SW Original Trilogy

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD: Must-Have Graphic Novels for Kids

Recently a teacher friend asked me for my list of “must-have” graphic novels for her classroom (5th and 6th graders). Graphic novels are fun for a lot of kids. While some folks feel like it’s not “real reading,” that is not really true. With graphic novels, students get to practice thinking through the sequencing of a story. Visual learners get a lot of material to work with as they read the pictures as well as the text. Graphic novels can give extra support to kids who are still working on word decoding because the pictures support the text. They can introduce kids to material they might not try otherwise, but they explore because of this format. And for kids who feel like reading is a chore, graphic novels can make reading feel like fun.

Here is the list I gave her for my personal “must have” graphic novels:

Autobiographies

Some of the most popular graphic novels for this age group are autobiographies. Raina Telgemeier is maybe the best known for telling her personal stories in this format. When I was teaching, her books were always checked out from the library from the first day of check outs to the end of the school year. Many kids think of biographies and autobiographies as dry books that someone will have to force them to read. These books challenge that impression. You can read my review of Real Friends here.

Fantasy

I personally read a lot of fantasy, so these graphic novels are ones I read and enjoy. Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy and The Lightning Thief are both based on novels. The Wings of Fire book series is 10 books long to date, with book 11 releasing this summer. The Rick Riordan mythology books have been around for years. Three of the original Percy Jackson books have been released as graphic novels, too. His entire Egyptian mythology series, The Kane Chronicles, as well as two books in the Heroes of Olympus series have been released in this format as well. HiLo is an original series that I fell in love with when I was teaching. I’ve reviewed the DC Super Hero Girls GN series here on the blog before. I received the Star Wars graphic novels for Christmas (one volume for the original trilogy, another for the prequels, and a stand alone book for The Force Awakens). I love the art style in these and I know my students would have loved these too.

Nonfiction

Some of my students had the idea that nonfiction books were a drag. Thankfully there are a lot of visually appealing nonfiction books being introduced for kids, including these two series of graphic novels. Science Comics covers a variety of topics from dogs to dinosaurs to volcanoes and rockets. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales cover different time periods in history. Readers will find some swearing in these books as the author directly quotes some historical figures. This series has covered Harriet Tubman, Nathan Hale, World War II and other topics.

Miscellaneous

These final recommendations were “maybes” for my friend. The Action Bible is a graphic novel of the Bible which we had in the school library. I thought it was a great way to get reluctant students to check out the Bible for themselves (I taught at a Christian school). Binky the Space Cat is targeted for a younger reader than my friend is teaching. But the stories I think still work for older elementary students. My younger readers zeroed in on Babymouse and the Lunch Lady graphic novels and sometimes missed Binky. I still love this series and think it is great for kids of any age. I have blogged about Phoebe and her Unicorn many times. These are more comic strip books than graphic novels that tell essentially one story from start to finish. The quality and humor make them perfect for the older elementary crowd. Finally, there is a graphic novel for A Wrinkle in Time. I have not read it (yet!), but with the movie releasing later this year, it could be a terrific addition to a classroom (or home) library.

List of Cages

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD: My 2017 Favorites

I read a lot of books every year.  I like to keep track of what I read every year and see how it stacks up to years before. Here are some of my reading statistics for 2017.

2017 Stats


Through the course of 2017 I read 308 books.  There were 26 more that I started but did not finish.

Of those 308, the break down for target audience is

  • 127 adult
  • 98 middle grade
  • 63 teen/young adult
  • 10 picture books/early readers
  • 9 transitional chapter books
  • as well as 19 graphic novels for various ages

The genre breakdown (some books are counted in two categories) is

  • 77 mystery
  • 73 realistic
  • 72 fantasy
  • 35 science fiction
  • 18 romance
  • 17 non-fiction
  • 6 Christian fiction
  • 5 Christmas
  • 4 historic fiction
  • 3 memoirs/autobiographies
  • 2 dystopian
  • 3 suspense

This year most of the books I read were from the library (104). I read 59 books from my To Be Read shelves (which are overflowing), as well as 58 advanced reader copies from publishers. I also re-read 47 favorites this year.

I read more fantasy and nonfiction last year and more realistic fiction and science fiction this year. And I can see what difference not teaching has made in my reading. Last year I read a lot more picture books and early readers. This year there were more books for teens and adults.

 

2017 Favorites!!


I read a lot of books every year. I often don’t remember all the details, but I remember how they made me feel. I remember which books follow me throughout the year – how I feel when I see them in the bookstore or library or online. These are the ones I want to go back and read again. These are the ones I recommend over and over and over.

You can see my list of favorites from 2016 here. Last year I had five middle grade books, two YA books, and three books for adults (all fiction). When I went back through my list of the 300+ books I read in 2017, I came up with 50 that were candidates for the best of the year. I whittled that list down to ten – only one middle grade this time, five YA books, two adult fiction books and two nonfiction. And here they are:

10. Nothing to Prove – A fantastic non-fiction book. I hope to read it again this year and complete the Bible study that goes with it. You can read a little about this here and my full review here.

 

 

 

9. Barking Up the Wrong Tree – I loved this romance book, second in a series. I reviewed the third and final book in the series earlier this week. You can read my review of book one here. Book 2 is even better than the first! I enjoyed the chemistry between the main characters.

 

 

 

8. Draw the Circle – This is a forty day prayer journey. This is one I will go back to again and again. You can read a little about this book here. I’ll be doing a full review later in 2018.

 

 

 

7. Alien Education – This is book 15 in the Alien series by Gini Koch. This is my favorite fiction series. I included book 14 in my list last year. Book 16 releases in February. I just finished a re-read of the whole series, and I was struck again by how fun this particular book is. I know it is because so much of the story centers on the kids. I can’t wait to see what happens next!  You can read my thoughts about this book here.

 

 

 

6. The Names They Gave Us – This book stuck with me all year because there were so many times in it where I felt known and understood in the description of the main character. You can read my review here.

 

 

 

5. It’s Not Me, It’s You – This book was not at all what I expected – in all the best ways! I loved the unusual format and the terrific characters. I actually have two books by this author on my list for 2017! You can read my review here.

 

 

 

4. Greetings from Witness Protection – This has a fantastic premise and the main character is a delight. I hope there will be more books with these characters. You can read my review of this one here.

 

 

 

3. Letters to the Lost – Another fantastic book for teens and young adults. I am chomping at the bit for her new book that comes out this spring since this one was so great! You can read my review here.

 

 

 

2. Prince in Disguise – This was a late addition to my list as it came out in December. Reading it was like eating a favorite dessert. I savored each page, giggling. The writing is so smart and the characters are delightful. This is the second book I have on my list from Stephanie Kate Strohm. You can read my full review here.

 

 

 

#1 – A List of Cages – Oh, this book. Whenever I see it I think about how the characters impacted me. They have followed me all year long. It’s a difficult read, but worth every tear and every tissue. You can read my review here.

 

 

 

As always, if you are looking for even more fantastic books, you can always check out my Five Star Reviews to see all of my favorites! I had a hard time choosing only 10 from all the terrific books in 2017. I have high hopes for great reading in 2018!

 

Enjoying Jesus

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD: Spiritual Growth Resources from 2017

I have had fantastic luck this year finding terrific spiritual growth resources. I wanted to highlight a handful of them here today. These would make great Christmas gifts.

Draw the Circle – A 40-day prayer challenge. This was inspiring! I would have preferred to read it cover to cover because I enjoyed the writing so much, but I’m so glad I took it one day at a time.

Enjoying Jesus – This study on spiritual disciples from the folks at IF: Equip was exceptional. I completed the study with the folks at IF, and I enjoyed the videos that went along with the study. I have tried a lot of studies this year, trying to replicate the experience I had completing this study.

Enough – I chose “enough” as my word for 2017. Our pastor’s wife posted about this study  on Facebook, and as soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to try the study. It was excellent. I felt like I was able to split the sessions into polite-sized chunks to cover a portion each day and really dig into the material. I wanted to go deeper, not just check something off a list. I have a second study by these same folks waiting on my shelf for 2018.

Nothing to Prove – I read this with a group that was meeting each week on Facebook with the author. It was a timely book, working with my word for the year, “enough.” And I have purchased the Bible study that goes with this so I can spend more time with the material in 2018. You can read my review of the book here.

She’s Still There – Proverbs 31 hosted a study of this book that included videos and conference calls. The entire experience was excellent! I grew so much from working through this book. I’ll be reviewing this in 2018.

The Wellness Revelation – This may be the resource that impacted me most this year. This 8-week journey toward lifestyle change and pursuing wholeness was like a breath of fresh air. I’ll also be reviewing this in 2018. I highly recommend this book!

Merry and Bright

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD: Christmas books for 2017

I’ve mentioned before that this is my favorite time of the reading year because all of the new holiday books releasing in the fall. I love watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books to help me get into the spirit of the season. I’m not going to include descriptions for all of these. But the covers are usually what grabs my attention anyway! Many of these have been highlighted in Book News over the last few weeks if you want to know more about these stories.

For Kids

For Older Kids/Teens/Young Adults

For Adults

             

Unicorn of Many Hats

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD: York Children’s Literature Festival.

A few weeks ago I attended a local Children’s Literature Festival (you can see my post from last year here) and it was delightful!

There were four authors/illustrators this year – John David Anderson, Jeff Stone, Louise Borden and Loren Long.

I was most excited to hear from John David Anderson. I have read – and loved – several of his books. His presentation was inspiring and a lot of fun! The pop culture references – like Star Wars and Harry Potter – were so fun. It really solidified my high opinion of him. Anderson does skype visits with schools for FREE. If I was a writing teacher, I would get on his schedule asap because he had great things to say about his writing process.

Jeff Stone was a new author to me. I have seen his books in book stores, but I have not read them. Since my son does taekwondo, I was interested in the pieces of his talk that centered on his own martial arts training (he has a black belt in kung fu) and how he wove that into his stories. He has one series that takes place in the past and another that is contemporary. If I was still teaching, I would put these books into the hands of kids who love adventure stories as well as the ones interested in martial arts.

I hadn’t heard Louise Borden speak before but I was familiar with her book on the back story of the author of Curious George. Borden’s presentation felt like she was reading a book; there was a lovely rhythm to her talk. And the research she does for her books made me want to run to the library and start researching something myself. Her presentation was inspiring. If you are looking for excellent nonfiction picture books, look up her material.

Loren Long was the only illustrator in attendance this year. I had never read an Otis book before the conference, but I was familiar with his art work from the covers of Otis books, which I have seen in bookstores, as well as his work on the Obama book, Of Thee I Sing, and Matt de la Pena’s 2018 release, Love. My favorite part of the presentation was when he talked about the evolution of Otis, from his first sketch to the final product.

Any of these four folks would be amazing presenters at schools. If you are a teacher or librarian, be sure to check them out!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD – Books about Books

I am such a book geek. And I say that with pride. I love finding people and authors and communities that love books as much as I do. Here are some books – for all ages – that share a love of books, reading and bookish places.

Books for Kids


Bunny’s Book Club – There are a couple books on this list that are TBRs rather than books I have read. This is one of those. I haven’t found this one in person to check it out, but it looks perfect. I hope to read this one soon.
Doris the Bookasaurus – Doris’ love of books is annoying to her little brothers because it keeps her from playing with them. When she shows them a book they love, though, everything changes. This is darling.
Library Lion – I always looked forward to reading this story about a lion in the library to my students. It’s lovely, and students really connect with it.
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Madeline struggles with reading, but a program at the library where she can practice her reading with a dog helps her grow as a reader. This is delightful. You can read my review here.
Wild About Books – This is one of the picture books we often by for new babies. Sure, it’s not a book they can enjoy right away, but it is such a great love letter to books that we are confident families will grow to love it like we did. This was another favorite to read aloud when I was teaching.

Books for Older Kids/Teens


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – The epitome of books about books! This outstanding middle grade story about kids competing in a book-based contest in a futuristic library has been a hit with every student I ever handed it to. Book 3 in the series comes out this fall and a movie of this first book will be coming to Nickelodeon soon.
Finding Serendipity – First in a series about a girl who discovers a land where stories live. In book one, Serendipity gets help finding her missing mother by the main character in her mother’s famous books. I enjoyed sharing this series with students.
Fish in a Tree – The main thing I remember about this book is the origin of the title which is a quote reportedly from Einstein that says if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will always think it is stupid. The main character in this book has dyslexia and finally has a persistent and observant teacher who discovers it and helps her. This was a fantastic story!
The Losers Club – I just finished this AWESOME story (I’m still trying to find a review slot for it here on the blog). At the center of the story is a boy who is getting in trouble every day at school – for reading. So he starts a club for kids who want to read, but he calls it the Losers Club so a lot of people don’t join and mess up his quiet reading time. Not only did the story highlight reading, but it also talked about a lot of books kids might enjoy.
The School Story – Andrew Clements wrote The Losers Club and also The School Story which is about a girl who writes a book and secretly tries to get it published. This is one of my favorite early Clements stories along with Frindle, No Talking and The Last Holiday Concert.
Bookishly Ever After – Earlier this year I reviewed this book for older teens about a book nerd who tries to use the characters from her favorite books to help her negotiate a romance.
I Kill the Mockingbird – I adore this book about a group of teens who hide copies of To Kill a Mockingbird in order to get everyone talking about it.  While this one is written for a middle grade audience, I found that my older students connected with this better than the younger ones. This works for all teens.

Books for Adults


Classified as Murder – This is the second book (my favorite) of the Cat in the Stacks mystery series about a college librarian who works in the archives. Fantastic mystery series, terrific cat that adds a fun component to the series. Here you can read a review of the most recent book in the series.
A Dark and Stormy Murder – Outstanding mystery series about two writers collaborating on books while solving mysteries. You can read my review here.
The Eyre Affair – This is the other book on this list I have not read. I have several of the books in this series about a literary detective, but I haven’t tried it yet. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s Nursery Crimes series.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – This nonfiction book is laugh-out-loud funny while also being a little sad when it comes to true stories from folks who work with books.
The Writing Desk – I recently read this fantastic Christian novel about two writers in different time periods and the ways their stories connect. Excellent.

 

Do you have any favorite books about books?

Tracking notebook

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD – TBR management

In my experience, voracious readers develop systems to keep track of their reading lives – what they have read and what they hope to read. I have tried many different systems over the years to keep track. Some have worked well and others have been busywork but not very helpful. Here are the systems I am using today to keep track of my reading life.

READING NOTEBOOK – My first tool is a reading notebook. I have been keeping one since 2007, so I have a lot of material to go back through when I am feeling nostalgic or if I want to check on a book I read ages ago. Initially I wrote detailed reviews in these notebooks, but now I generally note a rating, age level/format (picture book, middle grade, adult), genre (mystery, scifi, dystopian, nonfiction), source (TBR, library, ARC) and any red flags that might matter if I recommend this to someone (alternate lifestyle, language, trigger warnings, etc.). This notebook allows me to track my reading stats for the year, track progress on reading challenges, etc.

 

PHONE: Another tool I use all the time is my phone. I use it to take screenshots of books I read about online (like this one from Twitter) so I can go back and look it up at another time. Since I want to buy 10x more books than I can at any given time, I also take pictures of titles at the book store so I can remember them later.

 

 

TRACKING NOTEBOOKS – I adore writing things down, and in order to keep track of all the things I write, I use various notebooks. These three get used the most for my reading life. One I use for writing up reviews for the blog. I feel like my posts are much better when I write them fresh after finishing the book. If I try to do it a couple days later, the reviews feel flat and repetitive. I use another for setting up my Monday BOOK NEWS posts about upcoming books. The third is where I transcribe all the titles from the pictures on my phone. Then I can regularly clean off the photos and clear up space on my phone. The titles are saved until I do a batch of research on them every few weeks.

NOTECARDS – Lately I am a 4×6 notecard fiend. I use them for everything! These sets here are part of my ongoing tracking system. One set tracks the days I have scheduled my reviews. This helps me when I need to move things around to accommodate a new ARC in the schedule so I can post my review as close to release day as possible. Another set includes one card for each ARC so I can keep track of where it is (kindle, computer), when the book releases, when the ARC is archived, and when I post various reviews. Before I started this, I would send a book to my Kindle and I would forget about it. It would sit there, unread, until it was archived. This system is helping me stay on track. When I finish reading those books, they move to a second stack where I track them until all of the reviews have been posted (some sites let you post reviews early and others make you wait until release day). I have another stack for books I want to request from the library. I can only request three e-books per day, and I often have 2-3 times that after a strong BOOK NEWS week. This is where I jot the titles down so when I am ready to request a few more books, I know which ones were top of my list.

GOODREADS: Goodreads is a great place for me to track books I would like to read someday. I don’t do as much with my to-read list as I do with my notecards, but Goodreads will flag things for me based on what’s on my lists, so I try to keep up with it.

 

 

BOOK CRAWLER – This is the app I use to keep track of books as I buy them. I keep up with this probably 80% of the time. My hope is that this will keep me from buying a book more than once, but that still happens now and then. I’m not as good about deleting books off of the app when I get rid of them. When it comes down to a couple free hours when I can do that, I usually decide to read instead. 

 

 

PAPERLESS – Paperless is a list-making app that we use for everything from tracking what we need from the store to the list of errands for the day or what TV seasons we have on DVD. I used to use Paperless – or Evernote – to track all of my upcoming releases. Then, when I bought something, I would just check it off. Now that I am not teaching, and therefore not buying books as often, it was simpler to go to this system where each month is one checklisted item. Inside that item I can list the books I want to buy that month. Now that my local bookstore has stopped setting new releases off in their own section, I needed a place to track authors, too, along with the titles, so having this list is much easier than relying on my brain. I can sometimes forget to update this, but when I know I am heading to the bookstore soon, I am quick to check in and make sure I have all the titles I want to check out.

 

So, how about you? How do you keep track of your reading life?

 

 

Unicorn of Many Hats

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD – Service Dog Stories

I’ve noticed a trend lately of stories with service dogs central to the plot. I have read several of them and have really enjoyed them, so I thought I would  collect some of them here. If you have enjoyed any of these, you might enjoy some of the others!

Sadie: The Dog Who Found the Evidence – These early reader books are great for introducing kids to stories about service dogs. In this series are also books about a dog named Gabe who is a military dog and one named Stella who is a therapy dog.

 

 

Ranger in Time  – This is a terrific series for elementary school readers about Ranger, a dog who almost passed the service dog training (darn squirrels). Now, thanks to a magical first aid box, Ranger travels in time to disasters and helps kids. Book one is Rescue on the Oregon Trail. This is book pictured is the most recent Ranger story.

 

 

Dog Diaries: Barry – In the Dog Diaries series, the dogs tell their own stories. In Barry, kids can read about a St Bernard who rescues travelers in the snowy Swiss Alps.

 

 

 

Chester and Gus – I adored Chester! Chester is adopted by a family to help their severely autistic son, Gus. You can read my review here.

 

 

Ellie’s Story – Ellie tells her own story here about becoming a search and rescue dog. It’s a cute, fun, emotional story from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed Ellie’s voice throughout.

 

 

A Dog Like Daisy – This is a new release from June. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds fantastic. Again, the dog gets to tell the story. This time, Daisy is working as a therapy dog for a veteran with PTSD.

 

 

Hero – Hero is a series of books, two so far, with a third releasing this fall. In this book, Hero is a retired search and rescue dog who has to use his skills to save a puppy. In book two, Hero has to find a boy and the puppy during a hurricane.  This series sounds great for kids who love adventure stories and dog stories.

 

 

Secret Service Dogs – For adults, here is a highly rated book about the dogs used in the Secret Service to protect the president and our country.

 

 

 

If you are a fan of heroic stories starring dogs, be sure to check these out!

Summer Challenge 2017

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD – My Summer Reading Plan

I am a planner by nature.

I always have a to do list, and I faithfully check things off as they are completed. Summer is a prime time for me to make a few lists.

There’s the list of projects I want to finish while school is not in session. Then I have the list of fun things I want to be sure we do before school starts up again. And finally, I have my summer reading plan.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post about summer reading recommendations, a list or a challenge isn’t a great idea for every reader. For some folks, that would make the reading seem like a chore. But I LOVE a challenge. I was the kid who loved the March of Dimes reading challenge at school or who responded well to a sticker chart. Anything where I could track my achievements.

So I set a reading challenge every year in January, and I have another one that covers my summer reading. Here are some of the things on my 2017 Summer Reading Plan:

#Bookaday


If you are on Twitter, you can find a number of teachers tweeting about their reading year-round, but especially in the summer, with this hashtag. The idea is to try to read one book for every day of your “summer” (and you get to choose what qualifies as “summer). This year, my summer will run from June 5 to July 30, which is 56 days. This is pretty standard for me. It gives me a week or so after the school year ends to do whatever I want, which usually includes some reading, but is less structured for the transition from school year to summer. This also gives me whatever non-school days I can get at the start of August to shift my thinking from summer back to school year. So, my #bookaday goal this summer is to read at least 56 books.  The library is a great resource for #bookaday, although my TBR shelves at home easily hold 56 books.

Classics


I tend to read in pretty rigid categories. I like new books – the newer the better – and I stick with mysteries and fantasy/science fiction with some realistic fiction thrown in. This summer, I am challenging myself to read some classics. In most cases, these are re-reads – books I read ages ago but can’t remember. These are the classics on my list:

  • Sense and Sensibility – I’ve never read Austen, and I don’t like Pride and Prejudice, but I love the Sense and Sensibility movie
  • Jane Eyre
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Wrinkle in Time – I’m going to read the graphic novel
  • Much Ado About Nothing – One of my favorite Shakespeare plays

Family Challenge


Last summer my son and I chose 5 books for the other person to read. He did a fabulous job and read all 5 I recommended. I, however, did not. I ended up only reading 3 in the summer, and picked up a fourth one this spring when he insisted. This summer my husband is getting into the act. We are each choosing 2 books for the other two people in the house. I will be reading:

  • Rebels by David Liss (Book 2 in the Randoms series) – chosen by my teen
  • Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos – chosen by my teen
  • The Innocent by David Baldacci – chosen by my husband
  • The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia – chosen by my husband
  • I have assigned my son The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson (a book from my TBR shelves)
  • I have assigned my husband Alien Tango by Gini Koch and The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • My husband has assigned my son The Haunting of Barry Allen by Clay and Susan Griffith and The Recruit (CHERUB) by Robert Muchamore
  • My son has assigned my husband Randoms by David Liss and Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening by Michael Carroll

Nonfiction


I love learning new things, but I am not a good finisher when it comes to nonfiction. So I am challenging myself to read the following:

  • A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker (My husband recommended this one)
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  • Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson (I have started this but haven’t finished)
  • Uninvited by Lysa TerKerst (I’ve read this but I want to read through it again)
  • Daring Greatly by Brené Browning

Re-reads


When I was teaching, my students were always so excited about summer break because they could re-read some of their favorite books without penalty. I love to re-read my favorites in January and also over the summer. Some of my re-reads this summer will be:

  • The Fixer and The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (I LOVED The Long Game but I’ve only read it once.)
  • The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (a nursery rhyme based mystery)
  • StarFleet Academy – The Edge by Rudy Josephs (this is the first in a four book series with the new JJ Abrams cast in mind)
  • Talons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland (this is the most recent Wings of Fire book. I want to read it again before the last book comes out in July)
  • The Amber Photograph by Penelope Stokes (This is one of my comfort books that I read over and over)

New books


Of course, there are all sorts of new releases coming out this summer that I hope to read! If you check out my Book News posts on Mondays this summer, you’ll see some of the ones I am most looking forward to.

 

What are you hoping to read this summer? Do you like a challenge or do you prefer to read whatever comes along?

Unicorn of Many Hats

SATURDAY SMORGASBORD: Fractured Fairy Tales

I have mentioned many times that I love fractured fairy tales. These are the stories that take the well known tales like Cinderella or the Three Pigs and gives them a fresh look or a new twist. I have talked about some of these before when I wrote about the picture books I miss reading to students. Here are some of my favorites for all ages:

The Three Ninja Pigs – This book is perfect. It’s funny, the rhyme scheme is fantastic (not an easy feat), and it takes the basic story and gives it a fun martial arts shake up. My students always loved that it was the girl pig who saved the day in the end.

 

 

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma – A cat is enjoying the story of Red Riding Hood, but the dog has a lot of questions about the story. This would be a fantastic story to turn into a readers theater. It is funny! There’s lots of drama as the cat gets frustrated that the dog just doesn’t get this great story. My students loved this one every time I read it!

 

 

Don’t Read this Book! – One of the things I did as a librarian was a unit on fractured fairy tales where my students and I compared and contrasted different versions of a familiar story. This book was a favorite because it doesn’t come right out and tell the story of the Princess and the Pea. Instead it is about a royal storyteller who has lost the story for the king. The pompous king tells the reader to go away while they retrace their steps to find the story. This is unusual and a lot of fun to read out loud!

 

Ninja-rella – This is one book in a line of graphic novel fractured fairy tales. I picked these up for my students towards the end of my time as a librarian, and the kids almost wore these out. Graphic novels were tremendously popular with my students anyway, but they especially loved the twist on familiar fairy tales. The series is called Far Out Fairy Tales. They published a Goldilocks story and a Sleeping Beauty one back in December 2016. They are releasing some new ones later this year called Far Out Fables. They look very fun!

 

Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible – I adore this middle grade series about a hamster princess who wants to fight dragons and save the day. I reviewed the most recent book in the series, Ratpunzel, here. The next book, Giant Trouble, comes out next week.

 

 

Rump, the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin – This is a terrific take on the story of Rumpelstiltskin. This time Rump is a kid who is trying to overcome an unfortunate name and therefore an unfortunate destiny. This is a fun quest story. The author has also written the true stories of Red Riding Hood and Jack of beanstalk fame.

 

 

The Wide-Awake Princess – I love this series about the sister of Sleeping Beauty. Princess Annie is completely immune to magic. This makes her the perfect person to rescue her kingdom from the sleeping spell or save a prince who has been turned into a bear. The sixth and final book in the series came out this spring. Lots of fractured fairy tales to enjoy in this series!

 

 

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom – This series is hoot! Have you ever noticed that most of the princes in fairy tales are just called “Prince Charming?” Well, in this series you find out that they all are different guys with different names. It’s the singing, story-telling bards who have focused on the princesses and ignored the princes. But this time, the princes are going to be the ones to make a name for themselves when they save the day. There are so many fun twists and surprises in this three book series. I highly recommend them!

 

The Sisters Grimm: Fairy Tale Detectives – This series is celebrating its 10th anniversary with new covers and touched up stories. I read these faithfully when they were first released. If you like a certain TV show about fairy tale characters in the real world, you should check this out. Some of the ideas in the show were in these books first. I’m hoping my library invests in the re-issues so I can read them all again and not miss out on any revisions!

 

 

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) – This series for teens takes the stories of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White and sets them in a dystopian future. The main characters are trying to save the Earth from an evil queen from the Moon, Levana. The third book in the series, Cress (the Rapunzel character), is my favorite, but the whole series is solid if you like your fairy tales mashed up with some romance and science fiction (which I totally do!).

 

Geekerella – This book just came out this spring and I reviewed it here. This is an awesome ComicCon/Fandom mashup with the story of Cinderella. I loved it!

 

 

 

The Big Over Easy – I wish there were more than two books in this series! I have several Jasper Fforde books (Tuesday Next series and Chronicles of Kazam) that I haven’t read, but the books in the Nursery Crime series I have read more than once. In fact, I think I might just read them again right after I finish this post. These are great mysteries for adults. The first book looks into the murder of Humpty Dumpty.

 

 

 

So, those are some of my favorite fractured fairy tales. There are BUNCHES more out there. What are your favorites?