Another excellent list of books for kids to read on the blog today. This list is written by Australian author A.L. Tait who last week gave us 25 top books for boys (7-12*). The folks at Readings (famous Melbourne book store) reviewed The Mapmaker Chronicles, the first children’s book by A.L. Tait with glowing praise:
Part fantasy quest, part peril on the high seas, Race to the End of the World is rollicking fun. Not since Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest series has there been such an exciting adventure tale from an Australian author. Echoes of Robinson Crusoe make this feel like a classic with a new twist, and it’s perfect for readers aged 8 to 12 who are looking for some escapism in the sea of contemporary stories. Monsters, stowaways, jealous courtiers and lost islands – this is a great start to a series that promises a lot to come.
I didn’t set out to write a book for boys. Not intentionally. When I started writing The Mapmaker Chronicles, I was writing a book that I’d like to read. Well, younger me. (Okay, still me.)
So I was unsurprised when Ash showed up. Her real name is Aysha, but she goes by Ash, for reasons you’ll discover when you read the book. She’s feisty, she’s brave, she’s clever, she’s… all the things that we want our girls to be reading about. And there she is, right at the heart of a ‘boys’ book’.
Which got me to thinking about all the awesome girls that you’ll find in ‘boys’ stories’ – and all the books for ‘girls’ that boys will love too. To get you started, I made you a list.
The Ranger’s Apprentice series (John Flanagan): Will’s life is peppered with great girls and women. From Alyss, smart and diplomatic, to courageous Evanlyn/Cassie, to Lady Pauline, who unmans the all-knowing Halt.
Brotherband series (John Flanagan): Lydia, who arrives in book two of this series, is strong, confident, and a skilled hunter – which proves very useful.
Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling): I love Hermione. She saves the necks of both Harry and Ron on a regular basis, is the smartest person in the room, and understands the true value of friendship.
Trixie Belden series (Julie Campbell Tatham plus various): Whether you’re a fan of tomboy Trixie or ‘girlie’ Honey Wheeler, these mystery-solving teens are great reading for boys or girls.
A Wrinkle In Time (Madeleine L’Engle): Meg Murry, of the flyaway hair and extensive intelligence, is the female protagonist of this hugely successful science-fiction novel first published in 1962, and a hit with boys and girls alike.
Inkheart series (Cornelia Funke): Mr10 loves this series, which stars Meggie Folchart who, along with her father, a bookbinder named Mo, has the unusual ability to bring characters from books into the real world when reading aloud.
Jamie Reign series (PJ Tierney): While the focus of this book is 12-year-old Jamie Reign, the Last Spirit Warrior, girls will also love his kick-ass friends Lucy and Jade, who are at least as good at martial arts as the boys (if not better).
12+: Tomorrow, When the War Began (John Marsden) (older readers): Told in a first-person narrative by Ellie Linton, this is the story of a small band of teenagers waging a guerilla war after their home town is attacked. A classic for both boys and girls. In 2000, Tomorrow, When The War Began, was selected by the Swedish government as the book most likely to inspire a love of reading in young people.
A. L. Tait is the author of The Mapmaker Chronicles, an exciting adventure trilogy for boys (9+). The first book in the series, The Race To The End Of The World, is on sale now, and you can find out more about it here.
Do you have a favourite strong girl character?