Mom and Dad started us on books early in our life by reading to us. We had no choice but to become voracious readers. Forced into this way of life, we devoured books by the bagful, often reading up to ten books each on every vacation which required a long car ride. The following books and series are some of our favorites.
The Boxcar Children ~Gertrude Chandler Warner~ We loved these! They were some of our first chapter books.
The Chronicles of Narnia ~C.S. Lewis~ This was our first introduction to fantasy. We suggest reading them in the following order: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Magician’s Nephew; The Horse and His Boy; and The Last Battle.
Help! I’m Trapped in Obedience School! ~Todd Strasser~ One of MANY books by this awesome kids’ author. He has written fiction and nonfiction. Another good one is Abe Lincoln For Class President. His books would especially appeal to boys.
The Hobbit ~J.R.R. Tolkien~ Okay, this one’s a given. EVERY kid needs to read The Hobbit. It’s the classic tale of treasure, dwarves, elves, bravery, a dragon, and of course, Bilbo. Bilbo’s adorable. Need we say more?
The Neverending Story ~Michael Ende~ Bastian Balthazar Bux gets to live the dream of every reader: he gets to enter the Neverending Story. Another one of our favorites.
The Dragonkeeper Chronicles ~Donita K. Paul~ A lovely fantasy series by a wonderful Christian author. Includes Dragonspell, Dragonquest, Dragonknight, Dragonfire, and Dragonlight.
The Inheritance Cycle ~Christopher Paolini~ Marie’s favorite series, a quartet of books entitled Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance. Not only is it a series about dragons (which instantly makes it worth reading), but the writing style reminds us a lot of J.R.R. Tolkien. This series is special to both of us because the author wrote and published Eragon in his late teens, and therefore became an inspiration to us.
The Mars Diaries ~Sigmund Brouwer~ These were some of my (Suzanne’s) favorites. These are the story of Tyce Sanders, a 14-year-old virtual reality specialist who lives on Mars in 2039. Excellent books for boys (and girls too, obviously, since I enjoyed them).
Percy Jackson and the Olympians ~Rick Riordan~ A hilarious good-vs-evil story set against the background of ancient Greek mythology. The series consists of The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. The sequel series, Heroes of Olympus, is also excellent, as well as The Kane Chronicles. Basically, anything by Rick Riordan is good.
The Time Quintet ~Madeleine L’Engle~ Consisting of A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time, these sci-fi/fantasy novels are a must for any whimsical reader. A Wrinkle in Time also won the Newbery Award, which is the highest honor a children’s book can receive.
The Selection Series ~Kiera Cass~ This dystopian romance series centers on America Singer, the one girl in all of Illéa who did not want to be Selected. Currently, The Selection, The Elite, and The Prince (an e-book) are published. The Prince and The Guard will be combined to form The Selection Stories, which will be released on paperback February 4, 2014. The One is the final book in the series and will be released on May 6th, 2014.
The Circle Series ~Ted Dekker~ Some of the best thriller books we’ve ever read. The author says that a reader can start with any of the books (hence the circle), but we suggest starting with Black and then reading Red, White, and Green. We also like many of Ted’s other books.
House ~Ted Dekker/Frank Peretti~ If any of you have ever read something that either Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti wrote, this is the perfect blend of both their styles. Marie’s Protip: Always read this at night so that you get the perfect setting for the story. Suzanne’s Protip: NEVER read this after 4pm if you ever want to sleep again…
The Lord of the Rings ~J.R.R. Tolkien~ The trilogy on which spawned the fantasy genre as we know it today. The timeless tale of Frodo and how he, with the help of some brave and noble friends, destroyed the One Ring of Power. I (Suzanne) cannot express how much I love these books. If you want to be a hardcore Middle-Earth fan, then we suggest reading The Silmarillion as well.
The Oath ~Frank Peretti~ My (Marie) personal favorite Peretti book. It tells the fascinating history of a town is revealed when mysterious deaths occur. Remember, your sins will find you out…
The O’Malley Series ~Dee Henderson~ EXCELLENT suspense novels. Long ago in an orphanage, seven children bonded together to form a unique family, and once they became of age, changed their last names to O’Malley. Also read the prequel, Danger in the Shadows.
Oxygen ~John B. Olsen and Randall Ingermanson~ If you’re a complete science geek, then this is the book for you. The first manned mission to Mars goes awry when something explodes on the spaceship right after launch…leaving the crew with dangerously low oxygen levels. The Fifth Man, its sequel, is also very good. Mr. Ingermanson has also written a time-travel novel trilogy.
Rooms ~James Rubart~ An excellent book with an excellent message. A Seattle businessman is given a house on the Oregon Coast…but each room in the house represents an aspect of his soul.
What every future author should read:
Fiction Writing for Dummies ~Randall Ingermanson~ The title speaks for itself.
The Hunger Games Trilogy ~Suzanne Collins~ Because of the amount of violence in this series, I (Suzanne) didn’t feel like we could endorse these books wholeheartedly for teenagers. However, it is some of the best fiction writing I have ever seen. Ms. Collins’ ability to seamlessly weave in backstory makes this series a must-read for any aspiring author.
The Ink Trilogy ~Cornelia Funke~ Again, we did not include the series with the young adult books because of some of the content. But, these books are the ultimate author fantasy and I (Marie) could not refuse putting them on this list.