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  • Writer's pictureGaila Cohen Morrison

Dear Gaila - Fantasy Book Picks

This month I want to share with you my picks for fantasy books and series. Since 1997, when the Harry Potter series started being published, the realm of fantasy books has exploded. While great for fantasy lovers - this makes picking only a few a very hard job! Here are 15 books and series for fantasy lovers for different reading levels and interest types:

1) I already mentioned the Harry Potter series. There is a very good reason these series are so popular. Masterfully written, J. K. Rowling created a sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad and always enjoyable world of magic. Even non-fantasy fans will often enjoy this series. The books slowly progress in the reading levels as Harry ages through the years.

magical books

2) I cannot create a list without mentioning Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's classic series is a must for true fantasy fans. However, the books are long and the story line is very complex. While The Fellowship of the Ring is truly for die hard fans, the Hobbit, a stand alone prequel, is appropriate for not as dedicated fantasy teen and adult fans.

3) After these two, I have to mention Twilight. Controversial in it's quality and worth, this vampire romance is very popular among young adult readers.

4) Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is also a love story, based on a Cinderella like story. Vampires do not star in the book, yet fairies, elves, orges, princes, magic and humor do. Highly recommended, our copy is falling apart from frequent re-readings!

Fairy tale based fantasy novels

5) Younger readers can enjoy the Magic Tree House series. An early chapter book series, Jack and Annie travel through time and space.

6) Slightly older readers will enjoy the Percy Jackson series which combine mythology, magic and mayhem.

7) Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones is another great young reader fantasy series. Unpredictable and humorous - be prepared to be surprised!

8) The same age group can enjoy The Circle of Magic series. Here four 11 year olds from very different backgrounds discover their own magic and each other's friendship. Tamora Pierce has other fantasy books as well.

top fantasy books

9) Readers who enjoy more of an almost science fiction like magical story will enjoy the Artemis Fowl series. Hilariously funny, you will find yourself rooting for the wrong side.

10) The Redwall series by Brian Jacques are a curious series where animals are the main characters in a magical world of battles. Definitely heavier here on battle tactics then love stories - I suspect that boys will usually enjoy this series more than girls. That being said, one of my daughters definitely enjoyed this series very much as evident by the 8 or so books we have in our house.

11) For readers who prefer more romance than battles, pick up the Lunar Chronicles. In these series of science fiction meets fairy tales, the main character is a cyborg who loses her metal foot at the prince's ball. Unlike many love stories, this heroine is strong and grounded.

12) The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper is a classical tale of magic and the quest to save the world before the dark rises.

13) Adult fantasy lovers might enjoy the Elemental Assassin series, where nothing is what it seems to be.

14) The Chronicles of Pyrdain by Loyd Alexander is a five book series of an alternative magical world. Taran, an assistant pig keeper dreams of being a hero. As the books unfold, Taran discovers what being a hero entails.

15) The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are about a princess who wants to be a hero. For all those who enjoy fantasy, strong characters and a dash of humor - enjoy this!

Gaila has almost 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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