Last year this time, I was excitedly participating in Children’s Book Week with posts every day. I looked forward to the release of Dragon’s Future as if in a daze. Since then, I’ve had four books published. This last weekend, my publisher announced it was closing. I’m frantically trying to figure out the realm of self-publishing. So, this year, I’m almost blindsided by Children’s Book Week. I thought giving a list of great kids’ books that I’ve personally read in the last year would be a good start to the week. So, here goes.
Godsland series by Brian Rathbone
I was introduced to the Godsland series last year when I met Brian Rathbone via Twitter. I’ve read the first three books and instantly fell in love with the style of writing. I’d recommend the series as a read-aloud to any child ages 8 and above. Anyone ages 12 and up should be able to read it on their own.
Catrin Volker dreams of a peaceful life training horses. It’s not to be. Comets appear in the night skies, announcing the return of a goddess. While trying to save her friend from bullies, Catrin unknowingly triggers powerful, ancient magic, and fulfills a prophecy that says she will destroy entire nations. Her quest for peace captures the imagination with fantastical landscapes, magic and dragons.
Brian Rathbone believes in having a PG Twitter and Facebook feed. His books live up to that standard. His humor follows through in the stories as well. Definitely a must read for Children’s Book Week.
Imaginary Boy by Mark Eldrich
I first read the blurb for this book and was immediately intrigued. Rarely do you read a book where the main character has a major disability. In the Imaginary Boy Benji uses a cane. He also has some kind of disfigurement, but the reader never really learns what that is. What impressed me is that Benji’s disability really isn’t the main point of the story, and yet it is. Okay, I’m speaking in riddles here. Benji is limited by what he can or cannot do; however, the author does a wonderful job of not belittling his character. Once I picked it up on sale and began to read it, I wasn’t able to put it down! I’d recommend it for any read aloud or to read on your own.
Eleven-year-old Benji Saintaubin dreams of becoming a hero like the ones in the books he reads while banished in the dark attic of his family home. But those heroes are all strong and handsome, not like Benji who uses a crutch and hides his disfigured face. When his father dies, leaving behind an unfinished story about an imaginary boy who must defeat a cruel and mighty dragon, Benji’s safe and secluded world is turned upside down.
After venturing out of the attic and onto the perilous streets of 19th century London, Benji finds himself separated from his mother in a frightening and unfamiliar world. Nearly trampled to death and sold into slavery, Benji comes to believe his father’s story may be more fact than fiction after his captor reveals a dragon-tail tattoo around his arm and plans that could destroy Benji. If he ever hopes to escape, be reunited with his mother and finish his father’s cryptic story, Benji must trust that a crippled boy can discover the unseen power needed to defeat a brutal and powerful dragon.
Join Benji on his treacherous journey in this compelling, edgy and inspiring middle-grade novel by debut author Mark Eldrich.
I will give you a warning that this book may be out of stock come June 1. I have assurances that the author will republish it, but the publisher is going out of business.
Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H.L. Burke
For those of you who attended my Facebook parties for the Dragon Courage series, the name H.L. Burke will ring a bell. I picked up this book and read it over the course of two or three lunch breaks. It was a fun read that I’d recommend for any age even though it is designed for the young adult bracket. Nyssa is a young gal who is blackmailed into doing another breaking and entry job. What she finds will change her life! The story is steampunk style and would fit perfectly into a Hayao Miyazaki film.
Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician’s apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job. No one has entered Professor Dalhart’s secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she’ll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?
Krillonian Chronicles by Annie Douglass Lima
I found out about this series in a Facebook group for clean indie fantasy. Annie ask for help with the launch of book two, The Gladiator and the Guard. The blurb didn’t really grab my attention. It sounded like a good read, but did I really need to add it to my To-Be-Read list? I didn’t think so. However, the more I saw the cover, the more I heard about Annie, the more I thought why not give it a shot? Then The Gladiator and the Guard went on sale for Kindle. I purchased it, finished out another book during lunch, and started this book about Bensin. The story drug me into this strange world. It’s not quite fantasy and it’s not sci-fi, but it’s good. Bensin is a slave that is about ready to win his freedom. A twist of events throws him into the arena as a gladiator. I am loving how the story is unfolding and how Bensin’s character is growing. The balance between what is right and wrong comes across clean and clear. This book is great for anyone ages 10+.
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
Well, I could go on and I’ve listed several different books that all are good reads in other blog posts. So, I’ll let you go find them instead of adding them here. Feel free to share with me what your favorite children’s books are.