Best Fantasy Chapter Books For Kids
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Amazingly enough, this princess is able to fight monsters and have a fun birthday party — even though it keeps getting interrupted. A FAVORITE series for many growing readers.
Kitty and Dragon by Meika Hashimoto, illustrated by Gillian Reid
In three sweet friendship stories, meet Kitty and her new friend, Dragon who live together in a cave with the first story about Kitty finding the cave and her new friend. Buy the book and or read the darling stories on the popular Epic website.
Rise of the Earth Dragon (Dragon Masters) by Tracey West, illustrated by Graham Howells
The Fabled Stables Willa the Wisp by Jonathan Auxier, illustrated by Olga Demidova
Auggie, the only human, lives on an island of mythical creatures but he’s lonely. When a new stall magically appears, Auggie enters and meets a Wisp who is hunted by ruthless magical poachers. It’s a darling start to a new series perfect for fantasy-loving readers.
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan
Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale
The Big Bad Wolf aka. Wolfgang is the only suspect in the destruction of the Little Pigs house. And he doesn’t have an alibi. But he didn’t do it either so he partners with the cheerful 4th Little Pig, Ferkel, (who knew!?) to find the real culprit. A humorous fairy-tale mash-up book series for early elementary kids.
Tank & Fizz The Case of the Slime Stampede by Liam O’Donnel, illustrated by Mike Deas
I loved this book – and couldn’t put it down. Tank is a girl techie troll and Fizz is her best friend detective goblin. They know that their beloved school janitor would never have released those slimes that ate the playground but now he’s in jail and it’s up to them to figure out who did it — and why. Excellent!
The Magical Animal Adoption Agency Clover’s Luck by Kallie George, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Clover discovers and volunteers to work at the magical animal adoption agency in a deep part of the woods. But after just one day, Mr. Jams leaves Clover in charge by herself. It’s a lovely story showing Clover learning more about herself (that maybe she isn’t unlucky) and gaining confidence.
The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash) by Sarah Courtauld
Very sarcastic and funny humor will keep you entertained throughout this fantasy book about a silly (stupid) sister obsessed with princes and her more steady sister who rescues her silly sister from a kidnapping plot.
Rainbow Magic Fairies (series)
These are very predictable stories but kids ADORE these books — they are some of the most checked out books at our library. They’re about two human girls who are trusted to help the magical fairies search for something Jack Frost’s goblins stole.
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso (series)
What a hilarious character! We love this magical graphic novel about Salem Hyde, an impulsive but very cute little witch who gets confused between spelling words and casting spells. It’s like Calvin turned witch and female. Fantastic!
Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper #1 by Lucy Coats (series)
It took me a few chapters to start enjoying this book but it was worth it. Pan’s son, Demon, is assigned to care for the creatures in the stables on Olympus — which is a dangerous job considering who is there! Demon learns to love all the creatures and his job and pleases even the toughest critic, Hera, when he heals her favorite creature, the Hydra.
Easier Fantasy Chapter Books For Ages 7 – 10
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
If you like mythical creatures, independent thinkers, and mysteries, you’ll love this first book in the Pip Bartlett series as much as me. Pip’s world is just like ours except for one significant difference — magical creatures exist and often are pets!
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski (series)
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally enter a fairy tale. And mess it all up. Whoops. You’ll fall in love with these characters and won’t want to put down the series until you’ve read them all.
Darling Dimple is thrilled to be moved from a kitchen scrubber to an upstairs dress presser for the princess. One day, she discovers a special closet of enchanted dresses. So when Darling discovers a plot against the princess, she uses dresses magic to help her investigate. This lovable heroine and a charming magical plot will enchant readers.
The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors (series)
Ben doesn’t think his summer could be any more boring. Until he finds a baby dragon. When he and Pearl Petal discover a veterinarian for imaginary creatures, instead of helping the dragon, they accidentally let a sasquatch escape. Whoops. Now the pair must lure the creature back to the vet. (Easier said than done.) A page-turning fantasy series kids will love.
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George (series)
Every Tuesday, the castle where Princess Celie and her family live, adds on a new room or area. Celie loves her castle and it’s living ways. When robbers attack her parents’ carriage and they are never seen again, Celie takes comfort that her parent’s room stays exactly the same. Then the Royal Council and the foreign prince try to take over the kingdom and it’s up to Celie and the castle to stop them.
Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach
When Rory finds out that her new after-school club, Ever After School, is a fairy tale training school for characters. In fact, her first day she fights a real dragon! We learn that all the kids will be assigned their own character in a familiar tale – and the chance to prove themselves. It’s also the beginning of acceptance for Rory – finding friends for the first time and learning about herself. Love it. (First in a series.)
Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball by Laura Ellen Anderson
Amelia loves her pet pumpkin Squashy and two best friends, Florence the yeti and Grimaldi the reaper. The friends welcome their school’s new student, the prince Tangine, yet Tangine is the rudest, meanest kid they’ve ever met. To make matters worse, he forces Amelia to give Squashy to him! So Amelia and her friends set out to rescue Squashy. In doing so, they discover the prince and king’s big secret…which, when revealed, makes everything better. It’s a light-hearted illustrated beginning chapter book about friendship, kindness, and looking beneath the surface.
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo by Drew Weing
Aleca Zamm Is a Wonder by Ginger Rue, illustrated by Zoe Persico
I enjoyed this well-written, fast-paced fantasy book for kids, the first in a new easy chapter book series. On her 10th birthday, Aleca accidentally discovers if she says her full name, she can STOP TIME. Which helps her on her math test. Then her Aunt Zephyr arrives and explains a few things about being a Wonder. One, other Wonders who aren’t very nice could use those time stops to find Aleca. And two, she needs to learn how to control her power so it won’t control her. And three, a 10-year old shouldn’t be in charge of the world clock.
Ferno the Fire Dragon (Beast Quest #1) by Adam Blade
This is a fantasy chapter book series for kids about a young boy, Tom, who gets to go on a quest just like his father before him. In this first book, Tom’s quest is to free the dragon from the enchanted collar which is making him destroy the kingdom. It’s a decent story –short, adventurous, and features a kid-hero. What could be better than that!?
Faeries’ Promise by Kathleen Duey
Alida, a young faerie princess locked away in a castle belonging to Lord Dunraven, who has forbidden humans to see or speak to faeries. For 60 years, Alida has longed for her faerie family, so when a human boy named Gavin dares to ask for her help, Alida tells a lie to gain her release. Together they journey through the forest hoping to evade Lord Dunraven’s guards, but when capture becomes imminent, Gavin allows himself to be caught, leaving Alida to travel on alone.
Knights vs. Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan
Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi (series)
This popular fantasy graphic novel book series is the amazing adventure of two siblings trying to save their kidnapped mom in an underground world of elves, demons, robots, and talking animals. It’s a kid-favorite with lots of books in the series to read.
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (series)
Fairy tales come alive when Alex and Conner (brother and sister) find themselves in the fairy tale book given to them by their grandmother (who happens to be THE fairy godmother). Their only way home is for them to find the fairy tale ingredients for a Wishing Spell that will hopefully help them return to their regular home. Finding these artifacts will be dangerous, mysterious, and life-changing. Each book in this series mesmerizes readers with adventure, plot twists, and mystery.
The Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong (series)
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale & Dale Hale
One of the BEST books, not just graphic novels, EVER! This Rapunzel uses her long braids to lasso the bad guys in the wild west.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (series)
We read this dragon book twice for a bedtime story in addition to the subsequent books in the series including the newly published FOURTH book, Talking To Dragons! This is about a strong female princess named Cimorene who doesn’t want to be a typical damsel in distressed only to then be married off. She leaves her home to apprentice herself to a dragon. For fun. No rescuing involved, thank you very much. Plus, she must help save her dragon from the wizards. LOVE and highly recommend this dragon series.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (series)
Guess what!? The Greek gods still exist! Their kids are half-bloods with unique powers who monsters want to kill them. When Percy learns he’s the son of a Greek God, it explains a lot. Now he must go to safety and training at Camp Half-Blood where before he can learn much, he’s assigned a perilous quest.
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny
Not only is this story compelling and interesting but the symbolism and life lessons are stunning. Charlie’s dad has remarried and moved Charlie and his younger brother into the stepmother’s frightening purple mansion. There Charlie begins to have the most horrible nightmares — nightmares that blur between reality and dream. And when the witches steal Charlie’s brother into the nightmare world, he goes to rescue his brother. Charlie and his friends must learn to face their fears in order for the nightmare world not to have access to the real world.
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
My 11-year old and I devoured this book– now a series. While Jack’s single mom works, Jack takes care of his little sister, Maddy. And like the other Jack, this Jack, at the prompting of his sister who doesn’t talk, also trades the family’s one valuable thing, his mom’s car, for seeds. It all goes downhill from there: The seeds turn in to a freaky, monster-growing garden which attacks; their neighbor friend secretly steals some 0f the seeds; a dragon appears with a dire warning; and, Maddy is kidnapped by one of the monsters! Action, adventure, intrigue…
Dragon Slippers trilogy by Jessica Day George
Young, brave Creel wants to own her own seamstress shop. In her pursuit of this dream, she encounters and befriends a few dragons who will change the course of her life. From one of the dragons, she gets a pair of magical slippers that help her speak to and control her most esteemed dragon friend. Of course, she’d never use the slippers for evil purposes but she’s not the only one who knows their power…This entire series is absolutely enthralling with the best elements of fantasy, adventure, and a hint of romance.
The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath
If you like snarky illustrated books that make you laugh, don’t miss this entertaining fantasy. Ebenezer, a man over 500 years old, is kept alive by a monstrous Beast who gives him youth cream in return for exotic foods…and now the Beast wants to eat a child. Still wanting to be youthful, Ebenezer adopts the rudest girl at a local orphanage, Bethany, and begins to fatten her up. She is horrid for a while until she’s not…and Ebenezer feels so bad that he confesses his evil plan. Together, find a solution to get rid of the Beast and get a happy ending! (Or do they?)
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice by John A. Flanagan
SO AMAZING! We follow a boy named Will as he’s apprenticed to become a Ranger, a job he’s unsure about. But as he develops a relationship with his master and learns what being a Ranger is all about (spying for the kingdom), Will comes to embrace his new life. When an old enemy of the kingdom sends out dangerous beasts to attack Will’s master, Will is instrumental in getting help and killing the creatures. Action, fantasy, adventure, friendship, excellent writing — this book has everything!
The Iron Trial(Magisterium) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Even though Callum tries to fail the entrance trials, he is admitted to the school his dad says is evil. But the Magisterium school is not as bad as he expects. Call learns about his elemental powers, he forges bonds of friendship with his teammates and rescues a wolf puppy who is infused with the evil magic of Chaos. I couldn’t put this book down — especially after the surprise twist of who Callum really is!!
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Fantastic fantasy world-building, excellent writing, a strong female heroine of color, and a surprise plot twist ending are just a few of the reasons you’ll love this book. On top of that, you’ll find an exciting action-packed, suspenseful story about Amari whose brother vanishes mysteriously. He sends her a message that she’s a magician and should attend a special school. There, she discovers she’s a magician with outlawed dark magic but she’s determined to stay in the school and find her brother.
A Tale of Dark and Grimmby Adam Gidwitz (series)
This book is bloody and macabre and an excellent, imaginative story that weaves Hansel and Gretel with eight more Grimm fairy tales. Hansel and Gretel abandon their terrible parents in order to find better ones –ones that won’t try to kill them. The narrator, a strong, quirky voice, warns us of the bloody things to come. While he’s sometimes distracting, for the most part, I liked how his snarky voice kept me from getting too freaked out by the gruesome parts. Once in the wild forest, Hansel transforms into a ravenous, hunter-beast while Gretel continues on her own. This book will make you want to reread your Complete Brother’s Grimm. (Just don’t read it right before bed.)
The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas
Trinket’s storyteller father disappeared years ago. Now that her mother has died, Trinket decides to take the map her father left behind and try to find him. Her friend, Thomas the Pig Boy, travels with her. Each place on the map gives Trinket a new story to tell and she imagines she could learn to be a storyteller like her father. Amazing adventures ensue but when Trinket learns the fate of her father in the seventh story, she must make a very hard decision.
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
The Adventurers Guild by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster
Tor wishes for a different gift and ends up with a curse instead of prompting him and two friends to leave their homes to search for the evil Night Witch to break it. Along the way, the friends encounter new lands, people, and dangerous monsters. Interspersed through the story are myths from their culture that may actually give them a map to find the Night Witch. I love the myths, the adventure, and the very surprising ending.
The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig
Snow Rose by Emily Winfield Martin
This isn’t the same Snow White and Red Rose story from Disney, it’s something closer to the original Grimm story and it’s marvelous. Sisters Snow and Rose live in the woods with their mother because when their father disappeared, they lost their bigger, fancy home. When the girls explore, they befriend a young boy from a mushrooming family named Ivo as well as a large bear whom they nurse back to health during the winter. They fear that the woodsman will find and kill their beloved bear. Then they stumble upon a sinister Little Man who wants to enchant them or kill them. Surprisingly, this is one Grimm story with a happy ending . . .
Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty
The Wonderling by Mira Bartók
Podkin One-Ear The Legend Begins by Kieran Larwood
Nevermoor The Trial of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
Prisoner of Ice and Snowby Ruth Lauren You know you love a story when you can’t wait for the sequel! You’ll fall in love with Valor, a dedicated sister who attempts to kill the prince in order to get sent to jail to help her sister who is falsely imprisoned. Of course, the breakout doesn’t go as planned. Other prisoners (all kids) want to know what she’s up to and she doesn’t know who to trust. Be ready for an exciting plot twist, terrific characters, and lots of action.
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Magic and color are closely linked in her world. Unfortunately, Alice has no color in her skin or hair. And her father has been missing for years making her even sadder. She travels with a boy named Oliver to a different magical land in order to find and rescue her father. But the rules are wildly different and the inhabitants eat people for their magic. Even though Oliver and Alice start their quest at odds, the many challenges join them in a solid friendship. Furthermore is a uniquely creative plot that is so well written, you won’t want it to end.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Wonderfully crafted and imagined, this is a fairy tale of sorts about a good witch who rescues a town’s abandoned (the town thinks sacrificed) babies and gives them to another town to love. Except for one baby who she adopts for her own; a special baby named Luna who is accidentally infused with moon magic. It’s also the story of the baby’s magical, bereaved mother, a wicked witch who feeds off sorrow, a woodcarver who wants justice, and most of all, Luna.
Saving Fable by Scott Reintgen
The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson
When Yanka’s legs turn into hair bear legs and paws, she leaves her foster mother’s home in the village to find answers in the forest. Her quest for answers leads her to a wolf she met as a baby bear, a Yaga girl and mom and thier house on chicken legs, her grandmother, the Bear Tsarina, and eventually, a dangerous task to kill a dragon and save the wish tree so that Yanka can ask for her friend Sasha’s life to be spared.. It’s a Russian-folktale-infused story with themes of family, belonging, identify, selflessness, and the power of stories that transports readers on an epic hero’s journey.
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao
Legacy and the Queen by Annie Matthew, created by Kobe Bryant
Not only is this book beautifully executed with a fuzzy cover, full-color illustrations, and lovely border details, but the uniquely imagined story is also beautifully written and 100% enchanting. Legacy lives at an orphanage with her father and the other orphans but she longs to compete in tennis. When she gets the chance, she leaves to try out for the country’s elite tennis academy. Once she’s there, Legacy’s country background makes her an outcast but that also helps her discover two true friends, her inner magical power, and the dangerous truth of what’s actually going on at the Academy. I loved this unexpected but delightful combination of tennis and fantasy and can’t wait until the next book!
Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull (series)
Brandon Mull has outdone himself with an inventive, totally unique world and characters! Cole, a regular kid, is trick-or-treating with his friends when they all get kidnapped. He manages to hide and follows the kidnappers — to another world, a world of five kingdoms, slavery, and magic. Cole is found and sold to slavers on the Outskirts. There he’ll battle mysterious beings living on cloud castles, discover an exiled princess, escape from slavery, and have unimaginable adventures.
Elementals: Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman
Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland (series)
These dragonets might just be the long-awaited dragonets of the prophecy that will end the dragon wars for good. Or they might not. One thing’s for sure: when the dragonets are captured, things don’t look good.
The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst
Sophie’s parents use Dream Catchers to catch, refine, and sell dreams. (Which seems weird but just go with it.) When Sophie’s parents are kidnapped, it’s up to Sophie, her best friend (a sarcastic monster that she dreamed up the one time she dreamed), and a few new friends from school to figure out what is going on. It’s a lively adventure that shows Sophie growing up.
The Way to Rio Luna by Zoraida Cordova
Danny’s latest foster home is not good, even worse without his beloved sister who’s been missing for two years. Danny mostly still believes in magic and his sister’s promise to be waiting for him in the land of Rio Luna. On a field trip to the New York Public Library, he sees magical arrows pointing him to the original Rio Luna book of fairy tales. With the help of a new friend, Glory and Glory’s aunt, they all set off on an epic adventure to follow the magical signs that only Danny can see– to find Rio Luna and hopefully, Danny’s sister. Mysteries, magic, magical creatures, monsters, stories, and betrayal, this heart-stopping fantasy adventure will keep you up all night reading.
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
Emmy was a good girl. At least she tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days. She really was a little too good. Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all . . . You will love this book!
Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (series)
I think you already know about these books but if you don’t, they’re absolutely engaging fantasy adventures of good versus evil that take place in a magical world called Narnia. We recently listened to the series on audiobook which was even more fun to hear it read in a British accent. (Since we’re American.)
The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh, illustrations by Kelly Murphy
I LOVED this fairy tale fantasy book — it’s a fantastic Baba Yaga story about a brave and smart orphan girl, Mary, who wants a home, even if it’s with Baba Yaga. She just has to figure out how to be sure Baba Yaga won’t eat her and she does so with help from her friend Jacob and MAGIC!
Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler
You won’t want to leave this magical, dangerous, snowy world! Voyage of the Frosthart is a fantastic, illustrated adventure story about an orphan boy with forbidden musical powers. You’ll meet sentient creatures like the vulpi, a walrus and a yeti, not just human-kin, who live in Strongholds to stay safe from the monstrous Lurkers and Leviathans. After Ash’s Pathfinder parents disappear, Ash moves in with a strict guardian Yeti named Tobu. Unfortunately, they’re banished from their home when Ash uses his forbidden Song Weaver magic. They leave the village with a Pathfinder crew, a ship that sails over the snow. On their journey, Ash realizes that he can find his parents using the words in his childhood lullaby. But he’ll be tried, tested, and tricked. Who will he trust? And which side will he choose — light or dark?
Legends of the Sky by Liz Flanagan
If you like dragons and inspiring orphans who fight against evil — you’ll love this story about a girl who, after witnessing a murder, saves a sack of dragon eggs from a strange visitor to the island of Arcosi where dragons have been extinct for centuries. Unfortunately, she becomes embroiled in the political ambitions of a maniacal ruler who wants the hatchling dragons for himself. But it’s Milla and her friends who each bond a dragon, not the Duke. It becomes clear that the teenagers and their dragons are not safe — and if they want to see justice for all the people in Arcosi, they must fight back. A wonderful, dramatic story perfect for fantasy-loving readers.
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Gloom Town by Ronald Smith
The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, illustrated by Katie Harnett
The Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate
Impyrium by Henry H. Neff
Hazel is the third granddaughter, a princess who resembles no one else in the family except the most dangerous magician ruler the kingdom ever knew. She, like her ancestor, is gifted at magic and her grandmother wants to use Hazel’s magic to protect the kingdom. But it’s an unjust kingdom and Hob, a young spy and commoner boy in her service, wants things to change. Hazel will face a choice to follow in the dark magic footsteps of her ancestor. Hob will face doing what he’s ordered or following his heart. Plots within plots, twists and turns, make this a wonderful, enthralling fantasy adventure.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chaining (series)
At this school for villains and heroes, all your stereotypes will be blown out of the water. This series will make you think deeply about what makes someone good, what is true friendship, and the meaning of love. Excellent.
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Stuck in a museum with her sister and father who is working on a sword exhibit, Ophelia’s curiosity leads her to a locked room where a boy has been trapped for thousands of years. But Ophelia doesn’t believe in that kind of thing. Except she kind of does. She remembers her mother used to tell her those stories . . . This is a breathtaking journey of loss, acceptance, hope, and friendship. I just loved it!
Story Thieves by James Riley (series)
Owen catches his classmate Bethany sneaking out of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory world with a chocolate face, he has the brilliant idea of going into his favorite book, too and saving the hero. Follow along as Owen and Bethany share adventures into storybooks that become dangerous and scary. Readers must suspend disbelief and enter the worlds of storybooks…
The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby
Imagine the wild west with fantastical elements that combine to make a marvelous adventure. The group is traveling on an airship to find the lost Welsh Prince Madoc and their adventure is interesting and amazing.
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
If your child hasn’t learned about Nordic mythology, this will be a great intro! To end the long winter, Odd must journey to find Asgard, a city under siege from the Frost Giants. A wonderful, nail-biting adventure!
Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery – about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface.
Sea of Trolls series by Nancy Farmer
A bard, a boy, a band of Viking beserkers, trolls, dragons, and a quest — what more could you want in a series? This is one of those can’t put it down books that will keep you up all night reading and I loved this it. (Actually, I love all Farmer’s books.) Your kids will enjoy reading a new adventure in Norse and Old English mythology.
Starcatchers series by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson (series)
I adore this series but my kids didn’t like it as much as me. The authors imagined what happened BEFORE Peter Pan and this is the result. I think it’s a stunning, totally creative fantastical adventure of magical star stuff and evil shadows who want to rule the universe.
Enchanter’s Child by Angie Sage
Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan
I adore this reimagined graphic Snow White set in New York City in the 20s. Snow White’s dad is a Wall Street king, her stepmother is a Zigfield Follies star, and her seven small protectors are street kids. It’s SO interesting how Phelan uses this historical setting to animate a familiar fairy tale. The black and white illustrations set the tone for this dark story with a happy ending.
The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Deliz Sherman
Runaway, Nick, leaves his horrible uncle’s only to get stuck with an evil wizard who calls him foxkin and won’t let him leave. If he tries anything against the rules, Nick gets turned into something– a spider and a rock, for example. Once he’s resigned to his new life, Nick finds a lot to like, especially learning magic from the wizard’s books and then helping the wizard protect the Smallbone town from the Evil Wizard Fidelou. This is a magical story about kindness, friendship, and growing up. (With a little Dread Pirate Roberts twist thrown in at the end!)
Wicked Nix by Lena Coakley, illustrated by Jaime Zollars
Una falls into the land of stories of heroes and villains but something is very wrong. No new stories are being written. So how did she get written in and who is she? We read this for bedtime and my kids and I looked forward to it every night.
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Christopher’s apprenticed to an apothecary who’s just been murdered in the same way as many other apothecaries. He and his best friend decide to solve the puzzles and find new clues to find the culprits for these horrible crimes. They hope it’s not the dangerous cult they’ve been hearing about — and are as surprised as us when they find out what’s really going on. Part historical, part fantasy, and all adventure.
The Wishmakers by Tyler Whitesides
If you like goofy stories with magic and adventure, you’re going to love this story. It’s about a foster kid named Ace who opens a peanut butter jar only to release a genie named Ridge. Ridge tells Ace that Ace is a Wishmaker and now he must complete a mission in seven days OR ELSE all dogs and cats will turn into zombies … and destroy mankind. So begins a wild quest across America. And even though Ace has unlimited wishes, every wish has a (usually weird) consequence. So if he gets his wish to fly, his consequence is that any bird near him will poop on him. One big wish made his arm fall off for a day.
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (series)
I’m a big fan of this series. Do you know about familiars? They are the magical animal companions to wizards. And in this first story, the familiars must save the world when their wizards’ powers are taken away. Great for kids who love animals and magical adventures.
The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol Arianwyn can’t believe she’s failed her witch exam nor that she’s sent to a small town to be their witch anyway. There she faces unexpected dark spirits, meets new friends, and conquers the worrisome glyph she keeps seeing. This is an entertaining fantasy book for anyone who loves magic and underdog heroines.
Beast and Crown by Joel Ross
Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye: A Novel by Tania Del Rio, illustrated by Will Staehle
Half Upon a Time by James Riley (series)
When Princess May’s grandma, Snow White, is kidnapped, she’s tossed into Jack (of the beanstalk fame) farm. The two venture to rescue dear old grandma back. Fairy tales collide in this humorous and action-packed adventure.
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
You’ll fall in love with this magical story about a lonely boy named Micah whose beloved grandfather faces a life-ending illness. Micah hopes the Lightbender in the Circus Mirandus who owes the grandfather a miracle will be able to help. With a missive to the Lightbender, Micah finds the magical circus his grandfather once loved so much and hopes the Lightbender will hear him out.
Legacy of the Claw (Animas #1) by C.R. Grey, illustrated by Jim Madsen
I couldn’t put this middle-grade book down, it was fantastic! In this world, everyone except Bailey (a boy) has an Animas, an animal kinship. He’s hoping that attending Fairmount Academy, he’ll discover his Animas. But before he can, he tries to figure out a mysterious prophesy told to him by a crazy teacher, discovers there’s a plot to overthrow the government, and learns about a group of people who might be his ancestors thought to be long dead. I loved the story and plot twist! Can’t wait for the next book.
The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland (series)
Stuck in a small town in Wyoming just after his mother disappeared, Logan’s life gets even stranger when he finds a griffin under his bed. Which he learns is connected to Zoe Kahn, a very strange girl in his class at school. She tells him about her family’s menagerie to protect magical creatures. Soon the duo realizes that the griffins didn’t escape, they were let out. Now they must find the culprit fast before the menagerie is shut down. A quick, fun read and great fantasy book series for kids!
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman
Nightbird’s magic isn’t only in the story but in the woven images of enchanting characters and plot. Twelve-year-old Twig lives on the edges, trying to stay unnoticed in order to protect her secret brother — a handsome, smart boy who lives in the attic of her home. He bears the family curse — he has wings. But when he won’t stay hidden anymore and reveals himself to their beautiful neighbor girl. Twig hurries to stop both the curse and the town from hunting her brother as a monster. A wonderfully bewitching story I couldn’t put down!
Ever After High Boxed Set by Shannon Hale
The kids of famous fairytales are at boarding high school together separated by heroes and villains. Except some kids like Raven want to pick their own story and ending, not live a preset story. This chapter book fantasy series for kids is easy-to-read, magical, and fun-filled fairy tale mash-ups!
Unwanteds by Lissa McMann
Thrones of Bones Frostborn by Lou Andres
Two misfits — a boy named Karn who is only good at playing a board game, and a girl named Thianna who is a half-human, half-giantess — unexpectedly partner to survive deadly soldiers, undead warriors, trolls, and a dragon. I absolutely loved this adventure and can’t wait for the next in the chapter book series. Plus, I’m so happy to see that Norse mythology is growing in popularity with writers. The only thing I suggest is that you to make sure to use the glossary as you read — there are many words which aren’t commonly known and specific to Norse culture.
Artemis Fowl The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin (series)
Also available as a full-text novel, this series is about an anti-hero villain, an evil genius kid named Artemis. He plots to steal the fairies gold which leads him to kidnap a fairy-cop and hold her for ransom. Very entertaining.
The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
The tone of this fantasy chapter book for kids is slightly different than Riordan’s other fantasy chapter book series since we’re seeing things from Apollo’s arrogant but bewildered perspective — which somehow Riordan makes appealing to readers. (A hard task to be sure!) As the misadventures ensue (because life is hard when you have no godly powers anymore), Apollo begins to see himself as less than perfect. In this mythical fantasy book, kids will meet new demigods such as Demeter’s daughter, Meg, and encounter familiar favorites like Percy Jackson.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Camilla and her sisters have the magic in their blood to make the citizens of New Orleans beautiful…for a price. Because, without the Belles, the people are gray and ugly. When Camilla is the second choice for the Queen’s favorite, she learns there’s a terrifying darkness to the princess. As she seeks a way to fulfill her role, she must decide if it’s worth risking her life in order to save the oldest princess, the true heir, who’s been in a lifeless coma for years. I enjoyed this imaginative fantasy / dystopian world where beauty is tightly controlled. Be ready for a surprise plot twist at the end.
The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
What a great girl power chapter book for teens! This is the story of five mermaids who journey to find each other and then to the sea witches. An ancient evil is being unleashed and not only is trying to kill the girls but enslave or kill their communities. Very entertaining.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Wolf by Wolf is a high-stakes journey of wits and bravery, an author’s skillful writing and imagination, and a compelling story that won’t soon be forgotten. It imagines a world in which WWII ended very differently — with the Axis powers winning. Yael, our heroine, is a death-camp medical experiment escapee who can shapeshift into other humans. She braves a motorcycle race across half the world in order to first win and second get close enough to Hitler to kill him. This is a must-read novel!
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holberg
In a world where magicians specialize in specific magic (metal, paper, and so forth), magician-in-training Ceony is assigned to learn from Magician Emery Thane. When his ex-wife tries to kill him, Ceony animates a magical heart to save Emery’s life then leaves to fight the evil magician Excisioners. As the story develops, so does the attraction between Emery and Ceony. Great character development with fast-paced action.
Undertow by Michael Buckley
Michael Buckley’s Alpha are from the ocean — clans of creatures with wild amphibian and human appearances and a specific hierarchy. Not only is this world development imaginative, the plot is crazy good –filled with tension, action, and adventure. Our 16 year old heroine, Lyric, is trying to hide that her mom is one of the Alpha (First People) or they’d disappear to a camp if discovered. Lyric’s school is ordered to integrate with the First People. Worse, Lyric is ordered to help the prince, Fathom. Not good for someone trying to fly under the radar. Tensions are high as protestors and students get violent with their hatred of the Alpha but there’s something much worse than the Alpha. And it’s coming. LOVED it! (My husband also loved this book and was mad that he stayed up all night to read it. He told me next time to suggest something more boring.) There is an allusion to sex in the second book.
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
This is an adventurous series opener that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In a kingdom that outlaws the use of magic, Elizabeth hunts and imprisons witches (who have magic) until she herself is imprisoned. At the moment she’s to be burned, she’s rescued by a powerful wizard who shows her truths she’d never imagined and who she should really be fighting.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Part historical (think Rome) and part fantasy, Elias and Laia live in a world that enslaves them both in different ways — Elias to fight and Laia to serve and spy. This is an epic page-turner fantasy for kids with lots of mystery, action, and a hint of romance — a teen favorite!
Wereworld by Curtis Jobling
Drew is raised on a farm and knows little of his surroundings. He’s ill-prepared to live on the run, which he does when his were powers arise. Fortunately, he meets a other WereLords including a WereBear Lord who fought with Drew’s father and is willing to help him. Kidnappings, revenge, murder, and a prophecy — this book has all the elements you’ll want in a fantasy adventure series. I loved the story, the writing, and the characters. Don’t miss this fantasy book series.
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick (Chronicles of Nick Book 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (SERIES)
The Chronicles of Nick series is a magical, mythical-creatures fantasy adventure for teen readers. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed story about a teenager who possesses powerful magic that could destroy humanity. Of course, he doesn’t know it quite yet. But he will. 🙂
The Novice The Summoner by Taran Matharu
Fletcher’s an orphan, raised by the town’s blacksmith, finds a book about magic and summons a demon. Through a series of events, he lands at a school for mages where he will learn to use his demon to fight the Empire’s enemies. Captivating writing and action make this a series I can’t wait to keep reading.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (series)
I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy novel about an orphan, Alina, in a country where much of the land and people have been a darkness called the Shadow Fold. When Alina’s powers reveal themselves, surprising even her, she’s taken to the magical leader, the Darkling, to train and serve him in his fight against the Shadow Fold. Alina feels out of place without her best friend and doesn’t fit in with the other Grisha. Plus, strange things begin to happen and she must discover the secret behind the source of the Shadow Fold’s power.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
When I first looked at the description of this book, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it – a book about the devil? But, I read too many raving reviews not to give it a chance . . . I’m so glad I did, for many reasons – the writing, the concept, the plot, the characters totally blew my mind. Taylor created a totally original, completely compelling mythical world; it’s a world split into two sides, the Chimera and the Angels. Our heroine, art student raised by a sorcerer named Brimstone, Karou, knows about the monsters, at least she thinks she does. Adding to the mystery and adventure is a forbidden romance between Karou and a beautiful angel named Akiva. I’ll admit, I couldn’t put this down but after I finished, I had some seriously freaky dreams! (Giving you fair warning.) This is one of the BEST books I’ve ever read in my life, let alone one of the best YA books for teens. AMAZING. Includes mature content.
Air Awakens by Elise Kova (series)
Vhalla thinks she’s just a library assistant but when the prince needs her, she learns she’s the only air elemental in the kingdom. Now she must decide if she’ll train her magic or let the wizards remove it. The second book is already out, too! Adventure and magic make this a great fantasy book series for kids.
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin
It looks like the Nethergrim is back and so are it’s monstrous minions. After Edmund’s brother is taken, he and his two friends and an adult decide to find the Nethergrim and save all the children who were taken. They’ve counted and know that for the Nethergrim’s spell to work, it only needs one more child. I found this a compelling story with interesting plot twists and adventure.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
You’ll LOVE this unique fantasy YA book for teens. Water horses eat human flesh so it’s a sign of great skill and bravery to race one in the annual Scorpio Races. Orphan, Puck needs to win the race or she and her brother won’t have food to eat or a home. Totally mesmerizing.
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
I loved this creative expanded Alice in Wonderland fantasy story. Alyss Heart, the heir to Wonderland, flees from her evil aunt Redd who has attacked her kingdom and killed her parents. Alyss ends up in London, lost and unsure of how to return home. She tells her story to Louis Carroll who writes it down — but not exactly right – and eventually, her royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan finds her and takes her back to fight.
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles) by Gena Showalter (series)
A YA chapter book about Alice and zombies — that I recommend? Crazy but true! Alice’s father has embarrassed her all her life with is paranoia, refusal to go out after dark even to a school performance, and drinking but it turns out he is right. And now he, her mother, and her sister are dead. Adventure and a little romance make this quite a page-turner.
Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham
If you love fairy tales, you must read this YA chapter book based on a comic book series. It’s based on the story of the Pied Piper and is about two brothers, one good and one evil, Peter and Max. Through the story, Max becomes more entrenched in black magic and only his brother, Peter, will be able to stop him.
Penryn & the End of Days by Susan Ee (series) Angels (not the friendly kind, the warrior kind) rule the world using humans for experiments, and disposable arm candy. Penryn’s sister is kidnapped, and she is determined to rescue her. On her journey, she meets Raffe, an angel whose wings were brutally cut off. The two work together and what they discover at the angel compound will make the world even worse off than it already is. I couldn’t put this paranormal YA book down — totally mesmerizing!
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