My top picks for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Hobbit
- Once Upon a Wardrobe
- A Place to Hang the Moon
- The Wingfeather Saga
- A Single Shard
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Great Reads for Adult Fans of the Chronicles of Narnia
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
Wormwood is writing to an underdevil giving him advice on how to trip up humans, specifically one human who has become a Christian.
Of course Lewis is writing tongue in cheek since his conversion from atheism to Christianity has been well documented.
The Space Triology by C.S. Lewis
Not as well known or as popular as the Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis wrote a space trilogy for adults that features space travel from earth to other planets.
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
C.S. Lewis has always been one of my favorite authors and The Chronicles of Narniathe pinnacle in children’s literature, in my opinion. Even though I knew the basic facts of the love story between Lewis and Joy Davidman, Becoming Mrs. Lewis fleshed out the story in a probable narrative of their relationship.
I came to see her as an unsung hero in Lewis’ life.
There’s nothing like an inside peek at the life of one of the world’s greatest writers.
Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan
Once Upon a Wardrobe does a deep dive into the question of why C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia. History is woven into the fictional scenario of Megs Devonshire trying to get answers for her chronically ill brother who has fallen in love with the recently published children’s book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
Megs is a student at Oxford in 1950, so she is able to gain access to the literary legend. But, of course, her straight forward questions don’t get straight forward answers. Instead, we learn the background, history and influences on the man behind the fantasies.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien, a friend of C.S. Lewis, was reportedly critical of The Chronicles of Narnia because Lewis included a mishmash of legend and fantasy.
Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth was elaborate and internally consistent, down to the elfin language that he invented.
The epic trilogy traces hundreds of years of Middle Earth history, culminating in a great war between kingdoms and species for power and control. Dwarves, elves, hobbits, humans and wizards fight against a range of unsavory beasts for domination.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
“Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.
Or does he?”–from Amazon
All the elements of a great survival story as well as science fiction at it’s best. I loved it.
The Shack by William Paul Young
An innocent little girl is abducted and murdered. Her father wrestles, struggles with his grief and doubt.
How can a good and loving God allow horrific things to happen to good people?
The Shack is a fictional tale written to convey spiritual truths. In this way it mirrors what Lewis was doing in his Narnia books.
This is a question that trips up so many, those who embrace Christian doctrines as well as those that reject it.
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
The unseen world of the spiritual realm has been captured in fiction by Frank Peretti. The principalities and powers battle against each other as light and darkness fight without human witnesses.
We tend to live without giving much attention to what is happening in the spiritual realms. A glimpse into how it might play out is not a bad idea.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Unlike Narnia, The Hiding Place is the true story of Corrie ten Boom and her family hiding Jews in Holland during World War II.
The themes of the book also deal with faith in God during horrific circumstances.
What it’s about:
The ten Boom family lived Holland during the German occupation of their country during World War II. Living out their faith demanded that they hide Jews from the regime. These actions had consequences that continued to test their faith.
What I loved:
The faith and courage of Corrie ten Boom. It was the lifetime faith of generations that caused her family to protect God’s chosen people, the Jews, from the evil of Hitler’s regime.
What you should know:
The story of the ten Boom family might challenge your concept of God’s sovereignty. How can a loving, all-powerful God allow the events of World War II to occur?
Great Reads for Kids and Teen Fans of The Chronicles of Narnia
Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is the first book in the series.
“Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.”– From Amazon
To be frank, it’s taken several attempts to read this book to see why it comes so highly recommended. I didn’t find it to be engaging until about halfway through, but I’m glad I stayed with it to find it really is a jewel of a book.
The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a complex epic with lots of characters, backstory, timeline and geography.
The Hobbit is a good introduction to Middle Earth that is more easily understood by kids (and adults looking for an easier read.)
One of literature’s ultimate hero’s journeys, the story of Bilbo Baggins resonates deeply, even if you’re not a homebody. Bilbo certainly wasn’t out looking for adventure, because hobbits are fond of regular meals and the comforts of home.
But, if there’s a wizard and a dragon, a quest, danger, travel companions to help and hinder, a magic ring and some treasure, it all adds up to a satisfying tale with uncanny parallels to life as we know it.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Four motherless girls on vacation with their father. Their romps with pets, neighbors and each other: a simple, but satisfying plot.
5 Stars! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this whimsical story. (That’s a lotta love.) I read it to the teens in my carpool, since I don’t have any little kids to read it too. I gave it to my nieces and nephews, too.
I loved the uplifting, engaging characters. Real heroes. Great values. Whimsical.
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
A Single Shard is a compelling story for all ages.
Tree-ear is an orphan who lives with Crane-Man under a bridge. He’s fascinated by the work of a master potter in the village and dreams of the day when he can throw a pot on the wheel. Twelfth century Korea sets the stage for an inside look at the art of pottery, honorable poverty and the cries of an orphan boy’s heart.
There’s so many positive life lessons taught in the story. The value of work, instead of stealing or begging. Take care of each other. Give to those in need. Preserve the dignity and honor of others. Don’t give up on your dreams. Be loyal to friends and family. Don’t take ideas that you learned from stealth or thievery.
I love this story. I love what it teaches. Highly recommended for all ages, beginning about age 6 or 7 as a read aloud.
The audio version read by Graeme Malcolm is excellent. The listening length is 3 hours and 12 minutes.
A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
William, Edmund and Anna are siblings who are evacuated from London to the country during World War II. Their deep desire for home and family drive the story, even while they aim to be family to each other.
A love of literature is integral to the story and revisiting my childhood favorites was fun. There’s echoes of Narnia throughout as well as nods to other classic children’s lit.
I wish I hadn’t read the story synopsis before reading this sweet, heart-warming story.
Don’t read the reviews. Just dive in.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
I’m fond of E. B. White’s classic, Stuart Little, but Charlotte’s Web comes out on top for me. Maybe it’s that (spoiler) Charlotte’s death made me cry when I first read it as an eight year old.
It never occurred to me before that this is a redemption story, but so it is. Charolotte the spider’s mission is to save her friend, Wilbur the pig, from the butcher’s block. Warm and wise and full of truth just like all the best children’s literature. One of my favorite scenes is when Fern’s mother seeks out the doctor’s advice because her daughter claims to have conversations with the barnyard animals and the doctor is open to the possibility that maybe she does communicate with animals.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Roal Dahl’s classics, such as James and the Giant Peach, have pleased children and adults for decades. I have a soft spot for Charlie Bucket up against the spoiled and privileged children who found golden tickets and won a tour of Willie Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory.
Every kid and kid at heart wants to be a winner. Rooting for Charlie is just so satisfying.
The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
What if you lived in a small kingdom where the prince chooses his bride from the graduates of the Princess Academy?
What if you had the chance for an education that would never be possible otherwise?
I loved this middle grade novel for telling a tale of what could be, the power of knowledge, friendships and courage.
One of my favorite parts of Princess Academy was how they snuck in principles of Commerce and Negotiation. It was fun how that played out.
There were a few weird and whimsical twists, but every fairy tale needs a little magic.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne is a herione universally loved by girls and remembered fondly by women. Of course, so much of the charm is Anne herself–spunky, competitive, fiercely loyal, throughly human.
And who can resist Gilbert Bythe who shows his affection in the manner of red blooded boys everywhere?
But some of the appeal of Anne is the wistfulness of small town community where the gossips whisper and pass judgment and the sons and daughters marry their neighbors and hearts are broken never to see healing through the decades. And underlying it all is the deep longing for home and family.
If you’re wondering about Christian themes and symbols in the Narnia books, read my post Are the Chronicles of Narnia Christian?