September 22 is Hobbit Day because it is the birthday of two famous hobbits—Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins—from J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. To commemorate this happy occasion, our Outreach Coordinator, Leena Desai, recommends new fantasy books from authors participating in this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest.
Don’t Call the Wolf
Written by Aleksandra Ross
Aleksandra Ross’s high-fantasy debut novel is inspired by the Polish fairy tale ‘The Glass Mountain’ and features three main protagonists: there’s a shapeshifting young queen, neither human nor lynx, who is the protector of a forest that humans have abandoned; then there’s a solitary, exhausted, young soldier who has been searching for his brother, believed to have disappeared into the forest; and lastly, there’s a fearsome and vengeful golden dragon who is on the tail of the queen and the soldier. When Lukasz enters the forest looking for his brother, Ren, the queen agrees to help him as she knows the forest well. But her offer comes with the condition that Lukasz slay the dragon in return. This is a thrilling, adventure novel and the perfect fantasy world to get sucked into. Grades 8-12
Aleksandra Ross participates in the fall installment of Writers in the Classroom. Please see our website for details on how to apply for Aleksandra’s workshop
Written by Kenneth Oppel
Hatch is the second book in Kenneth Oppel’s new Overthrow trilogy. In the first installment, Bloom, an unexpected deadly rainfall had left strange seeds in its wake that sprouted into alien plants that burrowed, strangled and fed and let out harmful toxins. Friends Seth, Anaya and Petra discovered that they were immune to these toxins and fought to stay alive and help people. In Hatch, another deluge brings with it eggs that hatch into monstrous insects that can eat through foundations of homes and carry people away. Seth, Anaya and Petra want to fight back but they have been locked up in a government facility with other kids who are also immune. Oppel takes the nightmarish scenario he had created in Bloom up several notches in Hatch. While he keeps readers engrossed in this exciting story, he also tackles themes about how the next generation can take the planet’s future into their own hands and prevent environmental calamity. Grades 5-8
Join Kenneth Oppel on October 21 at 11am on Vancouver Writers Fest’s YouTube channel for the event Hatch & Bloom: A Morning with Kenneth Oppel.
The Barren Grounds
Written by David A. Robertson
Morgan and Eli are two Indigenous children who are taken away from their families and made to live in a foster home. They feel isolated, both at their new school and their new home, but help comes in the most unusual way. They find a secret portal in the attic bedroom of their new home which opens into another reality called Askí, which contains the barren grounds: a vast, frozen land that is inhabited by talking animals and people like Morgan and Eli. They meet Ochek, a hunter who is supporting his starving community, Misewa. Ochek teaches Morgan and Eli how to fish and how to survive using traditional Indigenous ways. They also meet Arik, a squirrel, who soon becomes their companion. Together the four friends must try and save Misewa before winter freezes everything. Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories in this brilliant new book from award-winning Indigenous author David A. Robertson. Grades 5 and up.
Join David A. Robertson on October 20 at 2pm on Vancouver Writers Fest’s YouTube channel for the event The Barren Grounds: An Afternoon with David A. Robertson.