Category Archives: Young Adult

Worldbuilders Does Something for the Kids

Here at Worldbuilders, we work hard to help kids all over the world.

goat 1

In both senses of the word. Sometimes kids need a goat. Sometimes kids need a book.

Today’s blog features the awesome children’s books we’ve gotten for the fundraiser.  Some are lottery, a few are auction, and a couple are also available in The Tinker’s Packs.  But you’ll have to be quick – there are only a few of those.

Troubletwisters--the Magic

“[An] enjoyable romp… satisfying to a wide range of middle school readers.” – Publishers Weekly

These are signed by *both* Garth Nix and Sean Williams, so they’re extra cool….

  • Auction: A set of Troubletwisters: The Magic, signed by Garth Nix, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, signed and doodled by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Trouble Chitty - lying

For those of you who’d *really* love to get one of the above books, we’re pairing one up with a copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, also signed by the author.

“Ian Fleming”Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, would have been thrilled with this delightful sequel…Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again is a treat from start to finish and hopefully the beginning of many more adventures.”  –

You can bid on the auction over here if you’re interested.


“Mr. Van Allsburg’s illustrations have a beautiful simplicity of design, balance, texture, and a subtle intelligence beyond the call of illustration.”  – The New York Times

I was really tempted to pull out the CD so I could hear Robin Williams reading it, but I restrained myself….

  • The Snow Merchant.  Signed, quoted, and dated by Sam Gayton.

Snow Merchant

“A hugely imaginative tale” – The Bookseller

This one’s a fast-paced, quirky, funny tale about an alchemist who plans to change the world – and the life of one Lettie Peppercorn – with his newest invention: snow. If you say you’re not even curious about this book, frankly no one here at Worldbuilders would believe you.

Demons Watch

“Judging by his debut novel, The Demon’s Watch, Conrad Mason is here to stay . . . Comparisons with Terry Pratchett are inevitable” – Carousel

Monsters, pirates, and great adventure are the start of this story. But Mason tops himself by pulling a brilliant switch – the good guys are goblins, ogres and trolls. The bad guys are the humans. By flipping the fairy tale traditions around, Mason slyly injects an interesting new dynamic into what could have been just a great fantasy adventure, elevating this book to a brilliant fantasy adventure.

Spiderwick Beyond

Spiderwick doodle

“Readers who enjoy fine fiction involving young heroes will love Nixie’s Song…but legions of Spiderwick fans may make finding the book a challenge by itself! Strongly recommended.” –SFRevu

The Grace kids aren’t the only kids to peer into the fairy realm. The Nixie’s Song is the first book in the second Spiderwick trilogy, featuring new protagonists, a new setting and a cameo by authors Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, as well as a familiar face from the first five books. Oh, and giants.

  • Victor’s Quest and Victor’s Challenge. Signed by Pamela Freeman.

Pamela Freeman set

“Pamela Freeman’s story is warm and engaging, and there are a few challenges in the text. As for the illustrations – well, its Kim Gamble of both Tashi and Minton fame. I can’t imagine a child not enjoying Victor’s Quest.” –Booktopia

Prince Victor isn’t very smart. His horse, however, has enough brains for both of them. Together they set out on a quest to find a princess for Victor to marry, and though things don’t always go as planned, Victor’s sunny outlook just might save the day.

Geared for younger readers. Many fans of this series cite it as their introduction to the wonderful world of fantasy, and still enjoy reading it today.

  • Copies of Benjamin Oliver Flanagan.  Inscribed and signed by A. Dale Triplett.

Benjamin Oliver Flanagan

This is a good story for younger kids (ages 4 and below) about patience and dealing with loss. The story is told in an easy-to-sing rhyme, so it should be fun for kids to hear and help with. The illustrations are in black and white, but one website we found mentioned it might be fun to give this book with a box of crayons to get kids more involved.

Unfortunate Fursey

“You’ll be spellbound by Mervyn Wall’s whimsical mixture of satire and fantasy.” – Books Ireland

  • The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket.  Signed by John Boyne.

Terrible Thing That Happened

“Unashamedly and often delightfully whimsical… It has much of the pell-mell what-the-hell-happens-nextness of Dahl and Ibbotson” – The Guardian

  • Auction: A set of Jackie Morris books: The Ice Bear, The Cat and the Fiddle, and I am Cat.  All signed and doodled by Jackie Morris.

Morris Books covers

The Ice Bear – “One of the most wonderful picture books of the year” – The Times

The Cat and the Fiddle – “This sumptuous collection is one to pore over, cherish and return to again and again.  A lovely book.” – The Bookseller

Jackie Morris’s beautiful books are a pure joy whether you read the story or just admire her illustrations. Ideally, you do both, but we’re not going to tell you how to read.  These books are a great addition to your collection, keepsakes to pass down to your children, or gifts for someone who needs them – and we can’t think of anyone who doesn’t need them.

Jackie signed all of these and included doodles in each one that are just as awesome as the artwork in the rest of the book.

morris bear sign

The other two books have cat doodles, but more cat photos might break the internet. You can see them on the auction page if you like. We know you want these books, so you can bid on them at your leisure.


[About Lament] “Vibrant and potent, YA readers searching for faerie stories will be happy to find this accomplished debut novel.” – Publishers Weekly

Start with an intriguing plot, add some new twists on old Fairy lore and throw in a dash of romance, and there you have it: Lament, the first installment in Maggie Stiefvater’s Books of Faerie. If you liked the idea of Twilight but not necessarily the execution, you’ll have better luck with Lament.

The Raven Boys is a dark study of mortality and fraternity. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of a local private school whose students are known as the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. This is a signed audiobook of the first installment of Maggie’s Raven Cycle.

Goblin Secrets Ghoulish Song

We can’t say anything better than the professionals:

“Goblin Secrets is a knockout. It’s an original, owing absolutely nothing to Tolkien, or to any of his descendants, disciples or imitators. As a lifelong sucker for theatre and books about theatre, I don’t know a fantasy novel that’s used performing and maskmaking in just that way.” – Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn

“Will Alexander’s books are a secret pleasure that are now revealed to the world. Funny, smart, and gorgeously written without sacrificing an ounce of forward-moving plot, they are both a pleasure and instructive. When I grow up, I want to be Will.” – Jane Yolen, author of The Pit Dragon Chronicles

Odd and the Frost Giants

“Since this is a story for younger readers, these gods aren’t as saucy as when Gaiman previously cast them in his Sandman graphic novel series. But their lusty undercurrents are still there, and they seem as alive and witty as ever. Almost as good as The Graveyard Book, and equally as good as Coraline.” – SF Signal

  • Instructions.  First edition, signed by Neil Gaiman.

Instructions - standing

Yes, you did see these instructions in Fragile Things. But here they are with breathtaking illustrations by the inimitable Charles Vess, perfect for reading to your kids or hoarding for yourself. It’s in the lottery in all its signed glory, because someone who donates as little as ten bucks deserves a chance at winning something this cool.

AuctionInstructions. First edition, signed by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.

Instructions - Both signatures

(Click to embiggen, so that you might bask in the glory.)

This copy is even cooler, as it’s signed by both Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.

Same lovely book, one extra signature. Feel free to head over and bid on the auction.


When I was at wondercon a year ago, a couple readers stopped by and gave me a copy of their book. I brought it home, read it to my boy, and enjoyed it so much that I made a point of talking about it on Goodreads.

The authors sent us some copies for Worldbuilders, so we’ve put 5 doodled copies into the lottery….

curiosities doodle

And five copies into our online store so you can head over and grab a copy if you like. Be warned though, there are only 5 for sale, so they’ll be gone soon.

This is the book that sold me on how cool Heifer International was.

I’m so fond of it, I recorded a video of reading it to Oot.

Beatrices Goat - stack

The books we have thrown into the lottery are extra-cool because they’re signed.

But wait. They’re even cooler than that. They’re not just signed by the author (Page McBrier) Not just signed by the illustrator (Lori Lohstoeter).

These copies are signed by Beatrice Biira herself, the woman the book was based on.


Beatrice has grown up since the book was published in 2001, and she’s gone on to great things. She got her BA, then went on to get her Master’s degree. And I’m willing to bet she got better grades than I ever did in grad school…

For those of you who want to be sure you get this awesome ultra-signed book, we have a few up for sale in the The Tinker’s Packs as well. We don’t have a ton of them though, so you might want to grab them while you can.

*   *   *

That’s the exciting stuff for now. We’ll be back before you know it with more, so in the mean time, how about a shiny new navigation bar?  The images are all linky and clickable…


Also posted in Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat3 Responses

Fanmail Q&A: YA Recomendations

Hello, Pat!

Today, my 10-year-old daughter, Becca, came home from school with a book pressed to her nose. This is nothing unexpected; she’s been addicted to books for nearly as long as she’s been able to speak!

But today, I had a little smile when I noted the title that she’d selected from her school’s library: “A Wrinkle In Time.”

I recently read your blog post about your early experience with the book, and it gave me pause to think. I had one of those thoroughly “mom” moments, suddenly picturing my redheaded, freckle-faced, bespectacled, skinny 10 year old as a grown-up with a career!

I hope I don’t sound dreadfully stage-momish when I say that I’ve long guessed she would end up being a writer. She thinks differently from other kids. She’s never been afraid of spiders or robbers, instead, her real-life fears include the concept of infinity and people one day traveling at the speed of light. Many nightmares over the size of the universe. She’s bizarre, but pretty darned cute, so it balances. ;)

(Editor’s note: She is pretty cute.)

Writing all that down probably seals her fate as a future tax accountant!

So, here begins my question to you… She’s read all of the usual suspects for children at her age, including Harry Potter and the Narnia series. She also spent a whole month reading every BabySitter’s Club book she could scrounge up! (She is a little girl, after all!!)

But finding books that really challenge and appeal to her as a voracious reader has been a years-long sprint to stay ahead of her curiosity! She adores fantasy, but a LOT of fantasy novels are just too sexual, or too violent for her, at this age.

I’ve loved your recommendations of books over the years, and I wonder if you could think of a list of books that little budding geeks would adore? …a geekery primer, as it were.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with the world.


Well Carrie, I won’t lie to you. You do sound slightly stage-mom. But at least you’re aware of it. Knowing is half the battle, after all.

I have a lot of control-freak tendencies myself. (I think some of it comes from being an author.) But so far I’ve managed to reign in those elements of my personality when it comes to planning Oot’s future.

Sarah constantly wants to speculate about what he’ll be like when he grows up. What job will he have? Will he be right handed? Will his hair be curly or wavy? Will he be gay or straight? What will his secondary mutation be?

I decided early on that I don’t care about any of that stuff. I only want two things from him when he grows up.

He must:

1. Make the world a better place.

2. Be happy.

That’s all I require of him. He can even do them in whatever order he likes. Concurrently or consecutively. Everything else is meaningless detail as far as I’m concerned. (Though it would be nice if he was a bit of a reader, too.)

But yeah, back to the point of your letter. Let me see if I can think of some good YA reads for you….

The first thing that leaps to mind is:

  • Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books.

I don’t really feel the need to sell these books to you. If you know anything about fantasy, you know who Terry Pratchett is. You know he’s great.

On the off chance that you don’t, I’ll simply say what I’ve said before: There may be authors as good as Terry Pratchett, but there are no authors better. And the Tiffany Aching books are as good as anything he’s ever written. I just pulled one down off the shelf and right now I’m having to actively fight my desire start reading it again.

In order, they are: Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith.

The fourth book in the series, I Shall Wear Midnight, is coming out in less than a month. I plan on reading it the day it’s released.

Side note: I’d probably recommend *any* of Pratchett’s books as a safe YA read. They’re all really good, and by opening that single door, you instantly add more than thirty exceptionally high-quality books to your reading list.

  • Neil Gaiman’s Coraline

Again, I don’t feel like I need to push you very hard about this book. It’s Neil Gaiman. You know how good he is.

Side note: The audiobook version of this is really excellent. I just listened to it for the third time about two weeks ago. Gaiman reads it himself, and does an absolutely brilliant job.

  • Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.

Again. I rave about this book all the time, so I won’t go on and on. I didn’t read it when I was a kid, but I can’t help but feel that it would be a great YA read.

Secondary Recommendation: There’s a movie too.

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl.

I remember reading this one as a kid and loving it. Dahl has the rare gift that I’ve come to think of as The Divine Ridiculous.

You see, anybody can be goofy. Anybody can just make up some silly bullshit. But true inspired ridiculousness can’t be forced. You cannot strive for it, for in striving you fail. It’s like Nirvana. It’s like the eternal Tao.

Some authors manage to touch this odd piece of our Jungian collective consciousness, and when they do, they write things that are genuinely delightful and bizarre. Douglass Adams brushed up against it occasionally, as do the guys over at Penny Arcade.  Dahl kinda lived there. I remember reading his books as a kid and thinking the kid version of, “WTF?”

That’s a good thing for a kid to think, in my opinion.

Secondary recommendation: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is pretty good, too.

  • The Fledgling by Jane Langton.

Honestly. I can’t remember much about this book except that I read it when I was a kid and I loved it. When you asked this question it was one of the first books that sprung to mind, that says a lot, considering it’s probably been 25 years since I’ve read it, and usually I can barely remember to put on pants before I leave the house every day.

  • Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor.

I’ve interviewed Nnedi Okorafor on the website before, and talked about some of her newer books. But this was her first book, which I read years and years ago. I really enjoyed it, and have given away many copies as gifts. Not only does it have some cool non-western worldbuiding in it, but the protagonist is a clever, capable young girl.

I could go on and on. (The Hobbit, The Princess Bride, Podkayne of Mars or other Heinlein juveniles, Peter Pan, The Little Prince…) but I think I’ll stop there.

Feel free to post some of your childhood favorites in the comments below. Discuss and disagree. That’s one of the joys of threaded comments.

However, I do expect things to remain civilized. If you you don’t think a book is appropriate for kids, feel free to say so. Feel free to explain why. But don’t be a dick about it. Typical internet asshattery will result in suspension of posting privileges, the scorn of your peers, and my terrible, terrible wrath.


Also posted in Neil Gaiman, Oot, recommendations, Sarah | By Pat486 Responses
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