The first book of the series (Howl’s moving castle) was published back in 1986. Despite being a runner up for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in Fiction and being named one of that year’s ALA Notable Books for Children, the book was not very successful at first. Over the years its popularity grew and in 2006 it won the annual Phoenix Award from the Children’s Literature Association, recognizing the best children’s book published twenty years earlier that did not win a major award. Allusion to the mythical bird phoenix, which is reborn from its ashes, suggests the winning book’s rise from obscurity. The author wrote two sequels (Castle in the air, and The house of many ways), and wanted to write more, but she died of cancer in March 2011.
This post identifies the books of the series and the recommended reading order.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Publication date: April 1986
Sophie lived in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did – especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often. Sophie worked at an hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased, and turned Sophie into an old lady…
Castle in the Air
Publication date: 1990
This is the story of Abdullah, a young and not very prosperous carper dealer in the Sultanates of Rashpuht. One day a stranger walks in and sell him a magical carpet changing his life forever. The book follows Abdullah as he fall for princess Flower-in-the-Night just before she is snatched away by a dijnn, and he travel looking for her. This is not a sequel of Howl’s moving Castle in the traditional sense, but many characters from the previous book have a central role in the story, even if they do not really appear until the last third of the book.
House of many ways
Publication date: 2008
Charmain Baker has led a respectable, sheltered life. She has spent her days with her nose in a book, never learning how to do even the smallest household chores. The easy task of house-sitting the tiny cottage of her ill Great Uncle William is complicated by the fact that he is also the Royal Wizard Norland and his magical house bends space and time.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Release date: 2004
The famous Hayao Miyazaki directed an animated movie adaptation, released in 2004. The film broke box office records in Japan, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.