Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
At birth, Ella is cursed by a young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life seems to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Roals Dahl’s perennial bestseller about a boy’s magical journey across the sea, James and the Giant Peach, celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2011. When James, a boy stuck living with his cantankerous aunts, is given magic crystals by a sympathetic wizard, he accidentally drops them at the foot of the peach tree outside his house, causing one of the fruits to grow the size of a house. Inside he finds the oversized insects who promise him deliverance from his aunts, and soon the giant peach is rolling downhill, bound for the Atlantic Ocean and beyond on a magnificent adventure that will take James and his new friends far indeed.
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric girl and the owner of a small toy booth in the train station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message all come together…in The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
An affectionate pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, White reminds readers to open their eyes to the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last, and only five lucky children will be allowed inside. But what they find is even wilder than any of the wild rumors they’ve heard!
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
The fabulous powers of the Red King were passed down through his descendants, after turning up quite unexpectedly, in someone who had no idea where they came from. This is what happened to Charlie Bone, and to some of the children he met behind the grim, gray walls of Bloor’s Academy.Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift-he can hear people in photographs talking! His scheming aunts decide to send him to Bloor Academy, a school for genius’s where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
A grouchy couple are parents to a very sweet girl, Matilda. Unlike her bratty brother and mean parents, Matilda becomes a very sweet and extremely intelligent girl, who is very keen to go to school and read books. After a while, her parents send her to school with the worst principal in the world, a very sweet teacher, and good friends. While trying to put up with her parents’ and principal’s cruelty, she starts to unwittingly unleash telekinetic powers, destroying a television and making a salamander fly onto the principal. With enough practice, Matilda starts to learn to control her telekinetic powers and soon using them on her principal so she can drive her away from the school.
The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
When Liza’s brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.
She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers’ nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests–or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
The Field Guide by Holly Black
Twins Jared and Simon Grace, and their older sister Mallory, move with their mother to a decaying Victorian house. There they discover a secret room, and clues which eventually lead them to an old, handwritten and illustrated book, Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.
The book is filled with details about faeries, boggarts, brownies, and the like, but these are not your Disney fairies — for the most part they are neither cute nor friendly. At first only Jared is interested, but strange and destructive things are happening around the house, and though their mother blames Jared, his siblings aren’t so sure.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The book you are holding in your hands is a short-lived edition of a book that will likely make your life shorter as well. The tale of three Baudelaire children, who find themselves thrown into an unhappy situation containing a treacherous villain with an evil scheme and bad manners, becomes more and more dreadful on each page, and everyone so foolhardy as to read it will find themselves weeping and moaning by the end of the book.
This book is offered at an introductory price, but it introduces the reader to such unpleasantries as a disastrous fire, itchy clothing, a baby trapped in a cage, a plot to steal an enormous fortune, and dusty curtains.
I made a solemn promise to write down these wretched tales, but you have no such promise, and if I were you I would put down a book this terrible, no matter how reasonably priced.
With all due respect,
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they?
The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.
In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.