Pop-quiz tomorrow? Book report due on Friday? Don’t fret! While your kids can’t skip school and hop on a plane for an extended summer vacation, they can “escape” by reading a great book. If your little ones are craving epic adventures into extraordinary worlds, look no further! Make these awesome books part of their personal collection for whenever they just need to get away!
The Cross of Lead (Crispin series #1), by Avi
A peasant boy in medieval England endures his mother’s death. To make matters worse, after witnessing a clandestine meeting between the abusive village steward and a prominent stranger, he is discovered and accused of a crime he didn’t commit. The steward declares him a “wolf’s head”, to be killed on contact by anyone who sees him. As Crispin flees for his life, he meets an immense, irascible juggler named Bear. In this epic tale of survival, Crispin and Bear must weave through the forests like fugitives, evading capture and certain death.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien
The classic story of a widowed mouse, Mrs. Frisby is desperate to keep her children safe from Mr. Fitzgibbons’ plow. Their yearly trek from the garden to their summer haven is complicated when her youngest son, Timothy, falls ill with pneumonia. With the help of a sophisticated group of rats called NIMH, Mrs. Frisby will experience the most perilous journey of her life…all for the love of her family.
The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories series #1), by Chris Colfer
Precocious twins Alex and Conner Bailey are coping with the death of their father, but life turns magical when their globe-trotting grandma gives them a book, The Land of Stories. This peculiar book illuminates and “swallows up” any object placed on its pages. With an unquenchable curiosity and the yearning for a new chapter in their life, Alex and Conner sink into this enchanting book’s pages and discover a land unlike any other!
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Hugo Cabret, a clock keeper at a Paris train station, has one obsession: to retrieve a treasured notebook given to him by his deceased father. In it lies the key to unlocking a secret message housed in a broken automaton, a humanlike mechanical device. Could this automaton reveal a final message from a loving father to his son? This enchanting, one of a kind book utilizes the elements of picture book and film. A visual masterpiece to behold.
From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg
Ever thought about running away to live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City? Claudia Kincaid has had it with the injustices of her prepubescent world. Armed with her map, her “rich” brother, and her knack for organization, she runs away to the Big Apple. How will these siblings live inconspicuously in one of New York’s most visited landmarks?
Darwen Arkwright and The Peregrine Pact, by A.J. Hartley
Darwen, a boy from England, is sent to live with his aunt in Atlanta, Georgia. Discovering a furry bat with a human-like head flying in the mall, he is led to Octavious Peregrine’s peculiar shop of mirrors. Mr. Peregrine, an eccentric little man, gives Darwen a tarnished old mirror. When Darwen no longer sees his reflection but a forest leading up to a fountain, he decides to go through the mirror, only to discover a world full of more bizarre creatures!
The Secret of Platform 13, by Eva Ibbotson
Beneath Platform 13 in a London train station, a corridor leads to an island where humans, mermaids, hags, and other mystifying creatures live harmoniously together. This happy community falls into despair when the evil wife of bank tycoon, Mrs. Trottle, kidnaps the island’s baby prince to raise him as her own. With the help of an unlikely rescue team: an old wizard, a gargantuan ogre, the queen’s favorite fey, and a young hag, how will the operation fare in modern day London?
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
Edward Tulane is a haughty, meticulously dressed china rabbit, complete with custom-made shoes and silk suits. He enjoys the creature comforts of having his own bed, a wound-up watch, and the adoration of his mistress, Abilene. Although it appears that Edward lacks nothing, an unfortunate event thrusts him into an emotional odyssey. At the end, he discovers a truth he never knew: the importance not only of being loved, but of loving.
The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende
Bastian, a portly 11-year old boy, narrowly escapes the pursuit of school bullies. He finds refuge in an old bookstore owned by a Mr. Coreander, a cranky old man who could care less for children, much less sell a book to one. Drawn to a strange book Mr. Coreander is reading, Bastian secretly snatches it and hides in his school’s attic. There, he sets up a safe haven to explore the mysterious book. In it he discovers the enchanting but troubled world of Fantastica and becomes a key player in its salvation.
The Star of Kazan, by Eva Ibbotson
Annika is found in a church by Viennese servants Ellie and Sigrid and brought home to live with them and three eccentric professors. She becomes “useful” by working alongside the two servants on daily chores. Life is pleasant and full of love, but Annika still ponders her origins. One day, an aristocratic woman appears, claiming her as her daughter and whisks her away to her castle in Germany. Upon arrival, Annika discovers that this is not the life she had always dreamed of.
Which adventure books do you think should be included in every child’s library?