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Fantasy for 8 to 12 Year Olds:

Compiled by Merri V. Lindgren
© 2020; 2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated annually

Book selection for this bibliography was driven by subject matter, literary quality, and age range. The titles included all fit somewhere within the wide scope of the fantasy genre, and are at a reading and interest level suitable to children between the ages of eight and twelve. Books were placed in the thematic category where they were thought to fit best, but many would be appropriate in multiple categories. The age range for all the books includes a portion of the eight- to twelve-year-old window, but some extend below the younger end for independent reading, others could be read aloud to children under the age of nine, and several will appeal to young teenagers as well as children. In the case of series, we've listed only the first title in the series.

Looking for ideas for middle and high-school age readers? Check out Fantastic Fiction: Great Fantasy Books for Ages 11-17. Looking for speculative or science fiction? Check out Possibilities: Selected Speculative and Science Fiction for Children and Teens.

Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies

Quests and Quandries

    Aguirre, Jorge. Giants Beware! . Illustrated by Rafael Rosado. First Second, 2012. 202 pages. Ages 7–10

    Cooper, Susan. Over Sea, Under Stone. Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965. Ages 10 - 14

    Gidwitz, Adam. The Inquisitor’s Tale Or, Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. Illustrated by Hatem Aly. Dutton, 2016. 363 pages. Ages 9-12

    L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962. Ages 9 - 12

    Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Little, Brown, 2009. 278 pages. Ages 8 - 11

    Stevenson, Noelle and Grace Ellis . Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy. Illustrated by Brooke Allen. BOOM! Box, 2015. 127 pages. Age 8 and older

Magical Mayhem

    Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Algonquin, 2016. 388 pages. 9-13

    Martin, Emily Winfield. Snow & Rose. Random House, 2017. 204 pages. Ages 8-12

    Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Warrior. Viking, 2017. 477 pages. Ages 10-13

    Rowling, J.K.. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Illustrated by Mary Grandpre. U.S. edition: Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998. 309 pages. Age 9 and older

Twists on Reality

    Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles, Book #1). Scholastic Press, 2003. 310 pages. Ages 9 - 14

    Jenkins, Emily. Invisible Inkling. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2011. 153 pages. Ages 7-10

    Reinhardt, Dana. Odessa Again. Illustrated by Susan Reagan. Wendy Lamb Books, 2013. 195 pages. Ages 7-10

    Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Bayou Magic. Little, Brown, 2015. 239 pages. Ages 8–11

Ghostly Shivers and Spine-Tingling Tales

    Black, Holly. Doll Bones. Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. McElderry Books, 2013. 244 pages. Ages 9-13

    Cotter, Charis. The Swallow: A Ghost Story. Tundra Books, 2014. 318 pages. Ages 9-12

    Harrold, A. F. . The Imaginary. Illustrated by Emily Gravett. Bloomsbury, 2015. 221 pages. Ages 7–10

    Smith, Ronald L.. Hoodoo. Clarion, 2015. 208 pages. 9-12

Extraordinary Animals

    Appelt, Kathi. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Atheneum, 2013. 326 pages. Ages 8-11

    Beck, W.H.. Malcolm at Midnight. Illustrated by Brian Lies. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. 265 pages. Ages 7–10

    DiCamillo, Kate. Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Illustrated by K. G. Campbell. Candlewick Press, 2013. 240 pages. Ages 8-10

    Jones, Kelly. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. Illustrated by Katie Kath. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. 216 pages. Ages 8-11

    Peck, Richard. Secrets at Sea. Illustrated by Kelly Murphy. Dial, 2011. 238 pages. Ages 8-12

    Perkins, Lynne Rae. Nuts to You. Greenwillow/ HarperCollins, 2014. 259 pages. Ages 6-9

This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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