There’s no time like Winter for story-telling. Winter Magic capitalises on the season of snow, magic and wonder in binding together this collection of wintery short stories by eleven Middle Grade & YA front-running authors. Contributors range from new stars of kids’ lit like Michelle Harrison (Thirteen Treasures) to long-lauded authors such as Michelle Magorian (Goodnight Mister Tom). And the whole collection is capped off beautifully  with a short-story from the curator herself, Abi Elphinstone.

It’s safe to say that with eleven stories representing eleven styles, Winter Magic offers something for every reader’s taste, be it elves, witches, avalanches or dragons. Each short story takes the reader on a tingling winter’s adventure of one kind or another in relatively few pages, and each one brings her back again to the warmth and safety of a happy ending.

From a Middle Grade or YA writer’s perspective, this collection is absolute gold dust. Rarely do we have the chance to read well-known writers’ responses to a prompt (such as “Winter Magic”), and even more rarely do we come across their work side-by-side. I found it hugely instructive to quickly read across the breadth of styles, voices and approaches that are leading kids’ fiction today. It was an excellent reminder of the huge variety on the market, and an encouragement that there is always room for new voices and new imagination in the Realm of Story!

Of course my principal purpose for reading Winter Magic this December was not literary or market analysis, but pure hot-chocolate-drinking-curled-up-under-blankets-winter-reading pleasure. And it certainly delivered the goods!

I daren’t tell which story was my favourite, but here’s a little clue: it starts with “Snow” and ends in “Dragon”, and was written by the curator. That story, in my opinion, captures the stuff classics are made of – adventure, whimsy and heart. *(And what’s pretty cool – she signed my copy of Winter Magic!)img_3545

But don’t take my word for it! Go and read them all whilst Winter lingers! 

Genre: Middle Grade & YA

Recommended Tea: hot chocolate