I'm so excited to be a part of the Snowy Wings Publishing Middle Grade Blog hop! My World of Aluvia books were re-released with Snowy Wings, and it's been a wonderful experience!
For our blog hop, The Reading Faery asked me a few questions-- and they are some really fun ones. Thank you for such a lovely interview, Moa! You can visit her post for the blog hop here. Her blog is beautiful and offers information on tons of books! I enjoyed our visit. At the bottom of our posts, there are links to the rest of the blog hop, so please be sure to check those out, too!
The World of Aluvia has three books in the series: Fairy Keeper, Mer-Charmer, and Dragon Redeemer. These books are upper middle grade, and a great fit for grades 4th-8th and up. Though the series has a story line that spans all three books, each book can stand alone, each with a different main character and a focus on a different magical creature.
Fairies, mermaids, and dragons, oh my!
Fairy Keeper, World of Aluvia, Book 1
Forget cute fairies in pretty dresses. In the world of Aluvia, most fairies are more like irritable, moody insects. Still, almost everyone views the fairy keeper mark as a gift, a sign of an ability to attract and even control fairies. Fourteen-year-old Sierra considers it a curse, one that binds her to a dark alchemist father who steals her fairies’ mind-altering nectar for his illegal elixirs and poisons.
But when all the little fairies die mysteriously and the fairy queens go missing, more than just the life of her fairy is in the balance. Sierra will stop at nothing to find the fairy queens, leading her to a magical secret lost since ancient times. The magic waiting for her has the power to transform the world, but only if she can first embrace her destiny as a fairy keeper.
A short EXCERPT from Chapter One
At this point in the story, Sierra has realized she needs to collect more fairy nectar right away, though the fairies are more dangerous at dusk. She and her little sister Phoebe have just reached the fairy field.
When they turned the corner at the clump of blackberry bushes where Phoebe would wait, Sierra paused. A haunting silence sat heavily in the meadow. No bass-deep thrumming of the fairies in their hatch rode along the breeze. No tiny lights like sparks flittered within the darkening trees nearby. Her heart galloped. Where were her charges? Thankfully, her sister hadn’t noticed yet.
“Phoebe, I need you to go back and start cooking, okay? We don’t want dinner late for Jack. This won’t take long, but they get irritated at dusk, and I don’t want you to get hurt.” That last part was not a lie.
Phoebe’s shoulders sagged, but she knew a late dinner meant trouble. She headed back, dragging her feet, head tucked down into her chest. If their mother hadn’t died birthing Phoebe, maybe things would have been different. Whatever kindness had been in their father must have died right along with her. Before Sierra could ache over how much more she wished she could give her sister, she turned her attention back to the fairy hatch.
There were no cages for Sierra’s fairies. No wires, no lids, no glass. Except for the queen, they were so tiny they could fit through most holes, but they didn’t need cages with a fairy keeper around anyway. She was the reason they kept coming back. They did live in a slatted wooden box that allowed easy access to their nectar, but otherwise they were free to come and go as they pleased. Unlike Sierra. She was trapped by her mark, her father, and by her love for Phoebe.
Sierra tiptoed forward. The sky was darkening, but there were no glowing wings covered in the nectar that dripped off them in their hatches. Her skin prickled as it did in that still moment before an earthquake hit.
Next to the hatch, a pile of tiny rainbow flower petals were spread on the ground. For one moment, she didn’t understand. Then her knees gave out when her mind made sense of the sight.
All the fairies were dead. No movement, no noise, no vibration, no light. Sierra searched the pile for her queen, the tiny wings rasping softly as she sifted them through her hands. They were like dry silk as they slid down her palms, which began to shake. She dropped the last dead fairy from her fingers and stood in shock. All dead but the queen, who was missing. Where was the queen?
Thanks for reading! You can check out the rest of the first chapters on Amazon's Look Inside feature, too.
I appreciate your time and am always glad to hear from readers!
About the Blog Hop, from Snowy Wings:
As a thank you for participating in our blog hop, we’re offering a chance to win eight (8) ebooks and two (2) paperbacks from our middle-grade authors!
Hop around and make sure to visit everyone today, then fill out the Rafflecopter!
October 25th – YA/NA Book Divas
October 26th – Selenia Paz
October 27th – Mindy Klasky
October 28th – I Love Books and Stuff
October 29th – Amy Bearce / The Reading Faery
October 30th – Melanie McFarlane / Jenifer Reads
October 31st – Sarah Dale / Sucker for Coffe
There are many amazing books appropriate for 4th-8th graders within the 700-950 Lexile range, to include Newbery winners and best sellers. Lexile only measures text complexity (sentence structure, words per sentence, etc.), not content. Consider that Grapes of Wrath and Charlotte's Web both have a Lexile of 680, which is a "3rd-5th grade" score. With this information, you can ask teachers to reconsider the 1000 point cut-off. I've had some success with that.
But sometimes it doesn't matter. Sometimes, you just have to find a book for class that is over 1000 Lexile. (And sometimes teachers don't have any choice, either.) I recently found a couple of wonderful resources that will hopefully make your life easier.
Here is an excellent collection of books from the Brownsburg Public Library that includes classics, YA, and adult fiction and fantasy. I started reading adult fantasy in 8th grade, and it can be quite age-appropriate. For a 7th or 8th grader, I'd definitely consider Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and maybe try out some of the older fantasy books by classic fantasy authors like Mercedes Lackey (Owl Flight), Anne McCaffery (Renegades of Pern), and Terry Brooks (Sword of Shannara.) The pacing may be slower, but if you like any of these, those authors have tons of other books for you to enjoy, set in the same world.
And the Elkhorn Library has this incredible list for 5th and up of books that are 1000 Lexile and up. It gives a tiny blurb about each one, too, as well as Reading Counts points. Some of these would be fine for fourth graders, as well. If you haven't read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, this is your chance to enjoy a fantastic book that is over 1000 Lexile, along with his biography GUTS! Bad Beginnings by Lemony Snicket is good for those elementary kids being told to read 1000 Lexile, to include fourth graders.
You can also ask for help from your local school or public librarian to find suitable books. Librarians excel at helping readers find the perfect book--and created both of the linked lists from this post. WE LOVE YOU, LIBRARIANS!
Another excellent option for 3rd and 4th graders is The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron, which won the Newbery Award. It's not on these lists, presumably because it's not technically over 1000 on the Lexile site (it's listed at 950L), but it is also sometimes rated as 1010L, as evidenced by its Junior Library Guild page. Either way, it's a fabulous book if you can persuade your teacher to allow that apparent 50 point difference (mention that it was a Newbery Award winner.)
These two lists were more effective for me than searching on Lexile's site, but you can do that, too. Lexile's site is more useful if you have a title that you need to check for its level, rather than searching for a title, in my opinion.
Happy hunting for your next required reading, and best wishes!
To those of you in 4th-8th grade and older, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of intermediate school, middle school, and high school.