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Works by
T.A. Barron

Contact T.A. Via His Website
Profile created October 26, 2006
Updated December 16, 2009
T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country, traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar, managed a successful venture capital business in New York, and then changed careers to become a full-time writer and conservationist. His passion for the wonders of nature, his deep concern for humanity and our fragile planet, and his belief in the heroic potential of every person, radiate through his books -- many of which are international bestsellers.
From the attic of his Colorado home, Barron writes powerful, poetic, and inspiring books enjoyed by children and adults alike. His highly acclaimed work has garnered the Nautilus Award, given to books that promote a better world, many statewide book awards, as well as honors from the American Library Association and the International Reading Association. In the words of author Madeleine L'Engle, T.A. Barron's books are "a rare gift to be treasured for a lifetime"; Robert Redford declared that "T.A. Barron's appreciation for nature shines through" his extraordinary work; and Book Sense labeled his books "the best of the best that is being written in children's literature."  
Barron's novels include: his newest trilogy,
Merlin's Dragon, The Great Tree of Avalon Trilogy (a New York Times best seller); The Lost Years of Merlin epic (currently being developed into a feature film); and The Ancient One (the story of a brave girl and a great redwood tree that is also a time tunnel). He has authored illustrated children's books such as High As A Hawk, and photo-essay nature books about Colorado's magnificent wilderness. His non-fiction book, The Hero's Trail
, describes how any person from any background can help humanity and our planet.  
T.A. Barron also founded a national award to honor outstanding young people.
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes (which he named after his mother) recognizes extraordinary, public-spirited young people from all backgrounds, in the hope that their examples will inspire others.  
In addition, Barron has served on many national boards, including the Princeton University board of trustees, where he helped to found the Princeton Environmental Institute, and The Wilderness Society, which recently honored him with its highest award for conservation work. Barron often speaks
about “The Hero in Every Child” at conventions, book events, universities, and community gatherings. But his favorite pastime remains hiking on mountain trails in Colorado with his wife, Currie, and their children.
  1. The Lost Years of Merlin (1996) -- 1997 American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults; 2003 American Library Association Popular Paperbacks; 2000 Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee; 2000 Massachusetts Children's Book Award Nominee; 1998 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominee; 1997 Colorado Book Award Nominee; 1997 Children's Book Council “Not Just For Children Anymore” Award; 1997 New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age
    This story begins when a lone, half-drowned boy washes ashore on a strange coastline. He has no memory of who he is or where he came from; even his own name is a mystery. Yet somehow, through many adventures—and the inspiration of Nature—he finds his true identity. Ultimately, he becomes Merlin, the sage of Camelot and the greatest wizard of all time.

  2. The Seven Songs of Merlin (1997) -- 1999 International Reading Association Young Adults’ Choice Award; 1998 Booklist Top Ten Science Fiction/Fantasy Novels Award; 1998 Children's Book Council “Not Just For Children Anymore” Award; 1998 Colorado Book Award Nominee
    Young Merlin has brought new hope to Fincayra, the enchanted isle that lies between earth and sky. Having finally freed it from the terrible Blight, Merlin and the forest girl Rhia set out to heal the land using the magical Flowering Harp. But Fincayra remains in great danger still—and the first victim of the renewed tide of of evil is Merlin's own mother.

    Merlin's sole hope of saving his mother's life is to master the Seven Songs of Wisdom passed down from the greatest wizard Fincayra has ever known, Merlin's grandfather Tuatha. Only then can he voyage to the Otherworld of the spirits and obtain the precious Elixir of Dagda. Yet to do that he must first succeed where even Tuatha failed—be defeating Balor, the ogre whose merest glance means death. Even more difficult, Merlin must discover the secret of seeing not with his eyes, but with his heart.

    This second book in The Lost Years of Merlin epic combines all the passion, power, and spiritual depth that are T.A. Barron's hallmarks. It adds a thrilling new dimension to the legend of Merlin, even as it offers lasting inspiration to us all.

  3. The Fires of Merlin (1998) -- 2000 Colorado Children's Book Award Nominee; 1999 Reading Circle of the Missouri State Teachers Association Award; 1999 American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults Nominee
    Wings of Fire, the sleeping dragon, has awakened, threatening to loose his terrible wrath on all of Fincayra. Only young Merlin, whose magical powers are new and untested, can stop him—though the price may well be the young wizard's life.

    But before he can face the dragon's fires, Merlin must face other fires, including those within himself. He must confront the dreaded kreelixes, who exist only to destroy magic; the mysterious Wheel of Wye; and the sorceress Domnu, who holds the treasured Galator. Most challenging, young Merlin must discover the power—as well as the source—of his own magic.

  4. The Mirror of Merlin (1999) -- 2000 Colorado Book Award Nominee
    Strange wickedness is rising from a remote swamp on the magical Isle of Fincayra. To save his homeland, as well as his own destiny, young Merlin must voyage to frightening places—both on the land and in himself.

    Joined by Hallia, the deer-woman he has grown to love, and by his own mischievous shadow, Merlin discovers a magical mirror that can alter anyone's fate. But when he looks into it, the person he sees is the person he least expects to find.

    Brimming with passion and spiritual depth, T.A. Barron's fourth book in The Lost Years of Merlin epic adds a spellbinding new dimension to the legend of Merlin, the towering figure who becomes the mentor to King Arthur and the greatest sage of his time.

  5. The Wings of Merlin (2000) -- 2001 Nautilus Award Grand Prize Winner ("for distinguished contribution to envisioning a better world"); 2000 Colorado Book Award Nominee
    Winter's longest night is rapidly approaching as Merlin faces the most difficult challenge of his life—to unite all the peoples of Fincayra against an invasion by the evil warlord Rhita Gawr. But how can one man, in two weeks' time, gather them all—the dwarves, the canyon eagles, the walking trees, the living stones, and more—when none of them will listen? And now, in the midst of this seemingly insurmountable task, comes the mysterious Sword Arms, who is hunting down Fincayra's children.

    Only if Merlin can unite the battling forces deep within himself can he save the children, unify the Fincayrans, and regain the long lost wings that will enable him—and his people—to choose their true destiny.

    Spellbinding, lyrical, and profoundly moving, T.A. Barron's fifth and final book in The Lost Years of Merlin epic adds a dramatic new dimension to the legend of Merlin. It is a journey of the spirit, a story where Merlin—as well as the reader—truly takes flight.

  1. Merlin's Dragon (2008) -- 2009 Nautilus Book Award (“for distinguished contribution to envisioning a better world”); 2008 Best Children’s Books of LM-Net; 2009 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award
    In the years after Fincayra disappears and Merlin has been sent wandering, a young lizard-like creature, with the wings of a bat and the magical power to produce any smell it encounters, is born into the new world of Avalon. The unlikely hero—Basil, he is called—cannot find a single creature like itself nor a person who can tell him what he is. But it is clear that Basil is much more than he seems when he stumbles into an encounter with the great Merlin, saving his child’s life, then uncovers a secret plot by the evil Rhita Gawr. It’s a race against time and across Avalon as Basil, with the help of the faithful wind sister Ailah, searches for the great wizard to warn him.

    This is one of T.A. Barron’s most thrilling adventures yet and features a new and unforgettable character in his earliest years.

  2. Doomraga's Revenge (2009)
    Basil becomes Merlin's partner as they battle the mysterious shadows that threaten the new Avalon.
    A dark magic has been spreading across Avalon. Initially, the events seemed unrelated: a war in Fireroot between the dwarves and the fire dragons, blight in Stoneroot, and disputes throughout the realms. But as Merlin and Basil scour the realms, they begin to realize that looming behind the growing chaos is a single dark threat—an enemy that they’ve never encountered. One that must be stopped before all of Avalon is lost.

    In this jaw-dropping sequel to the mega-hit
    Merlin's Dragon, T. A. Barron sends Merlin, Rhia, and Basil, the greatest dragon ever, on a mission across Avalon to root out this new enemy. But sacrifices will be made, relationships will be tested, and precious lives will be lost.

  3. Ultimate Magic (September, 2010 release)
    Merlin’s wondrous world of Avalon faces destruction: Invincible warriors invade by land, swarms of fire dragons blacken the sky, and a terrible plague kills rampantly. Since Merlin himself has disappeared, only one possible savior remains—Basilgarrad, the once-tiny lizard who has become the greatest dragon of all time.

    Even as he plunges into battle, Basil knows his struggles have only begun. He must find the foe behind all this chaos—a dark being hidden deep in the Haunted Marsh—before it finally gains ultimate power. To triumph, Basil must risk losing his beloved Marnya … as well as his life.

    This book, the third in the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy, completes the epic tale of a most unlikely hero. The New York Times bestselling author T.A. Barron, whose books Book Sense calls “the best of the best in children’s literature,” has outdone himself, creating a powerful tale filled with thrilling adventures and unforgettable characters.

  1. Child of the Dark Prophecy (2004) -- 2005 Nautilus Book Award -- Grand Prize Winner ("for distinguished contribution to envisioning a better world"); 2005 Colorado Book Award Nominee; 2004 American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults Nominee
         Fair Avalon, the Tree of Life
         That ev'ry creature knows—
         A world part Heaven and part Earth
         And part what wind that blows.

    Long ago, Merlin planted a magical seed that beat like a heart—a seed that grew into the Great Tree of Avalon. For centuries, this world has flourished as a land of wonder and mystery, a link between Heaven and Earth, a place where all creatures could live in harmony.

    Now, though, Avalon reels from brutal attacks, mysterious droughts, and stranger evils yet. Then one night, just as the elusive Lady of the Lake predicted, all the stars in the sky suddenly go dark.

    The fate of Avalon now rests with three young people: Tamwyn, a homeless wilderness guide; Elli, an escaped slave turned priestess; and Scree, an eagleman with a startling secret. One of them is the true heir of Merlin, the only person who can save Avalon…and one of them is the dreaded child of the Dark Prophecy, the person fated to destroy it.

  2. Shadows on the Stars (2005) -- 2006 American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults Nominee
    Even as peace returns to the wondrous world of Avalon, the companions Tamwyn, Elli, and Scree discover a terrifying new threat: The deathless warlord Rhita Gawr has set out to conquer Avalon as well as mortal Earth.

    Racing against time, the companions embark on three separate, far-flung quests. Elli must outwit a wrathful dragon and a deadly assassin on her search for a powerful crystal; Scree must confront the darkets secrets of his own past; and Tamwyn must journey into the heartwood of Avalon itself to discover the path to the highest branches—a path leading all the way to the stars.

    To succeed, they will need to solve Avalon's most elusive mysteries. And they will need to travel vast distances—both in their world and in their hearts.

  3. The Eternal Flame (2006) -- 2007 Nautilus Book Award -- Grand Prize Winner ("for distinguished contribution to envisioning a better world"); 2006 New York Times Series bestseller; 2008 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Award; 2007 Colorado Book Award Finalist
    The wondrous world of Avalon is about to be destroyed—for the warlord Rhita Gawr, now a wrathful dragon, is bent on conquest.  And he is using his most potent weapons: an army of deathless warriors, a corrupted crystal, and a plague of arrogance and greed.

    Three unlikely heroes are Avalon’s only hope.  To succeed, they must surmount enormous obstacles, both in the world around them and deep inside themselves.  Tamwyn, the wilderness guide, must travel the secret pathway to the stars—a journey that will take him all the way to the River of Time, and to the true source of magic.  Elli, the brave young priestess, must defeat a terrible sorcerer in a realm of utter darkness.  And Scree, the eagleman haunted by tragedy, must lead his people to do what seems impossible.  All this culminates in three great battles: one deep underground, one on the muddy plains, and one high among the stars.

    This spectacular final volume of T.A. Barron’s bestselling trilogy combines gripping adventure, vivid imagery, and profound ideas about humanity and nature.

  1. Heartlight (1990) -- 1991 Environmental Journal Top Choice Award
    The were inseparable. Only Kate could coax her astrophysicist grandfather to stop slaving in his laboratory long enough to enjoy picnics in the garden. And only Grandfather's gentle humor could lift Kate out of her doldrums. His rambling New England kitchen was more home to her than anywhere else. Yet now something was different. Nobody—not even Kate—could get Grandfather to talk about his latest experience. Only when a strange, otherworldly visitor nearly destroys the laboratory does Kate learn the truth of why Grandfather has been working so feverishly to identify a mysterious connection between the nature of light and the nature of the human soul. But before Grandfather has explained everything, he suddenly disappears—leaving Kate to search for him and for the secret that could save the planet Earth and the entire solar system from annihilation.

    Heartlight is a quest with the highest possible stakes, a tale of mystery and adventure that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It is the story of the extraordinary bond between a young girl and her grandfather; and an eloquent statement about the ability of one individual, armed solely with the power of love, to change the course of the stars.

  2. The Ancient One (1992) -- 1995 Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader's Choice Award Nominee; 1994 Colorado Blue Spruce Award Nominee; 1994 Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee; 1994 PEN Center USA West Literary Award Nominee; 1992 Colorado Book Award Nominee
    “Lost Crater is like no other place on the planet…stranger than you can imagine.” A log collapsed in the fireplace, sending up a shower of sparks. “The Ancient One lives there.”

    When Kate travels to Blade, Oregon, for a quiet week at Aunt Melanie's cottage, her plans are dashed by the discovery of a grove of giant redwood trees in nearby Lost Crater. For thousands of years, no humans have entered the fog-filled crater—except possibly the Halami people who lived in the region centuries ago before vanishing without a trace. Long a source of deep mystery, the crater is now a source of conflict, pitting those who see it as the dying mill town's last hope against those who see it as a rare sanctuary that should be protected.

    Caught up in this struggle, Kate follows an old Halami trail into the crater, and suddenly is thrown back in time five hundred years. Accompanied by the trickster Kandeldandel, the loyal Laioni, and the young logger Jody, she meets strange and enigmatic creatures, none more frightening than the volcanic Gashra, bent on destroying everything he cannot control. To defeat him, Kate must find the answer to an ancient riddle—and the courage to make the most difficult choice of her life.

    In this extraordinary quest, combining high adventure and heroic drama, a girl discovers that all living things are connected in ways she never expected, and that true friendship can reach across cultures, and even across centuries.

  3. The Merlin Effect (1994) -- 1997 Texas Lone Star Book Award; 1998 Utah Book Award; 1996 Kansas State Reading Circle Award; 1996 Colorado Blue Spruce Award Nominee; 1995 Colorado Book Award
    Kate Gordon travels to a remote lagoon in Baja California, hoping to help her father discover a sunken Spanish galleon that disappeared centuries ago.

    In time, she learns that the ship may have carried something far more valuable than all the gold and silver aboard—a mysterious drinking horn out of Arthurian legend, which may have led to the demise of the wizard Merlin.

    As she explores alone in her sea kayak, Kate encounters several pieces of the puzzle: a terrible whirlpool, a group of ever-singing whales, a seemingly ageless fish, and a prophecy that, under certain conditions, the ancient ship may rise and sail again.

    She plunges into an undersea world of bizarre creatures and terrifying foes. But to save the life of her father, she must find some way to regain her own free will, and to succeed where even Merlin failed.

    This remarkable tale, companion to Heartlight and The Ancient One, weaves together mystery and fact, history and myth, science and faith, all in the course of a compelling adventure.

Picture Books
  • Where Is Grandpa? (2000) -- 2001 Maryland Children's Book Award Nominee; 2000 Colorado Book Award Nominee; 2000 Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee
    Where is Grandpa? This question haunts a young boy on the day his grandpa dies. Grandpa had been so richly present in so many places—at the tree house, at the waterfall, at the door ready to carve pumpkins. It's hard to imagine life without him. Yet now he seems very far away indeed.

    As the boy remembers Grandpa with his family, he discovers a surprising answer: Grandpa, perhaps, is closer to home than anyone ever realized.

    In this deeply moving tale, the poetic words of T.A. Barron and the luminous illustrations of Chris K. Soentpiet remind us all that a family's sorrow can be shared—and that even in the greatest loss, love can still be found.

  • High As A Hawk (2004) -- 2005 Arkansas Diamond Award Nominee; 2005 Nautilus Award Finalist; 2005 Colorado Book Award Nominee
    “Spread your wings, girl.”

    Those words begin the toughest climb of eight-year-old Harriet's life: to the top of Longs Peak in Colorado. To get there, she'll have to overcome steep slopes, a freezing blizzard, and what her wise trail guide calls “surprises.” But she simply must try—both for herself and for the mother she has lost.

    Climbing this mountain means she will also need to climb an even bigger mountain down inside. Yet if she succeeds, she will spread her wings and fly…high as a hawk.

    Based on the historic 1905 ascent by the youngest person ever to climb Longs Peak, this book combines T.A. Barron's powerful, poetic writing with Ted Lewin's magnificent, evocative paintings. Together, they make a truly inspiring journey.

  • The Day the Stones Walked (2006) -- 2008 Storytelling World Award; 2008 Nautilus Award
    “Run!” cried Pico.  “A Great Wave is coming!”

    But Pico’s father, working hard to carve one of the giant stone faces of Easter Island, a moai, ignores the warning.  Nothing can save him … unless, perhaps, the old stories are true.  Even as the tsunami crashes against the shore, Pico discovers that those half-forgotten stories might hold some great surprises.  For this is the day he never expected—the day the stones walked.

    Easter Island is one of the world’s most remote places.  And also one of the world’s most mysterious.  For centuries, people have wondered about those huge stone faces—especially why all the carving suddenly stopped.

    Combining the powerful, magical writing of T.A. Barron and the luminous, dramatic painting of William Low, this book provides a glimpse of what might have happened on Easter Island.  And of what might yet happen on our own, larger island called Earth.

Other Fiction
  • Tree Girl (2001) -- 2004 Massachusetts Children's Book Award Nominee; 2002 Junior Library Guild Selection; 2002 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year Award
    Anna doesn't know how she lost her mother. Or when. For as long as she can remember, she has lived in a lonely cottage by the sea with cranky old Mellwyn the fisherman.

    But Anna yearns to know more about her past and the mother she can barely recall. If only she could go to the far side of the forest where the High Willow stands—and where Mellwyn found her as a baby, years ago.

    Trouble is, the forest is haunted by deadly tree ghouls—the same ghouls who probably killed her mother! To solve the mystery of her shadowy past, Anna must face the ghouls themselves…and her own deepest fears

    Lyrical, spellbinding, and profoundly moving, T.A. Barron's tale is both truly magical and unforgettable.

  • To Walk in Wilderness: A Rocky Mountain Journey (1993) by John Fielder and T. A. Barron -- 1994 Colorado Book Award Nominee
    For me, writing is exploring. Whether it's the surprising connections among people, the wondrous patterns of nature, or the mysterious wellsprings of the spirit—the universe beckons. I love to explore it, whether by foot or by pen.

    The many moods of these places, reflecting the unending motions of sun and moon and clouds, became our friends, even when they caused us to shake with cold or drip with perspiration. During our journey, we followed every major drainage in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, right to the source; we walked on trails that the Ute Indians knew a thousand years ago; we met thirty-hour storms—and boundless wildflowers. It was an experience that left me forever changed, forever deepened. It was a gift of the land.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: A 100 Year Perspective (1995) by John Fielder with T. A. Barron and Enos Mills -- 1996 Colorado Book Award
    Rocky Mountain National Park is the spiritual heart of the southern Rocky Mountains, an alpine domain as lush as it is austere, as friendly as it is intimidating. The grandeur of its mountain peaks, the profusion of flowering plant life, and ubiquity of creeks, cascades, and waterfalls creates a setting unique on our planet. Despite its three million annual visitors and its proximity to sprawling urban communities, Rocky Mountain National Park remains as natural and wild as any national park in the continental United States. This book offers a unique perspective—a look at the park one hundred years ago and a record of it today, as we approach the twenty-first century. It is about a place that exists not only on the map, but also in the hearts of the American people.

    Through the eyes of one of our nation's foremost photographers, John Fielder, and the words of one of its finest nature writers, T.A. Barron, the majesty of Rocky Mountain National Park is revealed as never before. The historical photographs and writings of Enos Mills, founder of the park, lend rare insight into one of nature's last great places. Rocky Mountain National Park: A 100 Year Perspective is not just a book, but an enduring experience certain to renew your relationship with places natural and wild.

  • The Hero's Trail (2002) -- 2004 Nautilus Award Grand Prize Winner ("for distinguished contribution to envisioning a better world"); 2002 Colorado Book Award Nominee; 2005 International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice Award
    We need our heroes, today more than ever. Not just celebrities, but real heroes—people whose character enables them to triumph over great obstacles. And to make a genuine difference to our world.

    That is the core of this powerful, groundbreaking book. Combining moving profiles of heroic young people with insightful commentary, T.A. Barron eloquently shows that heroes can be lasting inspirations—trail guides on our journeys through life.

    Best of all, anyone can be a hero. Yes—anyone. Whatever your gender, race, age, or background, you can find heroic qualities inside yourself. You can make a difference. And you can inspire others on the trail.

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T.A. Barron
Is Listed As A Favorite Of
(Alphabetical Order
By First Name)


T.A.'s Favorite
(Alphabetical Order
By First Name)
[As of December 16, 2009]

  • Alexandre Dumas
    The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Barbara Cooney
    Miss Rumphius
  • Boris Pasternak
    Doctor Zhivago
  • Henry David Thoreau
    Walden and Essays
  • Isabel Allende
  • J.R.R. Tolkein
    The Lord of the Rings
  • Larkin Barron (Age 7)
    The Mysterious Arrowhead
  • Madeleine L'Engle
    A Swiftly Tilting Planet
  • Susan Cooper
    The Boggart
  • T. H. White
    The Once and Future King
  • William Wordsworth
    Lines Written Above Tintern Abbey & Other Poems

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