The Land of Elyon is a series of three books by Patrick Carman. The Dark Hills Divide, Beyond the Valley of Thorns, and The Tenth City follow 13 year old Alexa Dailey. Every year she and her father head to another village where he meets with other leaders and she spends her time exploring a library. A mysterious key comes into her possession and she discovers a hidden door in the library. Curiosity gets the better of her and she enters a whole new world- a world where she finds something that gives her the ability to talk to animals. In the first book she tries to work to have walls removed around the villages. When she returns to the village the next year something more evil is at work and she has to work with the animals to save the village and save the forrest where they live. She also discovers secrets about herself and her family.
I really can't summarize these books without giving too much away. These are charming and enchanting books and Patrick Carman weaves them together in a magical way. I want a Jocasta stone for myself....maybe then I could finally figure out what in the world my cat really wants :)