Great adventurous holiday reads for stocking stuffers!
Recently I was walking out of a school and I overheard some moms lamenting the fact that there’s “so little good fiction for middle grade.” I’ll bet my eyes bugged out a bit since I write upper middle grade fantasy and love to read super adventures. “All my son will read is about underpants or gross comedy.” They’re really missing out. Since I know of some wonderful books, and great authors, and perhaps you’re looking for a fun book to read or recommend to a friend who’s a tween or teen, here’s some of my favorite, non-romance (or low-romance), clean-read kinds of books for kids. I’ve highlighted some super adventure series, two books that will really change your outlook on life with an eye toward faith in challenges, and a great series that’s just been put on audio in time for the holidays, as well as some favorites from friends who write Christian fiction.
Adventures, mysteries, pirates, humor, faeries, loaded with all the good things…
I could decorate a whole table with some of the amazing series that are out there – so I did!
Some favorites I’m serving up include:
- Shannon Messenger – Keeper of the Lost Cities – A wonderful adventure about a girl who discovers she’s an elf and their quest to save the world. This has grown into a six book series and brings you to all kinds of amazing lands and towers made of gems. Fantastic! Here’s a link to my interview with her too: HERE.
- Polly Shulman – The Wells Bequest – such a fun series with a magical library filled with elements and objects from fairy tales.
- Jessica Day George – Tuesdays In The Castle – a magic castle come to life!
- Gail Carson Levine – A Tale of Two Castles series – by the end you feel you’ve got your own dragon for a friend – and the original Ella Enchanted which I think is even better than the movie!
- Caroline Carlson – The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates – an oh-so-funny and fun pirate story of a young girl whose best friend is a magic gargoyle and wants to be a pirate more than anything. So funny and witty.
- S.E. Grove – The Mapmaker’s Trilogy – the most amazing mapmaker creates maps of a world that’s split into different time periods and maps on anything – fabric, puzzles, glass. Such a moving series. The first book has some scary scenes, so I’d mark this for older kids.
- Brock Eastman – Taken and The Quest for Truth whole series – a great out-of-this-world series especially for boys (girls will like it too though) and there’s more below. You feel like you’re really on a world full of blue people and get to ride in a rocket. Great descriptions and action-packed.
- Peter Lerangis – has a new series called Max Tilt – I just read the first one and it’s super. A retelling of Jules Verne stories from his grandson’s perspective with his own adventures. Of course, his other series are super too. Lots of monsters and Greek myths in those!
- Ted Bell – Nick of Time – Think time leaps, World War II, pirates, incredible descriptions. Great adventure for boys with hidden history gems inside. What would it be like if you lived on an island in the middle of WWII and found a box with a magical time-travel instrument inside?
- Lissa Evans – Horten’s Incredible Illusions – Oh how wonderful this is, especially if you have a kid interested in magic tricks and science. A great tale and series.
- (There’s two more in the photo, can you find them??)
Two books that encourage good character…
One year, when my son had a broken ankle and was sad to miss out on baseball, we listened to these two stories on audible and read it together. Both are classics and will leave you a changed person.
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli is a classic and all about a young boy who’s injured during the middle ages and can’t go away to become a knight. He’s taught by a skilled person and ends up saving many people with an unexpected twist (I’m not giving away). But this one is perfect if you’ve had a less-than-perfect year or are feeling different. Perhaps what makes you seem or feel weak now, can be put to use to help others later in life. Hinds’ Feet on High Places is another classic by Hanna Hurnard and an allegory about following faith during the hardest seasons of loss in life. Again, the theme of what seems to be a loss can later turn out to help others is illustrated so beautifully when the main character overcomes fear and lives in freedom.
Driving around fun….
We spend too much time in the car, but love turning that time into an adventure. I was thrilled to find out Brock Eastman’s series, The Quest for Truth, had been made into audio books. We’re listening to the first one, Taken, right now. It’s fun to listen to with my teen and tween and then discuss what we think it would be like to know blue people from another world!
Amazing worlds for kids with a Christian emphasis….
Three more special mentions include a world under a church yard, the Books of the Gardener series by Lauren Brandenburg and a world of faeries, Bellanok, by Ralene Burke. (To see my interview with Ralene Burke and other YA authors click HERE. Also The Blue Door and many other books by Christa Kinde. These are great authors and wonderful to follow on-line!
So, next time you hear someone complaining about a lack of books for their friends or kids, please come visit my Goodreads, which has reviews of great books HERE. I continually add new reads to it on a regular basis in many categories.
Do you have any more to add to the list? I’d love to see your favorites in the comments below!