Fantasy books are a great way to capture young readers’ imaginations and instill a love of reading from an early age. Packed with action, adventure, magic, and mysticism, fantasy books offer an escape from reality while also teaching important lessons about history, mythology, and vocabulary. So, whether you’re looking for kid heroes you can root for or a fun series you can read together as a family, here are the seven best kids fantasy books.
The Best Kids Fantasy Books
1. Harry Potter Box Set by J.K. Rowling
(Most popular — $$$)
Why it’s great: This paperback set of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is a failsafe introduction to fantasy books. Kids will love immersing themselves in the world of Hogwarts as they get acquainted with timeless characters like Harry, Hermione, and Ron. This set includes the entire seven-book saga, allowing your little one to explore the series at their own pace.
Keep in mind: Some customers say the box this book set comes in isn’t as durable as they’d expected..
Good for: All kids, but especially ages 8 and up.
2. Magic Tree House Boxed Set (Books 1-4) by Mary Pope Osborne
(Most educational — $$)
Why it’s great: This popular series by Mary Pope Osborne follows siblings Jack and Annie on their time travel quests. Each book takes the characters on a magical adventure through an epic moment in history, including the age of the dinosaurs, a medieval castle, ancient pyramids, and a pirate voyage. These beginner chapter books are perfect for young readers and kids will love learning about history alongside Jack and Annie.
Keep in mind: This box set only includes the first four books in the Magic Tree House series..
Good for: Junior history buffs in grades 1-4.
3. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
(Best illustrations — $)
Why it’s great: Described as Wall-E meets The Hatchett, The Wild Robot follows the adventures and misadventures of robot Roz in the wilderness of a remote island. This New York Times bestseller has been praised by critics and readers alike for its thoughtful characters, engaging plotline, and heartwarming message. Featuring short chapters and gorgeous black and white illustrations, this book is sure to enthrall readers young and old.
Keep in mind: Some readers didn’t like the ending of this book, which includes a battle scene..
Good for: Robot lovers ages 8-12.
4. Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
(Best page-turner — $$)
Why it’s great: This contemporary fantasy by Rena Barron is popular with readers for having excellent characters and a strong sense of place. The first book of a planned series, Maya and the Rising Dark follows the title character through a journey into a mysterious world to find her missing father. Fast-paced and fantastically thrilling, this book includes creatures and stories borrowed from African folklore.
Keep in mind: Some readers say this book is slow to start..
Good for: Kids who love action and adventure, ages 9-12.
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5. The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set by C.S. Lewis
(Best classic — $$$)
Why it’s great: This book set includes all seven books in the classic Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. One of the most timeless fantasy series still in publication, The Chronicles of Narnia has been enjoyed by readers for over sixty years. Each book included in this set features cover art by Cliff Nielson. The interior illustrations are the original book artwork by Pauline Baynes. Parents praise these books for being high-quality and fun for the whole family.
Keep in mind: Some readers say the font size in these books is a bit small..
Good for: Reading together as a whole family.
6. Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5 Book Boxed Set by Rick Riordan
(Most humorous — $$)
Why it’s great: This box set, which includes all five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, is a great gift idea for any fantasy fanatic in your life. Recommended for kids who love Harry Potter, this book references Greek and Roman mythology. Action-packed, these books are full of humor, adventure, and lessons on ancient history and folklore. Parents praise these books for enticing even the most reluctant readers.
Keep in mind: Some readers say the font size in these books is a bit small..
Good for: Kids who love Greek and Roman mythology, ages 8 and up.
7. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
(Best characters — $)
Why it’s great: This fantasy fable by Kelly Barnhill is about a witch tasked with raising a magical child deep in the enchanted woods. Featuring magic spells, a dragon, and even a swamp monster, this book also includes a heartrending message of love and acceptance. A New York Times Bestseller and Newberry Medal award winner, this whimsical fairytale is praised for its strong characters, gorgeous writing, and compelling storyline.
Keep in mind: This book is recommended for a slightly older audience—kids ages 9 and up..
Good for: Kids who love newfangled fairytales in grades 4-8.
FAQs about Kids Fantasy Books
1. What should I consider when shopping for kid’s fantasy books?
The most important thing to consider when shopping for a fantasy book for your child is their tastes and interests. Fantasy books run the gamut in terms of themes and content, so you’ll want to choose something that will be a good fit for their unique personality and preferences. If your little one loves action heroes, choosing a fantasy adventure with a strong leading character could be a good choice. If your kiddo loves fairytales or magic, you’ll probably want to choose a story with a strong emphasis on those themes. Age and reading level are also important factors when choosing books, so double-check the age and grade level recommendations as well as the book’s Lexile range if that’s something your child’s school tracks or requires.
2. What is the best age to introduce kids to fantasy books?
Fantasy books are great for kids of all ages as they’re imaginative, engaging, and educational. Most kids learn to read in first or second grade, but you can introduce kids to fantasy books before then by reading together as a family. Choosing a popular series like Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia and reading it together can be a great way to bond as a family and instill a love of fantasy books from an early age.
3. What are the benefits of kids reading fantasy books?
Reading of any kind has huge benefits for kids of all ages. Reading together is a great way to connect and bond as a family. It can also improve kids’ listening and focus skills. Reading has been shown to support children’s cognitive and language development as well as increase their attention spans. Reading also sparks creativity and can foster a love of learning. Reading is a great way for kids to learn about the world around them. Even fantasy books often include important lessons about history and mythology.
4. What’s a good way to get my child to read more?
Finding the right book for your kiddo can make all the difference between reading feeling like a chore or an entertaining pastime. Introducing your little one to books at an early age and establishing a regular reading routine, especially one that your child enjoys participating in, is another great way to inspire your kiddo to read more. It’s also never a bad idea to let your child to pick out their own books as they are more likely to be excited about reading something they chose for themselves.
5. What if my child doesn’t like the book I pick out for them?
Sometimes, a book just isn’t the right fit. That’s okay, and it doesn’t mean that your child won’t enjoy reading a different book. Offering a selection of titles for your kiddo to choose from can be a good way to determine what book is best for your little reader. You may also want to leave the decision up to your kiddo entirely as taking ownership of their reading list may help it feel like less of a requirement and more like a fun hobby. If you do end up with a book that’s not hitting the mark, most retailers will accept returns or exchanges within a designated time frame.
Reading has countless benefits for kids of all ages. Fantasy books offer endless entertainment and can be a great way to foster the love of reading from an early age. No matter if your little one loves dragons or robots, there’s sure to be a fantasy book that captures their imagination. Even reluctant readers will be enchanted by the brave heroes and magical realism often found between the pages of a fantasy book. Finding a series to read together as a family can be a great introduction to the genre and as your little one gets older, they’ll love exploring contemporary classics like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and the Olympians on their own.