• Alex Lopez

Building A Community with Merlin

This August, author T.A. Barron launched a Books Build Community campaign to initiate virtual book clubs in the hopes of uniting bookish communities. The Merlin Saga by T.A. Barron is an unparalleled work that contains a great heart of magic and allows readers to travel through Fincayra alongside a boy who is coming to learn the wonders of this enchanted land. There, readers encounter the profound spirit of friendship, the relentless strength of courage and valor, and the power of finding your true name. By the end of the journey, should readers turn to their companion who has taken them to the stars themselves, they will no longer see the boy they began their journey with, but a man who has weathered the seven songs of wizardry, faced the wrapped nature of Rhita Gawr, and found love in a land called Fincayra.

I am so honored to be participating in this campaign by collaborating with Mr. Barron to start a virtual book club with nine fellow readers. We will be reading, and discussing, The Lost Years which is the first installment in The Merlin Saga. If you would like to be a part of the book club, feel welcome to Contact Me to reserve your spot and send you a free copy of this work.

Here's the synopsis of the book!

About the Book

A raging sea tosses a boy upon the shores of ancient Wales. Left for dead, he has no memory, no name, and no home. But it is his determination to find out who he is - to learn the truth about his mysterious powers - that leads him to a strange and enchanted land. And it is there he discovers that the fate of this land and his personal quest are strangely entwined.

He is destined to become the greatest wizard of all time--known to all as Merlin.

Words fill our world with a sense of wonder and allow us to share a life with the individuals we read about. I am a firm believer that we are shaped by the books we read, live through, and moreover, the bonds we share with those who have undergone those experiences as well.

Our current global crisis seems to be unfolding like a dystopian novel and I hope we reach a more positive turning point in the near future. We are forced to be apart due to social distancing and, aside from work, I can't help but feel a sense of loss with our human connections. Yet, the midst of all this, its humbling to see the rise of heroes in our society where doctors and nurses work tirelessly to provide comfort, and strive to find a cure to this pandemic which is affecting the lives of so many, parents doing their upmost to be a reassuring presence to their children, and essential workers who rise to meet the necessities of their community.

The power of storytelling has such a profound gift to bring us closer together through our shared encounters and create a new chapter in our life's work. I am absolutely looking forward to sharing the magic of Merlin through this virtual book club and creating a positive atmosphere where we can explore the land of Fincayra, and bond over our journey together. My hopes for this book club are that we initiate a platform so that we can share our thoughts while reading The Lost Years and set a time and date for us to have a live talk about the book. Ultimately, one of my endeavors is to enable our shared space can become a way to ease any social anxiety, voyage to the land of Fincayra and meet young Merlin and, indeed, build a community!

From there, it is my greatest hope that this sense of community travels far and wide to member's own local space and we maintain a virtual presence for future reading adventures!

On a personal note, throughout my own reading adventures there are some works that have resonated with me. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas resounded with the summation of human wisdom in "Wait and Hope" while The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis imparted the warm sensation that faith allows us to return to Narnia and hear the words of Aslan. T.A. Barron's works are filled with an immense amount of life where the characters and places we encounter never truly leave us even as the chapters take us towards the final pages of our travels. The wisdom of Merlin, the people and places that build the Fincayran landscape, and the courage of the individuals that strive to fill the world with heartlight, are carried throughout a lifetime.

There is a wonderful familiarity in Merlin's story and in the powerful rendition in which T.A. Barron weaves his lost years from the veil of time itself. Each time I return to The Merlin Saga, the chant, "Live long, live long Fincayra!” echoes through my head and I can't help but smile and wonder what new elements will surface during the reading, and feel connected to my own past who has traced these wondrous words for over a decade.

I can't wait to connect with fellow readers and travelers at The Reading Corner for All and arrive on the Isle of Fincayra with everyone!

May we travel far!

About T.A. Barron

Photo Credit:

T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country and traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the winner of the de Grummond Medallion for “lifetime contribution to the field of children’s and young adult literature” and many other awards. T. A. Barron is the author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books, many of which are international bestsellers. They include The Lost Years of Merlin (now being developed into a feature film), The Great Tree of Avalon (a New York Times bestselling series), The Ancient One (the tale of a brave girl and a magical tree), and The Hero’s Trail (nonfiction stories of courageous kids).

Though he’d dreamed as a young man of becoming a writer, he couldn’t find anyone to publish his first novel. He joined a successful business, eventually became president, then decided to try again. So in 1990, he surprised his business partners by moving back to Colorado to become a writer and conservationist.

In 2000, he founded a national award to honor outstanding young people who help their communities or the environment: the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors 25 highly diverse, public-spirited kids each year. He recently produced a documentary film, Dream Big, profiling seven winners of the Barron Prize. When not writing or speaking, T. A. Barron serves on many boards including Princeton University, where he helped to create the Princeton Environmental Institute, and The Wilderness Society, which recently honored him with its highest award for conservation work. His favorite pastime is hiking, camping, or skiing in Colorado with his family.

*Goodreads Biography

Keep in touch with T.A. Barron by following him at:

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube


In this paid collaboration, nine copies of The Lost Years were provided for the purposes of sharing the materials according to the Book Build Communities campaign. All thoughts regarding The Lost Years are my own and did not influence the content of this blog post.*

*The content of The Lost Years itself, however, influenced my life in a positive light.


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