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Home from school series

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

Home-schooling responsibilities came suddenly. Parents had to become teachers, utilizing friends’ suggestions, online sites and varied school packets. For me, this extra time is perfect for reading books, books and more books. Even if you have a large family library, no one can ever have too many book suggestions in my world. And starting a new series is always exciting, especially when you have extra time to fill.

I was quite surprised to read on Twitter that many adults were reading Harry Potter for the very first time. For various reasons, they missed it as kids. I am almost jealous, as the first time reading about Harry and friends is so totally magical. This series lends itself well to being read aloud. And there are movies to share before or after. Either for the first time, or for the 101st time!

For young readers, second grade and above, magic can be found in fairies. The Never Girl Series, written by Kiki Thorpe for Disney, highlights four little girls, the youngest whose belief in fairies is so true and pure, it opens a path between her backyard and Neverland. In Pixie Hollow they find a magical tree brimming full with busy fairies. There are 13 books and they are best read in order starting with “In a Blink.” They hold more than enough adventures to keep kids busy. My favorite is book four, “From the Mist” with magical Neverland horses. I believe in fairies! Don’t you?

Did you know that the Nancy Drew series is celebrating its 90th birthday this year? Ninety years! The first Nancy Drew book was distributed on April 28, 1930. She was 18 years old, wore a hat and gloves and drove a blue roadster. Much has changed in the series through the years, but Nancy has always remained the smartest girl detective ever. Of her 200 million books sold worldwide in 25 languages, “The Secret in the Old Clock” and “The Hidden Staircase” remain my all time favorites. But honestly, I enjoy all the new books, too.

For the youngest readers is the Clue Crew series of 40 book adventures. Eight year old Nancy with friends Bess and George work their way through simple and fun mysteries. Then advance to the next stage where Nancy and her friends are older (18) but the stories are written for ages 10 to 14. It is best to read the first four books in the Nancy Drew Diaries series in order, as they build one upon the other, starting with the “Curse of the Atlantic Star.” The girls take a cruise to Alaska and enjoy the beauty of the Denali National Park and Reserve, while mystery solving of course. It is an easy transition from this series to the original series of 56 books and the extra titles published after. Nancy Drew has the honor of being the heroine of the longest running series ever!

Last but not least, I offer “The Mysterious Benedict Society” series for readers 12 and older, that can be purchased separately or as a box set of five books, by Trenton Lee Stewart.

This series starts with tests taken by a bunch of kids eager to prove themselves as smarter than average. Tests that take hours! On a Saturday yet! Though all the children are quite exceptional, not all of them have what the testers are looking for. But Reynie Muldoon does. Actually, four children pass the tests. Two boys, Reynie and Sticky, and two girls, Kate and Candace. All highly intelligent, but that intelligence is measured in a kaleidoscope of ways. And once the reason they have been tested is explained, the four have to decide if they are up to a dangerous mission. A mission to prevent something bad happening in the world. Bravery truly comes in all ages and sizes. Especially when instructions and information is limited and they have to work on the fly! To some, the ending of the first book will be a surprise. To others, not so much. But that doesn’t lessen the satisfaction that comes in the final moments. And then, as in all good series, the story goes forward to the next book!

Libraries are closed but books, even series, can still be ordered online, carefully borrowed or downloaded onto Kindles and smart devices through reading apps. While confined into smaller lives, we can grow our imaginations by leaps and bounds. Readers both young and old … come dig into a good series with me!

Good books. Good reading, staying well and safe at home!

*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.