• By Stefanie Kellum
  • Posted Thursday, December 8, 2016

Books We Like

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a galaxy far, far away, you’re probably aware that a new Star Wars movie is coming to theaters soon. My inner nerd girl is overjoyed about Rogue One, so I’ve put together a list of books that Star Wars fans of all ages will enjoy while waiting for the movie.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a book that combined the sci-fi action adventure of Star Wars with the humor and drama of Shakespeare, and I was obviously intrigued. I had fairly high expectations for this book, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, by Ian Doescher, and it did not disappoint. Not only does it give you some laughable Shakespearean interpretations of classic Star Wars lines, but you also get even more character development through the soliloquies. Perhaps the best part is that we finally get to hear R2-D2's voice! You'll find many borrowed and adapted lines from some of Shakespeare's plays, including a pep talk from Luke to the Rebels beginning, "Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears" (Julius Caesar) and a Hamlet-like reflection ("Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not."). If you like Star Wars and Shakespeare, you'll kick yourself if you don't read this. There are now six books in the series to cover all six movies (excluding Episode VII), but I only read the ones that correlate to the original trilogy because I’m a purist. Sorry, Jar Jar.

I haven’t actually read this next title, but as soon as I saw it on Goodreads, I added it to my to-read list. Carrie Fisher’s latest book, The Princess Diarist, is a memoir based on journals she kept while filming the first Star Wars movie as Princess Leia. I’m looking forward to funny behind-the-scenes stories and reading what life was like on the set of one of the most beloved films of all time as well as seeing it through the eyes of a young actress whose career would be shaped by the success of these films. I’m sure it will be equal parts hilarious and insightful. Who doesn’t love Princess Leia, right?

For the younger set of Star Wars Padawans, I’d recommend a couple of series. The first is the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger, which chronicles the adventures of Origami Yoda, an origami Yoda finger puppet created by quirky kid Dwight. Dwight’s classmate Tommy begins a case file on Origami Yoda when the puppet begins to make predictions that shockingly come true, creating chaos and magic in their school and inspiring other students to make their own origami Star Wars characters. The series includes six books, and each book contains instructions for making your own origami characters and plenty of in-text doodles that will make it popular with Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. This rollicking adventure starts with book one, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda ,, and continues with Darth Paper Strikes Back, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett , Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue , and Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus . There’s also a companion activity book called Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling , which would make a great gift for your little Star Wars, fan this holiday season.

Even the smallest of Star Wars fans will also love Jeffrey Brown’s series of Star Wars graphic novels, which include Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess, Darth Vader and Friends, and Goodnight Darth Vader . These easy-to-read comic books imagine what life would have been like for Luke and Leia if their father (*spoiler alert*), Darth Vader, had never gone over to The Dark Side and had instead raised them himself. They’re laugh-out-loud funny, and kids will beg you to read them over and over and over...and probably in character, so start practicing your Darth Vader voice.

Finally, if you’re looking for something the whole family of Star Wars fans can listen to in the car over the holidays, check out the audiobook of Alexandra Bracken’s A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy . This one tells the tale of the first film but from the perspectives of Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker. I loved the insight you get into each of these three main characters. I thought I knew these characters pretty well, but this delved even more into the minds of Leia, Han, and Luke. You hear Leia's inner struggle to prove herself to the Senate and the Rebellion and mourn with her after she loses her home planet, you laugh at Han's inner scoundrel yet realize that he's more than just a smug smuggler, and you follow Luke's journey from naive moisture farmer to confident and selfless Rebellion pilot and Jedi-in-training. I laughed, I cried (Yes, in the car!), I nerded out, and I applauded Alexandra Bracken for writing a worthy Star Wars, a retelling that lives up to the original. To top it all off, it uses music that’s original to the films and amazing sound effects. The voice actors are extremely talented and give such life to all the characters you’ve come to know and love. This one can’t be missed, and if you like it, check out the next two books in the series, The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz and Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! by Tom Angleberger.

May The Force be with you and happy reading.

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