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Magic Books

I am an author. But before I wrote books, I read them. My parents claim I made them read aloud the front matter — the publisher’s address, the Library of Congress data. In elementary school, I added ISBN numbers to the stories I wrote. Those numbers conveyed legitimacy, even if I didn’t know what ISBN […]

Review of Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor High School    Little, Brown    533 pp. 3/17    978-0-316-34168-4    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-316-34164-6    $10.99 Lazlo Strange is a lowly librarian with a keen and singular interest in the mysterious city of Weep, which lost contact with the rest of the world over two […]

The Princess Bride: The “Good Parts”

You know those scarves that are all the rage, the ones covered in portions of text from a book? For once in my life, I feel fashionable, as a dear friend gave me one as a gift. I recognized the text pretty quickly as coming from a book I’ve loved since I was ten: William […]

At the bottom of my garden

Oh, I owe some of you fantasy writers an apology. Over on Twitter, I’ve been pretty hard on your  Capital Letters and apostrophes and archaisms and spelling. Mostly spelling, like “magick,” or, gilding the lily, “enmagick.” And then there’s faery. That’s a spelling that has been the fingernails on my personal chalkboard ever since chalkboards were […]

There — and back again?

The protagonists of these adventures undertake perilous journeys (three of them via ship) in search of fantastical destinations or legendary objects — or just somewhere to belong. Kate Milford’s The Left-Handed Fate begins in 1812, with ship-captain’s daughter Lucy Bluecrowne, her nine-year-old half-brother Liao, and teenage scholar Max Ault aboard the Left-Handed Fate. England is […]

Children’s Books Boston “A Midwinter Night’s Fantasy Panel” recap

Dragons are people, too. Or at least, it’s possible to put so much thought into them as characters that they might as well be. This was just one takeaway from Children’s Books Boston’s “A Midwinter Night’s Fantasy Panel,” in which our own Martha V. Parravano moderated a discussion between authors Kristin Cashore and Tui T. […]

Fantasizing?

Then join Children’s Books Boston on February 23rd as Our Martha leads a conversation with Kristin Cashore and Tui Sutherland about just what’s going on in those big books today. Maybe they will talk about The Naming. Info at this link.           Save

Reading Race and Power in Fantasy

When my daughter was three or four, we would play a computer game together where she would have to choose an avatar to represent herself. To the game’s credit, there were at least twelve options for girls, with all different skin colors and hair colors and styles. Inevitably, my very pale daughter would select a […]

Beyond the world we know | class #4, spring 2017

This week’s topic is “Beyond the world we know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far away places of other worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]

Review of The Silver Gate

The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey Intermediate, Middle School    Tegen/HarperCollins    313 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-239857-4    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-239859-8    $9.99 In Elric’s superstitious feudal village, people think children born with disabilities are changelings; even worse, that they bring down a curse on the community. That’s why Elric’s mother and younger sister, Wynn, with her strange […]