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1. Get Ready for Earth Day With The Lorax

Cover art for The Lorax by Dr SeussAlthough it is much more serious than most of his other picture books, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is one of my Favorite Picture Books and Beginning Readers by Dr. Seuss. This story of the impact that unbridled greed can have on the environment is not only a story kids enjoy because of Seuss's storytelling skills, it is also one parents and teachers can use to emphasize the importance of individual responsibility in caring for the environment. The title character has become a symbol for environmental concerns. Another good picture book for younger children is Lauren Child's We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers. For more good books for Earth Day, see April 22 on my April Calendar of Children's Books.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

Get Ready for Earth Day With The Lorax originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at 00:01:53.

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2. It's Time to Thank a Librarian

Cover art of the picture book The Boy who was Raised by LibrariansCelebrate School Library Month and National Library Week by thanking a librarian. I not only recommend The Boy who was Raised by Librarians for 4-8 year olds, I also recommend it as a thank you gift for a favorite librarian. This amusing, warm-hearted picture book celebrates the impact of libraries and librarians. The author, Carla Morris, is a children's librarian herself. The illustrator, Brad Sneed, has created full page illustrations alive with fun and action.

For tips on all that public libraries have to offer, see my article Save Money at Your Public Library. For more books, read my article about the Best Children's Picture Books About Libraries and Librarians. It includes six excellent books for kids in preschool to middle school.

Do you have a special librarian that you'd like to honor? Click on "Comments" below and share what makes that librarian special. I still fondly remember Miss Wright, the children's librarian at the Westfield Public Library when I was growing up in Westfield, New Jersey.

(Cover art courtesy of Peachtree Publishers)

It's Time to Thank a Librarian originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 at 00:01:27.

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3. A Special Passover Birthday Cake

Max Makes a Cake - cover artWhat do you do when it's Passover and you're a little boy waiting for your dad to help you make your mom a special birthday cake, but you are running out of time because he's dealing with your fussy baby sister? If you're Max, you get impatient; then, you get worried; then, you get a bright idea and figure out a way to make a very special cake all by yourself. That's the story of Max Makes a Cake by Michelle Edwards, with illustrations by Charles Santoso. It's a good story to share with children 3 to 7 years old. For more good children's books about Passover, see my Top 10 Children's Books About Passover.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

A Special Passover Birthday Cake originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 22:11:09.

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4. Children's Books Buzz: April 12, 2014

Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary - cover artThis week's news includes a special birthday and the question of celebrities writing children's books.

Celebrity Authors of Children's Books - Several years ago, when I did an interview with author Jane Yolen, she talked about the influx of celebrity authors of children's books and her concerns. I was interested to see an article on April 5, 2014 on the subject, Should celebrities stop writing children's books? in The Guardian. How do you feel about celebrity authors? Click on "Comments" below and share your views.

Happy Birthday! - Today is the 98th birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary. For several generations, Beverly Cleary has delighted young readers, particularly 8-12 year olds, with her humorous, yet realistic, stories about the ordinary lives of children. Her popular young characters include Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Ramona's older sister, Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby. To learn more about the author, read my article about Beverly Cleary and watch the About.com video profile of Beverly Cleary.

(Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)

Children's Books Buzz: April 12, 2014 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, April 12th, 2014 at 00:01:16.

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5. Children's Easter Picture Books and Board Books

Cover Art The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes There are a variety of excellent Easter books for children, including Easter picture books and, for very young children, Easter board books. You'll find children's books about Jesus and the story of Easter from the Bible as well a lot of children's Easter books about the Easter Bunny and family celebrations. I was delighted to learn that in honor of its 75th anniversary, a special hardcover edition of one of my favorite Easter picture books, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, was recently released with new cover art.

(Cover art courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Children's Easter Picture Books and Board Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 00:01:42.

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6. A Classic Tale of a Boy and a Dog

Shiloh cover artThere's something about a story about a boy and his dog that's so appealing that it can even attract reluctant readers. When you have a well-written story about a boy and a dog with lots of drama and things to think about that is also under 150 pages long, it's even more appealing. Learn more about the novel Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and what age ranges it's most appropriate for when you read librarian Jennifer Kendall's book review of Shiloh. For other recommendations, watch About.com's Video: 5 Dog Books for Middle Readers, which includes the Newbery Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

(Cover art courtesy of Simon and Schuster)

A Classic Tale of a Boy and a Dog originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 00:01:46.

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7. Children's Easter Books for Easter Baskets

Cover Art of the Children's Picture Book The Easter Egg by Jan BrettEaster picture books and board books make a nice addition to children's Easter baskets. For example, I recommend Jan Brett's picture book The Easter Egg for children ages 3 to 6. It's about a bunny named Hoppi, an Easter egg decorating contest, kindness and a surprising outcome. For more recommended Easter books, see Best Easter Picture Books and Easter Board Books for Little Ones. Another excellent seasonal book is the picture book And Then It's Spring.

(Cover art courtesy of The Penguin Group)

Children's Easter Books for Easter Baskets originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 00:01:21.

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8. Celebrate National Poetry Month With Concrete Poems

Cover Art of A Poke in the I A Collection of Concrete PoemsBe sure to include concrete poems in your celebration of National Poetry Month and Young People's Poetry Week. Get your child thinking, and inspired to write, with a book of concrete poems. A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems is one of my favorites. In concrete poems, the words are arranged into a particular shape to reflect the poem's meaning.

For example, in the poem "Popsicle," all the words of the poem are arranged so as to make the shape of the icy confection. A Poke in the I contains 30 concrete poems. Poet Paul B. Janeczko edited A Poke in the I. The clever collage illustrations by Chris Raschka add to the fun. I recommend the book for 8- to 14 year olds. Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka also collaborated on A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, another excellent book.

(Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Concrete Poems originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 00:01:00.

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9. A Special Passover Book for Families

Cover Art Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion Celebrate Passover with Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion. It's a book that the entire family will cherish. While Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion will be of particular interest to Jewish families, I would suggest it to a much wider audience - anyone eager to learn more about the religious holiday Passover, its history and celebration. The elegant design, exquisite artwork, and fascinating contents make it a recommended book for both children and adults. Do you have Passover books for children that you particularly like? If so, please click on "Comments" below and post your recommendations.

(Cover art courtesy of Scholastic)

A Special Passover Book for Families originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 00:01:02.

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10. Kids' Books Buzz - 4/5/14

Cover art for My Side of the MountainA New Children's Book From An Unfinished Manuscript - If your kids are fans of books by the late Jean Craighead George, they'll be glad to know that her son and daughter have completed her unfinished middle grade novel and it will be available in bookstores on April 3. The new novel, Ice Whale, is set in Barrow, Alaska. (Source: School Library Journal, 4/2/14) George's novel My Side of the Mountain, a 1960 Newbery Honor Book, is a classic adventure story.

Children's Book Week Resources - May 12-18, 2014 is the 95th anniversary of Children's Book Week. There are a lot of resources available online. For example, you can download free Children's Book Week posters and bookmarks. There will be official 2014 Children's Book Week events in all 50 states.

Response to Rush Limbaugh Controversy - There's been a lot of buzz about Rush Limbaugh being a finalist for the 2014 Children's Choice Author of the Year. To learn more, read the March 23, 2014 post by Debbie Reese on the American Indians in Children's Literature blog titled Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims and the letter from the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader in response to the public concerns expressed by individuals and groups. To express your opinion, scroll down to "Comments" and share your views on the controversy.

(Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

Kids' Books Buzz - 4/5/14 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, April 5th, 2014 at 22:32:59.

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11. It's Autism Awareness Month

Cover Art of Ian's Walk A Story About AutismApril Is Autism Awareness Month and one of the benefits is the emphasis on available resources. That's how I found out about Ian's Walk: A Story About Autism, a picture book that I recommend for children ages 6-10. The author, Laurie Lears, and the illustrator, Karen Ritz, do a good job of showing what it is like to be an autistic child and what it is like to be an autistic child's sibling. Thanks to the Internet and the increasing number of books about autism, there are a lot of autism resources available year-round. Among the autism resources on About.com are the following:

(Cover art courtesy of Albert Whitman & Company)

It's Autism Awareness Month originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 00:01:03.

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12. Celebrate National Poetry Month With Nature Poetry

Book Cover - Outside Your WindowSome of my favorite poetry books for children are books of nature poetry, with illustrations that complement the poems. These include: Outside Your Window A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies, illustrated with the mixed media artwork of Mark Hearld; Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by printmaker Rick Allen, and Jane Yolen's Children's Poetry Books About Nature, including An Egret's Day, all illustrated by photographer Jason Stemple. Share your favorites by posting a comment below.

(Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Nature Poetry originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 00:01:17.

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13. Children's Books Calendar for April Events

Cover art for The Lorax by Dr SeussBecause of all the events and author birthdays in April and the many excellent children's books related to them, you'll find lots of resources on my April 2014 Calendar of Children's Books. Included are children's poetry books for National Poetry Month and Young People's Poetry Week, books about libraries and librarians for National Library Week, books about Easter and Passover, books about the environment for Earth Day and much more. Hans Christian Andersen was born in April. So were Beverly Cleary and a number of others. Visit the calendar throughout the month and see what's been added. Enjoy!

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

Children's Books Calendar for April Events originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 00:01:28.

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14. Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit and Other Tales

Cover Art - Beatrix Potter: The Complete TalesBeatrix Potter was born during the Victorian era when women's roles were narrowly defined. She used her talent to develop the financial independence that gave her a freedom few unmarried women had. During her lifetime, she had many roles in addition to those of daughter and wife. These included: greeting card artist, illustrator, author, fungi researcher, farmer and conservationist.

When she died, Beatrix Potter left two main legacies: 4,000 acres in the English Lake District for conservation by the National Trust and 23 tales, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit, for millions of children around the world to enjoy for generations to come. I've been doing a lot of research regarding Beatrix Potter, her life and her books. To find out what I've learned, read 11 Facts About Beatrix Potter, the Creator of Peter Rabbit; then, read my book review of Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales, a collection of the 23 tales plus several other works.

(Cover art courtesy of Frederick Warne)

Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit and Other Tales originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 21:01:54.

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15. Children's Book News - 3/29/14

Cover Art - Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit The big news of the week is - 1. the announcement by the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY) of the winners of the prestigious international 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award:

2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award: Author Winner and Shortlist - From the six short-listed authors - Ted van Lieshout (Netherlands), Houshang Moradi Kermani (Iran), Mirjam Pressler (Germany), Nahoko Uehashi (Japan), Renate Welsh (Austria), and Jacqueline Woodson (USA) - the 2014 award jury selected Nahoko Uehashi. One of the author's books that has been translated into English is Moribito Guardian of the Spirit, an exciting adventure for ages 11 to 15. The USA nominee Jacqueline Woodson is the author of numerous award-winning books, including Each Kindness, an excellent picture book about bullying and kindness.

2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award: Illustrator Winner and Shortlist - From the six short-listed illustrators - Rotraut Susanne Berner (Germany), John Burningham (UK), Eva Lindstrom (Sweden), Roger Mello (Brazil), Francois Place (France), Oyvind Torseter (Norway) - the 2014 award jury selected Roger Mello. I have not been able to locate any of his books.

Spotlight on School Libraries - With all of the cuts in school libraries, I was delighted to learn that Ellen DeGeneres has been featuring school libraries on her afternoon talk show, "Ellen." A recent article in School Library Journal spotlighted an elementary school library media specialist in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and the fabulous gift from the "Ellen" show for the school's library and students. Read the article and watch the "Ellen" video about it. It is a heartwarming story and a gift that will make a real difference in the lives of the children at the school and in the community.

(Cover art courtesy of Scholastic)

Children's Book News - 3/29/14 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Sunday, March 30th, 2014 at 21:29:19.

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16. Collage Artist and Author Lois Ehlert

Leaf ManAs I was working on my review of Lois Ehlert's The Scraps Books, I became interested in learning more about her life, her art and her picture books. After doing some research, I wrote an article about her, 10 Facts About Children's Author and Illustrator Lois Ehlert. She is a good example of the positive influence of supportive parents since, even when she was a young child, her parents encouraged her creativity. The cover art to your left is from one of my favorite children's picture books by Lois Ehlert, Leaf Man.

(Cover art courtesy of Harcourt)

Collage Artist and Author Lois Ehlert originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 20:03:14.

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17. The Most Famous Canadian Girl in Children's Books

Anne of Green Gables cover artIf you ask anyone in the United States, the UK or Japan, who is the most well-known Canadian girl in children's literature, you'll probably get the same answer: Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. To learn more about this classic children's book about a spunky young orphan, read librarian Jennifer Kendall's book review of Anne of Green Gables.

The life of the author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, is also intriguing. To learn more about it, read my article 10 Things You Should Know About L.M. Montgomery & Her "Anne" Books. If you are looking for a good picture book biography of the author who, like Anne, spent her childhood on Prince Edward Island, I recommend Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Writer's Life. I read Anne of Green Gables when I was a child and shared it with my daughter when she was 10 or 11. Have you shared some of your childhood favorites with your children? If so, please let me know by posting a message at Readers Respond. Thank you!

(Cover art courtesy of Sterling)

The Most Famous Canadian Girl in Children's Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 00:01:31.

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18. For Kids Interested in Art and Picture Books

The Scraps BookIf you've read my reviews of Leaf Man and Snowballs and other mentions of Lois Ehlert's children's picture books, you know that I admire her colorful collage artwork. Consequently, I was pleased to learn that she'd written a book for kids 5 to 10 about how she gets ideas for stories, creates her collages, and writes her books. I was not disappointed. The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life is an inspiring book about the joy of creating collages and picture books. It is also a very accessible book in the sense that she puts no conditions on making art other than that a person want to do it.

(Cover photo by Elizabeth Kennedy)

For Kids Interested in Art and Picture Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 17:44:21.

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19. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Photo of Irish LeprechaunHappy St. Patrick's Day! My husband always dresses up for the annual St. Patrick's Day Blarney Breakfast so I asked him to pose with one of the Irish tales I like, Finn McCool and the Great Fish. Other children's books of Irish tales on my Top 10 Children's Books of Irish Folktales and Fairy Tales list include Tales from Old Ireland and Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.

(Photo of Dennis Kennedy ©Elizabeth Kennedy)

Happy St. Patrick's Day! originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, March 17th, 2014 at 00:01:38.

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20. Middle Grades and Bullying

Cover art for SchooledAuthor Gordon Korman has a knack for writing about life in middle school as his book Schooled illustrates. Who knew that a fun read of just over 200 pages would also have some important things to say about bullying? Kids between the ages of 9 and 14 will enjoy finding out what happens when Cap Anderson, a 13-year-old boy who has been homeschooled by his hippie grandmother and has a philosophy of peace and harmony, is unexpectedly placed in a public middle school where bullying is a tradition. In addition to Schooled, another good book about bullying for middle grade readers is the nonfiction book The Skinny on Bullying. For more books about bullying, see Bullies and Bullying in Kids' Books.

(Cover art courtesy of Hyperion Books)

Middle Grades and Bullying originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 00:01:02.

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21. Goblin Secrets, An Award-Winning Fantasy

Cover Art Goblin SecretsAuthor William Alexander received the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for his middle grade fantasy Goblin Secrets. The novel, which is full of adventure and intrigue, as well as elements of steampunk, is set in Zombay, a city populated with witches and goblins where stray children are at risk of being acquired by Graba the witch. The book's strong sense of place, characters and story make the 240-page novel one that will appeal to readers 9 to 13 who enjoy fantasy and adventure. Kids who enjoy the book will want to look for Alexander's second middle grade fantasy set in Zombay, Ghoulish Song. If you and/or your kids have already read Goblin Secrets, please click on "Comments" below and share your opinions of the book.

(Cover art courtesy of Simon and Schuster)

Goblin Secrets, An Award-Winning Fantasy originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 00:01:03.

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22. Celebrate Spring with Picture Books About Gardening

cover art for Isabella's Garden children's picture bookCelebrate spring with children's picture books. We have already planted some seeds indoors and are eager to begin spring gardening. I have 11 kids' books to recommend. They include Isabella's Garden, a colorfully illustrated story about a girl's garden throughout the year, and The Carrot Seed, a classic, plus And Then It's Spring, for every child eager to start spring planting. For more children's books, check out my list of the 11 Best Children's Picture Books About Gardens and Gardening, which includes books for children ranging in age from 2 to 10. Let me know if there are others you'd recommend by clicking on "Comments" below and sharing your family's favorite children's books related to gardens and gardening.

(Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)

Celebrate Spring with Picture Books About Gardening originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 00:01:33.

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23. Happy Anniversary to The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Cover Art of the Picture Book This year is the 45th anniversary of Eric Carle's children's picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Did you know that the book has sold more than 37 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 50 languages since it was first published in 1969? The combination of wonderful collage illustrations, an entertaining story, and a unique book design have made The Very Hungry Caterpillar a classic. With its emphasis on numbers and days of the week, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is also an effective concept book. I recommend it for 2-5-year olds.

On Sunday, March 23, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts will be celebrating 2014 Very Hungry Caterpillar Day from noon to 5:00 p.m. (Cover art courtesy of Philomel Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group)

Happy Anniversary to The Very Hungry Caterpillar originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, March 21st, 2014 at 00:01:41.

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24. Children's Books News - 4/22/14

Author Walter Dean MyersThere's been a lot of buzz this week based on: 1. last week's essays by Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers in The New York Times on the lack of children's books that include people of color (see last week's Children's Books News - 4/15/14) and 2. the UK campaign against labeling books as "for boys" and "for girls."

1. Responses to Lack of Diversity in Children's Books - Philip Nel, who is a Kansas State University Distinguished Professor, directs the graduate Program in Children's Literature and has written extensively about children's books, has gathered an excellent collection of essays, statistics, publishers and other resources in a blog post on his Nine Kinds of Pie blog titled "The Boundaries of Imagination"; or, the All-White World of Children's Books, 2014. Lee & Low Books responded with a blog post listing a lot of helpful resources for parents asking the question, "Where Can I Find Great Diverse Children's Books?"

2. Fight Against Labeling Children's Books - According to a March 16, 2014 article in The Guardian, the campaign in the UK against gender-specific labeling of children's books by bookstores and publishers is gathering momentum. Publishers are being asked to "stop labelling books, in the title or on the packaging, as for girls or for boys," since it may make children feel that some books are not for them, even if they're on topics that interest them. Among those supporting the campaign are author Philip Pullman, the UK Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman and bookseller Waterstones.

(Photo courtesy of Walter Dean Myers)

Children's Books News - 4/22/14 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 at 21:55:33.

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25. A Great Title for a Fantasy

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own MakingDo your middle grade readers tend to be influenced by a book's title. I'm a pushover for a clever title, and even before I knew anything more about it, I was fascinated by the intriguing title of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Right away, I was sure it was a fantasy, that the main character was an independent girl who could get things done and that a fairyland was involved. Read librarian Jennifer Kendall's book review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making to learn more and find out why she recommends the fantasy for ages 10 to 14. If you or your kids have read it and want to share your opinions or if you have other fantasies to recommend, please scroll down to "Comments" and post your opinions and/or recommendations.

(Cover art courtesy of Macmillan)

A Great Title for a Fantasy originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 22:17:58.

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