The Mythopoeic Award

 

The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature honors books for younger readers (from “Young Adults” to picture books for beginning readers), in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia. Website http://www.mythsoc.org/awards/

 

nation

Pratchett, Terry. Nation. Harper Collins, 2008. 400 pages.  $16.99 ISBN-10: 0061433012

Mau finds himself on alone on his island after a storm, but as survivors trickle in, he becomes a Tribe Leader.

Speculative Fiction

Age Range: 13 and up

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry, 2009

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children’s Literature, 2009.

ALA Notable Children’s Book for Older Readers, 2009

Printz Honor, 2009

This book has probably the most depressing start of any novel I have ever read. Everybody dies. Mau is left alone on his Nation island while returning home to his manhood ceremony. Also on the island is Daphne, heir to the English throne (although she doesn’t know it), and the two being to communicate and help each other survive intense loss and grief.  Slowly, more island people arrive from neighboring islands in the hopes of help from the once strong, but now nearly extinct Nation. Mau and Daphne must work to help the people and create a new way of identifying themselves. This book is rich with questions of self, of God and of society. It is unusual in that it is an alternative history, set in Victorian times, but having the royal line all died in a plague. The Nation are an imagined people, but having an alternative history set somewhere other than Europe is refreshing. This book is strange in that it deals with issues of God and fate, and the author takes the reader through his own questions that have likely led him to his agnostisism. It is a very well written book, and even though some of the plot points are a stretch, absolutely worth a read.  I was familiar with the other works by Pratchett, and while this one maintains some of his humor, it is clearly a more serious piece.

Read-alikes

Raider’s Ransom by Emily Diamand

Troubling A Star by Madeleine L’Engle

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think the author was trying to do by having a lost civilization under the Island?
  2. Was there any other way for Pratchett to finish the novel? Why can’t Daphne choose to stay with Mau?

Booktalking

Here is Mau, almost alone on a beautiful tropical islands with a lovely girl and gods that boss him around, but can’t seem to help him figure out how to become a chief without having become first a man.

Resources

Author website http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/

Author Interview about the Novel

 

 

mountain meets the moon

 

Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009. 282 pages. $17.00 ISBN-13: 978-0316114271

Young Minli goes on a journey to find the man in the moon to change her family’s fortune, befriending a dragon along the way.

Fantasy

Age Range 8-12

5 out of 5 for quality, 4 out of 5 for popularity.

Newbery Honor, 2010

Mythopeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature, 2010

ALA Notable Book for Middle Readers, 2010

Minli lives in a poor village with incredibly poor parents. Her father shares stories about magical and wonderful things, but her mother’s bitterness about their life causes Minli to decide to travel to the Man in the Moon to change the family fortune. She finds a tangled dragon and sets him free, giving her a traveling companion. She makes friends with peasants and kings, and a village of people who are always happy. Finally she makes it to the Man in the Moon to ask her question so she can return to her family, who have also been on a kind of a journey waiting and trusting that Minli will come home.

The book has beautiful, simple drawings throughout, and it is an engaging read, full of folklore and magic, but without too much scariness. The read-aloud quality is regularly mentioned by other reviewers, and I think that is because it can be hard to find books that are interesting to listen to without having some mature themes or action. Here is a book that should have won more awards, I think, for its classic feel and wonderful emotional content wrapped up in an exciting story. The cover is appealing as is the illustrative design inside.

Read-alikes

Odd and the Frost Giant by Neil Gaiman

Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Minli change her question at the end when she got to the Man in the Moon?
  2. What helped her mother lose her bitterness?

Booktalking

Here is a classic read aloud adventure. There are dragons, magical books of fate, evil green tigers, talking goldfish and an old man who controls the red strings of fate.

Resources 

Author Website http://www.gracelin.com/

Interview with author

 

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