Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction--this week's round-up

Welcome to another week's worth of the posts and news of interest to us fans of middle grade sci fi/fantasy! I sometimes forget to include my own posts, so if I've missed yours, don't take it personally, but do send it to me. Or if you friends, family, or complete strangers have written posts I missed, I'd welcome those links too!

The Reviews:

13 Treasures, by Michelle Harrison, at Bunny Cates

Alien Envoy, by Pamela Service, at Jean Little Library

Alice in Time, by Penelope Bush, at Becky's Book Reviews

The Chalice of Immortality (Book 3 of the Magickeepers), by Erica Kirov, at books4yourkids

Doc Mortis (Invisible Fiends) by Barry Hutchison, at The Book Zone

Earwig and the Witch, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Nayu's Reading Corner and My Favorite Books

Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile and My Favorite Books

The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens, at One Librarian's Book Reviews

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente, at books4yourkids

The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo, at Back to Books

The Power of Three, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Books & Other Thoughts

The Shadow Hunt, by Katherine Langrish, at Reading Vacation

Sidekicks, by Dan Santat, at Bookie Woogie (plus giveaway)

Sinister Scenes, by PJ Bracegirdleat Presenting Lenore

Skellig, by David Almond, at Wondrous Reads

Spellbound, by Jacqueline West, at Cracking the Cover and Charlotte's Library

The Stones of Green Knowe, by L.M. Boston, at Charlotte's Library

Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run, by Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger, at Sonderbooks

A Tale of Two Castles, by Gail Carson Levine, at Emily's Reading Room (audio book review)

Tuesdays at the Castle, by Jessica Day George, at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

The Unicorn Princess (Fetlocks Hall Book 1) at Nayu's Reading Corner, where you'll also find Book 2--The Ghostly Blinkers of Babbette Cole, Book 3-The Curse of the Vampire Ponies, and Book 4 --The Enchanted Pony.

The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann, at Geo Librarian

Whales on Stilts, by M.T. Anderson, at Book a Day Almanac

Authors and Interviews:

Kate Umansky (Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage) at Tor on "Writing Funny"

Jessica Day George (Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass, etc.) at The Secret Adventures of Writer Girl

Erica Kirov (The Magickeepers) at Manga Maniac Cafe

Sherwood Smith on writing for kids at Book View Cafe

Christine Brodien-Jones (The Owl Keeper) talks about her path to publication at Smack Dab in the Middle

Here's Shawn Thomas Odyssey rapping about his new book, The Wizard of Dark Street

Other good stuff:

Betsy at Fuse #8 offers an assessment of fairylands: "The talking mushrooms are great, but would you want to live there?"

Catherynne Valente has shared new story: The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland---For a Little While

"In which a young girl named Mallow leaves the country for the city, meets a number of Winds, Cats, and handsome folk, sees something dreadful, and engages, much against her will, in Politicks of the most muddled kind."

Here's a somewhat snotty article from NPR Books about the Amulet series (great fantasy graphic novels for the young). I really dislike it when people try to spot borrowings (fantasy books for kids get hit really really hard by this) and the author of this article goes overboard in this regard:

"The titular amulet that Emily wears is an all-powerful but dangerous talisman (that's a Lord of the Rings rip); and Emily is thought to be "The One" — the foretold savior whom a rebel army has been waiting for (like The Matrix). The amulet itself tempts Emily to disregard the "Life Force," the better to channel its own dark power (a la Star Wars), while a bounty hunter chases good guys around a city in the clouds (that's Empire Strikes Back) and a mysterious character trains Emily in venerable warrior ways ..."

Maybe there's nothing new under the sun, but whatever. I myself enjoy iconic tropes, and feel that it's all in how they are served up to the reader.

At Sci Fi Signal you can find a list (all too short) of classic and overlooked sci fi from the 1980s and 1990s, and here's another list, of sci fi for kids, at Once Upon a Bookshelf.

The folks at Fantasy Literature pose the question "Why Dragons?", and provide their answers; there's also a giveaway involved.

The 2011 World Fantasy Nominees were announced; here's the beautifully diverse list of novels in contention:

* Zoo City, Lauren Beukes (Jacana South Africa; Angry Robot)
* The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
* The Silent Land, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Doubleday)
* Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay (Viking Canada;Roc;Harper Voyager UK)
* Redemption In Indigo, Karen Lord (Small Beer)
* Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)

I was also pleased to see Bone and Jewel Creatures, by Elizabeth Bear, in the list of novellas (I loved it)

The World Fantasy Awards Lifetime Achievement Winners for 2011 are Peter S. Beagle and Angélica Gorodischer.

And finally, my dear husband (who is watching as I type this) alerted me to the Guardian's look at the new Borrowers animated movie from the same folks that did Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke (do click through--it's a video, and the animation is lovely).


  1. I would be much happier if Christine Brodian Jones talked about when the sequel to The Owl Keeper will be out. ;) I simply adored that book and wish the series would continue!!

  2. Thanks for that round-up! I read Catherynne Valente's story through tor.com. She is an absolute genius. This is a lovely prequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.


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