Tag Archives: coming of age

The Penelope Qingdom by Aidan Moher

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: December, 2016 in Mothership Zeta

Genre: fantasy

Setting: Prince George, Canada, 1980s

Summary: Penelope Qing and her family move in next door to Ivan and his moms. They’re the same age, 11, and meet when Ivan’s moms introduce themselves. Penelope takes Ivan down into her basement to show him the Penelope Kingdom – a fantastical medieval world made of various dolls, action figures, household items, and buildings. The amazing thing is it comes to life in Penelope’s presence. We even get excerpts from a history book from the kingdom sprinkled throughout the story. Ivan and Penelope play down there for years, although at the end of middle school he becomes more interested in kissing Penelope than playing. However, when Penelope’s family moves right before high school, he’s willing to set up a colony in his basement.

Final thoughts: This was a delightful story. Penelope and Ivan have an imaginary world they’ve put together in Penelope’s basement that is real, at least when Penelope is there. Luckily, they both enjoyed playing in the world, although Ivan started growing out of it before Penelope did. There was an impressive progress of time, since several years pass in the story. We get just enough detail to know time is passing, but not so much to make it boring. At the end, it looks like Ivan and Penelope will just be memories to each other. However, online gaming is just starting, so it’s possible they will connect in a MUD instead of just fading away.

Title comes from: Penelope was King of her fantasy world, so it was called Penelope’s Kingdom. Her name was Penelope Qing (pronounced King), so Ivan made it a play on her name – Penelope’s Qingdom.



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Fire in the Mist by Holly Lisle

I picked a random book off my Kindle to read during our family bike trip. I checked to make sure this was at least the first book in a series, but knew nothing else about it when I started.

Published: 1992

Genre: fantasy

Length: 291 pages Continue reading

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This is a book I’ve been hearing good things about for a while. I had wanted to listen to it as an audiobook, but it’s always checked out. So, when I saw it on the library shelf, I decided to pick it up and read it to the kids myself.

Published: 2014

Genre: middle grade memoir in verse

Length: 320 pages of verse, 337 pages with pictures

Font: Garth Graphic

Setting: Columbus, Ohio, Greenville, South Carolina, and New York City, 1963-mid-1970s Continue reading

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Audiobooks have been our saving grace as we drove 20 minutes to rehearsal four times a week. I was first introduced to this book by The Modern Mrs. Darcy and it caught my eye because A Wrinkle in Time is a major plot point. I’ve heard it made a good read aloud, and was excited to see the audiobook was available from our library.

Published: 2009

Genre: YA time travel fiction

Length: 199 pages

Setting: New York City, 1978 Continue reading

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Mercury by Hope Larson

I’m always on the lookout for good graphic novels. The kids will read a good one five times or more before it’s time to take it back to the library. There’s a couple of blogs I follow that will post about graphic novels. Usually, if I see one I’m interested in, I’ll check my library collection and request it on the spot if it’s in the system. That means, we get a random graphic novel showing up on a regular basis. It also means I can’t remember who recommended the book to me in the first place. Sorry! This book sounded interesting because of its setting (Nova Scotia – don’t get too many stories set there) and its premise of telling a story set in the same place but in two different time periods.

Published: 2010

Genre: mystery graphic novel

Length: 234 pages

Setting: French Hill, Nova Scotia, 1859 and the present. Continue reading

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The Lilies of Dawn by Vanessa Fogg

My short fiction Monday post is a little different this week. Annorlunda Books has a new novella coming out on Wednesday. I got an Advanced Reader Copy of the book, and I’m going to review it here.

Published: July 27, 2016

Genre: fantasy

Length: 43 pages

Setting: the Dawn Mother’s shrine, with medieval technology

Interest: I was provided an ARC of the novella by Annorlunda Books (but my opinion is my own). The publisher emphasizes “books to inform, entertain, and make you think.” I’ve enjoyed the other offerings from the publisher (like Unspotted, and Okay, So Look), so I thought I could get the word out about this story as well. Continue reading

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Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki

Published: 2008

Genre: middle grade graphic novel

Length: 150 pages

Setting: stereotypical suburbs in the U.S., present day

Interest: I’m always on the lookout for graphic novels. Bonus when they have a non-white protagonist. Continue reading

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