Writing gives us a chance to explore humanity and the universe — to create a bent mirror that reflects everything real and imagined. So what we see when we look into it is truly ourselves. I write books first and foremost to give people a good, stirring read. But I also write books to wrestle with life’s biggest questions, and to express my deepest passions and concerns — about the fragile beauty of the planet that sustains us, and about the miracle of our children and the value of their dreams.
Explore T. A. Barron’s Books:
The Ancient One & Adventures of Kate (4 books)
If you haven’t read any of my books yet, you may want to start with the Adventures of Kate series – my three novels (and one combined edition of all 3) about a heroic young woman named Kate Gordon. The New York Times Book Review said about The Ancient One: “Mortality, in all its splendor and sadness, is T.A. Barron’s subject.” Perhaps so, but Kate’s three adventures concern other subjects, as well—the fragility of our environment, and the power of just one person to make a difference. She travels far and wide in these books: back in time to a lost Native American tribe in The Ancient One; to a distant galaxy to save the life of her astronomer grandfather in Heartlight; and down to the very bottom of the sea—“the womb where the waters are born”—in The Merlin Effect. The Heartlight Saga includes all three of these stories in one combined edition – with a beautiful cover!
But don’t take my word about these books. Read the reviews and the excerpts, and judge for yourself. You can read the first chapters right on this website by going to the world of the Adventures of Kate. I hope you will come to the same conclusion as Madeleine L’Engle, who has called these books “stories to celebrate.”
Atlantis Saga (4 books)
My newest series, the Atlantis Saga, is set in an entirely new mythic setting: the legendary isle of Atlantis. I’ve always loved the tragic and beautiful tale of the lost civilization of Atlantis – but rather than simply re-tell the story of that island’s destruction, I wanted to tell the secret, untold story of the creation of Atlantis. The saga includes three novels as well as a short prequel. Together, they tell the tale of the miraculous birth, struggles, adventures, and ultimate destruction of this mythic isle.
The first book in the saga, Atlantis Rising, introduces Promi (a scrappy young man) and Atlanta (a couragous young woman). Together, these two heroes strive to save their magical world – a world caught in a high stakes battle between good and evil forces in both the spirit and mortal realms. The sequel, Atlantis In Peril, deepens the bond between Promi and Atlanta. The evil spirit warlord Narkazan has returned and is more determined than ever to conquer Atlantis and the rest of the mortal world as well. Coming soon will be the final book of the trilogy, Atlantis Lost, which brings the story to its miraculous – and surprising – conclusion. Could it be that Atlantis, even after its destruction, is still with us today? You will find out in this third volume of the trilogy!
I’ve also written a short piece that is the prequel to the trilogy, NEVER AGAIN: The Origin of Grukarr. That piece has been published at the back of the paperback version of Atlantis Rising as well as online.
Put together, this new saga reveals how Atlantis was created, what people were central to its birth, and why this magical place had such power and inspiration from the wonders of nature. In addition to everything else, it is a story about the love of Promi and Atlanta, whose great courage is essential to the birth of this magical world.
Merlin Saga (12 books)
You could also join the great wizard Merlin—the greatest enchanter of all times and the mentor to King Arthur—as he reveals at last the secrets of his lost youth. My 12-book Merlin Saga was recently re-released with beautiful covers and includes the companion companion volume Merlin: The Book of Magic.
The first five books in the saga comprise the Lost Years of Merlin epic which gave me a chance to add another, new dimension to the lore of this fascinating, immensely rich character. The tale begins when a young boy washes ashore, nearly drowned, on page one of Book 1: The Lost Years…and finally concludes when that same young man, now a great wizard, makes the most agonizing choice of his life in the final pages of Book 5: A Wizard’s Wings. The other thee books in this epic include Book 2: The Seven Songs, Book 3: The Raging Fires, and Book 4: The Mirror of Fate.
What have readers said about these five books? Lloyd Alexander called them “brilliant, significant, and illuminating…an intense and profoundly spiritual adventure.” To see reviews by other people—or to read the first chapters of any of the five books—just go to the world of the Merlin Saga. And I hope you’ll also enjoy the color map of Fincayra that you will find there!
The next three books in the saga include the books from the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy. Beginning with Book 6: The Dragon of Avalon, these books follow the amazing adventures of a fellow named Basil … who is very small in size, but very big in destiny. He is an unlikely hero for Avalon — and an even more unlikely friend for the great wizard Merlin. Throughout these three books, including Book 7: Doomraga’s Revenge, and Book 8: Ultimate Magic, he becomes both … with many surprises along the way! But can he save the wondrous world of Avalon? Fantasy Literature says, “This is one of T. A. Barron’s most thrilling adventures yet and features a new and unforgettable character in his earliest years.”
The saga concludes with the New York Times bestselling Great Tree of Avalon trilogy. These three books – Book 9: The Great Tree of Avalon, Book 10: Shadows on the Stars, and Book 11: The Eternal Flame – have been called “a real gift” by Isabel Allende, while Robert Redford has said that “appreciation for nature shines through [this] rich and inventive tale.”
The exciting illustrated treasury, Merlin: The Book of Magic is the 12th and final volume in the Merlin Saga! In it, readers will discover the secrets and mysteries of Merlin’s worlds as never before. The guide includes full-color art, maps, and untold stories about the creatures, places, and magic of Merlin’s worlds. Plus many secrets about Merlin and his companions never revealed before! (It caps off an 18-year creative process for me … quite a journey.)
By the way, it is NOT necessary to read these Merlin Saga books in any particular order. Just choose which adventure you want to experience – whether in Fincayra, Avalon, or the spirit realm – and enjoy the journey!
Lots of people have asked me why I spent almost two decades writing about Merlin. Well, the answer is that he is much, much more than a great wizard. His story is, in truth, a metaphor—for the idea that all of us, no matter how weak or confused, have a magical person down inside, just waiting to be discovered. Through his struggles, losses, and triumphs, Merlin comes to understand both his dark side…and his own inner magic.
If you are a younger reader, or work with them, you might enjoy my short novel, Tree Girl. It features a brave girl named Anna, who sets out on a dangerous quest to find the secret of her true identity. On the way, she finds more than she ever expected. Barbara Helen Berger called this book “a breath of the forest—a delight.”
My books have been translated to many languages and are available across the world. If you don’t find your country, keep checking – more translations are being added frequently. Check out my International page to learn more.
My first picture book, Where Is Grandpa?, is an autobiographical tale—the story of a wondrous surprise that happened on the saddest day my family had ever known: the day my dad died. My children’s loving memories of their grandpa, brought to life in the book by the marvelous paintings of Chris Soentpiet, helped us realize that Grandpa wasn’t quite so far away after all.
High as a Hawk, another picture book, is based on an extraordinary page out of American history. It’s the story of how a brave eight-year-old girl and a famous mountain guide climbed Long’s Peak in Colorado in 1905. And how each of them inspired the other to climb their own “inner mountains” along the way. I am thrilled (and am sure you will be, too), with the luminous paintings by the award-winning painter, Ted Lewin.
The Day the Stones Walked was inspired by my trip to Easter Island, one of the world’s most remote—and most mysterious—places. In this story, I imagine what might have happened on the day people suddenly stopped carving moai, the faces. And in my author’s note, I explore what the environmental disaster of Easter Island might mean for the bigger island we call Earth. Magical, dramatic paintings by William Low bring this book to life.
Ghost Hands, my newest picture book, is set in the ancient days of Patagonia wilderness. It is the story of a brave young boy who discovers the secret of the legendary Cueva de los Manos, the Cave of the Hands. My greatest hope is that this book will carry children beyond their known walls, making deeper connections to all who inhabit our world and those who have gone before.
THE WISDOM OF MERLIN: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life
My newest nonfiction book, which I hope will encourage people of all ages, is The Wisdom of Merlin: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life. This beautifully designed book flows from the idea that magic surrounds us and lives in every person. It expands on a speech I gave recently at Oxford University. It’s the perfect gift for graduates, anyone embarking on a new journey, or someone looking for inspiration in their daily life.
The Hero’s Trail
If you believe, as I do, that we need our heroes—today more than ever—then I invite you to check out my nonfiction book, The Hero’s Trail, which has been recently revised and updated. Through moving profiles of real-life heroic young people, I hope to convey the heroic potential in us all. For whatever your gender, race, age, or background, you can make a difference to the world. Robert Coles, M.D., wrote in his Preface to the book: “Barron connects us to the moral giants…Here is so much grace to regard closely in mind, heart, and soul, as we keep moving on our own trails through life.”
Perhaps that belief in life as a journey, a trail we all walk, is what led me to create a national award for young heroes, which I named after my mother: the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Believe me, the kids who have won this prize are true inspirations—and true trail guides—for us all.
Finally, if you’d just like a good hike in the high country…you could plunge into my nature books. To Walk In Wilderness is the story of my month-long trek in one of Colorado’s most pristine and diverse wilderness areas, with stunning photographs by John Fielder to accompany my own journals of our days on the trail. In Rocky Mountain National Park: A 100 Year Perspective, I teamed up again with John to produce a coffee table book that would celebrate a great conservationist, Enos Mills, and the national park he bequeathed to us all.
Enjoy your exploring! And perhaps, as T.S. Eliot said so well, “the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.”