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Possibilities: Selected Speculative and Science Fiction for Children and Teens

©2023, 2011 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Compiled by Merri Lindgren and Megan Schliesman

Speculative and science fiction can imagine futures that challenge children and teens to think critically about society today. It can also offer intriguing perspectives on what life on earth, or in space, might look like in the coming centuries. Whether funny (occasionally) or frightening (from a little to a lot), it's a genre that is rich with possibilities.

The books on this list are divided into the following thematic categories:

  • Too Close for Comfort? Eye-opening--and sometimes unsettling--looks at the present or future that shed light on our society and our world today

  • Travels through Time: From time-bending journeys into the future to alternate histories recasting the past

  • Aliens Here, Aliens There . . . : Close encounters with beings from other worlds often illuminate human nature

  • Dystopias and Disasters: Whether the breakdown of society is caused by war and greed or global warming, these bleak futurescapes offer hope, usually in the form of one or more young protagonists in search of something better

In cases of series (e.g., "The Hunger Games"), we have only listed the first book.

Many of the books could have fit in more than one category. And a number of them span both the speculative/science fiction and fantasy genres. You might also be interested in our two CCBC fantasy bibliographies, or searching “Speculative Fiction” in our Recommended Book Search.

Too Close for Comfort?

Andrews, Jesse Munmun. Abrams/Amulet, 2018. 404 pages. Age 12 and older

Duyvis, Corinne On the Edge of Gone. Abrams/Amulet, 2016. 456 pages. Age 14 and older

Higuera, Donna Barba The Last Cuentista. Levine Querido, 2021. 320 pages. Ages 10-13

King, A. S. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future. Little, Brown, 2014. 306 pages. Age 14 and older

LaFleur, Suzanne Beautiful Blue World. Random House/Wendy Lamb Books, 2016. 210 pages. Ages 8-12

Leno, Katrina Summer of Salt. HarperTeen, 2018. 256 pages. Age 13 and older

Mejia, Tehlor Kay We Set the Dark on Fire. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2019. 364 pages. Age 13 and older

Ness, Patrick The Rest of Us Just Live Here. HarperCollins, 2015. 317 pages. Age 13 and older

Porter, Sarah Tentacle & Wing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. 263 pages. Ages 9-13

Redgate, Riley Alone Out Here. Buena Vista/Hyperion, 2022. 392 pages. Age 13 and older

Ruby, Laura Bone Gap. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2015. 345 pages. Age 14 and older

Silvera, Adam More Happy Than Not. Soho Teen, 2015. 295 pages. Age 14 and older

Travels through Time

Anderson, Jodi Lynn Midnight at the Electric. HarperTeen, 2017. 257 pages. Age 12 and older

Bray, Libba The Diviners. Little, Brown, 2012. 578 pages. Age 13 and older

de Fombelle, Timothee Vango: Between Earth and Sky. Translated by Sarah Ardizzone. Candlewick, 2014. 421 pages. Age 13 and older

Elliott, Zetta Dragons in a Bag. Illustrated by Geneva B. Random House, 2018. 154 pages. Ages 7-10

Giles, Lamar The Last Last-Day-of-Summer. Illustrated by Dapo Adeola. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Versify, 2019. 304 pages. Ages 8-11

Graudin, Ryan Wolf by Wolf. Little, Brown, 2015. 379 pages. Age 13 and older

Ireland, Justina Rust in the Root. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2022. 439 pages. Age 13 and older

Larbalestier, Justine Razorhurst. Soho Teen, 2015. 309 pages. Age 14 and older

L'Engle, Madeleine A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan, 1962. 211 pages. Ages 8-12

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert DaVinci's Cat. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2021. 278 pages.

Ness, Patrick Burn. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, 2020. 371 pages. Age 14 and older

Stead, Rebecca When You Reach Me. Random House/Wendy Lamb Books, 2009. 208 pages. Ages 10-13

Aliens Here, Aliens There ...

Anderson, M. T. Landscape with Invisible Hand. Candlewick, 2017. 149 pages. Age 13 and older

Castellucci, Cecil First Day on Earth. Scholastic Press, 2011. 160 pages. Age 13 and older

Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, 2020. 415 pages. Age 12 and older

Haddon, Mark Boom!. David Fickling Books, 2010. 194 pages. Ages 8-11

Hutchinson, Shaun David We Are the Ants. Simon Pulse, 2016. 451 pages. Age 14 and older

Lee, Fonda Exo. Scholastic Press, 2017. 384 pages. Age 12 and older

Mejia, Tehlor Kay and Anna-Marie McLemore Miss Meteor. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, 2020. 392 pages. Age 12 and older

Pyle, Nathan W. Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature. Illustrated by Nathan W. Pyle. Harper/HarperCollins, 2021. 36 pages. Ages 5-9

Rodkey, Geoff We're Not From Here. Crown/Random House, 2019. 249 pages. Ages 9-12

Wallenfels, Stephen POD. Namelos, 2009. 212 pages. Age 12 and older

Yang, Gene Luen Prime Baby. Illustrated by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2010. 56 pages. Age 9 and older

Dystopias and Disasters

Bow, Erin The Scorpion Rules. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015. 374 pages. Age 13 and older

Collins, Suzanne The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press, 2008. 420 pages. Age 12 and older

Dimaline, Cherie The Marrow Thieves. Cormorant/Dancing Cat Books (DCB), 2017. 234 pages. Age 14 and older

Giles, Lamar The Getaway. Scholastic/Scholastic Press, 2022. 382 pages. Age 14 and older

Johnson, Alaya Dawn The Summer Prince. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2013. 289 pages. Age 15 and older

Lu, Marie Legend. Putnam, 2011. 336 pages. Ages 12-15

McWilliams, Kelly Agnes at the End of the World. Little, Brown, 2020. 417 pages. Age 13 and older

Okorafor-Mbachu, Nnedi The Shadow Speaker. Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 2007. 336 pages. Ages 11-14

Schmatz, Pat Lizard Radio. Candlewick, 2015. 280 pages. Age 13 and older

Shusterman, Neal Scythe (Arc of the Scythe, Book 1). Simon & Schuster, 2016. 433 pages. Age 14 and older

Shusterman, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman Dry. Simon & Schuster, 2018. 390 pages. Age 13 and older

Smith, Sherri L Orleans. Putnam, 2013. 324 pages. Age 12 and older

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Recommended Book Search includes subject access to CCBC-recommended titles based on subject headings created by our staff.