Back to school, back to fun: A new year with learning fun

Back to School, Back to Fun by Jayel Gibson, Image by Steve Woods

For many kids, back-to-school signifies the end to the dog-days-of-summer and reuniting with classmates and friends. It means shopping for new clothes and school supplies, but it also signifies studying, homework and tests. When it comes to hitting the books, are your kids digging their heels in and refusing to get back into the swing of things? Engage them with these gripping sci-fi/fantasy novels that examine real-life issues facing today’s young adults. Huge plus, they are also on most library shelves. If your kids just refuse to read, offer them a video game off this wish list of highly anticipated video games that will educate while they play, long after the homework is done.

Back to School, Back to Fun by Jayel Gibson, Image by Steve Woods

Recommended reads:

Beastly by Alex Flinn

A modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” from the point of view of the Beast, a vain Manhattan private school student who is turned into a monster and must find true love before he can return to his human form. (Suggested for ages 12 – 18)

Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith

Three alienated teenagers are drawn to a strange outdoor concert in the woods outside of Seattle, where they discover that they possess magical powers and that their destinies are intertwined. (Suggested for ages 13 – 18)

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Suddenly able to see demons, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizarre world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster. (Suggested for ages 13 – 18)

Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan

Troubled by family problems, Henry finds his life taking a whole new dimension when he and his friend, old Mr. Fogarty, become involved with Prince Pyrgus Malvae who has been sent from the faerie world in order to escape the treacherous Faeries of the Night. (Suggested for ages 13 – 18)

Recommended video games:

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
Genre: Real-time Strategy

The next game in the completely over-the-top Red Alert fast-paced real-time strategy series requires the use of lots of brain cells. (Anticipated release date: TBA for the following platforms: PC, PS3, X360)

Tomb Raider Underworld
Genre: Action Adventure

Watch out for Lara Croft’s next adventure, equipped with slick motion-captured animations and new acrobatic maneuvers to help video gaming’s most famous female character solve all-new. puzzles (Anticipated release date: November 2008 for the following platforms: PC, PS2, PS3, X360, DS, Wii)

Genre: Strategy

This unusual strategy game let’s players take a player created race of sentient beings from the primordial soup through the vast reaches of space exploration. (Anticipated release date: September 2008) for the following platforms: PC, DS, WII, MAC)

Genre: Action Role Play Game

Explore a new world and make it your own as a do-gooder or an evil villain and experience the natural consequences that come with your behavior. (Anticipated release date: Fourth Quarter 2008 for the Xbox 360).

Madden NFL 09
Genre: Sports Simulation

The biggest sports-game franchise on the planet returns with an all-new edition. A perfect score for sports fans of all ages. (Anticipated release date: August 2008 for the following platforms: PS2, PS3, PSP, XBOX, X360, DS, WII)

Jayel Gibson is an award-winning fantasy author of “The Ancient Mirrors Tales” series, a mother, grandmother, educator and video gaming advocate. She lives in Port Orford, Ore., with her husband, a pet cockatoo and five sugar gliders—a small type of marsupial. For more information, visit

Image by Steve Woods

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