My favorite books to take you on a truly epic journey

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to epic journeys. From Jules Verne’s stories exploring the lengths, depths, and breadths of the known world, to little hobbits trekking across vast fantasy scapes in order to steal from dragons, something about the huge proportions of these grand adventures has always drawn me in. Perhaps it was no wonder, then, that my first book Nevertell was set in Siberia: a place so big that its sheer size tested the limits of my imaginings. If you, too, are drawn to sprawling, epic journeys, then these five fabulous recommendations are for you.


I wrote...

Nevertell

By Katharine Orton,

Book cover of Nevertell

What is my book about?

Born in a Soviet prison camp, Lina has never seen the world outside until the night she escapes with her best friend, Bogdan. As the pair journey across a snowy Russian wilderness, they are pursued by a vengeful sorceress and her pack of shadow wolves. The children will need every ounce of bravery - and a little sorcery of their own - if they are to survive…

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Way Past Winter

Katharine Orton Why did I love this book?

From the moment I opened this book I could feel the prickling tension of something about to happen. And when it does, prompting Mila and her sisters to set off on a quest through this wild and wintry world, you just know it’s going to be epic. With treacherous terrain and overwhelming odds, The Way Past Winter fully lives up to its promise of grand adventure.

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way Past Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The Way Past Winter is a riveting adventure about magic, an eternal winter, and one girl's unbreakable determination to reunite her family.

Mila, her sisters, and her brother, Oskar, live in a small forest cabin, surviving in a world gripped by frost and snow.

When a mysterious man shows up on her doorstep, Mila and her family grant him shelter for the night. But in the morning, the man is gone—and he's taken Oskar with them.

• Written by awardwinning and internationally recognized author Kiran Millwood Hargrave
• Inspired by European folklore
• Middle grade novel that explores deeper topics—grief,…


Book cover of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

Katharine Orton Why did I love this book?

Sometimes a truly epic adventure is all about the company, and in this book I got to spend time with the defiant Chaya – jewel thief and fierce-hearted friend – her companions (who don’t always get along, but who does?). And, of course, an absolutely gorgeous elephant. Together they plunge into the jungles of Sri Lanka, and what they find there is rebellion…

By Nizrana Farook,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Girl Who Stole an Elephant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Inspired by the lush terrain of Sri Lanka, this fun tale of friendship, risk, and reward is just right for middle grade fans of fantasy and page-turning adventure.

Chaya, a nobleman's rebellious, outspoken, no-nonsense daughter, just can't resist the shiny temptations the king's palace has to offer.

But playing Robin Hood for an impoverished community doesn't come without risks, and when Chaya steals the queen's jewels from a bedside table—a messy getaway jeopardizes the life of a close friend. After an equally haphazard prison break, Chaya barely escapes...on the king's prized elephant!

With leeches and revolution lurking in the jungle,…


Book cover of Ice Palace

Katharine Orton Why did I love this book?

Back to the cold now as well as back in time to a book I read when I was at school. I remember the first time I read this being utterly confounded by how this little boy, Ivan, was going to survive on his own in the snowy wilderness. Not only that, but how was he going to find his brother: his whole reason for setting out in the first place? I was gripped from the very first page to the very last, and it’s lived in my heart ever since. In fact, when I came to write Nevertell, the Ice Palace was a big inspiration.

By Robert Swindells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ice Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ivan lives in a land where the winter is dark and fearful. Starjik, King of Winter, steals Ivan's little brother and Ivan braves the bitter cold to find him.


Book cover of Boy, Everywhere

Katharine Orton Why did I love this book?

Some books get a lot of praise, and some books truly deserve it. Boy, Everywhere is one of those books. Not only does it follow an epic journey across vast distances that’s fraught with danger and strife, it also follows a child going from a life he loves in Damascus to new and challenging beginnings in England. What’s so astounding about Sami’s journey is that it could so easily be real – and for many, it is. This book will take you on a journey of understanding and empathy, as well as across continents.

By A.M. Dassu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boy, Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

This debut middle-grade novel chronicles the harrowing journey taken by Sami and his family from privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, from a comfortable life in Damascus, via a smuggler's den in Turkey, to a prison in Manchester. A story of survival, of family, of bravery ... In a world where we are told to see refugees as the 'other', this story will remind readers that 'they' are also 'us'.


Book cover of The Hunting of the Snark

Katharine Orton Why did I love this book?

I have a special copy of The Hunting of the Snark that my Nan gave me over 20 years ago. It quickly became my favourite book and I reread it all the time – returning to my adventure with a hapless crew (which includes a Beaver and a man who’s forgotten his own name), and following a leader (the Bellman) who, it’s safe to say, hasn’t a clue what he’s doing. And off they go across uncharted seas to hunt the fearsome snark. Why? I still don’t know... By turns silly and lyrical, hilarious and heartbreaking, this tale reminds me that the world often makes no sense at all, but it can still be meaningful – and beautiful too.

By Lewis Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hunting of the Snark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The nonsensical poem The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in Eight Fits) was written by Lewis Carroll in 1874 and published in 1876. Describing "with infinite humor the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature", the work borrows in-part from Carroll's Jabberwocky in Through the Looking-Glass.


You might also like...

Tyrone the Tenor Mouse: The Singing Mouse of the Opera House

By Elizabeth B. Splaine,

Book cover of Tyrone the Tenor Mouse: The Singing Mouse of the Opera House

Elizabeth B. Splaine Author Of Devil's Grace

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Before becoming an opera singer, I received my Masters in Healthcare Administration and worked in various healthcare settings, from a community health center to a large teaching hospital. I learned first-hand how the best-intentioned clinicians can make mistakes, and how those mistakes can lead to unintended consequences that can harm patients. Although it’s terrifying to think about, the best defense is to self-advocate as much as possible. It’s your body and your decision. Don’t give away your power.

Elizabeth's book list on medical thriller/mystery with a spiritual twist

What is my book about?

Tyrone the mouse rehearses night and day to improve his singing voice, hoping he’ll earn the spotlight in the opera house where he lives surrounded by animal friends.

Ty secretly practices by hiding in the wings, singing along with the famous tenor, Roland L’Amour. When Roland becomes ill on opening night, Ty sees an opportunity to fulfill his dream. With the royal family in attendance, Ty nervously asks the opera house manager if he might play the lead role.

Although he’s nervous, with the support of his friends Stella, the precocious Persian cat, and Oscar, the mangy mutt, he finds the courage to take the stage and discovers that hard work and friendship can make any dream come true!

Tyrone the Tenor Mouse: The Singing Mouse of the Opera House

By Elizabeth B. Splaine,

What is this book about?

Tyrone the Tenor Mouse has a secret wish--to perform in the opera house where he lives with his animal friends, Stella the precocious Persian cat and Oscar the mangy mutt.

Ty learns the music by secretly singing along with a famous tenor named Roland L’Amour. When Roland becomes ill on opening night, Ty sees an opportunity to make his dream come true. With the royal family in attendance, Ty nervously asks if he can play the lead role.

With the support of his friends, he finds the courage to take the stage and discovers that hard work and friendship can…


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5 book lists we think you will like!

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