Want to escape with your kids to a world of fantasy and delight? Check out these magical books for the whole family to enjoy.
What better way to spark some joy than to dive into magical fantasy books?
From established classics to brand new releases, whether you’re turning the pages of a heavy hardcover or enjoying a digital read, magical books are both the ultimate escape and a way to learn ancient myths and legends.
Here’s a look at some of the best magical books for all ages:
If your family hasn’t yet delved into the adventures of the Boy Who Lived, now is a great time to get started. This seven-book series changed all the rules for books about magic, presenting a complex and internally consistent world that delights adults every bit as much as children. Even if you’ve seen the movies or visited the Wizarding World at one of the Universal theme parks, it’s worth reading the books to get all the subplots.
Note that the reading level is fairly high, especially in the later books. And some of the content could be disturbing to very young children. Consider reading the series together, as a family, especially if your kids are younger. You won’t be disappointed!
This classic fantasy series features everything from wizards to hobbits to elves to magical tree creatures known as Ents. Technically, the series consists of seven books, starting with The Hobbit and ending with The Children of Húrin. But many people start (and end) with the trilogy of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. The trilogy follows a group of unlikely heroes as they attempt to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron.
The series is quite complex, and requires a strong reading ability. Fortunately, these books are multilayered, with a simple enough overall story for kids to understand and quite a lot of subcontext for adults. Read the series as a family.
A modern classic, this five-book series follows a young boy who discovers he’s a demigod, the son of Poseidon. This revelation throws him into a series of adventures that make the sometimes confusing world of Greek mythology accessible to young readers. Yet the stories are rich enough to capture the minds and hearts of adults as well.
The books are considered middle-grade fiction, and the average reader of age eight or nine should have no trouble with them. If you can, though, plan to read the series with your kids. It’s a great jumping-off point for family discussions, as well as a fantastic intro (or refresher) to the ancient Greek myths and legends.
Unlike the sweeping high fantasy of many magical books, this one is grounded in the real-life practices of the Gullah people and set in the turbulent 1960s. To be sure, the magical adventures of the young protagonist, Jezebel Turner, tip the book firmly into fantasy territory. But anyone who grew up with even a hint of ancestral magic will see themselves reflected in the pages…and the story doesn’t shy away from what it meant to grow up Black in the Civil Rights era.
Another work of middle-grade fiction, this book can be tackled by average readers in third or fourth grade. But the story’s emphasis on family, traditions, and taking on tough challenges makes it a wonderful bonding experience for parents and kids…and you might even learn something along the way!
Although not as complex as some books on this list, who doesn’t love the idea of a 13-year-old mythological creature catcher? Fast-paced and brimming with action, this two-book series is perfect for those seeking a quick but engaging read.
These books are designed for ages 8 to 12, and average readers will have no problem getting through them. But the stories are so much fun, why wouldn’t you want to share them as a family?
If your kids are younger, don’t miss the delightful Meg and Mog series, encompassing two dozen books since 1972. These picture books about a witch, her cat, and an owl are a perfect way to introduce younger children to the world of fantasy and magic. The stories are surprisingly funny, and Meg is highly relatable.
This series is designed for beginning readers up to age five. If you’re a fan of fantasy and magic, you’ll get a kick out of sharing them with your young child.
Another top choice for the younger set, this picture book about a witch and her cat explores themes of friendship, inclusivity, and bravery. The lyrical nature of the text makes it perfect for reading aloud, yet the language is simple enough that beginning readers can work their way through it alone.
With high repeatability, this is a great book to read to toddlers, and then have them try reading it to you as they start learning to read.
Of course, this list just scratches the surface of all the magical and fantasy literature out there. Whether your family prefers e-readers, paperbacks, or hardcovers, use this list as a starting point to find out what kinds of magical stories you and your kids prefer. Then don’t be afraid to experiment with authors or books you haven’t yet heard of. Magical books are a wonderful way to escape from your everyday world and share some fun and inspiration with your entire family.