out (and, of course, have made quite a few requests here based on your recommendations).  I also just asked her what on the list she has read (and several on the list we have on hold at the library or on order here).

What she's loved:

Tamora Pierce Son gof the Lioness (she actually read that series before I posted)

Inheritance cycle (also read them before I posted)

She quickly burned through several of the series that MamaDragon3 recommended, including the one by Wrede starting with Dealing with Dragons and most of the How to Train Your Dragon series.  She also liked the Fire Within, Dragon Slippers and a bunch of the Frog books by E.D. Baker.

Anne McCaffrey's other Pern books (apparently there are ~20 of them...she's read at least a dozen). Unicorn Girl has been ordered, but I think she wants to finish her foray into Pern before starting another series.

Eon by Allison Goodman?

She's read and enjoyed several of the Diana Wynne Jones Dalemark Quartet (starting with Cart and Cwidder).

2 more books in Orson Scott Card's Ender series (SciFi, not fantasy)

She went on a bit of a Robin Hood kick, and read a couple of traditional Robin Hood tales I had as well as Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead.

Interestingly, my MIL talked her into reading Oliver Twist, which she also enjoyed.

She's read one book in the Redwall series.  Liked it but didn't love it.

I can't get her to give Book of Three or anything in the Chronicles of Prydain much of a chance.  We even watched The Black Cauldron (I know, not the best telling of it, but she had already rejected the books a few times); her sister liked it, but she picked up another book and started reading while it was playing!


Last Edited on: 8/18/13 8:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/20/2013 8:52 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
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There's a realtively new stand-alone YA fantasy called "Except the Queen," by 2 writers I can't recall, that's really good, with no sex or violence.

And you might check out Charles DeLint---he also writes tons of fantasy for younger readers, some set in contenporary times, and some not.

So does Mercedes Lackey, but she is so prolific it might take some time to figure out which books are best.....

Date Posted: 8/22/2013 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
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Apologies ahead if any of these have already been mentioned.

Since she likes the Time trilogy, I'd recommend The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable (1 of 3), A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (1 of 4), and The Giver by Lois Lowry (1 of 4).

To follow up on Betty's suggestion of Mercedes Lackey, a lot of young women enjoy her Arrows of the Queen trilogy, which has a strong and intelligent female protagonist.

Last year I really enjoyed two unlike books for their independent female characters out to save their planet and people. Singer from the Sea by Sheri S. Tepper is a light sci-fi fantasy mix. Archangel by Sharon Shinn is more of a romantic sci-fi fantasy involving angels and average people.

I like Juliet Marillier for her historical fantasy.  Daughter of the Forest is loosely based on the folk tale of the Swan Princess or Swan Lake.  Wolkskin is an original story based on the Celtic and Nordic peoples, it's strongly influenced by the Norse code of conduct.

Last Edited on: 8/22/13 6:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: More Pratchett
Date Posted: 8/24/2013 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series of The Wee Free Men/A Hatfull of Sky/Wintersmith/I Shall Wear Midnight is about a very determined young girl, youngest in a large family, who has some magical powers and learns how to overcome all sorts of young-girl obstacles, with and without use of magic. I think Tiffany is about your daughter's age in the first book. I found out last year that there's an illustrated edition of The Wee Free Men, so I got a copy and found the book even more of a delight the second time through, as the illustrations are just right - except for perhaps one of Tiffany where the illustrator has made her rather too ladylike in appearance. But she's still wearing her huge, beat-up, hand-me-down boots. Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax also appear.

Date Posted: 10/6/2013 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2007
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I second the recommendations of Robin McKinley (The Hero and the Crown and the Blue Sword; she's also got a Robin Hood book, The Outlaws of Sherwood), Pratchett's Tiffany Aching Books, Ursula LeGuin, and Diana Wynne Jones (after the first Dalemark book I think my favorites are The Power of Three and Dogsbody). Also Edward Eager and E. Nesbitt if they don't seem too old fashioned to her. 

Other books from my youth I'd particularly recommend:

- Patricia McKillip's Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy (possibly my all-time favorite YA)

- Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series (the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, is a bit "younger" than the rest and not as closely connected, so if she doesn't love it she should try the second, The Dark Is Rising, which I read first and which is another contender for my all-time favorite)

- A couple of random individual books (both English): The Gods in Winter by Patricia Miles and Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge

More recent books:

- Patricia Wrede's Thirteenth Child and its sequels

- Patricia Briggs' Hurog series (more dragons!)

- Possibly Kristen Cashore's Graceling series (they might be a bit old - they aren't as gruesome as the blurb on the first book makes you think, but they're pretty serious in spots)

Subject: Fantasy books
Date Posted: 10/10/2013 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/4/2005
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I have some more recommendations to add to the list as well as a hearty endorsement also for anything by Diana Wynne Jones (although Deep Secret is definitely adult)!

Frances Hardinge has some wonderful books including Well Witched, The Lost Conspiracy, and Fly by Night.

Gail Carson Levine - strong female heroines!

The Bartimeaus sequence by Jonathan Stroud

Garth Nix - The Keys of the Kingdom and Old Kingdom series

Ember series by Jeanne Duprau

The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee

Fire Bringer and The Sight by David Clement-Davies

I'm sure I'll think of more - just stumbled on to this thread!

Date Posted: 10/15/2013 12:18 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I love the Hurog series by Patty Briggs, but there are some serious adult issues covered in them.  The three siblings were all abused by their father.  Their mother took drugs to hide from the knowledge.  Their aunt would seduce their father to distract him.  Oh, their father tried to raped a servant girl.  

I'd wait a bit for that series.   It's great, but not for someone that young.

 Nina Kiriki Hoffman's most recent series was aimed at YA.  Meetings and Thresholds.

Date Posted: 10/29/2013 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
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In that genre it has amazed me when considering my neice and nephew and I think back to what I read.  Even some of McCaffrey's books I would be hesistant to let them have (although I'm sure I'm more cautious than my brother & sister-in-law).

Another helpful thing may help is to look up books that have won the newberry award, I say this as I've been getting copies of "The Dark is Rising" sequence by Susan Cooper (an excellent child's author) for my nephew once his reading level becomes appropriate.

In addition I recently read the The Far Side of the Moon by David Gerrold, this is sci-fi (a compilation of Jumping Off the Planet, Bouncing Off the Moon, & Leaping to the Stars), but it really reminded me of the first Ender book.  There is some violence (although certainly less than in Ender's Game), and it covers homosexuality as a topic in relation to society.  It is written from the viewpoint of a 8-10 year old.

I haven't read all the posts yet, but there is always CS Lewis's Narnia Series.

I haven't read them since I was a kid, so I can't speak to the sexuality & violence, but when I was reading and enjoying McCaffrey I also read Andre ("Alice") Norton.

Date Posted: 11/4/2013 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
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Piers Anthony, Xanth Series

King Arthur stories.  Mary Stewart or Marion Zimmer Bradley, "Mists of Avalon"   

Sword of Shanarra

Last Edited on: 11/4/13 8:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/23/2013 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
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Many of those I would reccomend have already been mentioned so I'll just add two, 

Patricia McKillip: I got started on The Forgotten Beast of Eld but many of her other books are very good also.

Andre Norton:  The first author (that I knew of) to have a book for every letter of the alphabet and more than one for quite a few of the letters.  For dragons you might try Dragon Magic [and the sequel Dragon Mage written with Jean Rabe].  Also The Halfblood Chronicles written with Mercedes Lackey is set in a mystical world of elves, wizards and dragons.

Date Posted: 12/3/2013 2:23 PM ET
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I second (third) other Anne McCaffrey!  Her other series are completely different than the pern series.  They don't overlap. Though I THINK they take place in the same universe.  I need to go back and reread the First Fall to see if there is any overlap there.  I loved the Crystal Singer books, and all the brain ship books.  There's also a sci fi series by her that starts with "The Death of Sleep".  That one is a real mind trip!