Bookshelf Bests: Enchantment and Fantasy Worlds (Grades 68)
- Grades: 6–8
Despite all the growing up your middle-school students are doing, there's no need for them to say goodbye to fairy tales and fantasy worlds just yet. Sometimes escaping to places filled with mythical creatures, mystical castles, and bewitching characters is the perfect antidote to adolescent anxieties. So, whether you're planning a fairy tale unit, looking for an enchanting literature circle selection, or identifying spellbinding places for independent readers to explore, these titles are sure to work a little magic. For tips on teaching this literary genre, check out Scholastic's Myths, Folktales, and Fairytales Project.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
What happens when a 12-year-old boy-genius who's a modern-day criminal mastermind kidnaps a dangerous fairy and plans to ransom her for fairy gold? You get an action-adventure-fairy tale with enough thrills, magical creatures, code cracking, and high-tech gadgetry to entrance middle-school boys and girls. This best-selling Artemis Fowl series continues with five more installments: The Arctic Incident, The Eternity Code, The Opal Deception, The Lost Colony, and The Time Paradox. To entice reluctant readers, there's even Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Percy Jackson series revolves around another 12-year-old boy, only this one has ADHD, dyslexia, and a penchant for getting kicked out of school. And one more thing, he just found out he's the son of Poseidon, king of the sea. His mythical ancestry lands him at a summer camp for gods-in-training, and soon he's on a mission to find the thief who stole Zeus's lightning bolt before war breaks out on Mount Olympus. Students will enjoy the fast-paced action and the wise-cracking hero. The many references to Greek mythology connect easily to history and literature lessons on ancient cultures. Extension activity and discussion guide available. Additional books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series include The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, and The Battle of the Labyrinth.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Despite the word "princess" in the title, boys will enjoy this fairy tale as much as girls. The love story between beautiful Buttercup and Westley, a poor farm boy, sets the stage for swashbuckling action among a cast of characters that includes a masked pirate, a Spanish swordsman, a gentle giant, a fast-talking ogre, and an evil prince. The book is peppered with hilarious dialogue and intriguing places (including Fire Swamp, Cliffs of Insanity, and the Zoo of Death) that students won't soon forget. Pair a reading of this classic with a screening of the movie version, a cult hit directed by Rob Reiner.
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
In this medieval tale with a gender twist, Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, switch places so that she can train to become a knight and he can learn sorcery. As if impersonating a boy and keeping up with knights training isn't enough for the brave, headstrong, and adventurous Alanna, she also has to contend with disturbing visions, castle conspiracies, and sinister enemies. An enrapturing tale that continues with In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant.