Adam Wasserman's Reviews > Taran Wanderer

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander
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's review
Apr 13, 12

There is some truly relevant philosophy in this book of the sort not normally encountered in fantasy.

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin Hey, you! Imagine you could dictate what book a 12 year-old boy should read who's a fan of science fiction and/or fantasy. What would you recommend? Alexander? Tolkien? Something else? I'm thinking about philosophy, craft, engagement, literary merit....

Oh -- and it needs to be "appropriate" so that his parents and teachers won't complain about it.

I'm helping pick books for my school district b/c of my new job.... I thought you'd be a good person to ask about it.

Another way of thinking about it -- imagine you had an ultra with-it 6th grade English teacher. What author would you have loved for her to introduce you to?

We currently use The Giver, Fellowship of the Ring, and The Iron Ring (as well as Shakespeare) in 6th grade GT.

Thanks, friend. :)

Adam Wasserman Hi Robin, good to hear from you. Also, I'm honored you would ask my opinion! All I can draw from is my own experience. Tolkien is everywhere. Personally, I love his English, but it's thick. I read the Prydain series when I was about eleven or twelve. It came before the more gung-go adventurer stuff like Fellowship of the Ring. I think it's similar to the Hobbit in terms of innocence and philosophy. I mean, it's not so simplistic as "good" vs "evil", although those defining themes of classic fantasy are there.

I would definitely recommend these five books. The Black Cauldron, the second in the series, is extremely memorable. The first one, the Book of Three, is a simple adventure story and not as impressive.

I've never read the Giver. Pretty heavy, dystopian stuff.

Don't overlook Philip K. Dick, either. He's literary style is average at best. But his ideas are extraordinary. Twelve years old might be a bit too young now that I think about it, though. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and A Scanner Darkly are excellent choices, but again, I'm not sure if twelve is an appropriate age to absorb them.

At the moment I'm getting into the Strugatsky brothers. They are Russian authors who wrote science fiction in the 60's and 70's. It's very utopian in the Star Trek sense and I appreciate the optimism. There's the occasional reference to Lenin, but other than that, very appropriate. Unfortunately, their books are extremely rare. Roadside Picnic is readily available, but it's probably too mature for your target age. I've read Noon: 22nd Century so far and I think it would be well within the grasp of a twelve year old.

Are this caring, ultra with-it 6th grader?

Ciao, friend!

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