As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.” Reading fantasy books for kids will not only open new worlds for your children to explore, it can also contribute to their intelligence and their character. The exposure to new vocabulary through reading can increase test scores, while encountering new people and events can teach children to better relate with others. These fantasy novels for kids are a great way to build the habit of reading for children of any age. These magical books will also stoke their imaginative minds.
Fantasy Books With Magic
To begin with, here is the Scholastic’s definition for fantasy books: “A genre of stories that are made up and include ideas that could not happen in real life, often involving magical or supernatural elements, such as talking animals.” My grandmother always thought they were nonsense we don’t live in a magical world with mythical creatures. But they give young children a chance to use their imagination and the fantasy elements are often easier ways to grasp hard truths.
My kids love books with magical realism. The first five books on my list were great introductions in the world of fantasy and magic and the have continued to love the genre. I will then list some more of their favorite Fantasy books for kids at the end. These kids fantasy books will be perfect for when your children are ready to progress into higher level reading.
1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series has a permanent place in the hearts of those who have read it. In the first book, we follow four siblings — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy — through a magical wardrobe and into the magical land of Narnia. The White Witch has enslaved the inhabitants of this frozen land. Finding the Great Lion Aslan is their only hope of winning. This is the ultimate adventure for young readers. It is packed with great values — and perhaps even a lesson that stems from strong faith.
2. A Wrinkle in Time
Time Quintet is a classic series by Madeleine L’Engle and is another must-read for your child. The first book, A Wrinkle in Time, tells the story of high-school girl Meg Murry as travels through space and time with her younger brother Charles Wallace. Together, they attempt to rescue their gifted scientist of a father from the grasp of evil forces that are holding him hostage. The book has everything you would need in a fantasy novel — action, adventure, drama, and richly-written characters.
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
What comes to mind upon the mention of magical books will most likely be the renowned Harry Potter series. Published in 1997, J.K. Rowling’s novels took the world by storm and have influenced literature and pop culture today. The first book of this series follows the life of Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his 11th birthday that he possesses magical powers. He then becomes a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he makes friends and learns about the secrets of the wizarding world. Your child is guaranteed to enjoy growing up alongside Harry Potter. These books showcase incredible world-building and valuable lessons on friendship and family.
4. The Lightning Thief
One of the most successful franchises that is loved by all ages is Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. In The Lightning Thief, we are introduced to Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old boy who learns that his true father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. When Zeus’ lightning bolt goes missing, Percy sets out with his newfound friends from Camp Half-Blood, a school for children with godly parents, and attempts to stop a war between the gods. Rick Riordan and his books are known for emphasizing representation and diversity. They are a great way for kids to learn more about empathy and kindness for everyone we meet.
5. The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is a great choice for readers aged 10 and up. The book provides a background for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and starting out with The Hobbit can even encourage your children to read more of the series when they’re older. We follow Bilbo Baggins on a journey to the Lonely Mountain, where they plan to retake the dwarves’ treasure from a dragon. The book draws from Norse mythology and classical fairy tales, making for an unforgettable reading experience.
More Magical Fantasy Books Kids Will Love
- Matilda by Roald Dahl. An ordinary little girl discovers she has magical abilities.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This book about a white rabbit will cause reluctant readers to follow the story down the rabbit hole into a whole different world.
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. A trilogy young adult fantasy adventure.
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini. From elves to dragons and sorcerers, my son and daughter both loved this series.
- The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin. A six book series.
- The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. This is a 14 book series and my daughter couldn’t put them down.
These fantasy genre chapter books are perfect for a middle-grade reader.
Once your child discovers the infinite worlds they have yet to discover in fantasy books, they’re sure to get hooked on reading. Furthermore, studies show that kids that read more perform better in school. I hope your children enjoy this list of magical books. Let us know your favorite fantasy books for children in the comments. Or give us a shout out on social media @familyfocusblog!