May the fourth be with you

May 2015
Marking Star Wars Day is a relatively new tradition born out of the similarities in the date (May the fourth) and the film quote 'May the force be with you', where fans around the world celebrate the sci-fi franchise.

There are a number of other much revered sci-fi and fantasy franchises which have originated from equally loved books or novel series'. And a number of them appear on the Kumon Recommended Reading List. We thought we'd take this opportunity to celebrate franchises born in literature:

The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy novel written by J R R Tolkien, first published in 1954. It is one of the best-selling novels of all time, with over 150 million copies having been sold worldwide.

The novel has since been turned into a film series, taking eight years to film in New Zealand and winning a host of awards, prompting the making of a second trilogy, of Tolkien's prequel, The Hobbit (published in 1937).

Tolkien's Middle Earth, where the novels are set is populated by men and women, elves, dwarfs, trolls, orcs (or goblins), dragons and, of course, hobbits. And it is a hobbit who takes us through each epic journey.

The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins as he is dragged out of his comfort hole into a world of adventure, embarking upon a quest to steal treasure from the dragon Smaug. And The Lord of the Rings sees Frodo Baggins journey to save Middle Earth by destroying the One Ring before it falls into the hands of the Dark Lord Sauron.

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series is a collection of teen-romance novels with a supernatural twist. The books chart Bella's life as it is transformed from dreary small-town monotony to an altogether different version of reality after she falls in love with Edward, a 104-year-old vampire and discovers her best friend is a werewolf.

The first novel Twilight, was published in 2005 and gained increasing popularity which gained momentum with the publication of each new book. As of November 2011, the series of four books had sold over 120 million copies worldwide, prompting the release of the Twilight saga films. The five films have grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide!

J. K. Rowling's debut novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published 1997 and catapulted her title character, a young wizard, into the homes of families across the world.

The novel won a host of awards and spawned a further six novels, which in turn were adapted into eight films. The franchise even has its own theme park!

A generation of young adults have grown up alongside burgeoning wizards, Hermione, Ron and Harry, as they faced typical school-ground problems, with the added dimension of magic.