Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fantasy is better than reality

I'm not a big fan of reality TV. I see enough of real people every day, and I prefer to spend my recreation hours with fantasy. But one reality show, The Amazing Race, has caught my interest. There's something fascinating about watching how the stress and the competition affects people and their relationships: some bicker and fight, letting the stress tear their relationship apart, while others bond even more strongly under the stress.

Last night, in the first episode of a new race, the Black family was one of the latter type. This family was just too good to be true: they supported, helped, and encouraged each other; they were unfailingly kind, polite, and respectful not only to each other but to the other teams as well. You couldn't help but like them.

So why were they eliminated in the first round, while the family that spent the whole night yelling at each other moved from 10th place up to 6th place? The Black family should have won; after all, the good guys usually win, don't they? In a fantasy they would have. But reality is messy, and things don't always work out they way they should. And that's why I like fantasy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I'm a huge fan of Cornelia Funke; in my opinion she's one of the best young adult fiction writers of the twenty-first century. Her new book Inkspell may be her best ever - even better than Inkheart! Read our reviews of Inkspell

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wizardology Released

Wizardology, an interactive compendium of wizard-lore, is now available. This book would probably make a great gift for any child interested in wizards. To be honest, I haven't seen it yet, but the two previous titles in the series, Egyptology and Dragonology were beautiful, interesting, and fun interactive books. I will be surprised if this book isn't equally well done.

Buy Wizardology from

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Reading Tub

I want to thank The Reading Tub for the great review of my husband's book, The Dark Dreamweaver. You can read the review here.

The Reading Tub is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to promoting children's literacy through various projects. It's also a great place to read reviews of children's books and find new books to read. Their reviews are thorough and include a lot of great information. One really useful feature is, "If you liked this book, try..." with links to other similar books. Since they review books from small press as well as large publishers, it's a good site to find worthwhile books that you might not see elsewhere.

Click here to go to The Reading Tub

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Lionboy: The Truth

The third and final book in the exciting Lionboy trilogy, Lionboy: The Truth, is now available. Set in a future that seems not too distant, the Lionboy trilogy tells the story of Charlie Ashanti, the boy who can talk to cats. When Charlie's parents disappear, Charlie gets caught up in an adventure in which not only his parents' lives, but the fate of the world is at stake. Can Charlie and his friends the lions evade the people chasing them, find Charlie's parents, save the world - and get the lions home succesfully to Africa?

Buy Lionboy: The Truth on

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Book of Mordred now available

I just noticed that The Book of Mordred, by Vivian Vande Velde, is now available on, although the publication date is listed as September 12. I haven't read this book yet, but it looks like an interesting recasting of the Arthurian legends with a different perspective on Mordred, who is traditionally the villian.

It's fascinating to me how so many different writers, such as Mary Stewart, Marion Zimmer Bradley, T.A. Barron, Jane Yolen and many more, can develop such different and interesting perspectives on the legends of King Arthur and all the characters surrounding him. I hope that The Book of Mordred will be a worthy addition to the genre.

Question for parents of teens

Today I'm asking for help from all you parents of teens - and I'd love to hear from the teens as well. Our goal with Wands and Worlds is to be a resource for information about fantasy and science fiction for children and teens up to about age 16. However, since I'm not the parent of a teen yet (David is 10), I have a little difficulty in providing guidance about appropriate content for teen readers.

It's important that you understand that I'm not talking about censorship here. I don't believe in censorship, and I think that, as has been mentioned in the comments for a different post, most teens are going to read what they want to anyway. Each parent has to decide if they will try to restrict what their teen reads, and I don't want to get into that.

What I do want to talk about is comfort level. To make this easier, let's use the movie ratings system as a basis for discussion. Parents: at what age would you be comfortable recommending an 'R' rated book to your teen? And teens, are you fully comfortable reading books with adult subjects like sex, murder, extreme violence? (Frankly, I have difficulty with some books that are excessively violent!) If so, at what age did you start reading such books?

Please use the comments link below to express your views. Thanks!