Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

The Funke of Children’s Lit

Cornela Funke, that is! ๐Ÿ™‚


Cornelia Funke is a German author (1958 – present). She has written a number of children’s books that I have enjoyed, beginning with The Thief Lord (2000). The main characters, Prosper and Bo, run away and join a gang of street urchins run by The Thief Lord. They live lives of petty crime to survive on the streets. One day, they are asked to steal part of a broken merry-go-round that can alter time.

From this, I went on to read her Dragon Rider (2004). Firedrake is a young dragon on a journey to find the magical land where dragons can live in peace. He brings along a lonely boy named Ben. Together they confront villains and other creatures and learn the true meaning of home.


In Igraine the Brave (2007), Igraine dreams of becoming a knight. She is stuck in a pretty mundane life until the boy next door plans to siege her parents’ castle and steal the singing spell books.


Ms. Funke is probably best known for her Inkheart series. This includes Inkheart (2003), Inkspell (2006), and Inkdeath (2008). Meggie’s father has the ability to read characters into life. One night while reading aloud to Meggie, the evil ruler in the story comes to life and is standing in the middle of their living room! It is up to her to learn how to work this magic to fix things. In the second story, they must trust a crooked storyteller to read Dustfinger back into the book. In book three, Inkworld is under siege and it is up to the original author of the book (within the book! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) to put everything back to right. If you haven’t read these, I do recommend they are read in order so you know what the heck is happening and who has been brought to the real world and who has been read into a book. Very interesting premise, for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ For those of you who would rather watch a film, Inkheart was made into a movieย in 2009 starring Brendan Fraser.

inkherat movie

As a child, Cornela Funke wanted to be an astronaut or a pilot. She studied pedagogy and worked as a social worker after finishing college. For a short time, she worked as an illustrator. She has two very popular series in Germany that predate the above mentioned books – Ghosthunters and Wild Chicks. While Ghosthunters is now available in English in the US, Wild Chicks is not.


Her most recent series, Reckless (2010) tells the story of Jacob Reckless who has been traveling to a hidden Mirrorworld through a portal in his dad’s study for years. He has even become known there as a finder of lost things. One day his brother follows him to the other world and is infected with a curse that will slowly turn him into a killer made of stone. It is up to Jacob to save him before its too late. The sequel, Fearless (2013) finds Jacob returning to Mirrorworld and dying from his own curse. He learns of a magical crossbow that many think is just a legend. It will either kill him or heal him and he must find it before a treasure hunter claims it. There is going to be one more book in this series, Heartless, which is scheduled for its English publication some time this month.

I am looking forward to reading this latest series as it seems darker and more grown up than her other stories. It is geared more toward young adult as opposed to middle grade. Maybe in time, we will have access to her Wild Chicks series as well – or I could learn to speak German… ๐Ÿ™‚

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