Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Shout-Out: Belgariad series (Eddings)

AUTHOR: David Eddings
PUBLISHER: Del Ray/Ballantine
NUMBER IN SERIES: 5 (as of July 2015)
GENRE: High Fantasy
READALIKES: Lord of the Rings (Tolkein); Mallorean series (Eddings); Eragon series (Paolini); anything by Garth Nix
Today's Saturday Shout-out goes to The Belgariad series by David Eddings. This series came to my attention from a 7th grade boy who has read a TON of fantasy novels. He has read this series at least two times this school year. I've heard him recommend it to other boys who love reading fantasy, and they also ended up checking out the sequels. I told my husband about it (he is also an avid fantasy reader), and he promptly read all five books in the series also. Good reviews all around.

Though this series was originally published in the 1980s, it clearly still speaks to my students. Follett's Titlewave lists it as as AD (Adult-level), but my husband says there is nothing in it that would be of concern for middle school readers. I have also not had any student or parent mention any content concerns with the series.

As I currently work at a British international school, I checked to make sure this series was available in the USA. It is available on Titlewave, but if you can get your hands on the British version, the front cover is much more appealing. This is the cover we have in our library right now (it's the UK version):

click for larger image

Yep, much more appealing for middle school readers. The USA version at the top of this post looks more like a historical romance than epic fantasy. I think it also looks kind of "girly."

TIPS FOR BOOKTALKING THIS SERIES: I am a big proponent of booktalking a wide variety of titles, even if you haven't read them. It does take some practice, but if you only booktalk books you have read, your students are missing out on great titles that you haven't read. The truth is, you can't read everything in your library. Some tips for booktalking this series:

  • Use PowerPoint, Prezi, EMaze, or other presentation software to show the front covers of the books. Show both the USA and UK front covers and compare them. Which one appeals more to students? Emphasize that despite the horrible USA cover, the content is the same as the UK version. Also show the other four covers in the series.

  • Compare to Lord of the Rings and other popular epic fantasy series. We all have students who read fantasy voraciously and are always looking for a new series. Neither my fantasy-reading husband nor I had previously heard of this series;considering the age of the series, it is likely that many students haven't heard of it, either.

  • Point out that awesome Goodreads rating. The Belgariad's 4.13 average out of 50,000+ reviews (as of July 2015) is a pretty impressive Goodreads rating.

  • Have you read this series? Is it popular with your students? Share your thoughts in the (CAPTCHA-FREE!) comments section below.

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