Children’s fantasy is not just for children. People of all ages will enjoy these books, and adults will be transported back to their childhood. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Chronicles of Narnia are all series that have influenced children’s book culture. Classic tales like The Little Prince, and Matilda will make adults feel reminiscent, while novels like The Giver have a different meaning for adolescents and adult.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved novel tells the story of the “little prince” who befriends a pilot stranded in the Sahara desert. Over the course of eight days, while the pilot rebuilds his plane, the prince recounts the story of his life. From his run-ins with other inhabitants on the six other asteroids he’s visited to his adventures so far on Earth, the little prince is a speck of hope in a universe of darkness.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The wizard loved by children and adults alike has had seven novels where fans followed him through his quest to defeat dark-wizard Voldemort. J.K. Rowling’s character represents a timeless part of many people’s childhood–one which is visited over and over again. What makes this a “must-read” is that not only are the books magical, but you actually want to be a part of this world full of wizards, witches, and amazing creatures. The Harry Potter series follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they progress through adolescence in a fantasy world full of danger.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians follows the adventures of the titular demi-god as he battles his way through a series of challenges revolving around mythical figures, including his father Poseidon. Percy Jackson and his friends Grover, a satyr, and Annabelle, fellow demi-god and daughter of Athena, will remind you why you were so intrigued by your middle school mythology unit.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The BFG is an angelic tale told by the beloved Roald Dahl. It depicts the friendship that forms between the only “friendly” giant, the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), and Sophie, an unsuspecting young girl who helps save the world from man-eating giants. Although man-eating giants seem like an odd topic for a children’s book, it’s definitely a must-read and one that you won’t soon forget!
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Over the years many books have been written that explore the quest for immortality. For the Tuck’s, immortality is not all it’s made out to be. Natalie Babbit’s classic tale follows ten-year old Winnie Foster who, while contemplating running away from home, meets Jesse Tuck–who is drinking from a stream on her property. Little does Winnie know, she is about to discover life, love, and loss.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
British author Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy novel follows Sophie’s mission to turn back into a young girl after being transformed into an old woman by an evil witch. Sophie meets Howl, a wizard who is rumored to eat young girl’s hearts, and makes a deal with his fire demon to be set free from her curse. Sophie’s adventures with Howl and friends make for an exciting novel, which was beautifully depicted in the Miyazaki animated adaptation.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This classic children’s story is the ultimate fantasy novel. Adapted countless times, Lewis Carroll writes of Alice, a young girl who falls into a rabbit hole and is met with a slew of challenges and talking creatures. From The Caterpillar to The Cheshire Cat, there is never ending adventure in which Alice confronts fantasy and reality.
The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis
This children’s series follows the journey of four siblings after they find a magical world through a wardrobe. The series features seven books that are not written in chronological order. The first published book, ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ is the most popular of the series. Fantasy aspects in this book include an alternate universe and many talking animals.
Another Roald Dahl selection deserves this spot because unlike the BFG, Matilda’s powers are almost fathomable. The book follows Matilda, a girl with extraordinary gifts who loves to read. Matilda uses her powers mostly for good, and is able to get back at her unloving parents and evil Principal. While this book does not take place in a ‘fantasy world,’ Matilda’s special powers put her on our list.
The Giver explored the popular theme of dystopian societies before it was popular. It centers on a young boy Jonas, who at the age of eleven receives his job in society—Receiver of Memories. This job causes him to be isolated from his friends and family while he trains with the current Receiver. He learns about good and bad things of the past, and realizes that although there is no war or starvation currently, there is also no color, music, or love. From there the older Receiver—now known as ‘The Giver’ and Jonas decide it’s time to return memories back to the people. The rest is a journey that you’ll have to read to fully appreciate.