This Sunday's round-up of middle-grade science fiction and fantasy, with bonus question-who is your favorite mother who happens to be a ghost?

Welcome to the Mother's Day edition of my weekly round-up of blog postings related to middle-grade science fiction and fantasy roundups! (although there's actual almost never much science fiction, so it's a bit of a misnomer). Please let me know if I missed your post, or the posts of your loved ones.

I thought about asking you all who your favorite mg sff mother was, but then I figured Molly Weasley would win, as usual. So to be more interesting, how about your favorite fictional mother, or mother surrogate, who happens to be a ghost?

Here's the list so far:

Belladonna Johnson's mother, from Spellbinder and The Midnight Gate, by Helen Stringer
Mrs. Wilkinson, from Dial-a-Ghost, by Eva Ibbotson
Mrs. Owens, from The Graveyard Book
The ghost mother from the I So Don't Do Mysteries series by Barrie Summy (thanks Doret!)
Olive C. Spence, from Kate Klise's 43 Old Cemetery Road series (thanks Kate!)

Any more?

The Reviews:

Broomsticks, by Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker, at The O.W.L.

Charlotte Sometimes, by Penelope Farmer, reviewed by Jo Walton at Tor, who thinks this is a book best appreciated by adults-I myself loved it as a child, but then I've always been fond of books in which detail and character trump Happenings. Or maybe it's because I'm Charlotte, and have a little sister named Emily, as is the case in the book (sort of).

Crusade in Jeans, by Thea Beckman, at Charlotte's Library

The Dead Boys, by Royce Buckingham, at One Librarian's Book Reviews

The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens, at Jen Robinson's Book Page and The BookKids Blog

The Friendship Doll, by Kirby Larson, at The Fourth Musketeer (I guess it's fantasy, because it's narrated by a doll....)

Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins, at Just Booking Around

Juniper Berry, by M.P. Kozlowsky, at There's A Book, Lori Calabrese, and Reading Vacation

Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis, at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog, Karissa's Reading Review, and Laura Pauling

The Midnight Gate, by Helen Stringer, at The Bluestocking Guide

The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Ela's Book Blog

Re: Wired, by Alex Keller, at Mr Ripleys Enchanted Books

The Shadow Hunt, by Katherine Langrish, at The Written World

The Silver Bowl, by Diane Stanley, at Book Aunt

Troubletwisters, by Garth Nix and Sean Williams, at Ms. Martin Teaches Media and reviewed by Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing

A Web of Air, by Philip Reeve, at Fantasy Literature

West of the Moon, by Katherine Langrish, at Book Aunt

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston, at Great Kid Books

Fun with Monsters (a variety of titles) at Great Kid Books

Ms. Yingling looks at the new books in the Ranger's Apprentice series and The Last Apprentice series

And finally (although it's not exactly a review) Michael Chabon shares his thoughts on The Phantom Tollbooth at The New York Review of Books

Interviews and authors:

Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker (Broomsticks) at The O.W.L.

Alex Keller (Haywired and Re: Wired) at Mr Ripleys Enchanted Books

Janice Hardy (The Shifter and Blue Fire) at Literary Rambles

M.P. Kozlowsky (Juniper Berry) at Literary Asylum and Lori Calabrese

Mark Jeffrey (Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant) at Book Dreaming; he's also interviewed at Book Dreaming

Christine Brodien-Jones (The Owl Keeper) on "writing scary (but not too scary) for tweens" at Cynsations

Jennifer Trafton (The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic) on map making at Imagination Soup

Other Good Stuff:

Ninth Ward is a Jane Addams Award Honor Book

The Children's Choice Awards
have been announced--Rick Riordan has won Author of the Year for The Lost Hero, and The Red Pyramid was chosen as fifth grade to sixth grade book of the year.

Not middle grade sff, per se, but so very much worth linking to it doesn't matter--at Bookyurt you can find the transcription of the finalists for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize for Young Adult Literature (Megan Whalen Turner, Jonathan Stroud, and Rick Yancy) speaking in the Worlds Beyond Imagination panel.

And finally, the Really Exciting News:

Small Beer Press has published a new anthology of Joan Aiken stories, entitled The Monkey's Wedding and Other Stories! This is a gift unhoped for, as she is no longer with us. Thanks, Colleen, for this happy news. Although the cover looks creepy. Which makes sense, given Aiken's occasional penchant for the discomforting--anyone else wish they hadn't read the story in which the boy's broken leg gets eaten by insects inside the cast?


In addition to all the news and reviews, don't forget to check out the Guys Lit Wire book drive for a needy Washington D.C. high school! Some mg sff books on the list that still need buyers are The Devil's Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen, The Grey King and Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper, The Hobbit, and The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke, and, moving YA-ward, I hope someone buys The King of Attolia and Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner!


  1. I love the ghost mother from the I So Don't Do Mysteries series by Barrie Summy.

    She was a cop killed in the line of duty, and is a member of the Academy of Spirits, an organization that teaches ghost to protect the living.

  2. Oh yes, thanks for reminding me of her! I enjoy those books too.

  3. I fear I am not on the book bloggers' searchlist, but I have done a review of Suzanne Collins's Gregor the Overlander and am going to review the next book this next week.

  4. I just read the latest in Kate Klise's 43 Old Cemetery Road series, in which a boy named Seymour is adopted by a grumpy writer (I.B. Grumply) and a ghostly mystery writer named Olive C. Spence. The epistolary books for middle grade readers are illustrated by Klise's sister M. Sarah Klise, who shows Olive mostly as a pair of glasses that floats around the house. But Olive writes a lot of great letters to her little family!

  5. Hi Rina,

    Sorry I missed your review! The bulk of the links I include I find via keyword searches, such as "middle grade" fantasy. And even if I see a post in my own blog reading, and think "I must remember to include it" there's no guarantee that it won't slip through the cracks.

    So I'm pleased when people let me know of things I missed!

  6. I like Olive lots myself! A good one for the list.

  7. I love the ghost mom in the Barrie Summy books! And thanks for linking to my blog!

  8. Thanks for linking to my review of The Midnight Gate.


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