This month is all about multicultural children’s fantasy books for ages 8-12 (give or take). The reason I don’t feature a lot of chapter books is because Sophia prefers to read fantasy and some science fiction. Obviously, she takes after me.
First of all, it’s difficult to find fantasy books for grades 2-5. Most are geared towards the YA crowd and she’s definitely too young for those. Second, there aren’t a whole lot of fantasy books featuring characters of color, especially for the younger readers. (Book links below are affiliate links.)
I’m happy we discovered Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born (Scholastic) by Brandon Mull. The series is about four children in the world of Erdas who discover they are one of the chosen few who has a spirit animal. This gives both child and animal great power which they will need to save the world. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? Sophia read it in one sitting.
It’s geared for ages 8-12 years and also contains an (optional) online element. There’s a code in the book that kids can enter online where they can discover their spirit animal and play a role playing game. Sophia has been enjoying this element of the book as well. She’s even re-read the book. The second book Spirit Animals Book 2: Hunted is written by Maggie Stiefvater, of The Raven Boys fame. Too bad we have to wait until January 2014 to read it!
Sophia goes in phases when it comes to The Rainbow Magic Fairies series, but I notice that she tends to choose the books that have a fairies that look most like her. Or has darker skin like she does. This goes to show how important it is for kids to see themselves represented in the books they read. Her latest is Sabrina the Sweet Dreams Fairy by Daisy Meadows. I know the text in these books are no longer challenging for her but she still has a soft spot for fairies.
For any aspiring mad scientist, we recommend the Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist Series by Jim Benton. Franny isn’t your average girl. She loves creepy crawlies and dangerous science experiments. Sophia, who wants to be a chemical engineer, absolutely adores this series. There’s currently 7 books, which are in heavy rotation from our library. Who says a girl can’t be a mad scientist AND save the day?
Do your kids like fantasy or science fiction? I’d love to hear what they are reading! Please share if you know of more multicultural children’s fantasy and science fiction books.