My kids are using the Christmas-New Years hiatus to read Harry Potter 7 and Black Light Express (Railhead sequel), build Lego, persuade their father to take them to see Rogue One (twice!) and binge on the entirety of Trollhunters. And eat all the candy canes off the tree.
I’ve been working (sobs) but have briefly borrowed the Amulet of Daylight to (virtually) award to my favourite speculative fiction of the year. Mostly kids, because I run a book club and many new diverse books featuring kid protagonists of colour (because that’s what I’ve been reviewing) and (hangs head) all fantasy because where is the science fiction for kids? Where?
So here in categories entirely of my own devising:
Best YA Fantasy: The Reader by Traci Chee
This had me utterly gripped, from start to finish. Full review here
Best Children’s Fantasy:
The Girl of Ink and Stars (The Cartographer’s Daughter US) by Karen Milwood Hargrave
The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee
Three exquisitely written fantasies. All with gripping plots, layers of resonance and meaning and set in original, beguiling worlds (Victorian UnderLondon for AMMG and a floating island for TCD/AGOIAS) with two out of three protagonists girls of colour and sidekicks including tiny dragons, trolls (again!) and aged chickens.
Aside to publishers. STOP. PUTTING. GIRL. IN. TITLES. Thank you.
Unexpected Delight from a Classic Author(1):
The Whispering Mountain by Joan Aiken
For some odd reason, though I’ve read and reread Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles, I’d never read this offshoot. It’s now one of my favourites: with a boy hero (Owen Hughes), a fearless traveller girl Arabis and her tame hawk and a memorably barmy Aiken-esque villain in the Marquess of Malyn.
Unexpected Delight from a Classic Author (2):
The Northern Lights Graphic novel by Phillip Pullman
These are a stunning addition to any children’s literature collection.
My own very personal wishlist for 2017:
More boy protagonists
More science fiction for middle grade
More diversity especially ownvoices
Heres to hope and 2017