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Readers Reference -speculative fiction

By December 28, 2018May 13th, 2021The Kerlan Blog

Awhile Back

I was asked for series books for ten-year-olds. I posted a short list of here  
And I started think about genre, and then I got distracted (not an unusual thing) and then I was on the radio with Holly from the Red Balloon Bookshop and started thinking about it again and here are some titles that I love for this age group.

When the Mountain Meets the Moon– Grace Lin

“In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.” (Grace Lin)

My Teaching Practice

I can never think of this title without thinking of students at Bank Street College of Education School for Children.

In September 2009, I wrote on

“Today, I go back to school.

I am always surprised how excited I am for the first day of school. I have sixteen classes a week for three-year-olds through 4th grade. Around those classes, I schedule 5th through 8th grade book talks, information literacy, research skills and the classic, “scared straight” plagiarism lecture.

The first week, I go into the 5th and 6th grade classes to book talk for our Mock Newbery curriculum. The kids read from September to the January break. Then we have a critical discussion and vote right before ALA midwinter (I will post their comments here).

The teachers provide reading response activities, like asking students to create an advertisement for their favorite book, produce an alternative cover with a different title, write a letter as a character, create a mobile with symbols from the the book, and of course book discussions.”

I remember reading aloud Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to two classes of 4th graders. I remember the amazing discussions in with the 5th and 6th graders. What is quest tale? What is a retelling? And I remember the passionate advocacy that “This Was The Best Book of the Year!”

And here the teachers guide from Grace Lin’s website.

Other recommendations

Wee free men. Terry Pratchett
Laugh-out-loud funny. Terrific in audio.
Young Wizards- Diane Duane
Diverse characters, detailed world-building makes this series a must-read.
Secret of Platform Thirteen Eva Ibbotson
Not a series but Ibbotson’s book came out at the same time as Harry Potter. Don’t miss this author.
Emily Windsnap– Liz Taylor
Maybe you don’t know what it is like to be caught between two worlds, two cultures? Emily Windsnap does.
Gregor the Overlander– Suzanne Collins
Before there was Hunger Games, librarians were already acclaiming Suzanne Collins for her pitch-perfect middle grade fantasy.
Sisters Grimm– Michael Buckley
Did you say that you were looking for fairytale retellings with a great sense of humor? This is it!


Casson Family Series, Hilary McCay
Millicent Minn series Lisa Yee
Strange Case of Origami Yoda- Tom Angelberger
Cross over- Kwame Alexander
Love that Dog- Sharon Creech

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