Here at the Mixed-Up Files, we’re compiling lots and lots of book lists for you all to use at home or at school in many different genres and areas of focus that you might want or need. Here’s one below to get us started! (And if you have a need for a certain type of book list that you’d love to see, please tell us in the comments and our team of experts will get on it!)
Folk tales and fairy tales were originally short stories, but some creative authors have retold them as middle-grade novels.
Folk tale retellings:
ABIYOYO RETURNS by Pete Seeger (sequel to Abiyoyo, based on a South African folktale)
From IndieBound: After Abiyoyo the giant left, the small town he had bothered grew by leaps and bounds. The boy who helped his father make Abiyoyo disappear grew older and became a father, too. The people were filled with new life and spirit. But now there are new dangers: droughts and floods. The town needs a dam before it gets washed away. And sitting right where the dam would be is a boulder too big for anyone to move. Anyone, that is, except Abiyoyo.
Father still has his courage. Grandfather still has his magic wand. And his granddaughter knows he can bring Abiyoyo back, then make him disappear. But Abiyoyo is dangerous. People think the giant will eat them. Will lots of good food and beautiful songs keep Abiyoyo happy long enough to move the boulder and once again leave the town in peace?
THE MAGICAL MONKEY KING by Ji-Li Jiang (classic Chinese tales)
From IndieBound: The ALA Notable author of “Red Scarf Girl” presents traditional tales about the Monkey King, the irrepressible trickster hero of Chinese legend. Embellished with Hui Hui Su-Kennedy’s charming black-and-white illustrations, these hilarious stories bring the Monkey King and his friends to life.
Fairy tale retellings:
THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS by Diane Zahler (based on the fairy tale 12 Dancing Princesses)
From IndieBound: Zita is not an ordinary servant girl—she’s the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita’s father banished her to the servants’ quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.
Then, after Zita’s twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.
THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale (based on Grimm’s fairy tale, The Goose Girl)
From IndieBound: Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.
And one based on the epic tale of Beowulf:
THE COMING OF THE DRAGON by Rebecca Barnhouse
From IndieBound: When he was a baby, Rune washed up onshore in a boat, along with a sword and a pendant bearing the runes that gave him his nickname. Some people thought he was a sacrifice to the gods and wanted to send him right back to the sea. Luckily for Rune, King Beowulf disagreed. He lifted the boy from the boat and gave him to Amma, a wisewoman living on a farm far removed from the king’s hall, to raise as she saw fit.
Sixteen years later, Rune spends his summers laboring on the farm. And at King Beowulf’s request, he comes to the hall each winter for weapons training. But somehow he never quite fits in. Many people still fear he will bring a curse on the kingdom. Then a terrible thing happens. On a lonely crag on a mountain that belongs to the giants, someone awakens a dragon. It is time for Rune to find the warrior inside himself and prove to the doubters once and for all that he is a true hero.
Tell us your favorite folk and fairy tale retellings!