Vashti Hardy: The Griffin Gate (Barrington Stoke 2020)
Vashti Hardy: The Puffin Portal (Barrington Stoke 2021)
Vashti Hardy, an English children’s book writer, has worked as a primary school teacher for a long time, but has always been interested in writing, especially creative writing and creating fantasy worlds. Her middle grade novels have been translated to many languages around the world. Her two most famous works, Wildspark and Brightstorm, have won several prestigious awards. I wrote more about the latter one here.
Grace Griffin is a member of a special family: ever since her great-grandmother invented a map with portals on it, they have become wardens of the whole country of Moreland. If someone needs help, just call them and they will be there immediately through the portal. The red boxes they travel through used to be there for people where they made phone calls, now providing an even faster connection between different places.
Grace is a smart and interested little girl who wants to go on a mission herself but she is not yet 15 years old. Coincidentally, however, she finds herself alone at home during an important call, so she leaves to solve the problem. She doesn’t know, though, that something much larger is in the background. Both stories are very cute and exciting, I liked the second one even more because the plot was simpler and was a better fit for a short length piece for me. The steampunk elements which are characteristic of Vashti Hardy appear in the stories and also emphasize the importance of the technical sciences. The books are ideal for smaller ones as well and it is very important to say that the printing is dyslexia friendly: the letters and the line spacing are bigger. I think it is a very good thing that such books allow even those with reading difficulties to be part of the adventures and have a sense of success. In addition, I think language learners can use these books too.
If you are interested in about the books, you can visit the author’s website: https://www.vashtihardy.com/.