Discover the best children’s fantasy books to spark your child’s imagination and help them develop a lifelong love of reading.
As a mother of four children, I’ve noticed a pattern in my own children. They absolutely love children’s fantasy books. My children seem to crave book series that are extremely imaginative. They seek out tales of dragons and wizards and kitty mermaids.
Since what holds true for my children likely holds true for yours, I thought it would be fun to write up a list of the best fantasy books for kids.
From books about dragons to classic fantasy books, these are the books that either my children love or other parents are constantly recommending to me. I’ve tried to include everything from early chapter books to 6th grade fantasy books that are closer to young adult level.
These children’s fantasy books would be perfect for your children to read independently. But they would also be great choices to read aloud together as a family!
Best Children’s Fantasy Books
J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling shaped the imagination of an entire generation when she published the Harry Potter series, the most famous fantasy books of the modern age. When he is eleven years old, neglected orphan Harry Potter receives a letter accepting him into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Suddenly Harry finds himself swept into a magical world he didn’t know existed. Even more surprising, he is already famous beyond anything he could have comprehended.
Every year, the people of Protectorate leave a baby in the forest as an offering to the witch. However, Xan, the witch, is a gentle creature and delivers the paper to a village on the other side of the woods. When she accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, she keeps her, helping her unlock the magic inside which might eventually bring peace to the villages.
C. S. Lewis
Escaping the London Blitz, the four Pevensie children live in a large house in the English countryside. During a game of hide and seek, Lucy discovers a magical entry in the back of a wardrobe leading her to the magical land of Narnia. Yet, Narnia has been cursed by the White Witch to be a land of eternal winter. With the guidance of the Lion Aslance, Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund try to help free Narnia of the wicked curse in this beloved series of children’s fantasy books.
To help preserve species from extinction, mystical creatures have been gathered to the sanctuary Fablehaven for centuries. Seth and Kendra have no clue their grandfather is Fablehaven’s caretaker. When Seth’s curiosity causes a break in the magical balance, Seth and Kendra must face their fears to battle the evil that was released and bring order back to the world.
Beloved among children’s fantasy books for bringing Greek mythology to life, Riordan’s Percy Jackson series is a captivating collection for children. Growing up with his mom in New York, Percy Jackson thought he was just an ordinary kid until strange things begin to happen. After Percy’s mom reveals that his father was Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, Percy is sent to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods.
Fairy Tales Twists for Children
Gail Carson Levine
A twist on the tale of Cinderella, when Ella is born she is “blessed” with the gift of obedience. The naturally feisty Ella must follow every command ever given to her. When her father remarries a wicked stepmother with cruel daughters, Ella sets out to track down her godmother to set herself free, meeting ogres, elves and a handsome prince along the way.
In one of the most delightful children’s fantasy books, Shannon Hale introduces you to Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, the Crown Princess of Kildenree. As a young child, Ani learns to speak to animals, especially birds. On a journey to be married to a neighboring prince, her handmaid Selia starts a coup. When Selia takes Ani’s place as the princess, Ani hides as the palace goose girl.
The Fairy-Tale Detectives
When their parents mysteriously disappear, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with their grandmother who they thought was dead. Granny Relda explains to them that they are descendants of the Brothers Grimms, whose fairy tales are actually case files of magical mischief. Now the sisters are determined to take on the family legacy as fairy tale detectives.
Melissa De La Cruz
Nothing ever happens in North Pasadena, California. But one day as Filomena Jefferson-Cho is walking to the bookstore to get the thirteenth book in her favorite fairy tale series, Filomena finds herself face to face with characters from the books – Jack Stalker and Alistair. Soon Filomena finds herself pulled into Never After in a battle against the ogres.
Fantasy books for kids don’t need to be only based on European fairy tales. The Jumbies beautifully blends Caribbean folklore into a fascinating story of the fearless Corinne La Mer. She isn’t afraid of anything – not scorpions or boys or jumbies, magical creatures that don’t exist her parents just use to try to scare her. After Corinne enters the forbidden forest, she finds jumbies are real and that the beautiful Severine wants to claim the island for the jumbies.
Twins Alex and Conner have their world completely changed when they discover their family’s magical book can let them enter the realm of fairy tales. Now the twins come face to face with all their fairy tale heroes, encountering witches, goblins, and even trolls. But getting home might be much harder than they realized.
Magical Fantasy Books for Kids
Roald Dahl has many classic fantasy books to choose from, but Matilda in particular stands out to me. Misunderstood by her self-centered parents, book-loving Matilda finds solace in her wonderful teacher Miss Honey. But when the evil principal Miss Trunchbull threatens her beloved teacher, Matilda rallies to her defense.
One night, Meggie’s father is reading the book Inkheart to his family when an evil ruler escapes the book and lands right in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie finds herself in the middle of an epic battle straight from her beloved books. Now she must learn to harness the magic from the tale and save the world.
Tui T. Sutherland
In Xanadu, Wyoming, the Menagerie is a top-secret facility holding all kinds of magical creatures. When six griffin cubs escape, Logan and Zoe must race to find them before the facility inspector finds out and shuts the Menagerie down. A fun little fantasy book for kids from the author of the beloved Wings of Fire series.
A favorite among recent imaginative children’s fantasy books, Willa of the Wood recounts the story of Willa, a young night-spirit. Willa is her clan’s best thief, sneaking into the day-folk’s cabins at night and stealing what won’t be missed. When Willa is unexpectedly trapped in the day-folk world, she realizes they are not as evil as she was taught. And that her society is not as good as she believed. Now she must decide if she is willing to stand up against the corruption she sees.
Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
After moving into an old mansion, the Grace children – twins Jared and Simon and their older sister Mallory – discover a handmade field guide in the attic. Suddenly, the siblings discover a parallel world to their own – the Faerie world. And the faeries will do anything to stop them from sharing their story in the first book of the Spiderwick Chronicles.
Dragon Fantasy Books
Tui T. Sutherland
In the shadow of the mountain, Clay and his four friends are raced by the Talon of the Peace. Their whole lives, the five dragons are told about their destiny to end the war and bring peace to the tribes of Pyrrhia. When one of them is destined, they all decide to escape, which could ruin the very peace they seek. The ultimate fantasy books about dragons, the Wings of Fire series, and its graphic novel equivalent, is sure to be a hit with your children.
When he finds a blue stone in the forest, Eragon just hopes to sell it to feed his family. He never imagines that it would become a hatchling dragon and that he would be thrust into a world of magic and power. With only the advice of an old storyteller, Eragon and his dragon must try to take up the mantle of the lost Dragon Riders even as the evil King sets out to destroy them.
J. R. R. Tolkien
Before The Lord of the Rings revolutionized the fantasy genre, Tolkien introduced the world to Middle Earth with his beloved children’s fantasy book, The Hobbit. In an epic adventure, the wizard Gandalf convinces the distinctly unadventurous hobbit Bilbo Baggins on a journey to help a group of dwarves defeat the powerful dragon Smaug.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III finds himself an oddball as a quiet thoughtful boy among a clan of rowdy Vikings. As the son of the chief, he desperately wants to make his dad proud. Yet passing the initiation of catching and training a dragon won’t be easy, and may just lead Hiccup to become an unexpected hero.
Supernatural Kids Fantasy Books
After nearly drowning (or possibly actually drowning), Cass has been able to see beyond into the realm of spirits. An extraordinary ability to be sure, but one she is learning to live with. However, when her parents take her on a tour of Scotland’s most haunted locations, Cass quickly learns how much she doesn’t know and how dangerous that is.
Diana Wynne Jones
The oldest daughter, Sophie has been cursed to fail miserably if she ever leaves home. To make things worse, the Witch of the Waste transforms her into an old lady. Now Sophie must live at the Wizard Howl’s ever-moving castle in the hills. As Sophie tries to break the spell, she discovers she is stronger than she ever knew.
R. J. Palacio
From the author of the bestselling middle-grade novel Wonder comes a new children’s story set in the American West. In the middle of the night, three horsemen take Silas’s father away. When a pony shows up, twelve-year-old Silas sets out on a journey across the West to find his father. But Silas is not alone. He brings along Mittenwool, a companion who happens to be a ghost.
When cynical Flora sees a squirrel sucked up into a vacuum cleaner, she rushes to save him. Yet even the comic book fanatic Flora would never have suspected that the accident would suddenly leave the squirrel with superpowers. Ulysses’s transformation helps Flora begin to hope for the future. Interspersed with comic illustrations, Flora and Ulysses is a fun laugh-out-loud book for kids to read from beloved children’s author Kate DiCamillo.
Anastasia has lived a completely ordinary life until extraordinary things begin to happen. Her parents die in a vacuum cleaner accident. Then she is adopted by two long-lost great-aunties and taken to live in their Victorian home, St. Agony’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane. When Anastasia meets two brothers, they hatch a plan to escape the asylum.
Easy Fantasy Chapter Books
Mary Pope Osbourne
One of the classic children’s fantasy books, The Magic Tree House is the perfect chapter book series for beginning readers. In Dinosaurs Before Dark, Jack and Annie discover a treehouse in the woods behind their home. Inside, they find a book about dinosaurs and are magically whisked back to the prehistoric age. Now they must figure out how to get home.
What girl wouldn’t want to discover that are actually a dragon? While exploring the woods in her backyard, Azmina meets the Tree Queen and discovers that she and her best friends, Willa and Naomi, are Glitter Dragon Girls. Now they must keep the forest safe from the troublemaking Shadow Sprites who want to steal the forest’s magic in this fun new series.
With illustrations on every page, the Dragon Masters series is perfect for early readers new to chapter books. In Rise of the Earth Dragon, the first book, eight-year-old Jake is taken to King Roland’s castle to train as a dragon master. With the other masters-in-training, Jake must learn to connect with and train his dragon. But first, he must uncover his dragon’s special power.
I know we think of dragons when we talk about children’s fantasy books, but sometimes your child just needs some kitty mermaids in their life. In The Scaredy Cat, the first book of this cute chapter book series, Coral, Shelly, and Angel have to each find an extra special treasure to share at sea school. When Shelly and Angel decide to swim out to the reef but Coral is scared to swim so far away from home.
6th Grade Fantasy Books
With their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, the Rangers have always terrified Will. Some say they practice magic that makes them invisible. When Will is chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice, he finds they are the protectors of the kingdom, and the kingdom desperately needs protecting. For the exiled Morgorath is amassing forces to retake the kingdom in this fun series of fantasy novels for younger young adults.
A quiet mountain town is shocked when the king’s priests divine that it is the home of the next princess. Thus, an academy is formed to train all the young women in preparation for the prince selecting one of them as his bride in one year. Torn between wanting to be chosen and wanting to stay, Miri must unite the competitive teenagers when a band of rebels threatens the academy. If you want young adult fantasy books for younger teens, then Princess Academy is an excellent choice.
Megan Whalen Turner
Among the best fantasy books for adventure-loving young teens is The Queen’s Thief series. Sitting in the King’s prison is a young thief named Gen who claims he can steal anything. So the king and his Magus put him to the test, needing him to steal a treasure that will let the King control other lands. But Gen has an agenda of his own, and it’s anyone’s guess which side he is on.
Jennifer A. Nielsen
In a kingdom on the brink of civil war, Connor, a wealthy nobleman, devises a scheme to train up an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and use him as a puppet prince. Connor recruits four young orphans and brings them to his palace, determined to train them up before selecting one to play the prince. Wary of Connor’s motives, Sage must use all his wits to beat out his competitors in Connor’s game without overplaying his hand.
Let me round out my list of children’s fantasy books with one of the best classic fantasy books. After running away from home, ten-year-old Winnie stumbles upon Jesse Tuck, a teenage boy who accidentally reveals he’s 109 years old. As the Tuck family takes in Winnie, they explain to her that after drinking from a magical spring, they found they are now immortal, an unexpected gift that is a blessing and a curse. When a mysterious man wants to sell the spring water for profit, he accuses the Tucks of kidnapping Winnie, creating complications for the entire family.
What Children’s Fantasy Books Do You Love?
Do your kids enjoy reading fantasy books? What children’s fantasy books have I forgotten? As always, let me know in the comments!
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