Beyond “Harry Potter” and “Twilight”: Fantasy Books For You and Your Kids

Chances are, your kids have already torn through all the “Harry Potter” books, seen the new movie and devoured the “Twilight” series.

Maybe you have, too. If so, never fear: We’ve got enough demons, dragons, magicians and ghosts to keep a family busy for the rest of the summer. I’ve created a list of the best fantasy lit for all age groups—even adults—rated on a five-star scale.

You may notice that most of the books have been placed in the tweens section, but don’t let this put you off. These ages are more of a guide, and anyone can read all of these books. In fact, I have myself enjoyed many of the “kids books” I’ve read recently. I still enjoyed. Anyway, enjoy!


Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) ” by Eoin Colfer
Five words: Teenage. Criminal. Mastermind. Versus. Fairies.

The Arkadians ” by Lloyd Alexander
A girl with mystical powers, a poet who has been turned into a donkey, and a man on the run are thrown together in ancient Greece.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents ” by Terry Prachett
The title says it all. Very funny.

Dial-a-Ghost ” by Eva Ibbotson
Clever and engaging, this is a story about a family of ghosts and a boy who needs a friend.

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Good for younger readers and anyone who likes dragons.


The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1) ” by Lloyd Alexander (begins with “The Book of Three”)
Based on Welsh mythology, this series reads much like the King Arthur legends.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3) ” by Rick Riordan (begins with “The Lightning Thief”)
Greek mythology in the modern world.

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde
Perfect for anyone who’s ever wondered what it would be like to be stuck inside a video game.

Wild Magic (The Immortals)” by Tamora Pierce (begins with “Wild Magic”)
This story takes place in a medieval world full of magic and centers around nature spells.

Inkdeath (Inkheart Trilogy) ” by Cornelia Funke (begins with “Inkheart”)
What would it be like to meet the characters in your favorite book?
for Inkheart
for Inkspell and Inkdeath (the last two books in the series)

The Game Of Sunken Places ” by M.T. Anderson
A good novel where things are not what they seem. If you like things about mythical creatures, this is for you.

Redwall (Redwall, Book 1) ” by Brian Jaques
Medieval story of battles and valor.
(the series gets formulaic after a while)

The Song of the Lioness Quartet: Alanna: The First Adventure / In the Hand of the Goddess / The Woman Who Rides Like a Man / Lioness Rampant ” by Tamora Pierce (begins with “Alanna: The First Adventure”)
Girl dresses as her brother so she can become a knight. Need I say more?


Companions of the Night ” by Vivian Vande Velde
A vampire novel that far surpasses “Twilight.”

His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) ” by Philip Pullman (begins with “The Golden Compass”)
For more mature readers, these books combine the typical quest novel with inquiries about the nature of God.
for “The Golden Compass”
for “The Subtle Knife” (book 2)
for “The Amber Spy Glass” (book 3)

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale ” by Holly Black.
Definitely for older readers, this is a dark tale about fairies.

Cry Of The Icemark ” by Stuart Hill
A tale of vampires, werewolves, giant snow leopards and one terrifying Queen. Stick with the first book in the series.

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1) ” by James Patterson (begins with “The Angel Experiment”)
Fast-paced action paired with smart, sassy characters. More science fiction than fantasy and a good, quick read.

For Everyone

Bartimaeus Trilogy Boxed Set, The ” by Jonathan Shroud (begins with “The Amulet of Samarkand”)
A book about a boy and his demon. Smart and well-written.

The Hobbit ” by JRR Tolkien
A classic and the best of the quest-type novels.

The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set: Full-Color Collector’s Edition ” by C.S Lewis (begins with “The Magician’s Nephew”)
The books are a lot better than the movies.

Ellen Green is a New Trier senior, captain of the women’s foil fencing team, co-founder of the Shakespeare Club, an award-winning equestrian and a familiar face at the Glencoe library, her favorite haunt. She’s spending this summer in England on an archeological dig of Roman and Viking ruins, and plans to study archeology in college.

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