This Sunday's Round-Up of Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy

Happy New Year, all readers and writers of middle grade science fiction and fantasy, and welcome to the first mgsff round-up of 2011. If I missed your post, or that of your best friend, or anything you happened to see, please let me know! And thank you, all of you in the past year who have mentioned on your own blogs that I am doing these round-ups--I appreciate it, and you are welcome to do it again, not because I want the visitors qua visitors so much, but for the Sake of the Books, because the whole point of these round-ups is to bring attention to them.

What mg sff book are you most looking forward to in 2011? I, myself, am having trouble immagining a world beyond January, so I'll go with Small Persons With Wings, by Ellen Booraem.

First, the big/already probably old news:

What do these books have in common?
A. I like them all lots
B. Little pink was used in the cover art, and as far as I know, there are no sparkles*
C. Good writing and tons of kid appeal
D. They all include vampire yetis
E. All of the above

*I haven't seen the finished cover of the Shadows. Are there sparkles???

Answer: (mostly) E. They are the finalists in the Elementary Middle Grade Science Fiction/Fantasy category of the Cybils Awards (for which I was a panelist), and they show beautifully the range of mg sff today. They include horror, humor, reimagined fairy tales, tragedy, wondrous inventions, ghosts, evil, magic...They are girl books and boy books, books perfect for younger readers, and books perfect for grown-ups! I wish we could have shortlisted more books--there are several I'm still very wistful about...

I think my favorite cover is The Dead Boys--the Evil Tree tickles my fancy lots. But I can't decide which is my favorite book, and I pity the judges of the next round who have to pick just one winner!

This week's reviews:

Beauty, by Robin McKinley, at Nayu's Reading Corner. If I were to pick just one book to give to an eleven year old girl, this would be it. Beauty, incidentally, just got a very new and sharp looking cover over in the UK, shown on the far right. My own version, read in the 1980s, looking very 1980s indeed, leads the parade:

Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld, at Boys Rule Boys Read

The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau, at Reading Vacation

The Good Little Devil, by Ann Lawrence, at Charlotte's Library

Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London, by Keith Mansfield, at Charlotte's Library

The Jumper Chronicles--Quest for Merlin's Map, by W.C. Peever, at Eating Y.A. Books

A Matter of Magic, by Patricia C. Wrede, at The Book Smugglers

Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, at books4yourkids

Shadow, by Jenny Moss, at Reading Vacation

The Shadow Hunt, by Katherine Langrish, at Eva's Book Addiction

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, by R.L. Lafevers, at TheHappyNappyBookseller

Melina at Reading Vaction takes a look at the Suddenly Supernatural series -- Book 2--Scaredy Kat, and Book 3--Unhappy Medium

and Gregory Breen takes a look at the Artemis Fowl series at Suite 101.


Greg Van Eekhout (Kid vs Squid) at Spookycyn

Susan Fletcher (Ancient, Strange, and Lovely--Book 4 of the Dragon Chronicles) at Euphoria

Other Stuff:

I thought it would be but the work of minutes to pull together a list of all the mg and ya dragon books published in 2010. It wasn't. You can find the long long list that resulted here!

The Nebula Awards have a category (the Andre Norton Awards) for YA books, and now the Hugo Award folks are thinking of doing the same, with an award for YA books including "those for younger children" (read more at Cheryl's Mewsings)

And finally, for the little bon mote I like to offer at the end of these round-ups, here is a selection of "Ancient Robots and Victorian Androids" at Dark Roasted Blend. Really cool stuff! I am something of a fan of Marie Rutkoski's books (The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe), and so was immensely tickled to learn that John Dee, Elizabethan Alchemist, devised a wooden beetle that could fly:


  1. SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS is my most anticipated release, too. I loved THE UNNAMEABLES and have been waiting eagerly for more from Ellen Booraem.

  2. Excellent post! I don;t know how you guys narrowed the list down to 7!!! I really wanted a pressing reason to buy/read THE CROWFIELD CURSE and WINDBLOWNE. After reading two of the seven books, picking one seems like it's going to be very difficult! Thanks for all the hard work and heavy reading you did to create the short list!

  3. Can't believe I've only read TWO of the finalists! Which means I have some fabulous reading ahead of me...
    And you'll love Small Persons with Wings, I guarantee it.


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