Encouraging a healthy habit of reading is one of the best gifts parents can give to their children. Teaching children to be early readers is even better. When I was growing up, reading was one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoyed many popular children’s writers of the 1970’s, and many before that decade, too. While I enjoyed all genres, fantasy and science fiction held a special interest for me. Fantasy and science fiction allows children to explore and dream and eventually be able to create stories of the same genre of their own. Below are five of my favorite books and authors which your children between the ages of 8 and 12 will enjoy too:
“The Mermaid’s Three Wisdoms” by Jane Yolen. First published in 1978, this book is about a mermaid named Melusina who is banished from her sea home and befriends Jess, a human girl who is hearing impaired. Together, they establish a close friendship. If your kids enjoy this book, introduce them to Yolen’s The Pit Dragon Chronicles series. .
“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Almost all children have heard about Alice and her adventures down the rabbit hole. First published in 1865, this story has been in reprint ever since due its timeless classic fantasy story about a girl who enters a world of animals and odd looking humans like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Also recommended by Lewis Carroll: “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
“Dragonwings” by Laurence Yep. It’s impossible to discuss great science fiction books for children without mentioning Yep. A Chinese-American writer who has received the Newberry Medal twice for his Golden Mountain Chronicles series, “Dragonwings” was first published in 1975 and is about a young boy’s father who builds a flying machine to catch a glimpse of the future. Inter-cultural issues also play an important role in the novel. If you like “Dragonwings”, I recommend “Sweetwater”, another story by Yep about life on a planet called Harmony which is in danger of being destroyed by sealife and the growing lack of food supplies.
“The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet” by Eleanor Cameron. Cameron is a writer from Canada well known for her Mushroom Planet book series. First published in 1954, this book is about two boys named David and Chuck who buld a spaceship to travel 50,000 miles from home to help a race of mushroom people become healthy once again. Other books in the Mushroom Panet series include: “Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet”, “A Mystery for Mr. Bass”, and “Time and Mr. Bass.”
“The Mystifying Twins” by Joan Price Reeve. First published in 1960, this has also been republished in recent years. The story is about two identical twin girls who attend a private school and their special means of communication with each other stun their teachers. Lois, one of the girls, eventually goes away to a Bible camp and becomes a born again Christian. Her sister, Lettie does not understand the change that has taken place. This is a delightful book to read and perfect for Christian families. Also by the same author: “The Secret of the Mystifying Twins.”