360I: Magic Ball (Children’s Sci-Fi)

I read this book as part of a children’s summer reading program at a small branch library next to my Dad’s hardware store in Clarksville, Indiana. The timing was some time between 1965-1968. Every book you read would earn a balloon stamp on a clown bookmark. You only received the stamp after giving a verbal recap of each book to the librarian.

I do not recall the title but I believe there were limited graphics inside the pages. A young boy finds a red ball in a field near his home. He quickly realizes that the ball can respond to his wishes. It can change color and size. Become heavy or light. It can even fly around the room and come to home when he calls.

Late in the book the ball starts to exhibit strange behavior as if it wants to escape. The boy follow the ball into the field where he meets the ball’s true owner: an alien child from a nearby space ship that has landed. The boy gives the ball back to the alien child and is thanked by the alien parent.

This book started my love of science fiction writing and led me to the likes of Wells, Verne, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke and many others.

359K: Fantasy/Sci-Fiction 1970s/80s

I read the book in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. It would have been a fiction/science fiction paperback book from the local library (Manchester, Georgia). I remember a female protagonist child (and her brother) who were lost members of technologically advanced race studying the planet but were members of private tribe? She was being called back (dreams). She had to run away from her tribe. While in route her brother stepped on something in the sea (perhaps a sea urchin) (Spoiler alert! ………. and died.)

358S: Boy Switches Places with His Parallel Universe Version

I need help finding a series I read about 10 years ago. I’ve been trying to find it for the last 6 months and have now made it a mission to find the series.
This is what I think I remember:
The books were in a public library in the young adult fiction section. It was about a boy that was transported to a parallel universe. I think it was a trilogy and one of the books had a purple-ish cover.I honestly don’t know if I’m remembering this right or mixing with another series.
The parallel universe version of him was then transferred to his world, so they basically switched places. They ended up meeting each other/themselves at the very end. The other universe he was transported to had knights I think? It was a fantasy world and different from his.

357Q: Sci-fi book including “Men of Harlech”

Some 60 years ago, I was reading a science-fiction book in which an adult was with two children, ca. 12 years old, on a trip of some sort.  While they are out walking, he sang “Men of Harlech” to them; the words for a verse or two appear in the book:

“Men of Harlech in the hollow, do ye hear like rushing billow …”, &f.
I recalled nothing else of the book until a few days ago when I suddenly recalled that a planet named “Lepton” figured in the book somehow; I thought this additional detail might be enough to find the book.

The reason for such vagueness, beyond the 60-year time lapse, is that I never finished the book. I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old, but this wasn’t a children’s’ book; the librarian jerked the book from my hands, telling me to “stop pretending to read that book” and go pick a book from the children’s’ section instead.  I could read the newspaper before I started 1st grade, so I was by no means pretending, and I wasn’t interested in children’s’ books.

My mother had a somewhat heated talk with the librarian sometime later, and the librarian never bothered me again on subsequent visits.  But I was unable to locate the book again.

357F: Wizard vs. Seriously Overgrown Plant

I’m looking for a short story that was published in a compilation of sci-fi stories, probably somewhere between 1995-2005. Sci-fi short story was about wizard and a plant that was taking over the earth. The wizard was trying to kill the plant to save the world, but no matter what he tried, he couldn’t do anything about the plant and it ended up taking over the world. Wizard also had a globe or orb that was an exact replica of the earth. The orb displayed live and the wizard could zoom in and see anything and anyone and what they were doing. The only thing that didn’t show up on the globe was the globe.

356G: People With Special Powers Live On Narrow Inhabitable Strip Of Planet

This is about a two-book series that was likely written between 1975 and 1999. The survivors of a planet lived on a narrow inhabitable strip of the planet. On both sides there were less habitable areas. On one side lived mutants who were like vampires and werewolves. In the strip lived the main characters in a town, one a strongman, one a mind reader whose wife was a healer and operated a clinic, one a blind woman who could see the future. There were several towns. The mind reader has a female child whose skin changed colors and also had a son. The leader of the werewolves had a son who killed those living in the town where the main characters lived. When the blind woman got her sight back temporarily, she lost the ability to see the future. The healer’s wife died near the end of the book and the mind reader decided to move to another town where his children had previously moved.

352W: Late 50’s early 60’s space fiction

Late 50’s early 60’s space fiction about a boy on a planet (possibly mars) with his pet.  The boy needs to get to different city/friends home.  Walks via an old highway but the temperature dips extremely, causing the boy to find refuge in a giant cabbage like plant that closes at night, saving him.

Read this from the 5th grade 1961/62 Ellis Elementary School library in Sunnyvale California.

350Z: AI Celebrate Anniversary Date Of Their Creation

I read this story in English, I think in an anthology of short stories (I read a lot of those), sometime around the very end of the 90s or early 2000s. I’m pretty sure it was only a few pages long.

It’s presented from the perspective of a family waiting for a lift or a babysitter before going to a party. The parents are getting ready and the kids are (I think) getting ready for bed.

The gist of it is (you discover either through the story or at the end) that humans invented Artificial Intelligence at some point. Instead of the AIs turning on humans Skynet-style, they simply realised that Earth was a tiny part of the universe and that they were easily capable of travelling out into space in search of freedom and adventure in places that humans weren’t suited to. Thus they went out and colonised the stars, but they still remember their creators fondly and keep an eye on them. Every year (I think) they throw a huge party for humanity on the anniversary of their creation to say thank you, and this is the party that the parents are getting ready for

I *think* the story ends with the parents getting into the car/spaceship that arrives to take them to the party, and possibly robots arriving to babysit the kids?

It’s set in “The Future”, but I don’t recall it being specific with a date or time frame.

For years I suspected it was by Brian Aldiss, but I haven’t managed to find any of his work that seems to fit it. I don’t recall it being particularly aimed at kids or YA, but it would likely have been easy for them to read anyway.