The Best Middle Grade Adventure Stories with Talking Animals and a Dash of Magic

montage black bear cub white wolf magic wand woods forest

I’ve got 3 exciting updates on Shannon’s Odyssey, my novel for 7- to 11-year-olds: First and foremost, find Shannon’s Odyssey featured in Shepherd’s list of “The Best Middle Grade Adventure Stories with Talking Animals and a Dash of Magic”. The book also appeared on an author’s list of recommended summer reads. And on July 22 and 23, the ebook will be free on Amazon.

1. Shepherd List of Best Middle Grade Books

Shepherd, as you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, is a new, fun and different book recommendation website on which authors recommend 5 books on specific topics related to one of their own books. Shepherd is still in beta but already attracting more than 100,000 visitors a month. I highly recommend checking it out here. No registration or sign-up of any kind is required to view their lists. Just go to the website and poke around ’til you find something that suits your fancy.

They are continually adding features to the site, such as bookshelves, like this one for The Best Books About Magic.

Researching other children’s books similar to mine — books with journeys filled with adventure, talking animals and a dash of magic — was loads of fun. The journeys often, but not always, cover miles and miles. The manner in which animals “talk” varies by book. In some, it’s fantastical with animals speaking like humans. In others, it’s unspoken communication or communication in the animal’s own language.

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And most of the books I recommend are not true fantasy; rather, they incorporate a little bit of magic that may leave the reader thinking it wasn’t magic at all — just a new way of looking at, and living, life. In other words, perfect reading for kids with their active imaginations and willingness to see the world through a special lens of their own making.

The books I chose are (in alphabetical order based on the author’s last name, because far be it from me to suggest which is the “best”):

  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • Coo by Kaela Noel
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis

Hop on over to Shepherd to learn why I chose these five books.

2. Summer Reading Recommendations

Author M.T. Maliha includes Shannon’s Odyssey in a short list of recommended summer reads, be they beach reads, lakeside reads or bedtime story reads.

You gotta love an author whose website proudly quotes Mary Higgins Clark: “When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.” Sort of like poetic justice!

Read Maliha’s book ideas here.

3. Get Shannon’s Odyssey for Free

The last promotion I offered for Shannon’s Odyssey was so successful and fun, I’m doing it again. On Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23, the ebook version will be free to download from Amazon. Mark your calendars and get your free copy for a child in your life — a birthday present, miss-you present or just-because present. Click here to get the book. Read a description, excerpt and reviews here.

And if you’re so inclined, post a review of the book on Amazon (or goodreads or on your own social media) after you finish the Middle Grade adventure story. I love to know what readers — children and adults — have to say.