Books to Fire Young Imaginations

“It” is a Psammead--a sand fairy (and a cranky and irritable one at that) that must grant one wish a day to the children who found her. They soon learn to be careful what they wish for. J.K. Rowling has called E. Nesbit her favorite author and inspiration, and young Harry Potter fans may be interested in reading Nesbit for themselves. Age 9 and up.
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I probably wasn't old enough to appreciate this instant classic when I first read it as a child, but that didn't stop me. (Thank goodness.) 10-year-old Milo comes home from school one day to find a tollbooth sitting in his bedroom. Since he doesn’t have anything better to do, he pays the toll and drives through–and embarks on a strange journey into a fanciful world where he encounters all sorts of strange characters. A satisfying and delightfully nerdy book that will engage both kids and adults, albeit on different levels.
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A. A. Milne said that while the merits of most books are debatable, "one does not argue about The Wind in the Willows." This is the story of four stubbornly loyal friends: river-loving Mole and Ratty, infuriating (but lovable) Toad, and wise Badger. A tale of friendship, loyalty and mapcap adventures. Exuberant, joyful, and full of fresh air.
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From the author of Tuck Everlasting. Twelve-year-old Gaylen sets off to poll the kingdom about which food should stand for “delicious” in the new dictionary, but his simple quest soon reveals civil war is brewing. This is a sweet tale of a boy, his father-figure, a mermaid, and a dictionary, full of magic and mystery. Age 8 and up.
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In this charming book, Elmer Elevator runs away with an alley cat to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon, which he’s able to do with the help of a pink lollipop, a hairbow, and chewing gum. This is the first book in a trilogy; the whole set is collected in Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon. Plenty of action, but nothing scary--perfect for young readers (as young as 4 or 5).
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In this classic series, 4 british children discover that a wardrobe in their London home opens into a magical world called Narnia, where animals talk, magic is real, and the evil White Witch duels the fierce lion Aslan. The Narnia books are loved by young and old alike. Age 7 and up. Older C. S. Lewis fans should check out his Space Trilogy, which is better suited for older teens and adults.
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