What’s the recipe for a magical adventure? 1. Take an ordinary kid or two (siblings work well) 2. Have them discover they have magical powers – or – have them meet some amazing, magical beings. (Your choice) 3. Present them with a life changing challenge (Saving the world is popular) 4. Mix well and enjoy.
Tick is smart, but a loner at middle-school, preferring his family and the Internet to classmates who either ignore or bully him. Just an ordinary kid - until he gets a mysterious letter that starts him on a strange adventure. The letter explains that Tick and some other selected kids have a choice: help to save the world by solving a puzzle (which could put their lives in danger) or burn the letter and go on with life as usual. Tick is sure that it's a hoax, until he starts getting more clues from some very strange visitors. Determined to solve the puzzle, Tick’s internet research leads him to other kids who received the letter, and they begin to work together in the first book – The Journal of Curious Letters. Continuing series with website: www.the13threality.com
Twelve-year-old Irish genius, Artemis Fowl, must take charge of his family’s fortunes after his criminal mastermind father disappears and his mother sinks into depression. Having discovered the existence of fairies and their magic, Artemis develops a plan to kidnap a fairy and demand gold for her ransom. But he hasn't fully considered the power of the LEPrecon Unit, an elite branch of the fairy police force which will stop at nothing to rescue Captain Holly Short and stop humans from discovering that fairies exist. As the series progresses, readers discover that Artemis is not as evil as he wants people to believe, and not all the fairies are peace-loving and good. Continuing series for grade 5 and up with website: www.artemisfowl.com
In their 12th year, twins Philippa and John start showing some strange abilities and their parents realize it’s time to tell them the truth. Until her marriage, their mother was a genie, and the twins are descended from a powerful djinn family. In The Akhenaten Adventure, the twins are sent to live with their Uncle Nimrod to help them develop and control their powers. The trio travels to Egypt, where they soon find themselves pursued by an evil djinn, Iblis, who thinks Nimrod knows the location of the lost tomb of the Pharaoh Akhenaten. Whoever finds the tomb will have the power to command the 70 djinn who were bound there and use them to shift the balance of power among the djinn tribes from good to evil. A fast paced, Indiana Jones–style adventure follows. Continuing series. www.scholastic.com/titles/childrenofthelamp
Charlie Bone lives with his widowed mother, two grandmothers, and Uncle Paton since his father’s mysterious accident. His life is turned upside down when he discovers that – like other people in his family - he has a special “gift.” Charlie can hear what the people in pictures are saying. His awful grandmother Bone insists he go to live at Bloor’s Academy, where other magically “endowed” children mix with regular children who are exceptionally talented. Charlie soon realizes that the Bloors are evil people and that grandmother Bone is somehow involved with them. In the first book – Midnight for Charlie Bone – Charlie must try to find a kidnapped child hidden among the students at Bloors. He’s helped in this task by Uncle Paton and his new friends – some normal kids, and some endowed with interesting magical powers. The1st series finished with 8 titles, but prequels are coming. Website: www.charlie-bone.com
Young Taran, the assistant keeper of a fortune-telling pig, grumbles with frustration at his job and yearns to go into battle like his hero, Prince Gwydion. In the first title – the Book of Three - Taran meets his hero and soon must set out on a hazardous mission to help the Prince save the land of Prydain from the forces of evil. Along the way, Taran is joined by a bumbling, traveling Bard, and a strange, little creature named Gurgi. They rescue a strong-willed Princess, who befriends a pony-sized cat. Taran’s journeys take him from a boy to a courageous young man who can face the evil, Horned King in battle. The 2nd book, The Black Cauldron, was a Newbery Honor Book, and the fifth & final title, The High King, won the Newbery Medal.
Throughout time, the forces of good and evil have battled continuously. Whenever evil forces grow too powerful, a champion of good is called upon to drive them back. Now, with evil's power rising once again, the three ordinary Drew siblings and Will Stanton, a boy with unknown powers, find themselves at the center of the latest battle. The first book finds the Drew children on a search “Over Sea and Under Stone” for the Holy Grail, one of the six mystical items needed to conquer the Dark. Book two introduces Will, as he discovers his powers and his destiny to battle evil in “The Dark is Rising,” a Newbery award Honor Book. The Grey King, a Newbery winner, introduces the raven boy Bran with his ties to the King Arthur legend. Together, the five children and their mentor, Merriman, must stand against the forces of evil.
Life is already difficult for twelve-year-old Erec Rex, living with his single mother and five siblings in a tiny apartment, and now he finds himself doing odd things he can’t seem to help. When his mother disappears, something commands Erec to go find her, and following the feeling, Erec finds his way into Alypium, a hidden world where magic still exists. In the first book – The Dragon’s Eye - Erec must face a series of challenges involving magic and mythical creatures to save his mother, and possibly, the Kingdom of Alypium itself. Continuing series with website: www.erecrex.com
Four sixth-grade friends, who call themselves the Grey Griffins, meet above Mr. Iverson’s store to play the fantasy game “Round Table.” But when Max accidently releases a real, live fairy creature, the kids realize the game has become deadly serious and the battle they’ve been waging against the ancient evil in the game is actually real. That’s when Max discovers he’s inherited some powerful magical abilities, and it’s up to him to defeat the Shadow King. And along the way, Max’s friends discover some powerful truths about themselves, too. Book 1: Revenge of the Shadow King. Continuing series. www.greygriffins.com
In the kingdom of Jewel, children always wear a chain connecting them to their parents or guardians for protection. Twelve-year-old Goldie Roth can’t wait for the separation ceremony that will free her from her chain. But on that day, a bomb goes off and, fearing the event will be postponed, Goldie cuts the chain herself and runs away. She seeks shelter in the Dunt museum and is given the job of helping to protect the museum’s strange collections. Inside the museum, magicians through the ages have locked away all the dangers that once threatened Jewel. In book 1 - Museum of Thieves - a power hungry politician is trying to release the dangers in order to take-over control of the kingdom, and only Goldie and her new companions stand in his way. Continuing series with website: www.randomhouse.com/kids/keeperstrilogy/home.html
The new gym teacher doesn’t believe that Arthur Penhaligon’s not supposed to run. So Arthur must run - until he drops with a severe asthma attack. Arthur’s sure he’s about to die when strange men appear and give him one hand from a clock. Like magic, Arthur can breathe again. But days later, magical forces from an alternate world begin chasing Arthur to get back the clock-hand, and Arthur discovers that it’s a key of power that formerly belonged to “Mister Monday.” Soon the battle for power in that world threatens to destroy Arthur’s world. So to put an end to the threat, Arthur must enter the alternate world, collect the seven keys of power from all the other ruling “days”, and become its ultimate ruler. The series finished with 7 titles. www.keystothekingdom.com.au
Twelve-year-old Alexa longs to venture outside the high stone walls surrounding the towns and roads of her kingdom. When her elderly friend, one of the builders of the walls, dies unexpectedly while walking with Alexa, she gets his secret key. Days later, she uses the key to explore outside the wall and meets a small man who takes her to his animal friends. Much to her surprise, Alexa can understand the animals’ speech. They tell Alexa how the walls have created trouble for the animals and warn her about an impending attack on the city. They offer to help her prevent the invasion in return for her help in bringing down the walls. 1st book: The Dark Hills Divide Continuing series with website: www.landofelyon.com
When young pickpocket, Conn, tries to steal a magical stone from the pocket of the wizard Nevery, his life takes an amazing turn. The stone should have killed the boy, and Nevery is intrigued that it didn’t. He takes the young Magic Thief home to be his servant, and then, sensing a power in Conn, makes him his apprentice. Nevery has just returned to the city of Willmet to help the other wizards stop the city from losing its magic. Soon Conn is deeply involved in both his education as a wizard – with some funny happenings - and the very serious battle to save the city. Conn’s story continues in two more books. Publisher’s website:
Mack is a pretty ordinary middle-school kid – dealing with teachers, parents, bullies, and some bad phobias. Then two things occur to change his life. First, he saves the life of the school’s chief bully, Stefan, and gets a grateful bodyguard who won’t leave his side. Second, he meets Grimluk, a strange, centuries-old man with magical powers, who wants to enlist Mack to help save the world – again - from the evil, Pale Queen. The first time she was defeated, it took the combined powers of a group of twelve. If Mack answers The Call, his first task in this new fight will be to travel the world with Stefan and gather the twelve kids who will be able to defeat the Pale Queen in this century. And he must do this before her powers have reached their fullest, and before her evil daughter can stop them. New series: www.themag12.com.
After 10-year-old Nathaniel’s adventurer parents are declared lost at sea, he goes to live with his Aunt Phil and learn the family business of mapmaking and beastology. Nate has always avoided adventure, but in the first book - Flight of the Phoenix - he must go with his Aunt to oversee the birth of this mythical bird. When Aunt Phil is kidnapped by the evil Bedouin, Nathaniel and his pet gremlin must take-over for her, to ensure that the phoenix's egg is safely hatched. Nate continues to develop his inner hero and become a beastologist in the adventures that follow. www.nathanielfludd.com
The Strega-Borgias are not your ordinary family. The live in a Scottish castle with a crocodile in the moat, have a dragon and a griffin as pets, and a magical Nanny. 12-year-old Titus is a genius with computers and gadgets, sister Pandora is friends with a spider who talks to her, and baby Damp has a bit of magic herself. Mother is studying to be a witch, and Great-Great-Grandmother is frozen in the dungeon waiting for a cure to old age. In the first book – Pure Dead Magic - Father is missing – kidnapped by his evil brother in a plot to take over the family fortune. But first, Uncle Lucifer must get rid of Titus, who is the next to inherit. Sounds pretty grim, but not for this crazy family. It’s like the Addams family kids battling bad guys with the help of Mary Poppins. Continuing adventures that are full of laughs.
Two children unexpectedly learn that they are not who they always thought they were. Jenna, who was raised with six brothers in the wizarding Heap family, discovers she is actually the Princess of the Kingdom, given to the Heaps to raise as a baby to protect her from the man who killed her mother. And the Heaps were told that their own baby son, Septimus, had died at birth, but the boy-soldier #412 looks amazingly like the other Heap boys. Before the first book (Magyk) ends, Septimus discovers that the 7th son of a 7th son in a wizarding family has strong, magical powers. And Septimus must use his magic to save Princess Jenna from those who still wish to kill her. Continuing series with website: www.septimusheap.com
When Sabrina and Daphne Grimm’s parents disappear, they are sent to live with a grandmother they never met. They soon learn that they are descendents of the famous fairy-tale collector Wilhelm Grimm, and that he collected more than just stories about fairies. To protect the few remaining magical beings he discovered, Wilhelm transported them across the ocean to New York state, and then he charged his family with keeping watch over the magical creatures forever. In the first book – The Fairy-tale Detectives – Sabrina and Daphne become involved in a mystery that involves giants, pixies, fairies and witches. Continuing series with a website: www.sistersgrimm.com
Cara’s Grandmother always wears a locket which she claims contains unicorn hair. Now that she’s eleven, Cara has her doubts, but she still wants to believe. So one day, when Cara and Grandmother realize they are being hunted by a dangerous man, Cara bravely follows Grandmother up a bell tower and obeys her strange orders to escape him. “Hold the amulet, say “take me to Luster,” and jump.” So Cara leaps Into the Land of the Unicorns - and into an amazing adventure in which she becomes friends with a dragon and other odd creatures, and eventually meets the Unicorn Queen. But Luster and the unicorns are under a dangerous threat from an evil, vengeful witch who wants to destroy them. So Cara must to tap into her courage and her heritage to save Luster and her new friends. Series finished with four books.
E Franklin 4/11