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November 28, 2007


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Great list! Thanks for posting this.

Also Zahrah the Windseeker and Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories is one of my favorite books. Brilliant, brilliant novel.

What do you mean by "has an Arabian feel to it"? That doesn't mean anything to me!

A very useful list. Thank you.

Pooja, thanks for the addition.

The notes/comments with each recommendation came from individuals at Child_Lit; I'm not sure who contributed the one about Lloyd Alexander. Keep in mind the notes were probably written quickly. I'm going to hazard a guess that the book's geography reminded the commenter of a country on the Arabian peninsula.

I haven't read The First Two Lives of Lucas-Kasha. Would you describe it differently?

Cloudscome and Shannon, when I saw this list at Child-Lit, I immediately thought, "Blog post!"

Another good one would be Magic Street, by Orson Scott Card, if one equates "multicultural" with "non-white characters..."

Thanks, Charlotte!

I second the addition of Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu. I haven't read Zahrah the Windseeker.

I also wanted to add The Call to Shakabaz by Amy Wachspress.

Awesome list! Many thanks.

Sheila, thanks so much. I added your contribution and the others' to the list, which is a good resource.

De nada, Anne. I can't resist a good list.

Thanks for posting the list for all, Susan. A few kid-lit members already emailed me a few suggestions not on the original list. Here they are:

Julius Lester's _Time's Memory_ (a novel about slavery with "fantastic" African spiritual elements)

Walter Dean Myers' _The Legend of Tarik_ (African protagonist)

Michael Tunnell's _The Wishing Moon_ (Arabian Nights-inspired).

Best, Craig Svonkin

That's great, Craig! I'll add these on. Because of Google searches and the like, entries like this one end up drawing traffic long after their post date; I know the list will help young readers (and their parents, teachers, librarians, etc.) discover new works.

Thanks so much for lending the list.

If you are looking for "crossover" titles, I recommend Ashok Banker's Ramayana Series. Yes, the books are deeply rooted in Hindu mythology/religion, but it is also the classic "Hero's Quest."

I'd like to add my new YA novel, ASLEEP, to the list. It has an African American girl as the main character and it chronicles her introduction into the secret world of super beings. It's by me, Wendy Raven McNair and more details can be found at wendyravenmcnair.com.

Great List!

I would add:

47 by Walter Mosely about a fourteen year-old slave who is set free by Tall John, a magical being from another planet.

The Oracle Prophies trilogy by Catherine Fisher which borrows from ancient Greece and ancient Egypt (The Oracle Betrayed, The Sphere of Secrets, and Day of the Scarab).

The Aksumite Cycle by Elizabeth Wein. Although this series starts out as a retelling of the Arthurian saga, in The Winter Prince, she moves the story to Aksum (part of Ethiopia) in the second book, A Coalition of Lions, and the main character of the subsequent novels is Telemakos who is the son of Medraut and an Aksumite. Those are: The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter, and The Empty Kingdom.

The Farsala trilogy by Hilari Bell has a culture that seems to be inspired by ancient Persia. Fall of a Kingdom, Rise of a Hero, and Forging the Sword.

Of course there are a lot of retellings of ancient Greek myths and stories, like Troy and Ithaka by Adele Geras and The Young Heroes series by Jane Yolen and Robert Harris: Odysseus and the Serpent Maze, Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons, Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast, and Jason ant the Gorgon's Blood.

And the retellings of the Shahrazad story like The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey and Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher.

Also, Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher where the charcters travel through Persia to Bethlehem.

The Legend of the Wandering King by Laura Gallego Garcia takes place in pre-Islamic Arabia.


Susan--excellent. Thank you!

What a helpful resource, thanks!

A few newer titles to add:
Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale (fairy tale retelling set in Mongolia-inspired culture)

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, by Allison Goodman (China)

Silver Phoenix, by Cindy Pon (China)

Toads & Diamonds, by Heather Tomlinson (fantasy world based on Mughal India)

Karen Healey's _Guardian of the Dead_ is set in New Zealand and involves Maori mythology.

Thank you, Heather, for those additions!

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