Of all the creatures in the Grunwald Forest, Niblings are the smallest and weakest physically. Tired of getting bullied, or worse, eaten by an Orc for dinner, they embark on a journey to make a deal with a giant. They are led by one brave and resourceful Nibling named Nimpentoad, who repeatedly saves his fellow Niblings from all manner of creatures, including wolves and goblins, with his quick thinking.
Targeted at children ages 5-10, Nimpentoad was written by Henry Herz and his two sons. This creative little story sends the message that bullying is not nice, which is poignant during a time where bullying issues are very much at the forefront of our culture. It also conveys the benefits of perseverance, resourcefulness and playing to the strengths given to you.
As a fantasy-fiction fanatic, I found this tale charming and am looking forward to sharing this story with my own son when he’s old enough. I also loved the artwork and actually wished there had been more pictures, as it was fantastically detailed and worthy of the creatures being depicted.
Despite the many fearsome situations the brave little Niblings find themselves in, they complete their quest and find their friendly giant in the end. I think most children would delight in this imaginative story and its wholesome life messages. Found on Amazon for as low at $8.74 in print and $2.99 on the Kindle. This is just me, but for kids I reccomend going with the print edition.
“The Mermaid Summer” takes place over 100 years ago in a small Scottish fisherman village where a mermaid rules the seas. Eric Anderson is a fisherman who doesn’t have the proper respect for the mermaid, scoffing at warnings that she’s a
dangerous foe. He soon realizes his folly when the mermaid almost lures him to his death, forcing Eric to leave behind his family, including his grandchildren Jon and Anna, to seek work far from the mermaid’s fatal siren call. The children are devastated upon his departure, especially Anna who has a close relationship with her grandfather. This is illustrated through the many letters Anna writes to him while he is away on his travels, begging him to come home.
It is not long before the children find themselves embroiled in mermaid affairs. It is only through their cunning and strength, as well as gifts Eric sends them along the way, that they set out to win back their freedom, the town’s well-being and their grandfather’s safe return.
Recommendation: Find it at the library, buy it or borrow it, but the kids will love it.
This is one of my all time favorite stories. This creature of myth and beauty makes for the perfect antagonist, while illustrating just where vanity and jealousy can get you. The story also shows us that fortitude, loyalty and love can triumph, as any good fairytale should. I enjoy reading it now just as much as I did as a child, and recently found it in hard cover.
Get it: Although I believe this book is out of print, there are plenty of used copies floating around on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. Since the copies are either used or former library books, the price is very affordable.
Published in 1980, “The Girl with the Silver Eyes” explores family bonds as well as what it’s like to be gifted and different, while providing a fun and entertaining story for kids by adding a twist of the paranormal.
Nine-year-old Katie is different from other kids; she commands the power of telekinesis, can talk to animals and has strange silver eyes. When the story starts, Katie has just moved back in with her mother after the untimely death of her grandmother, who had been raising her up until this point.
Katie is used to being set apart from the crowd, and is familiar with people finding her silver eyes and solemn demeanor disturbing. As a result, she often uses her powers to make people feel uncomfortable, like Mr. Pollard, who lives in her apartment building and represents the extreme side of intolerance and fear. But by befriending the newspaper boy and an elderly woman, Katie starts to settle into her life when a strange man shows up asking questions about her. Now Katie is afraid he’s onto her strange powers, as well as frightened that he thinks she may be responsible for her grandmother’s death. So Katie goes into hiding and on a hunt to find others like her.
Recommendation: A good read
This book from my own childhood sends a message to kids about tolerance and individuality. Even as an adult I enjoyed the story for its underlying message as well as its supernatural element. Children can benefit from this story by hopefully seeing that uniqueness should be celebrated, not shunned. And for any child who ever felt isolated because other kids found them different, this book says you are not alone.
Get it: Amazon offers new and used copies in both hardcover and paperback on the cheap. Very affordable and a great addition to your child’s library.