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Fantasy novels for children

Step into an imaginary world Fantasy novels for children 7+
Ever increasing numbers of children’s novels are taking children into imaginary worlds where alongside the daring young protagonists they will experience vicariously adventure, danger and challenge.

You and your child may be very familiar with well-known classics such as the Chronicles of Narnia and the more recent His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, but where should you start with the plethora of new titles?

Here are a few to look out for:

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone is set in the frozen world of Elkenwald  where two children are on a quest to save the kingdom from the evil ice queen. Spellstone by Ross Montgomery is a story full of magic, danger and humour. Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell in which the barrier between our world and the Archipelago, home to an amazing menagerie of magical creatures is under threat.  For younger readers see The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell. Visit our Lovemybooks activity page

And there are many more to choose from. We asked a group of Lovemybooks supporters and patrons for their suggestions:

City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmad Pathak is recommended by Imogen Russell Williams, children’s literature critic and broadcaster and Lovemybooks patron,

Set in an alternate India – and England – of the 1850s, this is a magical fantasy of the most thrilling and thought-provoking kind, interweaving colonial history with a desperate and far-ranging quest. 

Luka and the Fire of Life  and Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie are recommended by Chitra Soundar author, storyteller and Lovemybooks patron

These two books are magical, funny and in the vein of The Phantom Tollbooth or Narnia – adventure filled stories, deeply rooted in South Asian culture without being specific about it. They are about stories, storytelling and the power of imagination. 

Chitra comments ‘I think all readers need a balanced mix of fantasy and contemporary stories. When they don’t get a rich mix of everything, then reading gets one-dimensional. And it’s important to read books from everywhere and writers of all backgrounds – because the fountain of imagination feeds off different sources and lived experiences.’

Zo and the Forest of Secrets by Alake Pilgrim is recommended by Jon Biddle Teacher and English lead:
A thrilling children’s sci-fi fantasy where the energy almost bursts from the page. Zo travels through what she thought was a familiar landscape but encounters a series of terrifying creatures and an extremely different version of the island she grew up on. Alake’s children’s debut is genuinely gripping as Zo battles for survival on her journey through the forest.

Glassborn by Peter Bunzl is recommended by Anne Thompson Librarian, book reviewer and blogger
Glassborn, the standalone sequel to Magicborn, is a treat of a read. A story in the best tradition of children’s literature, a magical, historical fantasy tale of riddles and curses, secrets, spells and excitement set in an icy world ruled by a wicked Fairy Queen and featuring four brave children. Glassborn is a captivating story with literary connections to Narnia and Bronte and containing much hope in its pages.

Anne also recommends The Griffin Gate by Vashti Hardy illustrated by Natalie Smillie and published by Barrington Stoke.  The steampunk fantasy style that this award-winning author has become known for is presented here in a shorter but equally exciting version. This will introduce even the most reluctant of readers to a whole new world of adventures with further stories to follow in the series.
Twitter @alibrarylady 

Dr Mary Roche Author, Educator and co founder of the Network for Educational Action Research Ireland (NEARI) recommended several books, she writes:
‘I am a huge fan of Kieran Larwood’s work.The Legend of Podkin One-Ear (the first book in the series) won the Blue Peter Book Award in 2017. Larwood has created a wonderful series of adventures featuring a rabbit called Podkin One-Ear, his sister Paz and their baby brother, Pook. With superb illustrations by David Wyatt, this series will enchant children of 8 or older. See:

The Monsters of Rookhaven (Macmillan, 2021) won the 2021 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Honour Award for Fiction.  A family of monsters lives in Rookhaven. The local villagers tolerate them, and they don’t intrude upon the villagers – usually. Padraig Kenny’s world building is amazing and Edward Bettison’s eerie illustrations are a perfect fit. (age 9+)

Toby Alone is the first of a 2-book series by Timothee de Fombelle and illustrated by François Place. Originally published in 2006, it was translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone. As a fan of Mary Norton’s ‘The Borrowers’ this book immediately appealed to me because the protagonist Toby Lolness is tiny. Like all the inhabitants of his world he is less than 2 millimetres tall. This book is a complete page turner, full of plot, politics, intrigue and suspense.

S.F Said created the highly unique character of a Mesopotamian Blue Kitten called Varjak Paw in 2003. When Varjak’s owner dies, a strange gentleman and his two black cats come to the high old house on the hill and begin to take over. Varjak is immediately on alert. Having inherited a martial arts skill called ‘The Way’ from his grandfather, he now uses it to survive. The sequel – The Outlaw Varjak Paw (published 2005) – continues the adventures. Illustrated sublimely by David McKean, the books are a delicious blend of spine-tingling suspense wrapped in gorgeous prose. Winners of many awards, the books are perfect for the 8-11 age group. See

SF’s books are firm favourites with the Lovemybooks team too and huge hits with young audiences.

Visit our activity pages for:
Varjak Paw
The Outlaw Varjak Paw
Phoenix An exciting Sci Fi adventure
Tyger   A mysterious mythical animal is discovered in an alternative London in which the Empire and slavery still exists.

See also our Dragon Mountain activity page by Katie and Kevin Tsang An exciting fantasy adventure sprinkled with elements from Chinese folklore with themes of loyalty, bravery strength and teamwork. First in the Dragon Realm stories.
See our activity page