Author Archives: En-Szu

June 22, 2016

8 Books for When You Are 8

Posted by at 11:59 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!8 Books for When You Are 8

Eight is great! Hooray for the great year eight! We’ve put together a list of the eight best books to read when you’re eight. From silly to magical, these books are perfect for any eight-year-old. How many of these have you read?8for8

The Year of Billy Miller
Starting second grade is nerve-wracking enough. Now imagine starting it with a big lump from a concussion on your head! Billy Miller can’t seem to catch a break, and that’s just the beginning of the school year. There are lots of ups and downs to his year, and Billy Miller is really nervous — but sometimes the best support comes from where you least expect it.

Where the Sidewalk Ends
These poems range from funny to wild to simply bizarre, and you won’t be able to put this book down! Have you ever wondered how long it takes to eat a whale? What happens when a crocodile goes to the dentist? If you ever wanted to know the answer to these questions — or just love silly stories — you HAVE to read this book. It’s the best!

Ramona Quimby, Age Eight
Of COURSE this book is a must-read for every eight-year-old! For bouncy, loud Ramona, turning eight is yet another great adventure. But with things at home kind of rocky, and Ramona having her own problems with bullies and annoying little kids, year eight is proving to be anything but easy. With her upbeat attitude, though, Ramona is going to show age eight who’s boss!

Amelia Bedelia
Housekeeper Amelia Bedelia means well, but takes every instruction she gets literally — like “dressing” the chicken in tiny clothes! What will happen when the Rogers family, who hire her to clean the house while they’re out for the day, returns to Amelia’s version of completed chores? You’ll have to read this super-silly book to find out!

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
If you’re into magical adventure, the Chronicles of Narnia is a journey you simply can’t miss. Four siblings find themselves mysteriously transported to the magical land of Narnia, where centaurs roam, animals talk, and a terrible spell by the sinister White Witch has left the land in winter for one hundred (!!!) years. But these special children have been brought to Narnia for a reason, and they’re about to discover why . . .

Nate the Great
Nate, a young detective who loves (LOVES) pancakes, is on his biggest case yet: his friend Annie asks him to help her find a missing portrait of her dog, Fang. Sleuthing his way from clue to clue and suspect to suspect, Nate also solves several other mysteries along the way. Now how’s THAT for being a kid detective?

 Matilda
Matilda is a super-genius. Too bad her family is super-terrible, and can’t appreciate her special mind! Thankfully, Matilda finds an ally in her teacher at school, Miss Honey. But even together they are no match for Matilda’s selfish parents and the horrible headmistress Ms. Trunchbull . . . that is, until Matilda discovers her magic power that may just be her ticket to a happily ever after. This modern-day fairy tale is bound to be a book you can’t put down and will want to read over and over again!

The Magic Treehouse
This AWESOME series is one that is perfect to start at age eight (and with 55 books in the series so far, it’ll be a while before you run out of books to read). Jack and Annie are two siblings who discover a magical treehouse that sends them across time and space to solve mysteries and collect clues. From the North Pole to Ancient Egypt, Jack and Annie meet all sorts of fascinating people and creatures and learn amazing things. Extra awesome: It was recently announced that The Magic Treehouse is going to be turned into a live-action movie!

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every eight-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

En-Szu

June 21, 2016

Find the Squid Picture Puzzle

Posted by at 1:50 am in Games | Permalink

Find the Squid!

You know those pictures where everything looks the same, but you have to find the thing that is different? Well, we’ve got one for you that I drew myself!

Look at this big bunch of eggs and see if you can find the squid hiding in there.

squid egg puzzle

Click the image for a larger view.

Did you find it? Tell us in the Comments what you think of my picture puzzle!

En-Szu

June 15, 2016

10 Books for When You Are 10

Posted by at 1:53 am in Reads | Permalink

10 Books for When You Are 10

Yeah for double-digits! If you’re new to the double-digit club, or even if you’ve been a member for a little while, be sure to check out this list of books that every ten-year-old has GOTTA read.10 books for when you are 10

Walk Two Moons
Salamanca’s mother has gone missing, so Sal and her grandparents set off on a road trip from Ohio to Idaho to look for her. During the trip, Salamanca tells a series of fanciful stories about her friend Phoebe whose mother, coincidentally, also went missing. But the real story is the one being written by Sal during this life-changing trip, as she learns more about herself . . . and what really happened with her mother.

The One and Only Ivan
Ivan the gorilla has spent 27 years behind glass walls in a shopping mall. He doesn’t really remember his life before in the jungle, and is used to his everyday routines living in captivity. That all changes the day he meets Ruby a baby elephant, and his whole world is turned topsy-turvy! This Newbery Medal-winning book is a MUST-read. It’ll make you laugh; it’ll make you cry. Don’t miss out.

Wonder
Ten-year-old August Pullman is starting fifth grade and he’s really nervous because he’s never been to a regular school before. Though he likes playing video games and Star Wars like other kids his age, August was born with a facial difference that makes him look unlike other kids. Auggie is about to have a life-changing year, but he’s not the only one who is going to be transformed–everyone he meets is about to learn what it means to be human, to fit in, and to be extraordinary.

Wings of Fire
An ancient treasure has kept seven dragon tribes at war for years, but a prophecy involving five baby dragons — or dragonets — could bring an end to the endless fighting. So five dragonets are collected and raised in hiding, trained to fight and bring about the end of the war. However, they are held against their will, and when they escape, they unwittingly redefine their destinies . . . and the destiny of dragons everywhere.

Number the Stars
For ten-year-old Annemarie, who lives in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen in the year 1943, things are getting steadily worse. She loses her older sister, Lise, in a car accident, and now her best friend Ellen is in danger. Ellen and her family are Jewish, and as the Nazis begin rounding up the Jewish people to send them to concentration camps, Annemarie and her family take in Ellen and pretend that she is Annemarie’s sister . . . but how long can they keep up the act before they are discovered?

Bud, Not Buddy
In Flint, Michigan, ten-year-old orphan Bud Caldwell only has a few objects to remember his mother by as he gets sent from foster home to foster home. One of these objects is a flyer for the famous jazz musician Herman E. Calloway and his band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. Convinced that Herman must be his father, Bud runs away to find him — and ends up on one hilarious, heartwarming journey! (Check out our book trailer.)

Tuesdays at the Castle
Eleven-year-old princess Celie lives in Castle Glower, a magical castle that sprouts a new secret passageway or room each day . . . and it decides who gets to be king. When Celie’s parents are declared dead and her older brother becomes king, Celie is suspicious. Are they really dead, or is there something more sinister afoot? With the aid of her siblings and the castle itself, Celie is about to find out!

Flora and Ulysses
When ten-year-old Flora, lover of comics, rescues the squirrel Ulysses after an unfortunate run-in with a vacuum cleaner, the last thing she expects for the revived squirrel to do is develop superpowers. But that’s exactly what happens, and Ulysses (who can now fly and has super-strength, and can write poetryis about to open up a world of possibilities for super-cynical Flora. This Newbery Medal-winning book is bound to open your eyes and warm your heart, too!

El Deafo
Cece loses her hearing when she is just a toddler, and has to wear a very bulky, embarrassing hearing aid called The Phonic Ear. Cece’s worried The Phonic Ear is getting in the way of her making a real friend, but she soon discovers that The Phonic Ear is a lot more powerful than most people realize . . . and it may not just only be her “superpower,” but a way for her to find her inner superhero. Watch the video!

Warriors
Do you ever wonder what your pet cat gets into when he’s running around outside? Wonder no longer! In this exciting and excellent series, cat Rusty finds four clans of wild cats living in the forest near his home. As he is taken in by the Thunder Clan to train as a warrior apprentice, he discovers the deception and deceit that threaten to overthrow clan order . . . but all of that pales in comparison to the greater threat lurking just beyond the forest.

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every ten-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

En-Szu

June 13, 2016

Hamilton Personality Quiz

Posted by at 1:05 am in Music, Personality Quiz | Permalink

HamiltonWhich Hamilton Song Are You?

There are a lot of things we can’t get enough of: books (of course), chocolate, puppies, and…the Hamilton soundtrack! In case you aren’t familiar with the amazing-ness that is Hamilton, it is a Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the face on the $10.00 bill). If you haven’t heard the soundtrack yet, don’t delay—it’s pretty incredible. I’ve spent a long time listening to the soundtrack on repeat.

All the songs on the Hamilton soundtrack are too good to have just one favorite, but take this HAMILTON SOUNDTRACK PERSONALITY QUIZ to find out which song most matches your personality. Which song are you? The sweet and sentimental “Helpless”? The daring “Guns and Ships”? Find out below!

You would most like to live in this time period: a) the 1950s. b) the 1980s. c) Ancient Rome. d) the future. e) the present.

Your friends would best describe you as: a) silly. b) driven. c) daring. d) confident. e) sweet.

If you were an animal, you would most likely be: a) a sloth. b) a wolf. c) a cat. d) a parrot. e) an otter.

Out of these book series, your favorite is: a) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. b) Dork Diaries. c) Percy Jackson and the Olympians. d) Harry Potter. e) Whatever After.

Your worst trait is: a) being too possessive. b) being jealous. c) being too recklessly daring. d) being conceited. e) being too sensitive.

Of these desserts, your favorite is: a) an ice cream sundae. b) cake. c) brownies. d) cookies. e) pie.

Your favorite subject is: a) Language Arts. b) Math. c) Science. d) Art. e) Music.

If your life were made into a movie, it would most likely be: a) a comedy. b) a soap opera. c) an action movie. d) a sci-fi adventure. e) a romance.

Your favorite pair of shoes are: a) cowboy boots. b) a well-loved pair of canvas sneakers. c) a pair of high-tech running shoes. d) flip flops. e) classic and a little dressy.

You just found out that your parents got you tickets to see Hamilton for your birthday. Your reaction is: a) That’s all? You wanted a unicorn! b) You make sure you’re allowed to do whatever you want with the tickets, and then sell them to some kid at school for $8,000. c) You make your best friends compete in a backyard talent show. The winner gets to go with you to see Hamilton! d) Scream and faint. When you revive, run into your Hamilton-themed room to blast your favorite Hamilton songs on repeat for the next 24 hours. e) Put on your own musical presentation to thank your parents for their unbelievable generosity, and tell them you finally forgive them for giving you a baby brother instead of the puppy you asked for.

Ready for the results? Read on. Continue reading

June 1, 2016

11 Books for When You Are 11

Posted by at 1:12 am in Reads | Permalink

11 Books for When You Are 1111 books for when you are 11

Being eleven isn’t easy, but you’re in luck: we’ve got a great list of eleven classic books that every eleven-year-old should read. They’ll help you through the trickier moments, give you something to laugh about, and take you on some pretty wild adventures!

The City of Ember
Humankind has survived the end of the world in the city of Ember, protected by a dome overhead and surrounded by darkness. For 241 years, humans have lived in this city lit by lamps. There used to be instructions to get out, but they have been long lost . . . or have they? With blackouts happening more often and storerooms getting dangerously empty, it’s up to friends Doon and Lina to find a way to save humanity.

Holes
Poor Stanley Yelnats has been wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile disciplinary facility in the middle of the desert. This is no surprise to Stanley, who comes from a family seemingly cursed with really, really bad luck–but he’s not ready for the mystery that is Camp Green Lake. Each day, the boys at Camp Green Lake have to dig a hole that is 5 feet deep by 5 feet wide. It’s supposed to help them to “build character” . . . or is it? What are they REALLY digging for, and why?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
After an extra-freaky incident (involving an algebra teacher turning into a man-eating monster during a school field trip), dyslexic Percy Jackson suspects that not everything in his life is as it seems . . . and he’s right. It is soon revealed that his father is the Greek god Poseidon, and Percy  flees to Camp Half-Blood and train with other demigods (half-god, half-humans) to prevent an all-out war from erupting between the gods!

Smile
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth-grader, but when she damages her front teeth during an accident, the next few years are anything but normal! Raina has to deal with painful headgear, braces, retainers, and surgeries on top of the regular drama of crushes, physical changes, and family problems. It seems like Raina can’t catch a break, but the valuable lessons she learns along the way just might make everything worth it.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963
When Kenny’s older brother Byron–who is always getting into trouble–takes his shenanigans too far, the whole Watson family of Flint, Michigan, heads south so that Grandma can teach him a thing or two. But as the Watsons fall into one hilarious misadventure after another, a very dark moment in American history suddenly strikes–one that will change not only the Watson family, but the entire nation.

Out of My Mind
Eleven-year-old Melody, who has cerebral palsy, can’t walk or talk. But on the inside, she’s a genius with a photographic memory and brilliant mind. When her family gets her a computer, she’s able to “speak” for the first time. But being able to share her mind with the outside world can be heartbreaking, and it’s going to take a lot of inner strength for Melody to finally find her voice.

Hoot
Roy is used to being the new kid at school, but this time around at Trace Middle School, things are going a little differently. Roy’s accidentally become arch enemies with the school bully, and he’s befriended misfits, Beatrice and Mullet Fingers. And then there’s the baby burrowing owls . . . and the pancake house that’s threatening to force them out of their habitat. Roy and his new friends are on a mission to save the owls, but when it’s their word against the grown-ups, they’re going to have to fight with everything they’ve got.

Stargirl
When Stargirl first arrives at Mica High, she is so strange that no one knows what to make of her. Her schoolmates fall in love with her quirky ways and happy attitude at first, but her popularity is short-lived, and it’s not long before she becomes the butt of every joke . . . for the same things that made her so lovable to begin with. Leo, who admires Stargirl still, wants to help her to fit in again. But will making Stargirl “normal” fix her problems?

Esperanza Rising
Esperanza leads a lovely life in Mexico, where she is treated like a princess and surrounded by love and kindness. But when tragedy strikes, Esperanza and her mother are forced to flee to the United States. Life in the U.S. is very difficult, as they have to take jobs as migrant workers. But in spite of the grueling work and poor living conditions, Esperanza begins to realize that happiness may, in fact, come from within . . .

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
For the Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, things keep going from bad to worse. After they are orphaned in a fire, the three siblings are sent to live with the sinister, greedy Count Olaf. Olaf is after their inheritance money, but the Baudelaire kids have a trick or two up their sleeves–and they are determined to foil his plans!

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Eleven-year-old orphan Reynie Muldoon, after answering an unusual ad in the paper and completing a series of competitive tasks, has been selected to join a secret society with three other gifted children. What he doesn’t anticipate is that he’ll be trained by a criminal mastermind to help him take over the world–not exactly what he signed up for!

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every eleven-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

May 25, 2016

9 Books for When You Are 9

Posted by at 1:22 am in Reads | Permalink

9 Books for When You Are 9

9 books for when you are 9Nine is a really rad number, and a really rad age. And here are nine great books that every nine-year-old totally MUST read! From wacky to wild, these books will take you on some seriously awesome adventures. If you are nine years old, take a look at this list and see how many books you have read.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Middle school is full of drama — just ask Greg Heffley. After his mom forces him to keep a diary, he starts writing down all the (really hilarious) misadventures and happenings from his school year. Greg and his BFF Rowley get into all sorts of sticky situations that will keep you laughing until your sides hurt. Middle school may be full of drama, but, man, the drama is funny!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Nine is the BEST time to start reading Harry Potter (though I strongly believe it’s never too late, even if you’re 119). Harry has had a miserable life so far, losing his parents when he was just an infant and being raised by his dreadful aunt and uncle, but things are about to get pretty magical in his world. When he finds out he’s actually a wizard, he is whisked away to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where all kinds of life-changing adventures await him.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi is the new girl in town, and boy, is she wild! She may have no parents, but she DOES have a pet monkey and a pet horse . . . and a knack for living life freely. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Pippi, and her new neighbors Tommy and Annika are in for a whole lot of wacky surprises!

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
There seems to be nothing the unusual orphan Maniac Magee can’t do: outrun dogs, untie impossible knots, hit a homerun . . . the list is endless. When Maniac Magee arrives in the town of Two Mills, he hopes to find a home, but it’s not that easy. The troubled small town is very divided, and tensions are about to reach a fever pitch. But Maniac Magee might just be the key to helping everyone find peace.

Time Warp Trio: The Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Sciezska and Lane Smith
When Joe and his two friends are transported back in time to King Arthur’s court by a magical book, they accidentally defeat the dreaded Black Knight and are mistaken for heroes by King Arthur’s knights. But what will they do when they are confronted with a (really gross) giant and an attacking dragon? And how will they get home?! This super-funny book will keep you guessing — and laughing — as the trio blunder their way from one adventure to the next.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Milo is really bored by everything, but that’s all about to change because a mysterious and magical tollbooth has suddenly appeared in his bedroom. Out of boredom (of course), Milo hops into his dusty old toy car, pays the toll, and finds himself driving directly into a wild, wacky world in which each adventure is even more bizarre than the last!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Hugo, a young orphan living in the Paris train station, is an expert at staying invisible. But when he meets a most unusual girl and a mysterious toymaker, his life changes. Hugo finds himself thrust headfirst into a mystery that will force him out of hiding for the first time, and reveal more of his own secret past.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Nine-year-old Peter Hatcher has THE. MOST. ANNOYING. BROTHER. EVER. Little, two-year-old Fudge gets away with everything, including tormenting Peter’s pet turtle, Dribble. But one day Fudge’s antics go too far — will Peter ever be able to forgive him?

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live in the wild? Sam Gribley is fed up with living in a cramped apartment with his parents and eight (Eight!! Can you imagine?) siblings in New York City, so he runs away to his grandparents’ home upstate. What he’s not ready for is the harsh wilderness living he encounters, but armed with the survival skills preparation and endless curiosity, Sam just might have what it takes to last the winter..

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every nine-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

May 6, 2016

High School Musical 4 Dream Cast

Posted by at 12:21 pm in Movies & TV | Permalink

HSMWildcats everywhere, wave your hands up in the air!!

If you, like me, are a High School Musical SUPER-FAN, you are probably SUPER-PSYCHED that High School Musical 4 is in the works. That’s right, everyone: we’re going back to East High! While Gabriella and Troy graduated some time ago (from college now, too), the new generation of East High students are just sliding into their seats in time for the first bell. What we can expect: A whirlwind of new musical numbers, wow-worthy dance sequences, and heartwarming moments. What’s still up in the air: Who’s going to be the new girl? Who’s going to be the star athlete? Who’s going to be the diva-in-charge??

Disney is looking for brand-new actors and actresses to star in this latest sequel. (There is an open audition in Anaheim, CA on May 15.) but we thought it couldn’t hurt to come up with the perfect cast based on the stars we already know and love. Behold: our very own dream cast for High School Musical 4!

The Star Athlete – Blake Michael. If you’ve ever seen Dog with a Blog or Lemonade Mouth, you already know that Blake is incredibly likeable and charming . . . and he can definitely sing! He’d be perfect to play the role of the fun-loving, all-around popular dude, and Troy would be proud to pass the baton to this (really handsome) star on the rise.

The New Girl – China Anne McClain! If you were a fan of A.N.T. Farm, you KNOW this girl can sing (and dance, and play a lot of musical instruments. Is there anything she CAN’T do?). Of course, she was meant to star in a musical! And while she’s more outgoing than Gabriella from the originals, China has her sweetness and a really fun, exciting attitude that would bring fresh energy to the role.

The Queen Bee – Sabrina Carpenter of Girl Meets World. This talented singer-songwriter is already on her way to musical stardom, and she totally has that star quality pizzazz—a lot like Sharpay from the original movies! She’d bring loads of humor and fun, with a healthy dose of heart.

The Shy Genius – Louriza Tronco of Make it Pop. It would be really cool to see Louriza take on a role like Ryan’s from the original High School Musical movies, since she’s a great dancer and is passionate about style—much like Ryan was!

The Loyal Bestie – Jordan Fisher from Teen Beach 2. In addition to wowing us in Teen Beach 2, Jordan also did an AMAZING job in Grease: Live! He can definitely take on a role like Chad’s: a high-energy, super-passionate bestie who can motivate anyone, from his buddy to an entire stadium of basketball fans.

The Supergirl – Sofia Carson from Descendants. While her character Evie in Descendants was not exactly the biggest fan of following the rules, Sofia definitely has the great sense of humor it takes to play the part of the driven, super-smart yearbook editor/scholastic decathlon team captain/class president/BFF the new girl needs to keep her grounded—just like Taylor!

What do you think? Who would be in YOUR dream cast of High School Musical 4? Let us know your thoughts and picks in the Comments below.

Yours in singing High School Musical songs all day, every day, until the new movie comes out,

En-Szu

April 26, 2016

Sweet Treat Picture Puzzle

Posted by at 1:52 am in Games | Permalink

Who Wants a Sweet Treat?

Okay, my fellow puzzle-lovers, we’re back with ANOTHER picture puzzle! This time, you’ll be hunting for words instead of objects (because hey, we’re kind of obsessed with words). Can you find the following words in the old stamp design?

Air mail picture puzzle

Click on the picture to see a larger version.

  • WAFFLE
  • CHOCOLATE
  • COOKIE
  • PIE
  • PANCAKE
  • ICE CREAM
  • CAKE

Okay, there was a theme here. What? Who doesn’t love yummy, sugary foods? We’re off to snack on some cupcakes, but let us know what words you were able to find (and which ones you couldn’t) in the Comments!

See ya,

En-Szu

March 29, 2016

Air Mail Picture Puzzle

Posted by at 1:15 am in Games | Permalink

Trivia QuizFind the Objects in This Air Mail Stamp Picture Puzzle!

We love a good I SPY puzzle! That’s why I’m bringing you this FIND THE HIDDEN OBJECT picture puzzle that I drew myself! Can you find the following items in this old stamp design?

Air mail stamp puzzle

  • A musical note
  • A paper clip
  • A key
  • A watermelon slice
  • A necktie
  • A bone
  • A pair of glasses

Did you find them all? Let us know which ones you found (and which ones you couldn’t) in the Comments!

Toodles,

En-Szu

March 23, 2016

Books About Magical Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

HermioneGrangerJimKayBooks about MAGICAL KIDS!

Do you ever wish you could wake up with magical powers? It would be so cool to make myself invisible, or move objects just by waving my hands, or eat endless amounts of chocolate without getting sick . . . Well, that last one is more of a superpower, but you get my point. If you love the idea of being able to do magic, here are some awesome books about kids with magical powers.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Of course Harry Potter is on this list. What’s not to love about this amazing series? After a pretty rough start in life, young orphan Harry Potter is surprised to discover that he’s actually a wizard. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he learns to master his abilities, makes some incredible fellow wizard and witch friends, goes on wild adventures, and finds himself at the center of an epic battle between good and evil!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Poor dyslexic Percy’s life changes once he learns he is the son of the Greed god Poseidon. As if this news doesn’t make his world complicated enough, he also discovers that his life is in danger! At Camp Half-Blood, he meets other demigods (half-god, half-humans) and is tasked with the responsibility of preventing an all-out war from erupting between the gods . . . which is no easy task for someone just learning of his magical abilities!

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie is less than happy when he discovers that he can suddenly hear people speaking to him through photographs. (I mean, it is pretty creepy! And probably totally annoying.) Once his special talent is discovered, though, he is shipped off by his scheming aunts to the dreary Bloor Academy. But what is the history behind his talent, and why is he being kept at this horrid school with all these other gifted children?

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Isn’t chocolate amazing? John Midas certainly thinks so, and he gets really mad when he’s told by the doctor to eat more healthy food and less chocolate. But a seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious candy man leaves John with an even stranger magical power: everything he touches turns into chocolate! That may seem like a very awesome (maybe the awesomest?) magical power to have, but things start to get messy really, really fast!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
For everyone who ever thought, “By golly, having ANY magical power sure beats having NO magical power,” meet Ella. Given the “gift” of obedience at birth by a fairy, Ella is unable to disobey any direct order. After her mother passes away, Ella finds herself at the mercy of her truly terrible stepsisters and equally horrid stepmother who have learned to make her their slave. But with a little creativity and some wonderful friends, Ella may just find a way out from under her “gift”—and even find true love.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Felicity Pickle has a very unusual ability: she can SEE words, and the words tell her an awful lot about people and places. In the town of Midnight Gulch, she sees “home.” But there’s also a terrible spell hanging over Midnight Gulch, and unless Felicity can return magic back into the once magical town, she may never get to call this place her home.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Emily lives on a boat with her mom, but weirdly enough, she’s always been told to stay away from the water. It turns out, she’s actually a mermaid! Emily embarks on a journey to find her real mer-father and the truth behind her birth (and tail!). Along the way, she discovers some incredible and heartbreaking things about the magical creatures she is beginning to understand are her family.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Living in a city that runs on magic would be pretty cool . . . unless that magic started running out. Conn, a young boy living in such a city, accidentally comes in contact with a powerful stone while trying to pickpocket a wizard. When he doesn’t die, he’s taken in as the wizard’s apprentice. While learning his own magical abilities and searching for his own stone, he begins to discover exactly that is draining his city’s magic.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
What if you knew you had a magical power, but you had to wait until you turned thirteen to find out what it was? Welcome to Mibs’ world! In her family, everyone possesses an ability (known as a “savvy”) that reveals itself to them on their thirteenth birthday. But on the days leading up to her big day, Mibs’ world is suddenly turned upside down. Can her power—whatever it is—save a loved one who needs it the most?

Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
Rowan is shy and likes to spend his time caring for animals, unlike the rest of the people in his village who are bold and brave. But when the river running through the village runs dry, Rowan is the only one able to read a magical map that can lead a band of villagers up a mountain and to the river’s source . . . and whatever mystery has stopped it from flowing.

Well now, that’s some list! Did I miss any of your favorites? Which ones are you most excited to read, and which ones have you read and loved? Share your picks in the Comments below!

Happy magical adventuring,

En-Szu

Hermione Granger illustration by Jim Kay © 2015 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc