Virginia Johnson

August Is National Parks Month

Camping, fishing, hiking, history, grand vistas, and horseback riding--there are so many possibilities in our national parks.

Mysterious Admirers and Singing Spies

In the Kingdom of Dalemark, three kings have died without an heir. The kingdom has been in chaos for generations as earl after earl vies for the throne. Bloody battles have only produced a stalemate, and now the free North and the repressive South tensely await their next war.

Dragon Flame and Viking Steel

Sword Song by Rosemary Sutcliff

"Just go! A man with a sword need never lack the means of life--or death. If after five years you still live and you shall be free to return and take your place in the settlement again, it may be that I shall be able to stand the sight of you."
With these harsh words from his chief, Bjarni Sigurdson, a young Viking swordsman, is banished from his home.

A Grimm Tale and a True One

The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli

"Don't you love it, Mother? We can shut our eyes and pretend we live in a candy house. All candy. Everywhere."

The Ugly One remembered how her child loved sweets. Asa was beautiful, and her mother tried to give her all the beauty she could though they were poor.

Braveheart and the Forestwife

The King's Swift Rider: A Novel on Robert the Bruce by Mollie Hunter

From where he stood on the hill above the valley, Martin Crawford saw that the leader of the war band was in serious trouble. When a hunting horn sounded from behind, the leader ordered his men to scatter before the onslaught of English soldiers. They were on him in moments, but their numbers broke as they chased the leader's scattered men. In all his sixteen years, Martin had never seen a man fight as this one did, swinging his great sword beside his companions until the last living enemy fled in fear.

Islands of Sorcerers and Unlikely Pilgrims

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

No one really liked Duny. The boy was wild, proud, and full of temper-- well-suited to the company of the goats he herded. Then came the day when he overheard his aunt chanting a spell to call her goat down from the roof of her house. He remembered the rhyme and later spoke it to his own herd:

"Noth hierth malk man hiolk han merth han!"

A Squire's Tale and a Wizard's Dreams

The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris

Gawain of Orkney doesn't need a squire. He's yet to make it to King Arthur's court to be knighted, and if he does need a squire later, he has a few brothers in the hinterlands who will do. For his part, Terence was perfectly happy taking care of his foster father, the hermit Trevisant. He was a kind boy and an excellent cook, though granted a bit confused at present. Just recently the trees had started talking to him.

Hidden Turnings & His Majesty's Elephant

His Majesty's Elephant by Judith Tarr

The hue and cry outside the royal stables of the Emperor Charlemagne sounded like a battle raging to Rowan. The grooms were trying to push a gigantic elephant into one of the Emperor's old war tents, and Abul Abbas, for so the elephant was called, was having none of it.

The Vampire and the Unicorn

These selections are from the Dragonflight series of fantasy novels for young adults. Dragonflight books team masters of fantasy fiction with terrific fantasy artists.

Black Unicorn

by Tanith Lee, Illustrated by Heather Cooper

A Gift and a Sacrifice

The Fated Sky

by Henrietta Branford

There was a dragon in the sky the night the stranger came to Smolsund farm. A girl named Ran saw it and feared it. She clutched the tiny silver hammer, a talisman for Thor's protection. Amma, her father's mother, had placed it around her neck. She knew that her grandmother was worried for her.