Today is Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day (well, why not?), and I would like to thank all the writers of science fiction and fantasy whose books I like for writing them. And I would like to thank the public library, the publishers and the writers who send me review copies, my friends and family (at least the ones who give me presents) and my employer, for making it possible for me to read them.
To celebrate today, I have a list to offer.
In my boy's third grade class, there is a girl who reminds me of my 9 year old self. She walks down the halls to class, late, her nose deep in a book (it was a Nancy Drew the day I saw her), and she exaggerates her weekly reading report (her mother had to point out to her that it was not possible for her to have read 15 hours in one day, even though it might have seemed like that much). I struck up a chat with the mother a little while ago, at Ocean/Cultures of the World museum day (after I had dutifully admiring my son's flour paste angler fish sculpture), and promised I would make a book list of fantasy books that are a bit scary for her.
This is part one of that list--books that I loved when I was that age (aka, the late 1970s). Part two, modern slightly scary fantasy books, that I wish I had had when I was young, will come soon (or whenever). When I was nine, we lived in the Bahamas, and so my list has some English books on it, that sadly never became popular over here in the US. So it is not an entirely useful list for my son's friend...but they are all such good, good books.
The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken.
Moominland Midwinter, by Tove Jansen (my favorite in the series, although my son suggests Comet in Moominland)
The Talking Parcel (aka The Battle For Castle Cockatrice), by Gerald Durrell.
The Phoenix and Carpet, The Enchanted Castle, and The Story of the Amulet, my favorite E. Nesbits
Seven Day Magic, by Edward Eager (Half Magic, says my son).
Fog Magic, by Julia Sauer
The Ghosts, by Antonia Barber
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Edwards (I love this book. And I feel like I might be the only person who does).
101 Dalmations, and its sequel, The Starlight Barking, by Dodie Smith. (Forget Disney--these are great books).
The Cuckoo Clock, by Mrs. Molesworth
Marianne Dreams, by Catherine Storr (so beautifully scary....those terrifying stones....)
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle
Green Smoke, by Rosemary Manning
The Little Broomstick, by Mary Stewart. If you haven't read this one yet, please do! It's about a lonely girl who finds herself with a magic broomstick, that takes her off to sinister school for magic. Here' s a review I wrote about it a while back.
I love The Little Broomstick. So much so, that I buy extra copies when I see them. So in honor of all the great science fiction and fantasy authors out there, I am giving one away--please leave a comment by Tuesday, June 30th, at midnight!
Does anyone else have recommendations for great fantasy books for a nine year old girl that would have been available in the late 1970s? (Like I said, I'll move forward in time with my next list...)
Here at Tor, you can find 100s of recommendations offered in response to the question “I’m thirteen, I’m a girl, and I like fantasy and some science fiction. What should I be reading?” I really am put out that I had to read the same books over and over, while kids today have so many great books to choose from.
And coincidentally, Anamaria at Books Together is looking for recommendations of "scary magical adventure books" for an almost nine-year old. I'd like to hear what people say too! I was writing my list with a girl that age in mind, but the only one that I wouldn't press on my son is The Little White Horse--I don't think he would appreciate all the lovely descriptions of clothes....