I like all of Maria Savva’s books because she has great insight into how people think and why they act as they do. She creates worlds that are ‘normal’ and yet pitches her characters into unusual situations, which make the worlds strange and eerie; especially in The Spider stories.
Because sometimes I think they go further than the formulas set by traditional publishing. I love fantasy and similar genres because there are no limits for the imagination. The books I’ve chosen fulfill what I think is important – world-building, imagination, thought-provoking, intelligent, and wonderful characters on a mission of some kind.
Julie Elizabeth Powell,
What is my book about?
Gone will always be my most important book because of why it was written. When my daughter, Samantha, was two, her heart stopped and she died. Doctors revived her, but too late because she was left severely brain-damaged, who she’d been was wiped clean. For the next seventeen years, I watched her withering, twisting body survive without her knowing what was happening except for pain and suffering until she died a second and final time.
During those seventeen years, I had a question: Where had my daughter gone? Because her essence had vanished leaving only an empty shell: hence I created a world and went in search of her. Gone is one answer to that question. It’s a unique fantasy and might even help others to come to terms with loss.
Worm and Worm decide to get married, with a supportive group of bugs. They have a few problems: they don’t have fingers, so how can they wear rings? And they both want to be the bride! In fact, they both want to be the groom, too. “We’ll just change how it’s done,” says Worm, and so they get married. A cute and funny story with delightful illustrations.
Perfect for fans of And Tango Makes Three and The Sissy Duckling, this irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms from debut author J. J. Austrian and the acclaimed author-illustrator of Little Elliot, Big City, Mike Curato. You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of a worm ...and a worm. When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know-who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux? The answer is: It doesn't matter. Because…
I wrote Uncle Bobby’s Wedding in 2005, just after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. It was published in 2008 and immediately became the target of anti-LGBT attacks. Many people attempted to ban it. Some went so far as to burn it – and then they wrote totell me they had. It was one of the most challenged books in the country that year, and it was one of the 100 most-challenged books of the decade. I have been deeply involved with LGBTQ+ picture books ever since.
Uncle Bobby's Wedding
Sarah S. Brannen,
Lucia Soto (illustrator),
What is my book about?
Chloe’s favorite uncle is getting married, and she’s not happy about it. But after a magical day with Uncle Bobby and his boyfriend, Jamie, Chloe realizes she’s not losing an uncle, but gaining one.
Produced in coordination with GLAAD, this adorable picture book is a positive example of same-sex marriage and a celebration of family.
Maybe the oddball on this list compared to the other mainstream properties. This story has a little technology, biology, and geology mixed together to craft up a creature lurking beneath the surface that is accidentally unleashed by a combination of greed and ignorance.
The other thing I love about The Hatching is the pace. It's breakneck. Ezekiel Boone shuttles you around setting up well-written characters before unleashing sheer chaos and terror on them with a plot that is far more real than the litany of the zombie apocalyptic novels out there.
Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese government "accidentally" drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected.
As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer's Washington…
I've had a fifteen-year job in the corporate world doing business system analysis and design. I never connected with capitalists and I can see that the environmental and economic damage is the byproduct of the capitalist society we live in. Our detached way of life has created horrific climate change and a brutal class system where the wealthy are separated from everyone else. These are both worsening by the year. Capitalism is one of the main culprits because the oligarchy running things (W.E.F.) is not going to relinquish power or control. My book, Pulse, is a merge between corporate greed, environmental activism, and technology with a scary creature that brings it all together.
I also produce original music inspired by my novels. If you want a taste, go find "Requiem" on my YouTube channel.
Pulse: Book One
What is my book about?
Pulse is a plot-driven multi-POV dystopian sci-fi horror thriller set in 2040, centered around a corporation, a creature, and a music festival. Think Fyre Festival , Black Mirror, and X-Files combined. The book is already being praised for its fantastic use of horror, engaging world-building, and genre-bending approach utilizing some screenplay-like formatting.
Not one for the arachnophobes! In the 25th century a nuclear holocaust has driven humans to hide in the desert from the predatory giant spiders who now rule the earth. But main character Niall has a secret, he shares the spiders' gift of telepathy, and moves to liberate humanity from the Spider Lord.
The description of the giant spiders' use of will to control their prey is fascinating, and the move from pure adventure story into political intrigue and power games is genius. A very underappreciated fantasy novel.
I'm a spec-fic writer who has been fascinated by the world building and deep creativity of sci-fi and fantasy novels for over 40 years. A common theme in these genres is the use and abuse of power, especially of systems of authority that the main characters battle against—not always successfully! I've recently published a complete fantasy trilogy dealing with these same themes—The Wraith Cycle—and am looking forward to the publication of my next stand-alone sci-fi novel—The Currents Of Infinity—due to come out within the next year.
The Blood Within The Stone
What is my book about?
In the isolated traders’ town of Greystone, two young thieves named Wilt and Higgs scratch out a living on the street. Both have quick minds and even quicker fingers, but Wilt has another weapon, an ability to sink into others' thoughts, reading them, knowing before they do what action they will take. Such power is not easily hidden when the Prefects of Redmondis come through town on a pilgrimage to recruit skilled ones, wielders, those who have an affinity with the secret welds that join all living things.
Epic fantasy with an original magic system, likable characters, and enthralling prose—a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by YA and older readers alike.
This classic children’s story was one of my favorites. E.B. White artfully pulls us into a world where we watch Charlotte, the barn spider, spin a web of magic to save her beloved friend Wilbur, a livestock pig. This is a tale of enduring friendship and loyalty that is both otherworldly and incredible—yet we believe it with all our hearts. As a child, this book captivated me; as an adult, it inspires me. Its mystical gift lies in its ability to transport you into a world where inherent good rules.
Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.
On foggy mornings, Charlotte's web was truly a thing of beauty . Even Lurvy, who wasn't particularly interested in beauty, noticed the web when he came with the pig's breakfast. And then he took another look and he saw something that made him set his pail down. There, in the centre of the web, neatly woven in block letters, was a message. It said: SOME PIG!
This is the story of a little girl named Fern, who loves a little pig named Wilbur - and of Wilbur's dear friend,…
I experienced unusual events as a child. Over time, I accepted that some things exist outside rational/empirical/logical understanding. Many years later as a chaplain, I listened to patients share their life stories. Those in the final stage of life often described experiences of stepping through the veil between this world and the next. Although the mystical may not be talked about, it is always present. It can be a knowing that guides you forward in a positive direction or stops you dead in your tracks to protect you. And in a moment of grace, it can offer a reassuring glimpse of the journey ahead.
What is my book about?
Mystical Sight is a mystery thrillerthat lifts the veil that separates this world from the next. Mystical is defined as an extraordinary experience that inspires a sense of spiritual mystery and awe.
Sacred icons with the miraculous gift to heal have vanished. Gus Killian, an edgy investigator, and Frank Rheininger, a contemplative monk, are thrown together in an unlikely partnership. Gus depends on cold hard facts; Frank communes with the spiritual realm. Bonded by their determination to retrieve the mystical artifacts, the two men journey from the Rockies of Colorado to the monasteries of Greece and the Catacombs of Rome. As unnerving events occur, the worlds of the two men converge. It becomes clear: Together they have the answers, apart they stand alone.
One of my daughter’s perennial favourites, I read this so often I had it memorized, and found it great to tell even without the hilarious pictures. In this story, Kate is facing her first day of school. So miserable is she at the very idea, she gets out on the wrong side of the bed. So of course, everything goes wrong! Her school is a dungeon, her teacher is a gorilla, and the dinner lady serves spiders, snails, and snakes for lunch. Brave Kate fights back, runs home, and saves her own day when she gets up all over again, on the right side of the bed. This is, underneath, a story about attitude, and reassures kids about the reality of school by comically exaggerating one child’s fears. But it’s also great fun to tell, with silly voices, unexpected developments, and a fine arc of tension till Kate decides to…
Every child's worst nightmare is brought to life by Fancesca Simon's enchanting and witty text and by Peta Coplans' bright, bold and quirky illustations. This funny, original book is full of charm and humour - and it has a happy ending!
I’m a New Englander by birth, a Canadian by circumstance, and a Nova Scotian by choice. For as long as I can remember, I’ve told stories, first to my little sister—a captive audience—then to my children, then at my book readings, and now on my podcast, Kate and Friends, which I’m lucky enough to record with two professional musicians. For me, the ultimate test of a story is whether it can be told without visual aids. While I love picture books, and the way an artist can deepen a child’s experience of a story, I gravitate to satisfying, stand-alone tales with a good twist. They’re difficult to write, easy to remember, and great fun to tell!
What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story
Adrian Johnson (illustrator),
What is my book about?
Patrick is having his first sleep-over at his granny’s house. It's bedtime, but there's a problem: Patrick doesn't have a bed! Intrepid Granny runs to her yard, chops down a tree, grabs her tools, and makes him a comfy one. Now he can go to sleep. Right? But, wait, he doesn't have a pillow! Granny dashes to the henhouse…If Patrick is lucky, this could go on all night!
With funky pictures by Adrian Johnson, this tale of love, resourcefulness, and grandmotherly frustration is perfect for storytellers, with several repeating lines kids love to contribute, and a comic, surprise ending.
Shark is a totally awesome shark. And that must mean he isn’t afraid of anything, right? Right! Shark is not scared of dinosaurs or bears or the dark! He loves talking about how fearless he is (after making sure there are no spiders nearby.) Shark and I have one thing in common, and I’m not going to say what it is, but… can someone tell me if there’s a spider nearby? (Run away!!) Cartoon-y and super fun illustrations help make this a very enjoyable, hysterical read-aloud!
I’ve worked with kids in preschools and elementary schools, (plus I’m a mom!) and to me, nothing is better than hearing kids laugh. I also just adore picture books and treasure my personal library, with its focus on (you guessed it!) humor. Sassy cats, bears who want to have kids for pets, chickens who interrupt, alphabets overrun by frustrated Zebras, picture books bravely go where other books might only tiptoe in a cowardly fashion—into the world of wild imagination and anthropomorphized everything. With amazing artwork!! Let’s be honest, I’ll choose funny picture books over War and Peace every time.
Tiny Spoon vs. Little Fork
Dan Abdo (illustrator),
Jason Patterson (illustrator)
What is my book about?
Tiny Spoon vs. Little Fork is a tale of the epic battle between two spirited utensils who vie to be the MVP of baby-feeding (and get some help from big-hearted, ear-chewed Bubby Wabbit and a very frantic Clock along the way.) Comic-book style illustrations by the amazing creative duo Dan & Jason make this book extra-super hysterical. A perfect choice for new parents, babies, children with siblings, kids who love comics, or anyone who wants to relive the fun of feeding baby! It’s also a great story for teachers and caregivers who want to encourage teamwork and impart the joys of shared goals.
How can you not love a book with this title? Jan Thomas happens to be one of my favorite picture book creators, and this book clearly shows why. Her books are all surprising, quirky, and slightly absurd, three things I strive for in my own work. I love the idea of a cowboy who sings lullabies to his cows every night. And while this cowboy starts off fine, he is constantly distracted by scary things he sees in the dark, like a spider (that turns out to be a flower) and a snake that is actually just a stick. Kids love it when adults act silly, and this hysterical cowboy will have them howling with laughter. If you like Sandra Boyton, check out Jan Thomas’s work.
Join the Brave Cowboy as he tries to sing his young calf pals to sleep on a dark, dark night-EEEEEEEK! IS THAT A HUGE HAIRY SPIDER OVER THERE? Oh, it's just a flower? Well then, back to the lullaby. No one does preschool humor with Jan Thomas's wit, verve, and bold, snappy color. And her Brave Cowboy and his silly, interrupted lullaby are sure to get everybody singing-before they head off into cozy dreamland....
I love this letter that I received from a child reader: Ahoy Ms. Crimi! Your book Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates made me think of myself because the character Henry is really shy and cowardly, kind of like me sometimes. But I put all that aside and come around in the most sincere moments. Like this young reader, I, too, have my cowardly moments. I was definitely Piglet in Winnie the Pooh! Perhaps this is why so many of my books involve fearful characters. It’s a character trait that I relate to all too easily. Writing about my fears gives me some insight to them and, hopefully, it helps my readers as well.
Suki is a very small dog who is afraid of pretty much everything at the beach—waves, beach balls, lifeguards, and, of course, lobsters. But when Suki’s very best toy, Chunka Munka, starts floating out to sea, Suki must act bravely and quickly in order to save him.
I got the idea for this book from my own small and fearful dog, Emerson. I took him to the dog beach in town every afternoon until one day a three-inch-tall wave knocked him over. He never liked the beach after that. The only thing he would do is sit in a stranger’s lap, so I figured he could easily just sit in my lap at home without having to pay for the dog beach.
A bewitching book from beginning to end. Harrison knows how to blend her horror with humor, along with an added dash of pathos to make her characters feel achingly real and relatable. What would you do if you moved to a new town, only to discover your neighbor just-so-happened to be a witch? Fair warning to those afraid of spiders: This book is crawling with the little homewreckers.
Neighbors. We’ve all got ‘em, right? We believe we’re the good ones, and we pray we don’t live next door to the bad ones… but sometimes it’s inevitable that we share our property lines with those ill-suited for neighborly behavior. Horror books about bad neighbors are the perfect window into our own communities. We can peer into the lives of others without worry of getting caught. We can tiptoe through their rooms and rummage through their drawers… Who knows what we might find. Are they witches? Serial killers? Devil worshippers? Only their dirty laundry will tell.
Whisper Down the Lane
Clay McLeod Chapman,
What is my book about?
Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage, a first chance at fatherhood, and a quiet life as an art teacher in Virginia. Then the body of a ritualistically murdered rabbit appears on his school’s playground, along with a birthday card for him. But Richard hasn’t celebrated his birthday since he was known as Sean . . .In the 1980s, Sean was five years old when his mother unwittingly led him to tell a lie about his teacher. When school administrators, cops, and therapists questioned him, he told another. And another. And another. Each was more outlandish than the last—and fueled a moral panic that engulfed the nation and destroyed the lives of everyone around him.
Now, thirty years later, someone is here to tell Richard that they know what Sean did. Whisper Down the Lane is a tense and compulsively readable exploration of a world primed by paranoia to believe the unbelievable.
There is a slow build of emotion in this book. The use of cryogenic sleep allows the human characters to live for thousands of years. The passing of genetic memory from generation to generation allows the spider characters to do the same. But the spiders have one advantage. They’ve been infected by a human-designed nanovirus which causes them to evolve on an accelerated basis. And finally, AI allows the villain of the story, Avrana Kern, to live on, in spite of her human body wearing out. We ultimately feel the deep emotion of living things, struggling against one another to survive in a hostile universe—the humans, the spiders, and the AI ghost of Avrana Kern. By the time humans, spiders, and AI meet, the spiders may be the smartest of the three species. So who survives?
Winner of the 30th anniversary Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel
Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed, stand-alone novel Children of Time, is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet.
Who will inherit this new Earth?
The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life.
But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the…
My love of reading was born on the day my 5th-grade teacher handed me a book of poetry; my “punishment” for throwing a spitball. I was to memorize “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and recite it publicly the next day. I was mesmerized by the poem, because it drew a picture in my mind, and filled me with great emotion. As an 8th grader, I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, for fun, then moved on to the great classics by Asimov and Heinlein. I wrote my first novel in 1988, but Time Chain is my first Sci-Fi novel, with more on the way.
What is my book about?
It’s the year 2022. Dani Peterson has been walking in the west of Ireland, conducting historical research for her dissertation. But when she seeks shelter from a storm in Aideen O’Brien’s car, she gets more history than she bargained for.
Aideen is a Time Link, with secret access to time travel technology. She sends Dani to 1978 to meet a younger version of herself. The two fall in love and Dani joins Aideen as a Time Link. They work for a man from 2253 named Charles Burke, who says his mission is to save the future. But after perilous trips to 1751 and 2253, Dani and Aideen discover that Charles is not the savior he claims to be.