New Fantasy Books

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave by Candace Fleming

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

Driving at break-neck speed past a Cook County Forest Preserve after midnight, late for curfew again, Mike nearly hits a girl who is standing in the middle of the road. His decision to give the hapless hitchhiker a ride home turns into a night spent sitting in a graveyard listening to the ghosts of Chicago area teenagers as tell him the stories of their lives, and deaths.

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Vodník by Bryce Moore

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

After Tomas' house burns down, his family moves back to Slovakia where they had lived until Tomas was five and where he had nearly died. Soon after his arrival in his mother's home town he begins to have strange encounters with Slovakian legendary characters. Everyone, from Death herself to a crazy water vampire, known as a vodnik, seems to remember him and want something from him.

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Grades 4+

Ivan (The Ape at Exit 8) is a downtrodden, has-been silverback gorilla living in a small, unkept domain within a shopping mall, occasionally accompanied by Bob, a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan's domain through a hole in the glass.

Stella, an aging elephant with a bad foot, dies from lack of treatment after Ruby, a baby elephant purchased from a defunct circus, arrives at the mall. The owner hopes Ruby will jumpstart visitor attendance again. Before Stella dies, she asks Ivan to promise that he will bring Ruby somewhere safe, knowing his devotion to protection of his friends is paramount.

Ivan's poetic narration is honest, painful, and heartbreaking; Applegate's insight into captive animal life is powerful. Don't miss this book, no matter how old you are.

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