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Top Five Modern Kids' Novels

School can be exhausting. I know that when I was still in school, all I wanted to do after finishing homework was scroll mindlessly through my phone and forget that I have a brain for a while. But that is a sure-fire way to lower motivation, add to anxiety and depression, and turn your brain into mush. So I have made a list of some of my favorite books to recommend to moms in order to provide a more stimulating form of escape for the kiddos and teens out there:

5. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

If you have been reading my other articles, then you already know how I feel about Brandon Mull. He is a children’s fantasy expert, with a fantastic magical world and an amazing cast of characters. Fablehaven is a book about two siblings, Kendra and Seth Sorenson, who discover a wondrous secret about their grandparents’ nature preserve — it's a safe haven for magical creatures. But not all of its inhabitants want peaceful relations with humans. I highly recommend this series for younger readers!

4. Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Next on my list is Greenglass House, a juvenile mystery novel about a rambling old mansion, serving as a hotel for smugglers in the Sovereign City of Nagspeake. Milo's parents own the hotel, and when a blizzard traps them all inside with an assortment of mysterious guests, Milo quickly realizes that no one is who they seem, and that Greenglass House holds more secrets than he could have imagined. Along with Meddy, the cook's daughter, Milo sets off to solve puzzles and uncover the dark secrets of the house, the guests — and the town itself. This book is a work of genius. Whip-smart and chock full of life, it holds a gripping mystery, engaging characters who are unique and likable, and a powerful message of self-discovery. This is a must-read for sure! Plus, it's part of a series, so there's more where that came from! Thank you, Kate Milford!

3. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Third one up is The Goose Girl. Shannon Hale was one of my favorite authors growing up, and not much has changed now that I've grown. Hale has always been an amazing storyteller, but I think her true skill lies in fantasy stories. The story follows Ani, Crown Princess of Kildenree, in this cohesive and beautifully reimagined retelling of a fairy tale by the same name. After her lady-in-waiting stages a coup against her en route to her arranged marriage, Ani is forced to go into hiding as a tender to the king's geese to survive. While Ani struggles to adjust to peasant life and reclaim her rightful throne, she discovers the power that was inside of her all along, gaining confidence, courage, and friends as she goes. This one holds a special place in my heart because of its detailed world and characters, but especially because of the message about standing on your own two feet and not letting anyone else take away your spirit — no matter who they are or what they say. These are vital lessons for everyone, kids and adults.

2. A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

Books don't bring me to tears very often. When they do, it's usually either over a character death or the sheer beauty of a story. For A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, it was the latter. Set in 1909, it tells the touching story of a naughty little orphan girl, Maud Flynn, who is shocked to find herself adopted by the lovely Miss Hyacinthe. At first, she feels like she is in a Cinderella story, believing that all that lies ahead of her now is as pleasant as peaches and cream. But she soon finds that there is more to a family than just material things, and discovers that her adoptive family is involved in dishonest deeds that will put her moral code to the test. As someone who was also a bit of a "difficult" child, I relate deeply to Maud, and so will any other child who has ever struggled with themselves and their emotions. This is an incredible take on morality, family, and love, and I highly recommend having your child read through it at least once.

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

It was very hard to choose a number one spot, but this book just contains EVERYTHING to love. However, fair warning to parents: the first chapter of the book contains a rather gory description of death, and the whole book in general centers around fictional concepts of ghosts, spooky creatures, and what happens after death. With that PG warning out of the way, I LOVE this book. The only survivor among his family, Bod is adopted by ghosts in a graveyard as a baby in order to help him escape the same fate. As a living boy among a community of the dead, it's easy for Bod to feel out of place. But through a long series of adventures, he learns how to grow, and just where his place is in this strange universe we call home. All the while, the Man Jack is lurking, longing to finish the job and take Bod's life the way he did his family. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors of all time, and so far he hasn't disappointed. This is a perfect book in my eyes. It excites the imagination and thrills me with haunts and scares, while also teaching such amazingly profound messages about childhood that it actually leaves me speechless. I won't spoil any more, though, go read it for yourself! Even if you're not a kid.

That wraps up my list of top five modern books for young readers! I hope that it helped you find some reading material for your kids. I try to only pick the good stuff to recommend to y'all. Thanks for reading, and happy book hunting!

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