[DWJ] recommendations

Lucy Pearson lucy.r.pearson at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 07:25:19 EDT 2013

Hi all,

I think it would be a shame to rule out Tanora Pierce on the basis of the
more mature texts. The Circle of Magic books stand alone pretty nicely;
it's up to the parent, really, but I would be more inclined to have the
conversation with my child about waiting a few years to read the later
ones. (Actually, I didn't know the Will of the Empress books existed till
just now, so it might not be the case that she came across them!) Also, my
experience as a child was that I tended to skim the sexy bits of series
that went to more mature places!

Can't recommend the Earthsea books highly enough. I adored the early texts
as a child and have just binged on the whole completed series. What I
especially love is that the later books really force you to examine the
problematic aspects of the earlier books, so you actually experience the
process of reevaluating entrenched beliefs and the pain involved in
relinquishing things that you adore.

I also really love Cynthia Voigt. Her Tillerman series is not fantasy but
is perfect reading for a ten-year-old. I got the first book in a book fair
when I was about 7 and I am still rereading the series with pleasure 25
years on. One of the books in that series is told from the perspective of
an African American character (who features in the other books as well). It
deals very directly with the issue of racism. I think it does a very good
job, but I'd be interested to hear from a POC about how the character of
Mina works for them. (I do think that the Mina book, 'Come a Stranger', is
slightly more situated in its particular time period because it refers to
some particular issues and trends. But that doesn't really matter.) Cynthia
Voigt has also written quite a few fantasy books, but I don't know this
series so well and have a sense it may be aimed at slightly older readers.


On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 12:38 AM, Janet Eastwood <janet.eastwood at hotmail.com
> wrote:

> You'll have to forgive me if I repeat what others have said; I can't
> remember what all has been mentioned by now.
> The problem with Tamora Pierce's Circle books is that while the original
> Circle are okay for middle readers, the later books (Circle Opens and The
> Will of the Empress) are in places very explicit. It might be hard to keep
> a ten year old from reading the less child-appropriate material if she
> likes the first four (I feel like I'm being a censor here, but it's hard
> not to cringe at the thought of a ten year old reading about Briar's sex
> life, even though I read about Alanna's at not much older).
> The Perilous Gard is a lot of fun, I'm glad somebody brought that one up.
> I'd also recommend Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. Zita (and sequel The
> Legends of Zita) is a graphic novel about a young girl (somewhere between
> six and ten, I'd guess) who ventures into space/another world to save her
> best friend, who has been kidnapped - and it's (partly) her fault. Zita is
> spunky with a beautiful sense of agency. She's got definite heroic
> qualities as well as a few that make her a less than perfect child.
> Merrie Haskell - The Princess Curse; Handbook for Dragon Slayers.
> Megan Whalen Turner - Instead of Three Wishes; The Thief (and sequels).
> The Thief's sequels are probably a bit old for a ten year old, but
> definitely put these on the list for when she is a bit older. Turners
> characters, plots, and world-building are exquisitely done. And she had the
> excellent taste to dedicate the fourth Thief book, A Conspiracy of Kings,
> to DWJ :)
> Brian Jacques? Not that his Redwall saga are perfect, but I loved them.
> Kenneth Oppel - Silverwing and sequels.
> Kit Pearson - recently, A Perfect Gentle Knight.
> Sarah Ellis - Pick Up Sticks (and others).
> Cornelia Funke - not all of her work is great for younger children (or at
> least, not for those who like happy endings; I still don't like the
> Inkheart series). But Igraine the Brave, which features a young (ten or
> so?) girl who wants to be a knight, while her older brother takes after
> their wizardly parents, is fantastic.
> Kate Coombs - The Runaway Princess. Fifteen year old Meg resents being
> offered as a prize to any prince who can perform three tasks, so she and
> her friends decide to foil the princes by saving the poor, helpless dragon,
> witch, and bandits...
> Lawrence Yep - Ribbons (and sequels) is about a half-white, half-Asian
> girl living in the states, who more than anything else, wants to dance
> ballet.
> Sharon Creech - Castle Corona and pretty much everything else.
> Barry Deutsch - Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (and sequels). Mirka is
> a girl in an Orthodox Jewish community, and she wants to slay dragons and
> be a hero. Graphic novel.
> Cynthia Voight - Bad Girls is the only thing I've read by her, but I
> enjoyed it: two fifth-grade girls refuse to put up with the class bully,
> and wreak havoc throughout the school year.
> Karen Cushman - Catherine, Called Birdy and other books set in the middle
> ages. Bold protagonists.
> Kate DiCamillo - Because of Winn-Dixie; The Tale of Despereaux
> I'm sorry that most of these feature white protagonists; most of the books
> I've read that don't are either too young or much too old for a ten year
> old. Oh and Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (sixteen year old
> Indo-American girl trying to figure herself - and everything else - out
> during the summer before grade twelve) on the list for a few years later.
> Also, Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty.
> Janet
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj

Lucy Pearson, Lecturer in Children's Literature
Newcastle University Children's Literature Unit

More information about the Dwj mailing list