Scroll to bottom of the story to find out how to join.
When people say something is “out of this world,” they don’t usually mean it comes from Mars, Middle Earth or Mount Olympus. They mean it’s really good — such as a favorite dinner or a birthday treat. But when we picked those same words as the theme for KidsPost’s Summer Book Club, we had both meanings in mind. We aimed to find really good books that would transport readers to different worlds. We think we have found eight such books, and we hope you will agree. So sit back, unleash your imagination and get ready for out-of-this-world adventures.
Each Wednesday beginning June 25, we’ll journey Out of This World by writing about one of the books below. We’ll also suggest other fantasy stories you might enjoy. Most of the books are available in major public library systems. All titles also will be available at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington and at Hooray for Books in Alexandria.
By Sage Blackwood. Ages 8 to 12.
An orphan named Jinx lives in the Urwald, a wooded, magical place where humans are supposed to stay on the paths. When his stepfather leads the boy off the path and tries to abandon him, a wizard named Simon rescues Jinx and offers him a home. Jinx doesn’t trust the wizard, but he is very curious about Simon’s use of magic. The boy isn’t aware that he, too, has unusual powers until those powers are threatened. Jinx has to journey far off the path to discover his true self.
By Peter Lerangis. Ages 8 to 12.
Jack McKinley is worried about flunking a math test. But that test is the least of his troubles. After he collapses on his way to school, he wakes up in a strange hospital. It turns out that Jack has a rare trait that’s going to kill him within six months. The only cure is tied to an ancient mystery. To solve it, he and three other kids with the same trait must find magical artifacts from the lost city of Atlantis.
By Colin Meloy. Ages 8 to 12.
On the edge of Portland, Oregon, is a seldom-explored wilderness. Prue McKeel, who lives nearby with her family, must journey into this dangerous territory after her baby brother is kidnapped by crows. She and schoolmate Curtis discover that the area, called Wildwood, is filled with animals and humans, many of whom don’t get along. Prue and Curtis become caught up in the conflict, which threatens to destroy everyone involved.
By Wendy Mass. Ages 8 to 12.
Joss’s dad has a big job: Supreme Overlord of the Universe. He runs the show with the help of his seven sons. The youngest son, Joss, delivers special pies that keep “the very fabric of the universe together.” It’s not a glamorous job. But when Earth’s solar system is ripped from space and time, Joss gets a promotion: He is charged with bringing back the solar system. But how? Joss and Annika — the only human to survive Earth’s disappearance — have to figure it out together.
By Django Wexler. Ages 8 to 12.
The day after Alice spies a fairy arguing with her father, the girl’s life changes forever. Dad hastily leaves on a long business trip. Soon after, his ship disappears in a storm, and Alice is left an orphan. She is sent to live with a mysterious uncle in a house with an enormous library. The books in the library are off-limits to Alice. But when a boy dares her to open one, she gets a closer look than expected.
By J.A. White. Ages 10 to 13.
At age 6, Kara felt both great joy and great sorrow. Her brother Taff was born, and her mother was found guilty of witchcraft. For years after, the two children are ignored by villagers, who are afraid of magic. Only the creatures from the nearby woods called the Thickety inspire more fear. When a bird lures Kara into the woods, she finds a book of spells that may have belonged to her mother. She uses the book and seems to be headed down the path her mother followed.
By Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. Ages 8 to 12.
Life was good for Brendan, Eleanor and Cordelia Walker. They had great parents and a beautiful home. After a mysterious incident causes their father to lose his job, they are forced to move. Their new home is beautiful and strangely affordable. It turns out that the house belonged to oddball writer Denver Kristoff, whose characters won’t stay put on the library’s shelves. The parents suddenly disappear, and the kids are pulled into a world of pirates, warriors and an evil queen.
By S.E. Grove. Ages 8 to 12.
Almost a century after the Great Disruption split parts of the world into different Ages, or time periods, politicians in New Occident are planning to close the borders. Before that happens, Sophia wants to find her parents, who disappeared while exploring another Age. Her uncle Shadrack, a famous mapmaker, plans to help with the search, but he is kidnapped. So it’s up to Sophia and a new friend to rescue Shadrack and keep alive the hope of finding her parents.
The Summer Book Club is open to kids ages 5 to 14. Children may read some or all of the books on our list. (We’re on the honor system. We just want kids to enjoy summer reading.)
To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian. To register, a parent needs to fill out our form or send the child’s first and last names, age and address to KidsPost Summer Book Club, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
Every child who is registered will receive a bookmark designed by Kylie Wilbur, 9, of Rockville. Nearly 60 children from the Washington area participated in our contest to draw the summer bookmark.
Kylie, a third-grader at Norwood School, told KidsPost that she decided to focus on space for her “Out of This World” design. She came up with sun and moon characters that both enjoy reading.
“I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction books,” Kylie said. “So the sun is reading a nonfiction book, because that makes him smarter. And ‘bright’ is another word for smart.”
That pun, in addition to the vibrant colors and beautifully executed drawing, is what drew the judges to Kylie’s work. She used colored pencils and a skinny black pen to create the design.
Summer Book Club members will start getting their bookmarks in July. KidsPost also will publish a list of the club’s members at the end of the summer. (Last year we had 650 members!) Any parents who do not want their child’s name printed in the newspaper should inform us of that when they sign up.