Even the most reluctant readers find fantasy books hard to resist. From magical and mythical creatures to wizards and witches to fairy tales, both classic and re-imagined, there is something for everyone.
Fantasy books are a fantastic choice for getting reluctant readers hooked on reading. With many fantasy book series, there are usually a number of follow-on books to get stuck into once the first is finished. Many fantasy books also give children the opportunity to explore concepts and characters on their own or as a class with STEM and art projects.
We've compiled a list of 50 enchanting fantasy books for kids of all ages and stages, with touchy-feely books for babies and toddlers, up to fantasy novels, and chapter books for middle schoolers.
Fantasy Books for Babies and Toddlers
1. Baby Dragon: Finger Puppet Book by Chronicle Books
This finger puppet book is perfect for engaging younger readers and will get them excited for storytime. Follow Baby Dragon as he explores his world, discovers his powers, and learns to fly. Children will love to play with the puppet in this book as you read to them.
2. That's Not My Dragon (Usborne Touchy-Feely Books) by Fiona Watt
This touchy-feely book will catch the attention of even the youngest readers. With a variety of textures and visual elements, this book helps babies to explore their senses, while looking for the right dragon. The repetitive language used in the book is superb for developing reading skills in pre-readers.
3. Pop Up Peekaboo! Monsters by DK Children
Complete with exciting, moving pop-up characters, this book is sure to captivate any reader. The moving parts of the pop-up character coming together will catch the attention of babies learning to track movement. Young children will enjoy the pop-up element of this book and older children can investigate how the pop-up mechanism operated.
4. Sparkly Touchy-Feely Mermaids by Fiona Watt & Helen Wood
This book has beautiful illustrations and is another touchy-feely book that is perfect for babies who are starting to explore the world around them. The different textures and sparkly visual elements are superb for encouraging babies to explore and get stuck in. Young children will be drawn to the shiny and tactile sensory elements of this book, which will encourage them to handle and interact with the book.
5. Never Touch a Dragon! by Rosie Greening
This rhyming book is fun and exciting for an early reading experience. The book itself is small and easy for younger readers to hold, and each page features an easy to clean silicone touchy-feely element. The book warns children never to touch a dragon, but they will take great fun in ignoring this instruction and doing it anyway!
6. That's Not My Unicorn by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells
This book explores many visual and tactile elements with different illustrations of unicorns, one of the most popular magical creatures. The book also features a mouse on each page which is fantastic for engaging older readers who may be reading along as they are to find the mouse on each page.
7. My First Pop-Up Mythological Monsters by Owen Davey
This book features many exquisite illustrations of mythical creatures, made even more exciting with a pop-up feature. This is perfect to catch the attention of younger readers as they can follow the moving parts of the illustration. This pretty book would look fantastic on any nursery or bedroom bookshelf.
8. Mermaid's First Words - A Tuffy Book by Scarlett Wing
This virtually indestructible book should be on the wish list of any parent or teacher of young children. Doubling as a teething aid, with rip-proof, waterproof, washable pages this book will last for a long time. The playful illustrations and simple words used, make this book a fantastic early reading experience. This book is a must-have for people reading with young children who are keen to touch and interact with the pages of a book.
9. Pop-Up Peekaboo! Dragon by DK Children
This pop-up book featuring dragons is an ideal first fantasy book for a baby. Simple language and fun, colorful illustrations make this book an ideal addition to a baby's first library. The pop-up element will encourage younger readers to really engage and view the book with intent.
10. Where's Mr. Unicorn? by Ingela P Arrhenius
From a wider range of "Where's Mr/Mrs..." books, 'Where's Mr Unicorn?' follows a simple question and answer format. The book encourages readers to get involved by moving felt flaps to reveal a different character on each page. The illustrations are bright and playful, and the interactivity in moving the flaps is just the right amount for introducing babies to reading.
Fantasy Books for Preschoolers
11. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
In this fun book, readers will learn all about how dragons love every type of taco. A young boy is planning a party for dragons and the narrator tells him how to get the dragons to attend. He has one warning though- don't let the dragons eat spicy salsa! When they inevitably do eat some spicy salsa, the results are hilarious and will leave readers laughing out loud.
12. How to Catch a Mermaid by Adam Wallace
This colorful book follows the story of a girl trying to catch a mermaid. The traps used to try to catch a mermaid in the book are STEAM-based and are great fun to re-create in the classroom. You can also challenge children to create their own trap, inspired by the ones in this book. This book is one of many in the 'How to catch...' series.
13. Never Let a Unicorn Wear a Tutu by Diane Alber
A little girl finds a perfect tutu for her unicorn, but when the unicorn won't stop trying to accessorize her new tutu, things get a bit out of hand. This is a fun and colorful book which is filled with laugh-out-loud hilarity that younger readers are sure to love. This book is part of the wider "Never let a unicorn..." series and is ideal for getting reluctant readers hooked on books.
14. The Night Dragon by Naomi Howarth
The beautiful illustrations in this story help to tell the tale of Maud the dragon who is bullied by the other dragons. She stays by herself in her cave, but her friend mouse encourages her to fly and be herself. The Night Dragon is a lovely story about friendship where Maud learns that it's ok to be a little bit different and that what makes her different is what makes her herself.
15. Lift the flap: Fairy Tales by Roger Priddy
Find all the favorite fairy tales in this book such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood. The lift-the-flap element of this book makes the book fun and interactive for younger readers, encouraging them to get involved.
16. There Is No Dragon In This Story by Lou Carter
This is a charming tale of a dragon who can't find his place in any of the other fairy tales. He wants to be a hero, but no one wants a villainous dragon in their story! He eventually finds himself needing to become the hero and saves the day for everyone. This story is a heartwarming tale of finding where you belong and how you can help others.
18. Rapunzel by Chloe Perkins
This book is a fresh take on the classic fairy tale of Rapunzel, set in India. The story is retold with vibrant illustrations and the new multicultural take is sure to excite many children in your classroom. Representation matters and the 'Once Upon a World' series has ensured that their fairy tales are for everyone.
19. The Secret Life of Leprechauns by Luna James
This book is a wonderful introduction to leprechauns for little readers and a perfect reading pick for St Patrick's Day! There are questions throughout the book to keep readers engaged with little counting tasks which add an element of interactivity to this book to make it even more of a fun read.
20. Fairy Tales: A Beautiful Collection of Favorite Fairy Tales by Parragon Books
This beautiful book has a collection of eight classic fairy tale favorites such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Hansel and Gretel, The Gingerbread Man, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Cinderella. With beautiful illustrations, this book is a must-have addition to any children's library!
Fantasy Books fro First and Second Grade
21. How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace
This book from the 'How to Catch...' series has lots of exciting ways to keep young readers engaged. The STEAM themes of the traps set are easy to expand on after reading, getting children to re-create traps or come up with their own. There is also an i-spy element to the book with hidden unicorns throughout to find.
22. Backyard Fairies by Pheobe Wahl
This book is an intricately illustrated book detailing the secret, hidden world of fairies. The fairies are always just out of sight for the girl in the book, however, the reader is able to see them. Backyard Fairies is beautifully illustrated and teaches children that magic is all around whether they can see it or not.
23. The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora
A prince is looking for a princess to marry and has a difficult task ahead of him to decide who. This fresh spin on a classic fairy tale, with an African setting and featuring characters in traditional dress, body paint, and make-up is an important representation that is often lacking in traditional fairy tales. Opportunities arise with characters wearing traditional patterned body paint to delve deeper and explore parts of African countries' cultures.
24. Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn by Shannon Hale
Kitty thinks she might be a unicorn, but when she sees Unicorn, she starts to doubt herself and lose her confidence. This is a cute and compelling story of friendship and identity, which has been brought to life by illustrator LeUyen Pham. This book is one of many written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.
25. Mermaid School by Joanne Stewart Wetzel
This book focuses on starting school as it follows Molly the mermaid on her first day of school. The book details many elements of the first day at school such as making friends, teaching, learning, and storytime. Mermaid School is a great book to start a conversation about that first day of school nerves and talk through any worries.
26. Rise of the Earth Dragon (Dragon Masters #1) by Tracey West
This is the first book in the Dragon Masters series by Tracey West and is a superb introduction to chapter books for younger readers. Eight-year-old Drake is taken by the King's soldiers and forced to train as a dragon master. He must find out if he has what it takes and what his dragon's special power is. There are currently 22 books in the Dragon Masters series, which gives plenty of opportunities for children to follow on reading from this book
27. Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras Book 1) by Asia Citro
This series of STEM-themed books follow Zoey as she encounters various magical animals with problems that must be solved using science. These books are perfect to use alongside science topics with a child-friendly glossary of scientific terms in addition to Zoey modeling how to research and record her findings in a science journal. In total, there are nine books in this series, each with a different STEM theme, so there is bound to be at least one that could link to an upcoming science topic.
28. StoryTime STEM: Folk & Fairy Tales: 10 Favorite Stories With Hands-On Investigations by Immacula A. Rhodes
This book gives children to opportunity to investigate the science behind some of their favorite fairy tales. Each fairy tale in the book features three STEM activities, with sheets to record findings on. This book is a fun way to introduce science to your classroom with fun stories and easy-to-follow concepts, especially for younger learners who are just being introduced to science.
29. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann
This funny story is full of rhymes and is about a dragon who can't seem to stop eating everything in the Kingdom! The book has a broad vocabulary which is perfect for younger readers and has lots of repetition to help them to practice their early reading skills.
30. Invasion of the Unicorns by David Biedrzycki
This charming book for kids is about Secret Agent Bubble07 who is from a race of alien unicorns from space. Bubble07 poses as a soft toy unicorn and infiltrates the home of a little girl to gather information about the human race. Bubble07 learns about life on earth and must make a report to the unicorn's leader deciding if the unicorns should invade Earth or not.
Fantasy Books for Third and Fourth Grade
31. The Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Creatures by Stephen Krensky
This book is all about legendary magical creatures and the societies from which the myths and lore come. With exquisite illustrations and stories about well-known creatures such as Bigfoot, dragons, and unicorns, to tales of lesser-known creatures like the Japanese kitsune, this book is a captivating read.
32. Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins
This is the first novel in the Upside Down Magic fantasy book series. The book follows the story of four students of the Dunwiddle Magic School's Upside-Down Magic class and their wonky magic which doesn't always turn out the way it was meant to. There are eight books in the Upside Down Magic series which gives your readers plenty of follow-on material once they have read this book.
33. Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin
Sisters Snow and Rose were used to living a privileged life in a big house with their loving mother and father, until one day their father disappears and their mother is overcome with grief. The girls set off into the dangerous forest in search of adventure, which soon enough finds them. This book is about the bond of sisterhood and is beautifully illustrated.
34. Dragon Rider (Book 1) by Cornelia Funke
Firedrake the dragon and Ben make a great team, searching for a mythical land. They meet lots of other magical creatures along the way, as well as an evil villain who has sinister intentions. This book is the first in the Dragon Rider fantasy book series. The book was also recently made into a film (2020) which if used properly, could accompany the reading of the book to help children visualize the story.
35. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
Pinmei's grandmother is a fantastic storyteller, entertaining the whole village with her tales. When her grandmother is kidnapped by the Emperor's soldiers, Pinmei decides to go on a quest to find the Luminous Stone- something the Emperor covets- to save her grandmother. On her journey, she encounters legendary challenges she must overcome. This beautifully illustrated story by Grace Lin is inspired by Chinese folklore.
36. Children's Stories from Myths & Legends: Classic Tales From Around the World by Ronne Randall
This book is a collection of stories, myths, and legends from countries and cultures around the world. The stories are helpfully categorized into themed chapters such as Gods and Goddesses, Heroic Deeds, Love and Marriage, and Death and Endings. Graham Howells brings the fantastic creatures in this book to life with his fantastic illustrations.
37. The New Kid at School (Dragon Slayers' Academy, No. 1) by Kate McMullen
Squeamish Wiglaf is told one day that he is destined to become a hero, and so he decides to set out in the hope of fulfilling this destiny at the Dragon Slayer's Academy. This book is the first of 20 in the Dragon Slayers' Academy fantasy book series.
38. Brave Red, Smart Frog: A New Book of Old Tales by Emily Jenkins
In this book, you will find seven classic fairy tale stories retold with humor and wit to give them a new lease of life. Included in this book are fresh retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, The Frog Prince, and other lesser-known fairy tales.
39. Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle
This first book of three in this magical adventure, Wishing Day follows the story of three magical sisters. In the town of Willow Hill, on the third night of the third month following a girl's 13th birthday she can make three wishes. When Natasha, the oldest sister makes these wishes she gets more than she bargained for.
40. Azmina the Gold Glitter Dragon (Dragon Girls #1) by Maddy Mara
When the Tree Queen summons Azmina, Willa, and Naomi to the Magic Forest they discover that they have incredible abilities. They have fearsome roars, can fly high, and breathe fire. They learn that these abilities are to help them with their responsibility to protect the forest from Shadow Sprites who seek to steal the magic for themselves. This book is the first of six in the Dragon Girls series.
Fantasy Books for Middle School
41. Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
In this fantasy chapter book when Lady Truthful's magical Newington Emerald is stolen she decides she must go to London to get it back. When she learns that women are not allowed to be out alone, as they risk damaging their reputation, she decides to disguise herself as a man. In her quest to find her stolen Emerald she meets many interesting and magical characters in this novel where regency romance meets fantasy.
42. A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
In this novel, Hansel and Gretel find themselves caught up in eight other Grimm fairy tales. The narrator tells the reader of their encounters with fantastic creatures from dragons, to warlocks and the devil, while they learn the true story behind the fairy tale. This exciting and witty take on classic fairy tales is a perfect fantasy book for older readers.
43. Artemis Fowl (Book 1) by Eoin Colfer
This imaginative story written by Eoin Colfer is the first of eight fantasy novels in this series. Artemis Fowl is 12-years-old and is already a criminal mastermind. He kidnaps and holds Holly Short for ransom, but might just be about to start a cross-species war with Holly's species of highly armed, high-tech fairies.
44. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eragon can't believe his luck when he brings home a unique polished blue stone, only to realize it's a dragon egg. Suddenly his world is turned upside down and Eragon must make a choice as he goes on an adventurous journey with his loyal dragon. Eragon is book one of four in this fantasy book series.
45. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Every year people leave a baby for Xan the witch, believing it keeps her from terrorizing them. Xan is kind and delivers these babies to families on the other side of the forest, but when one of the babies is exposed to extraordinary magic, Xan decides to raise her. As she turns 13, her magic grows with dangerous consequences.
46. The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam Book 1 by Jasper Fforde
Magic is fading and Jennifer is finding it increasingly difficult to find employment for the magicians coming to her employment agency, Kazam. She has a vision of the last dragon being slain by an unnamed, mysterious dragon slayer
47. Frogkisser by Garth Nix
In this fantasy chapter book, Anya must go on a quest with a thief trapped in the body of a newt, a talking dog, and a wizard to free her land from the grips of her evil stepfather. She will learn how to use her power - the ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss- and the importance of friendship.
48. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
In this classic fantasy chapter book, cities have become giant moving predators on wheels who seek to devour each other in order to survive the post-apocalyptic world. The heroine of the book Hester Shaw joins forces with two strangers to stop a sinister plot that threatens the future of the world.
49. Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Despite her parents both having superpowers, Jessica Tran has none and is just an average high-schooler looking to get a paid internship to bolster her college application. She eventually lands one, but with a notorious supervillain, and soon discovers a dangerous plot. This book has fantastic representation with truly diverse characters.
50. City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau
This compelling story is about two friends living in a post-apocalyptic world trying to solve a mystery before they, and the rest of the human race run out of time. They must solve the mystery of an ancient message to keep the lights on in their home and save everyone from eternal darkness.