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Get Your Ren Faire Fix with These Reads for All Ages

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 10, 2020

Faire Weather Friends

With so many of our summer traditions canceled this year, we are relying on literature to take us where we want to go. This week, we bring you Renaissance Faire reads for all ages! Whether you're pining for feasting and jousting or mystery and adventure, we've got some great options here for you. Read on for everything from picture books to romantic fantasies to historic accounts to Arthurian lore.

For Little Lords and Ladies

Castle by David Macaulay
With a wry sense of humor and a fun storyline, this Caldecott-winner traces the step-by-step planning and construction a thirteenth-century castle and town. Children as young as six will enjoy learning about medieval culture, engineering, and architecture.

A Medieval Feast by Aliki
The King is coming to visit! In this beautifully illustrated book, the lord and lady of Camdenton Manor must work to prepare for the royal guest. It will take weeks to ready the manor, set up tents, and prepare the feast itself. Everyone is busy hunting and hawking, brewing and churning. For ages six and up.

You Wouldn't Want to be a Medieval Knight by Fiona MacDonald
Follow the progress of a young English boy in the fifteenth century as he goes through the rigorous training to become a knight. For readers aged eight to twelve, this new extended edition includes a map, a timeline of the Crusades, and a list of exciting facts.

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
Middle school can be challenging in the best of circumstances! For eleven-year-old Imogene, previously homeschooled by her Renaissance Faire worker parents, it's even harder. This graphic novel for ages 9–12 shares the story of a young girl trying to find her way in a new world that is as cutthroat as any joust.

For Gothic Youth

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
This inventive reimaginging of Arthurian legend focuses on Guinevere arriving at court to wed the charismatic young king. But the princess's true identity is concealed. It's a world of deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, forbidden romances, and dark secrets.

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
In a sweeping fantasy full of intrigue, romance, and friendship, an island kingdom still mourns the loss of two young princes who were kidnapped and murdered eighteen years earlier. When a couple of mysterious maps surface—each with the same hidden riddle—three friends embark on a journey to uncover the truth.

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
Inspired by feudal Japan, this medieval tale follows a singular maiden. When her caravan is attacked during a journey to wed one of the Emperor's sons, Mariko's chance for survival rests on her oddball tenacity. Can she outsmart the dangers that lurk in the forest?

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke
Raised in a quiet convent by her mother, Marien, Isabelle is shocked to learn that she is the daughter of the infamous Robin Hood. Armed only with this knowledge and her bow, she sets off to find her father, while eluding "the Wolf," the king's second-hand man, who wants her dead.

For Ripened Revelers

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman
This era presents two contradictory images. On the one hand, we hear of crusades, castles, and chivalry. While simultaneously, it was known to be a dark time plagued by war and disease. Here, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian breaks down the forces that shaped the eventful period.

Well Met by Jean DeLuca
All's faire in love and war in this laugh-out-loud rom-com debut. Temporarily living with her sister in small-town Maryland, Emily gets roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire. But she's so annoyed by the inscrutable event organizer that she finds herself thinking about him constantly.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
In this intriguing medieval mystery, Brother William of Baskerville arrives at an Italian abbey in 1327 to investigate claims of heresy. But his original mission is derailed by a series of bizarre deaths. This popular novel has been adapted into a 1986 film and a 2019 TV series, but as we all know, #TheBookIsAlwaysBetter.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Experience the mystical saga of the great Arthurian legend through the eyes of the powerful women of Camelot. Follow this diverse cast of characters as they struggle for control over the fate of Arthur's kingdom and grapple with the widening fissure between old and new worlds.

We know this isn't a perfect replacement for being at the faire grounds. Sadly there's no campy cosplay, meaty turkey legs, or tankards of ale included, but we hope it gives you a little taste of what you're missing. And for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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