Did you know that Disney turns 100 this year? That’s a huge milestone! I personally find Disney history to be an extremely fascinating subject; from creating the very first sound cartoon to releasing the first feature-length animated film to inventing the nature documentary, Walt Disney never stopped innovating. That creative drive, in some form, lives on at the Walt Disney Company. True, they currently seem wrapped up in creating live-action versions of every movie they’ve ever made, but at the same time, they’ve been publishing some fantastic book series! I’ve really been blown away by the titles Disney has been producing these past few years, and I’d like to share some with you.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas sold his Star Wars Empire to the Disney Company. A lot of nerds (myself included) were very, very nervous about this. However, after a bit of a rocky start, most of us would admit that they’re doing a very good job with the franchise, releasing some truly binge-worthy series and building an incredibly immersive theme park. One thing that’s flown under the radar however, are the brand new Star Wars books. The High Republic series takes place long before the events of the prequels, long before Darth Vader, the Skywalkers and Jar-Jar Binks. It focuses on telling the story of the galaxy far, far away when the Jedi ruled, and pulls a lot from the extended universe to tell fantastic stories. If you’re interested in learning some Republic history, or just want a story that doesn’t eventually wind up on Tatooine, these books are a must-read. There are series for adults and junior readers as well as graphic novels and picture books so that readers at all levels can join the adventure!
If sci-fi fantasy isn’t really your style, Disney literature still has your back! Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Jafar got his hands on the lamp before Aladdin, or if Alice went back to Wonderland? What if Wendy was part of Captain Hook’s crew, or if Cinderella’s slipper was never found? Well, thanks to the Twisted Tale series, you can find out! These novels take the Disney classic stories we all know and flips them so that the villain wins. And really, who doesn’t love the Disney Villains? Aimed at a YA audience, these novels often have a darker edge than one would expect from Disney, and they’re dripping with suspense and action. If you’re a lover of the classics, or if you read a lot of fanfiction in the early ‘aughts, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this series immensely.
Despite the onslaught of “Disney Adults,” we can’t forget that this company has always had the aim to entertain kids and families. With that in mind, they’ve certainly provided plenty of options for the young reader! In the vein of Twisted Tales, there’s a junior compilation of novellas titled Cautionary Tales. This explores the untold origin stories of some of the more obscure Disney Villains such as Chernabog and The Headless Horsemen. There’s an ongoing graphic novel series centered around popular Disney rides such as The Haunted Mansion, novel versions of The Mandalorian and Lightyear and a gorgeous manga version of Frozen 2.
As you can see, the publishing arm of the Walt Disney company has certainly been hard at work these past few years! If you have a love of Disney, or if you want to explore the stories you grew up with from a different angle, I highly suggest giving any of these titles a go! There’s plenty of Disney magic in every page, and I’m very excited to see what they come up with next.
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