Diana Wynne Jones, an awesome British fantasy writer who had a big influence on Gaiman, Rowling and the like, is dying. She was one of my favorite authors as a kid. Don't let your girls watch the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle as it is crap--make them read the book instead. Much better feminist message and role models in the book. And The Chrestomanci stories written in the 70's were the ones I had access to, and they are wonderful for the 8-11 year old reader.