Category Archives: Others

fantasy books with animal sidekicks

Fantasy Animal sidekicks, which is your favorite?

Hello Wottareaders! This is an article about fantasy books with animal sidekicks. We all love to imagine the lives of the protagonists of the stories we read every day, don’t we? It lets our imagination fly to unsuspected limits. In many of the stories we read, these protagonists are accompanied by animal creatures. Companions whom we take a special affection because they accompany the main character throughout their story helping them in their journey.

It is funny how these characters do not even need to talk in order to earn our affection, isn’t it? We love them because of their loyalty, because of how they take care of their master. These animal sidekicks sometimes are adorable or also funny, this is why companies like Disney use them so often.

List of fantasy books with animal sidekicks

Which animal sidekicks am I talking about? take a look at these

Hedwig- Harry Potter series:  one of the most popular fantasy books with animal sidekicks

Fantasy books with animal sidekicks

Harry Potter

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I’m referring to such endearing characters as Hedwig, the snowy owl who accompanies Harry Potter throughout his adventure in Hogwarts and, lately, trying to defeat the Dark Lord. Before continuing, if you like Harry Potter you might want to check these books similar to Harry Potter.

Hedwig’s character plays an important role in Harry’s life throughout all the books in the saga. It is a white female owl and is Harry’s 11th birthday present from Hagrid. Throughout his adventure, Hedwig gives Harry messages and packages as well as his company and affection. She shows her devotion for Harry biting his ear or fingers affectionately.

Along the books and films, Hedwig can be seen most of the time on Harry’s arm or shoulder when she’s not resting on her cage or in the Hogwarts owlery. Since the beginning, there is a strong connection between the owl and Harry that is conveyed to us throughout the plot.

Although sometimes she may be angry with Harry, for example, when he left her locked up while Harry is at the Dursleys’ home, thus preventing Harry from exchanging messages with his friends.


Spoiler alert
Hedwig’s fate is painful for the reader as she is finally murdered during the Battle over Little Whinging. While in the novel her death is a bit less heroic, in the movie adaptation the owl becomes a hero as she saves Hagrid’s life. In any case, both deaths made us suffer from losing a character so dear to Harry and for us.

Here you have all the Harry Potter books in order.

Guenhwyvar –  The Legend of Drizzt

Another example of an animal sidekick is Guenhwyvar, a black panther who belongs to the universe of Forgotten Realms. This panther belongs to Drizzt Do’Urden, this being lives in an astral plane and accesses the material plane when called by his master using an onyx statuette. If you are willing to read the Legend of Drizzt reading order.

Guenhwyvar was created by the magician elf Anders Beltgarden and was a gift for an elf swordsman. In the story, it is not known how it finally reaches the Dark Antipode where it ends up in the hands of Drizzt Do’Urden finally getting after defeating the evil Masoj Hun’ett.

In the battle, Guenhwyvar is a very important element for his team, formed by Drizzt Do’Urden, Catti-brie, Bruenor, Wulfgar, and Regis.  As he saves the lives of his companions many times. Thanks to his adventures and perfect rapport, Guenhwyvar comes to consider Drizzt as a friend and takes care of and protects him as such.

Ghost – A song of Ice and Fire

It is worth mentioning the appearance of  the six direwolves in A Song of Ice and Fire (known as Game of Thrones if you watch the TV show). These large, strong looking wolves appear when Lord Eddard Stark encounters a dead direwolf wolf with the direwolf cubs around it. Initially, the lives of these wolves are in danger as they consider killing them, but finally, thanks to the intervention of Jon Snow, the little direwolves survive and the five legitimate children of the Stark family adopt them. If you are willing to read Game of Thrones, you better check this article first.

When all of them are distributed, a sixth white pup appears, which is finally adopted by Jon SNow. We talk as many of you know about Ghost which takes on a leading role throughout history. This last direwolf is very different from the others because it is an albino direwolf with red eyes, the smallest of the litter. Ghost accompanies John to the Wall and throughout his adventures in the North helping him to survive while protecting others as Sam Tarly, companion of the Guard of the Night.

Even though Jon is

Spoiler alert
killed by the mutineers of the Nightwatch, Ghost always stood with Jon’s lifeless body which expresses Ghost’s fidelity and love for his master.

Gwaihir- The Lord of The Rings

Speaking of wolves (or wargs in Lord of The Rings), we cannot forget to speak about Gwaihir. This is the eagle that appears in the saga of the British writer J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, which appears for the first time to help and rescue the Company of Thorin, Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf from the attack of the wargs.

This noble eagle descends from Thorondor and is known as the king of eagles in the Third Age of the Sun.

After the attack of the wargs, Gwaihir also participated in the Battle of the Five Armies at the foot of the Lone Mountain.  In this battle he led all the Eagles of the Cloudy Mountains, and fought in favor of Dwarves, Men, and Elves, having a relevant role in that battle.

Gwaihir acquires an important role in helping Gandalf the Grey, who does not hesitate to ask for help his eagle friend.  Gwaihir saves Gandalf from being held captive by Saruman in the Orthanc tower in Isengard as well as helping him to get out of the peak of Zirak-Zigil after the Battle with the Balrog. If you weren’t aware of some of these things you might like to take a look at this article Lord of the rings book vs movie.

Surely you know more fantasy books with animal sidekicks like the previous ones! Do not hesitate to comment and tell us your favorite animal companions!

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Girl reading on computer

Reading websites for children (make them love reading)

The Internet has become an important part of our lives, we usually use it for our entertainment, but it also can make our life easier if we know how to take advantage of it. For those who have kids and want to encourage them reading, there are a lot of online platforms that will help your children in order to improve their skills. So for all those parents who want their children to love books and reading this article is for you! A nice example of this are i-Ready and Reading Plus, online interactive programs that lots of schools use as a supplement for their classes.i-Ready  Will help your children to improve not only their reading but also their math skills. First of all, your kids will have to do a test (the i-Ready Diagnostic) which will determine their academic skills in math and Reading. This will allow this online learning program to identify your children strengths and weaknesses. With such information, this website will design individualized programs to ensure their progress and learning. But of course, in order to use this program, the school where your children study must purchase it.

The same happens with Reading Plus, a similar website to i-Ready which focuses on reading comprehension and improving reading efficiency. This one is also available only for school subscriptions. But what if your children’s school do not purchase these interactive learning programs? this might be frustrating because we want our kids to learn to value books and stories. We are aware of the multiple benefits of reading, like sparking imagination and stimulating curiosity. If that was not enough, the effects of reading on child development are crucial for language development. Then, are there any alternative websites were our kids can improve their reading and have fun?

Are there any options to help our children improve their reading? the best reading websites for children

Yes, there are quite a lot of options, different websites with reading programs all of them having a different approach.  Because learning and having fun are compatible! Let’s see some educational and fun websites for kids:

Raz kids

Raz kids has an appealing web design for children, with a nice robot kid as a mascot. This reading site is used in schools, but it also can be used by families. The website has a marker which indicates how many books have been read on their website, and it gets continuously refreshed as kids keep reading new books. While writing this article the marker was already in more than 8 billion books read!

You can sign up for free and get 15 days of a free trial, as you will see the first question they ask is “Are you signing up for a classroom or home?” so you only have to click that option and let your kid start reading for free. This is a way to see if your children like this way of learning thus if your school doesn’t have a Raz Kids subscription you can purchase it.

This website has a lot of useful features. Children can listen to book recordings in order to gain fluency. Their books are leveled in 29 levels of difficulty and also have a test reading comprehension. If that was not enough Raz kids has its own free mobile app which provides access to these books and their quizzes. It also has a record function which allows you to check their fluency as they progress through all the 29 levels of difficulty.

Reading Eggs

This website has the slogan “Where children learn to read”, and it has a point since this website also provides reading online lessons. This website helps kids who struggle with their reading and also focuses a lot on making them learn while having fun which is essential. This interactive website is suitable for children aged two to thirteen years.

As it happens with Raz kids, you will have to purchase this subscription, but you can have a free two-week trial. Reading Eggs has already ten million users worldwide, so if you wanna join them you have different subscription choices. You can get an All-access twelve-month subscription for 47.95 pounds (which is 62.77 dollars in case you were wondering). This full access provides not reading learning full also math classes. Lots of their books are illustrated so it makes the young get more entertained,  while at the same time they will be developing their language skills.

Reading Eggs also provides free apps for their subscribers, available for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. These also include interactive touch activities which are ideal for the youngest. These apps have multiple benefits, one of the most relevant is that these reading texts enhances a child’s concentration

Read theory

Unlike the two websites previously suggested, Read Theory is free and available for all. You only have to sign up and create an account which your child will be able to use in order to learn.

This website is really easy to use, kids will make a pretest after which depending on the results the following material will adjust to his level. This way kids can improve starting from an achievable level of difficulty. In the same way, reading has a lot of levels and adjusts the difficulty. Depending on the child’s progression, if he or she received a low score the next materials will be easier.

The kids can do online quizzes after their readings, depending on how they did they will earn points which Will help them to motivate. These points are reflected in their progress level, so they can see how they are gradually improving.


Readworks is another free website on which parents can also register for an account. While signing up you only have to complete your profile and choose the role of “Parent/Guardian” in the drop-down menu.

This website was created in order to solve America’s reading comprehension. As a result, more than one million teachers use Readworks to improve their teaching and learning. So, if you are looking for free online reading programs for struggling readers this might be a good choice.

By logging, you can access their free library, their content and lots of useful tools. This site has a lot of interesting features such as ebooks, audio versions or even Step reads (Less complex versions of an original article). If you were looking for a free and fun website for your little boy or girl, this one will work for you.

In addition to the digital experience, Readworks allows you to print the articles vocabulary and questions. This way, kids can keep improving even if the computer is shut off.


If you want your kids thinking they are in an adventure instead of improving their reading or learning maths then Jumpstart is a great choice. This free website offers tons of fun educational games for kids, with a 3d environment. Jumpstart has been designed by educators, providing so a personalized learning experience so kids can go at their own pace. The approach of this site is simple, they provide engaging storylines that will keep the learner engaged while unconsciously learning, there are different levels of reading so you can adapt depending on your needs. At the same time, it has customized tracking reports, allowing parents to get insightful progress reports of their kid’s activity, a really useful tool that will help you know how your children are improving and if there’s any skill to be reinforced.


Starfall provides free and low-cost experience, here your children will be able to learn through exploration, this one is great for beginners. The premise of this website is the following: kids must have fun learning, and at the same time encouraging children to become confident, intrinsically motivated, and successful. This website is free public service designed to teach children to read while being entertained. In addition, if you want to expand the experience, there is a low-cost membership program which includes more animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities.

PBS Reading Games

PBS  provides tons of fun games for children, and they also have reading games. Your kids will have more than 60 reading games where they will embark on an interactive adventure connected to characters like Princess Presto, Martha or Wordgirl. Aside from reading games, this site provides other related content such as vocabulary games or rhyming games.


In this site, your children will be able to read, learn maths, play games and watch videos. As a result, using this free educational game website your kid will develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy. Funbrain is really easy to use, your kid only has to press on the book or comic she/he wants to read and that’s all! they will be able to read it only. Simple and effective. You can also browse by grade, which goes from kindergarten to 8th grade, so your kids read easier or more complex books depending on their level.

Hope these educational websites were useful for both parents and your kids. If your children already fancy reading what about these Books for kids suggestions?

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Reading on the street

The best apps for reading

Electronic books (E-books) have changed the way we read, downloading any App and start reading. More and more people choose to read on their screens using lots of different apps rather than using paper books. Online bookstores have seen their demand for ebooks grow and few authors would decide to publish their book only as a paper book. Why would they? Traditional printed book sales are dropping, we have a lot of alternatives to reading on paper and some of them are really handy.

Why this change in our habits?

The rise of eBooks is due to several factors. Firstly, they are cheaper: you don’t have to pay for paper or covers (they are also more environmentally friendly). Just think about it, you can even download free books from a lot of websites, there are free novels even on Amazon or you can read lots of stories online available for free on the Internet! (like this one written by the same Stephen King)

E-books also don’t take up space beyond a few kilobytes on a small device, which is very important for people who travel or can’t afford to have tons of bookshelves They’re also easier to transport: you can download and carry hundreds of books in a small device, such as a Kindle or an iPad, and read them anywhere. Finally, many eReaders and applications provide some useful tools: instant dictionary search, quick annotations, underlining, you can translate words into multiple languages and even add multimedia links or search on Wikipedia.

Of course, paper books will always have their place. Lots of us love the aesthetical pleasure books bring, we love to collect them on our shelves and we enjoy the feeling of the paper. Or even, we love their smell! I guess there is some weird romance here too…
It’s true that you lose all of this when you read using an alternative to paper books. But, for the vast majority of readers, the benefits far outweigh this. Downloading books is part of our future, so it’s good to know all the possible alternatives to printed books.

 What are the main alternatives to paper books?

Perhaps the best known are electronic readers (or Ereaders), which can hold hundreds of ebooks. They can be used anywhere, as they do not need to be wifi or be connected to electricity. In addition, they are specifically designed to read on them, so the screen does not damage your sight no matter how much it is used. Their main drawback is that they are somewhat expensive for “only reading” and although they are light, they occupy a space that must be taken into account.

Another alternative is the mobile phone, no matter if Android or iOs. We take it with us everywhere and they have a great capacity to accumulate books. We can read anywhere without worrying about taking extra items with us. There is also no extra cost while you can do other things like playing video games, listen to music or watch videos. The main drawback is that it is not optimized as a reading device, so it is not always comfortable to read on it. In addition, the direct light of the screen may cause eye damage and also, due to the size of most of the cellphones, they can cause many eye-related symptoms like dry eyes, fatigue or blurred vision.

Finally, there are those who choose to read on a tablet or iPad. They are more comfortable to use because they are larger, and, like a mobile phone, they can be used for more things than reading at no extra cost. The main disadvantage is, apart from the screen light, that they are not comfortable to take everywhere. They are not the best choice, for example, on a trip or on public transport. This may depend on the size of your tablet though, but if too small, they may damage your eyes as cellphones.

The best apps for reading

There are tons of free apps you can download for reading, here are some suggestions:

If you use Amazon as your primary bookstore, the Kindle app is a must. It synchronizes all your Amazon books and has a direct link to the store, which is appreciated. It’s also very convenient to use and has a user-friendly interface.

Google Play Books is also an interesting app: you can buy many titles directly from their story and upload those books that are already on your phone.

If you buy books in several online bookstores, you will need an eReader that supports several formats. An example is FBReader, which supports .epub, .pdf and azw3, among other formats. If you don’t like the interface, you can try Moon+ Reader, with similar features.

Also, have you heard about Spritz? This is actually not an alternative app, but an alternative to the traditional reading itself. When you read, your eyes move from word to word, Spritz removes that. Instead, Spritz shows one word at a time, weird? At first maybe, but you get used in a few minutes, and then you discover it’s really cool.

You also have Wattpad as an alternative, a platform with an audience of more than 65 million users. This website has more than 10 million free books at your disposal, a fantastic way to read online. You can also download the app for free, available for Android cell phones and tablets, which allows you to read books with no internet connection.

What about you? have you gone digital yet? no matter what you choose, as long as you read, I’m happy 😍 If you need some book suggestions what about taking a look at the Freedays book category?  free downloading books every Friday.

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read online free websites

Books to read online free

There are lots of read online free websites which collect free books. If you are here it is because you want to read online for free, but you don’t know how to do it. Sometimes we want to read a book online and we don’t know where to search for it. The Internet allows us to read a lot of wonderful stories for free, just at the click of a mouse. In this post, I will suggest you free online book reading websites.

 Why people want to read books online

For a few years now, people use the internet for everything and reading couldn’t be less. Many people prefer to read online or using ebooks to avoid piling up books and books at home. Being on the web, they do not occupy a physical space in our homes after our reading. A respectful approach of course.

Even so, reading books online is still something more situational. Maybe you are waiting for that delayed train and you might want to read something meanwhile? or maybe you have a free reading life philosophy? Or you are just curious about websites to read books for free? Whatever, let me satisfy your curiosity.

Now, don’t get this post wrong, this post is about reading books online legally. It is important to respect the copyright, there is a lot of work in every book, too much effort, hope, and money invested.  This is why I recommend visiting only websites that take into account and respect the writer.

Read online free websites

Below you will find free reading websites which I hope you will find useful:

Project Gutenberg: a website with lots of books to read online for free

This is an American website, here you can find about 60,000 copies completely free, that is a lof of free online books. Its creator was Michael Hart, who also invented eBooks in the 1970s. In this webpage, you can either read the books online or download them (epub, Kindle formats), so it is also a way to get free book downloads.

Project Gutenberg does not charge any fee, without any cost to readers.  You don’t even need a special app, your Website browser will be more than enough. As I stated before every book here is free, the webpage encourages you to make a small donation for their project through Paypal to keep it running, donating or not is of your choice, of course.


Wikisource – The Free Library is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, an American-non-profit and charitable organization which you may know by its most relevant project: Wikipedia. While Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and therefore, contains articles, Wikisource contains the books themselves.

Right now, this project contains 417,491 texts in English, and their webpage is easy to handle since it’s pretty similar to Wikipedia a web design we are all used to.

This is a project to create a free content library and includes the following (as they state in their webpage)

  1.  Source text previously published by any author
  2. Translations of original texts
  3. Historical documents of national or international interest
  4. Bibliographies of authors whose works are in Wikisource

The best thing about this website is the simplicity to explore the available texts, also always free. Whether by genre, by country of origin, by period… you will find tons of books on each subject. If you’re looking for texts in lesser-known languages, don’t worry, Wikisource is sure to find it.

Another useful thing about this webpage,  if the book you want does not exist in your language, you might be able to find it translated in this website.

Internet Archive

This organization is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.  Right now their archive contains more than 20 million books and texts. You can either download these books or use their open library website in order to read these books online. has a fine browser while books are categorized by genre. If you are willing to read a book it is as simple as right-clicking the “Read button” and just start enjoying a new book!

24 symbols

This website is a Spanish platform with a somewhat limited free library. They also offer a premium service for a small monthly fee allowing you to download and read without limits. You only have to sign up (you can log in using Facebook and Google accounts too) in order to create an account and start reading. Right now their catalog contains more than 1 million titles in multiple languages.

read online free websites

As stated before their free library is limited, some titles are free, many others, more than 1 million, do not allow their download if you do not contract the Premium service. The cost is 8.99 euros per month but if you really love reading, it will be a very useful service for you.

I hope you enjoyed these free reading sites. Let me end encouraging you donating for free book authors, why? If you loved a book, if it made you feel so much, why not make a donation to the author, so he can keep creating such lovable stories? Think about it 😊

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coloured face

Racism in literature

Let’s talk about racism in literature, surely a delicate topic. I am aware that this subject can generate a lot of controversies. So, first of all, I would like to clarify that in this post any racial reference does not have any negative connotation and this issue will be treated with all the respect it deserves.

Racism has been present one way or another during our existence. As a result, there are manuscripts of different ages that reflect it. Many writers found in their literary art a way to denounce this.

Racism in fiction and medieval fantasy genres

Even in fiction and medieval genre, many authors have included racism in their lore in one way or another. To cite a few examples of more than well-known sagas, in Lord of the Rings, Tolkien included in the lore the contempt that existed between some of the fantastic races of the Middle Earth, who does not remember the contempt that existed between the dwarves and the elves? both races had no problem in showing their mutual contempt. However, Gimli (a dwarf) and Legolas (an elf) would end up being great friends.

Another example in fantasy literature would be Harry Potter (which if you loved, you can check these  books like Harry Potter). The aversion that some magicians felt towards Muggles (a person who lacks the magical ability and was not born in a magical family) or mudblood (a foul name for someone who is Muggle-born) would be a different approach to racism. Racism is present in these novels in different ways, and is in fact, partly at least, the plot of the second volume of this saga, The Chamber of Secrets.

There are not a few authors who, in one way or another, introduce racism in their books, as something to deny or fight against. By denouncing it, these books help many people to realize this issue, to create social awareness and to stand up against racial prejudice.

Which novels are about facing racism?

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee, 1960.A classic of modern literature, no doubt. This book takes place in the Alabama of the 1930s.  It tells the story of a lawyer, Atticus Finch, who stands up against all the prejudices of a village, deciding to defend an African-American man accused of raping a young white woman. While the rest of the villagers already consider him guilty, not even requiring a trial, Atticus Finch will do his best to prove his innocence earning the disrespect of most of the Maycomb citizens (a fictional city). The story is set in the Alabama of the 1930s. The story speaks of racism as present in society but shows the titanic efforts of those “racial heroes”, such as the courageous lawyer Atticus Finch, to fight against it.

The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas, 2017. The Hate U Give addresses the problem of racism in our time. This novel tells the story of Starr Carter, a girl born in a poor neighborhood of African-American people who attends high school in an elegant neighborhood. Things will get worse when she witnesses how Khalil, a childhood friend, get shot by the police.

Broken Earth Series

By N. K. Jemisin, 2015 (first novel). This series is a prominent example of racism in fiction. In this case, the prejudice goes against the orogenes, people with a mutation that makes them capable of preventing (and also causing) earthquakes.  They are both hated and feared, many of them ending up being murdered due to this.


Terry Pratchett, 1997. Thud! is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, it is part of his Discworld series. In Thud! A murder of a dwarf will reveal their contempt for trolls, a different approach to racism. If you want to know about Discworld, you only have to click Discworld reading order to know more.

Literature conveys messages through characters, this is why it is so powerful and yet beautiful. It thus becomes a perfect tool for raising awareness and mobilizing society.

Also, take a look at this children’s book about racism.

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