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Great Summer Reads with Carol Jago: Fantasy Series for Grades 9-12

Carol Jago Blogs update 1

Escaping our own reality by diving into a fantastical world can be an exciting adventure and a therapeutic release.

Dear Readers,

Could there be a better time for slipping away to a fantasy world? Even a few hours away from current affairs in the real world seems like a most welcome respite. And the best news is that a good series can go on for book after book after book.

Happy reading!



Fantasy by N. K. Jemisin

In a world called Stillness, every few centuries a Fifth Season (the title of the first book in the series) occurs. Cataclysmic climate change interrupts all life and has shaped the structure of society. Individuals who can control the quaking of the earth with their own bodies are both feared and hunted. All three books in this trilogy won the Hugo Award for best science fiction/fantasy story, which means you will likely be rushing to read The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky immediately after finishing the last page of Book One.


Fantasy by Daniel José Older

Sierra Santiago thought she’d just be spending the summer graffitiing a mural in Brooklyn. Soon, however, she discovers she is a shadowshaper—someone who is able to infuse art with ancestral magic. As her family’s past is uncovered, Sierra finds herself in more and more danger. With the help of her fellow shadowshapers, she may be able to stop the evil beings hunting her kind and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.


Fantasy by Tomi Adeyemi

In a world where magic is forbidden, Zélie Adebola dedicates herself to the restoration of these powers for her people, the maji. As N. K. Jemisin has done in her trilogy, Tomi Adeymi has created an entire world, in this case drawing from Yoruba cultural traditions and language, and at the same time reflecting upon many issues we grapple with in the real world today. The second book in the series is called Children of Virtue and Vengeance. The third volume is scheduled to be published in 2021.

As you read these titles, consider:

  • What fantastical elements are present in each book? How do they add to your enjoyment of the text?
  • Why do we read fantasy when we know it’s not real? What do these books teach us?

Try out one of these activities to take your reading to the next level:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

Note: HMH is not responsible for the content of third-party websites.

Photo of Carol Jago provided by ©Andrew Collings

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