The Little Grey Men by BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford). I think Tolkien must have read this book. Or Mr. Watkins-Pitchford read Tolkien? Or they both read the same sources? The Little Grey Men was published in 1942, and it won the Carnegie Medal for that year. The Hobbit was published in 1937, and it didn’t win a Carnegie Medal. Not that I think The Little Grey Men is plagiaristic, just somewhat similar in tone to Tolkien, a very British-y Middle Earth tone and setting. B.B. writes about gnomes, not hobbits. But his gnomes are just as British and nature-loving and humble and personable and hidden as Tolkien’s hobbits. This year I want to read the sequel, The Little Grey Men Go Down the Bright Stream.
Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar. Pirates and sharks and an eleven year inventor named Fidelia Quail. I thought this book was enthralling.
Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson. An old-fashioned space travel story with a futuristic and apocalyptic twist.
The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey. Orphaned, Elric and his sister Wynnfrith, who is mentally handicapped, travel together through the fantasy feudal countryside as they look for a safe home where they can live free of prejudice and persecution and where they can take care of one another.
Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton. Henry draws a chalk dragon on the back of his door, but he’s not prepared for the chaos that ensues when the chalk dragon comes alive and goes to school with him. Excellent writing. Excellent adventure.
Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas. Effie Truelove and her newfound friends—–Maximilian, Wolf, Lexy, and Raven—–must fight off the Diberi both in this world and in the Otherworld, and Effie must find her own way through the most important book that her beloved grandfather gave her, a book called Dragon’s Green.
The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky. Miranda Regent is the genius thirteen year old from the United States who is one of the six astronauts in training for the international mission to Mars, a peace-keeping mission that will unite the world in a cause that transcends national interests and the recently concluded AEM war. But someone is out to sabotage the mission and the six kids who have been chosen for it. Can Miranda figure out who is behind the threatening emails and the attacks on her and her fellow astronauts before they succeed?
Broken Pride by Erin Hunter. The balance of Bravelands, a fictional version of the African landscape, has been disturbed, and only the combination of a lion cub, a young elephant, and a baboon can set it right. Maybe. If only they can figure out what has happened to make such horrible change come and what they can do to make things right. The First book in a new series by the authors of The Warriors series and The Survivors series of animal tales.
Rules for Thieves by Alexandra Ott. “After twelve-year-old orphan Alli Rosco is cursed with a deadly spell, she must join the legendary Thieves Guild in order to try and save herself in this high-stakes debut.” (Goodreads) I enjoyed this story, and the moral concerns of the protagonist made it a thoughtful and thought-provoking read.
A Chameleon,a Boy, and a Quest by J.A. Myhre. One day on the way to school in East Africa, Mu makes a friend, and everything in his life changes as his talking chameleon friend chooses Mu and calls him on a mysterious quest. I’m looking forward to reading the second books in this African setting fantasy series, A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue (series title: The Rendwigo Tales).