A mega fantasy and sci-fi booklist with books for all ages and all types of fantasy lovers (even those who don’t think they ARE fantasy lovers). Bonus: here be dragons.
Fantasy/Sci-Fi: Love It or Hate It?
Are you a fantasy or sci-fi junkie? Skip to the fantasy and sci-fi booklist below and start putting books on hold at your local library!
Are you a fantasy or sci-fi skeptic? Think it’s not the genre for you? Don’t want to read any books with magic?
We are here for you, readers! The fantasy and sci-fi booklist below contains lots of books that are technically “fantasy” or “science fiction” but which do not contain magic, made up creatures, maps and castles, or wizards.
We’ve noted which books are especially good introductions to this genre, which books make terrific family read alouds, and which ones contain magic. We’ve also linked to our reviews, where applicable, and noted rough age ranges. As always, read discerningly!
Note for Kids participating in the 2018 Reading Challenge
This is a fantasy and sci-fi booklist for you! Many books meet more than one category on the booklist; you are not required to use a book we list as a “book with dragons” as your “book with a dragon,” but please do not double dip! For example, if you read The Hobbit and use it as your “book with a dragon,” you must read something different for the “fantasy by a Christian author.” You do not have to read a book from this list; these are only to help you out!
Note for Grown-ups using our 2018 Reading Challenge
Perhaps more than most, the genre of fantasy and sci-fi is just as robust at the children’s and young adult reading levels as it is at the adult level. Many of the titles below will hold as much–or more–delight and enjoyment for parents as well as kids! You don’t have to use “grown-up” books for your own reading challenge attempt.
It’s not too late to check out (and commit to) the 2018 Reading Challenge!
The Mega Fantasy and Sci-Fi Booklist
Under each sub-heading, books are listed youngest to oldest.
Worthwhile Critical Resources:
- Honey for a Child’s Heart contains an excellent chapter on fantasy literature from a Christian perspective.
- Echoes of Eden contains several relevant chapters, particularly those on J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling
- The Christian Imagination (edited by Leland Ryken) contains a selection of essays on myth and fantasy that are also worth reading.
- Don’t miss Janie’s post: Reflection in a Dragon’s Eye
Fantasy and Science Fiction Titles for Those Who Think They Don’t Like Fantasy and Science Fiction — And Those Who Do!
*indicates good read aloud options; don’t forget that many of the fairy/folk tales listed further down are also good fits for those who don’t like high fantasy; these titles all work for the general “fantasy/sci-fi” category on the challenge.
- *My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannett Stiles (a dragon, chewing gum, tigers, and a cat; an excellent first chapter book read aloud); ages 4-10
- *The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest Shepard (talking animals/toys; broad age appeal, but do try this with chidlren older than preschool–you’ll be surprised at how they love it!) All Ages
- *The Velveteen Rabbit (more talking toys) Ages 5-10
- *The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. (middle grades, but broad age appeal; reminiscent of The Velveteen Rabbit) Ages 6-12
- *The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey (middle grades; gentle talking animal fantasy) Ages 6-10
- The Doll People by Ann Martin (talking toys; elementary) Ages 7-10
- Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke (upper elementary; graphic novel) Ages 7-10
- Zita the Spacegirl (series) by Ben Hatke (upper elementary; graphic novel) Ages 7-10
- *Paddington by Michael Bond (upper elementary reading level; broad age appeal; talking animal fantasy) Ages 6-12
- *Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (broad age appeal; talking animal fantasy) All ages as a read aloud; ages 6-10 as an independent read
- Babe, the Gallant Pig by Dick Kings-Smith (and others–King-Smith has lots of talking animal stories) Ages 7-10
- *Freddy the Pig (series) by Walter Brooks (another talking pig!) Read aloud for ages 6-12; reading level, ages 10-12
- *Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins (talking animal fantasy with squirrels) Ages 7-10
- *Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (talking bunnies) Ages 7-10
- *Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (talking rats who are inventors!) Ages 8-12
- *The Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (a sand fairy, magic, and 5 children; middle grades with broad age appeal) Read aloud for ages 6-12 (reading level, ages 10-12)
- *Half Magic (and others) by Edward Eager (light-hearted and funny; middle grades with broad age appeal) Read aloud for ages 6-12 (reading level, ages 10-12)
- *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (better than the movie!) Ages 6-12 (reading level, ages 8-10)
- *The Borrowers (series) by Mary Norton (tiny people who have big adventures under the floorboards) Read aloud for ages 6-12; reading level, ages 10-12
- The Candymakers by Wendy Mass (inventions and candy and a mystery!) Ages 10-12
- *The Sign of the Cat by Lynne Jonnell (high seas adventure with talking cats); Ages 8-12
- *Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck (high seas adventure with talking mice); Ages 8-12
- *Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (middle grades classic) Ages 10-12
- *Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (lots of spiritual depth here!) All ages as a read aloud; reading level, ages 10-12
- *Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley (tall tale with quirky characters, a talking alligator, and a family curse) Ages 8-12
More Fantasy and Science Fiction Titles for Those Who Enjoy This Genre
*make great family read alouds! These titles all work for the general fantasy/sci-fi category in the challenge.
- *Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George (Castle Glower, book 1) (light-hearted with a living castle, griffins, siblings, and adventure; middle grades) Ages 8-12
- *The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry (light-hearted, Medieval setting, adventure; middle grades) Ages 10-14
- If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid (middle grades; fancy dresses!) Ages 10-14
- The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood (middle grades and realistic in feel, but with “can’t-happen-in-real-life” elements!) All ages (reading level, ages 10-12)
- The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques. (mice, swords, Medieval action!) Ages 8-12.
- Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (light sci-fi with aliens) Ages 10-14
- *Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce: great father-son title! (light sci-fi with a visit to the moon) Ages 10-14
- Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (middle grades; high fantasy) Ages 10-14
- Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier (middle grades; high fantasy) Ages 10-14
- York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (sci-fi adventure with inventions, not aliens) Ages 10-14
- The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart (sci-fi adventure with inventions, not aliens) Ages 10-14
- Magyk (Septimus Heap series) by Angie Sage. (Medieval setting, magyk, and maps) Ages 10-14
- Larklight Series (Larklight, Starcross, and Northstorm) by Philip Reeve. (Fun steampunk/sci-fi series for middle grades.) Ages 10 and up.
- The Thief and others by Megan Whalen Turner (epic fantasy; teens; read in order! Read our discussion of The Queen of Attolia) Ages 14 and up.
- Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (teens; steam-punk/alternate reality) Ages 15 and up.
- The Chosen Prince by Diane Stanley (young teens; mythology) Ages 15 and up
- Goblins by Philip Reeve (teens; goblins!) Ages 12 and up.
- Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson (teens; great discussion starter!) Ages 12 and up.
- See also our Author Portrait on Diana Wynne Jones
Fantastic Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
While these titles also work for the general fantasy/sci-fi category, there is a specific fairy/folk tales category for those taking the bigger reading challenges!
- The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell (Sleeping Beauty retelling; middle grades) Ages 10 and up.
- Beauty by Robin McKinley (Beauty and the Beast; middle grades and up) Ages 12 and up.
- Beauty and the Beast by Nancy Willard and illustrated by Barry Moser (elementary/middle grades) All ages.
- The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye (Cinderella; middle grades) All ages as a read aloud; reading level, ages 8-10
- The Glass Slipper by Eleanor Farjeon (Cinderella; middle grades) All ages as a read aloud; reading level, ages 8-10
- Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (Snow Queen; middle grades) Ages 10 and up
- The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville (fairy tale mash-up) Ages 12 and up
- Cinder and rest of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (steampunk/sci-fi Cinderella and others; teen) Ages 14 and up.
- Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George (East of the Sun, West of the Moon; middle grades and up) Ages 15 and up
- The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope (faeries; teens) Ages 12 and up
- Paul Galdone’s fairy and folk tale retellings (picture books)
- The Random House Book of Fairy Tales: a terrific introduction to classic fairy tales for all ages (anthology)
- Faerie Gold by Kathryn Lindskoog and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker (delightful fairy/folk tale anthology; excellent for older children and teens)
- Favorite Fairy Tales Told in… by Virginia Haviland (delightful country-specific collections)
- The People Could Fly: American Black Folk Tales by Virginia Hamilton
- See also:
Here Be Dragons!
*indicates books that work well as family read alouds/appeal to lots of ages; those taking the extra reading challenges need a book with dragons, but these also work for the general fantasy categories as well.
- The Dragon and the Garden by N. D. Wilson: biblical picture book
- Dragon Quest by Alan Baillie: starred review for this picture book!
- Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains (dragons + spiritual allegory)
- *My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannet Stiles (fantasy, early elementary) Ages 4-10
- *Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton (fantasy, elementary) Ages 8-12
- *Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (folk lore + fantasy; middle grades) Ages 8-12 (broader as a read aloud)
- Bianca: the Brave Frail and Delicate Princess by Meg Welch Dendler (fantasy, middle grades) Ages 8-10
- Fires of Invention (The Cove, book 1) (invention-heavy sci-fi; middle grades) Ages 10-14
- *The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit (middle grades; all ages read aloud)
- Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski (part fantasy, part devotional) Ages 10-14
- Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (fantasy, middle grades) Ages 10-up.
- The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz (starred review for this quirky, historical fantasy with a hefty dose of humor and philosophical musings) Ages 10 and up
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini (the first book was written when the author was homeschooled!) Ages 14 and up
- The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (quirky fantasy) Ages 14 and up
- Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett (short stories) Age 10-14
- The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew Chilton (philosophical fairy tale) Ages 10-15
- The Book of Revelation (It DOES have a dragon in it! We are not implying that it is a fantasy in the sense that it isn’t true; merely that the world of Revelation is fantastical in the truest sense)
Fantasy and Science Fiction by Professing Christians (authors/illustrators)
*indicates good read alouds, but do note that many of these have intense scenes–check the reviews before reading aloud to young children if “teens” is listed!
- *Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton (fantasy, elementary) Ages 8-12
- The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton (sci-fi with inventions, not aliens) Ages 8-12
- *The Green Ember (series) by S. D. Smith. All ages as a read aloud; reading level, ages 8-12
- Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions by Sheila Grau and illustrated by Joe Suptin (gross, scary, and all around adventure!) Ages 10-12
- *The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald (classic) Ages 8-12
- *The Chronicles of Narnia (start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!) by C. S. Lewis. All ages.
- *The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson (begin at the beginning) Ages 8-12 (broader as a read aloud)
- *The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers (retelling of the biblical story of King David) Ages 8-12
- Ashtown Burials by N. D. Wilson (guns, mythical figures, and epic good v evil showdowns) Ages 12 and up
- 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson (epic fantasy) Ages 10 and up.
- A Pocket Full of Murder by R. J. Anderson (murder mystery with fantastical elements) Ages 10 and up
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (read it before the movie comes out!) Ages 10 and up
- *The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (epic fantasy) Ages 10 and up
- The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis (sci-fi) Ages 12 and up
- The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton. Ages 14 and up
- Phantastes by George MacDonald. Ages 14 and up.
- Origins Trilogy by Keith Robinson (sci-fi with evidence for Creation). Ages 15 and up
Our Readers Speak: More Suggestions!
Our Facebook and Instagram followers have even more suggestions! We’ve listed approximate ages only. These are not books we have officially reviewed/recommended on Redeemed Reader. As always, read discerningly.
- The Mismantle Chronicles by M. I. McAllister (Shakespearean squirrels, mice, otters, and more) Middle grades
- Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack (graphic novel; sci-fi with famous ancient Egyptian Cleopatra) Middle grades
- Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling (wizards, magic, and epic good v evil) Middle grades
- The Door Within (series) by Wayne Thomas Batson (Christian publisher!) Teen
- The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin (modern classic) Teen
- The Dark is Rising (series) by Susan Cooper (modern classic) Teen
But wait! There’s more! What have we missed that you consider a must read for this genre? Tell us in the comments below!
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