Discover the 12 Best Middle School Fantasy Books for Young Readers

Finding the right books for middle school readers can be challenging, especially in the expansive world of fantasy. Fantasy books have the potential to unlock the imagination and skills of young readers, so choosing the right ones is crucial. This article will help guide you towards some of the best middle school fantasy books, from well-known series to standalone novels and the more diverse and inclusive stories.

Discover the 12 Best Middle School Fantasy Books for Young Readers

Why Middle School Fantasy Books are Important for Young Readers

Fantasy books play a vital role in the development of middle school students. They offer unique benefits and opportunities for growth that extend beyond the classroom. Let’s dive into why middle school fantasy books are such a valuable resource for young readers.

Encouraging Imagination and Creativity

Fantasy stories take readers on incredible journeys through magical worlds filled with unique creatures and intricate histories. They inspire students to stretch their imaginations and think creatively. By immersing themselves in fictional universes, young readers learn to picture new worlds and engage with abstract concepts, sparking a love of learning and discovery.

For instance, reading about a magical land where dragons roam free and wizards cast spells can transport young readers to a world of endless possibilities. They can imagine themselves as part of the story, fighting alongside the heroes or exploring the enchanted forests. This imaginative exercise helps young readers to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills, as they learn to think outside the box and come up with unique solutions to complex problems.

Developing Reading Skills and Vocabulary

One of the main benefits of reading fantasy books is the potential to improve reading skills and expand vocabulary. The complex language and intricate plots of fantasy novels challenge young readers to think critically, thus enhancing their comprehension and analytic abilities. As middle school students tackle these challenging texts, they gain a sense of accomplishment while building their reading stamina and confidence.

Moreover, fantasy books often introduce readers to new and unusual words, phrases, and concepts. For example, a young reader might encounter the word “sorceress” for the first time while reading a fantasy book. This exposure to new vocabulary helps to expand their understanding of language and improve their ability to communicate effectively.

Introducing Complex Themes and Moral Lessons

Fantasy books often tackle deep and meaningful themes and moral lessons. They introduce readers to important social issues, identity struggles, and ethical dilemmas, all within the safety of a fictional setting. By exploring these topics in the context of middle school fantasy books, young readers develop empathy and understand the complexities of the real world, shaping them into more thoughtful and informed individuals.

For instance, a fantasy book might explore the theme of discrimination, where characters are judged based on their magical abilities or physical appearance. Through reading about these characters’ struggles, young readers can gain a deeper understanding of the harmful effects of discrimination and learn to appreciate diversity and inclusivity.

Overall, middle school fantasy books are an essential tool for young readers, offering them the chance to explore new worlds, expand their vocabulary, and develop their critical thinking skills. By reading these books, young readers can gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them, preparing them for a bright and successful future.

Top Middle School Fantasy Book Series

Are you a young reader looking for a thrilling adventure? Look no further than the world of middle school fantasy! There are countless fantasy book series to choose from, but these four have stood the test of time and continue to be favorites among young readers. Each series delivers memorable characters, thrilling adventures, and important life lessons. Let’s take a closer look at these fantastic series.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series is a modern classic, beloved by millions of readers of all ages. The story follows Harry, a young wizard, as he navigates friendships, challenging adventures, and the eternal fight between good and evil. With seven books in the series, readers can follow Harry and his friends as they grow up and face increasingly difficult challenges. From battling dark wizards to competing in magical tournaments, the world of Harry Potter is full of excitement and wonder. But it’s not just about the magic and adventure; the series is also rich in themes of family, bravery, and love. Through Harry’s journey, readers learn the importance of standing up for what’s right and the power of friendship.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Blending Greek mythology with modern-day adventures, the Percy Jackson series follows the titular hero and his demigod friends as they battle mythological creatures, powerful gods, and mysterious prophecies. With relatable characters, fast-paced plotlines, and humorous dialogue, this series offers an engaging reading experience for middle school students. But it’s not just about the action and adventure; the series also explores themes of identity, acceptance, and the importance of family. Through Percy’s journey, readers learn the importance of embracing who they are and standing up for what they believe in.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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The Chronicles of Narnia transport readers to another world, filled with magic, talking animals, and powerful allegories. Written in clear and elegant language, these seven books tell the stories of ordinary children called upon to save the fantastical realm of Narnia. Each book offers a new adventure, from battling witches to rescuing lost princes. But it’s not just about the action and adventure; the series also teaches valuable lessons about courage, friendship, and the transformative power of good over evil. Through the children’s journey, readers learn the importance of standing up for what’s right and the power of hope.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials

Darker and more complex than some other series on this list, His Dark Materials follows the adventures of two children, Lyra and Will, as they explore parallel worlds and uncover a series of sinister secrets. With rich world-building, philosophical undertones, and captivating characters, the trilogy offers a thought-provoking and challenging reading experience for older middle school students. But it’s not just about the complex plot and themes; the series also explores the importance of free will, the dangers of blind faith, and the power of love. Through Lyra and Will’s journey, readers learn the importance of questioning authority and standing up for what they believe in.

So there you have it, four fantastic middle school fantasy book series to add to your reading list. Whether you’re looking for magic and adventure or deep philosophical themes, these series have something for everyone.

Standalone Middle School Fantasy Books

While series can be exciting and immersive, standalone novels offer complete and satisfying stories that do not require a lengthy commitment. These four standalone middle school fantasy books deliver impactful messages and engaging plots perfect for young readers.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit: 75th Anniversary Edition

A prelude to the acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, a humble hobbit who joins a group of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf on a dangerous adventure to reclaim a stolen treasure. With lovable characters, thrilling battles, and valuable lessons of courage and friendship, this book suits middle school readers who enjoy traditional high fantasy.

As Bilbo travels through Middle-earth, he encounters trolls, goblins, and even a dragon. Along the way, he learns the importance of perseverance and loyalty, as he remains committed to his mission despite facing numerous challenges. The Hobbit also teaches readers about the power of friendship, as Bilbo and his companions come together to overcome obstacles and achieve their goal.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline 10th Anniversary Enhanced Edition

In this chilling modern-day fantasy, Coraline, a young girl, discovers a mysterious door in her home leading to an alternate universe eerily like her own. Exploring themes of bravery, identity, and the importance of family, Coraline captivates middle school readers with its spooky atmosphere and unforgettable heroine.

As Coraline navigates the Other World, she learns the importance of being true to oneself and standing up for what is right. She also discovers the value of family and the strength that can be found in love and support. Coraline’s journey is both thrilling and thought-provoking, making it a must-read for middle school students.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth

Blending wit, humor, and wordplay, The Phantom Tollbooth follows a young boy named Milo who embarks on a fantastic journey through a strange and magical land. This imaginative tale teaches readers the beauty of language, the value of learning, and the importance of always staying curious.

As Milo travels through the Kingdom of Wisdom, he meets a host of eccentric characters and learns valuable lessons about the world around him. He discovers the joy of learning and the power of imagination, as he explores the wonders of the world. The Phantom Tollbooth is a delightful and engaging read that will inspire young readers to embrace their own curiosity and love of learning.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time

Combining elements of science fiction, fantasy, and spirituality, A Wrinkle in Time tells the story of three siblings who embark on a cosmic journey to rescue their missing father. The novel explores themes of good versus evil, love, and personal growth, making it a meaningful and exciting read for middle school students.

As Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin travel through space and time, they encounter strange beings and face incredible challenges. They learn the importance of love and compassion, as they fight against the darkness that threatens to consume them. A Wrinkle in Time is a powerful and thought-provoking book that encourages readers to embrace their own inner strength and to stand up for what is right.

Diverse and Inclusive Middle School Fantasy Books

It is crucial to expose young readers to a wide range of voices and experiences, and middle school fantasy is no exception. These four diverse and inclusive fantasy books provide unique perspectives and showcase a variety of cultures, characters, and folklore.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal)

Inspired by traditional folklore and fairy tales, The Girl Who Drank the Moon tells the story of a young girl raised by a witch, a dragon, and a swamp monster. This heartfelt novel combines magic, love, and sacrifice, captivating readers with its intricate storytelling and memorable characters.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the End of Time: A Pandava Novel Book 1 (Pandava Series)

Drawing upon Hindu mythology, Aru Shah and the End of Time follows the adventures of a young girl who accidentally unleashes an ancient demon, setting off a chain of events that could lead to the end of time. With an engaging heroine, vibrant world-building, and a dash of humor, the book offers an enlightening and delightful reading experience for middle school students.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Volume 1) (Tristan Strong Novel, A)

This book combines African and African American mythology, introducing readers to a fascinating new world filled with rich cultural heritage. The story follows Tristan Strong, a grief-stricken boy who journeys to a magical realm to recover a lost artifact and save the day. With its strong characters, fast-paced plot, and important lessons, this book is an excellent addition to any middle school fantasy collection.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The Jumbies

Rooted in Caribbean folklore, The Jumbies tells the tale of a young girl named Corinne who must defend her island home against ancient malevolent spirits called “jumbies.” With a brave heroine and a diverse cast of characters, this book merges classic fantasy elements with a rich cultural backdrop, introducing young readers to Caribbean folklore and creating an engaging and memorable reading experience.

Middle school is a critical time for students to develop a love of reading and discover new worlds. By introducing engaging, thought-provoking fantasy books, you can help young readers broaden their horizons, hone their reading skills, and spark a lifelong passion for storytelling.


Is YA fiction the same as middle school fiction?

There is an overlap between middle school ages and the age group that YA fiction tailors for. Middle school fiction concentrates on children aged between 11 and 14, whereas YA literature is tailored for people aged between 12 and 18. Much of YA fiction may not be appropriate for middle schoolers.

What is the best middle school fantasy novel?

One of the most popular fantasy series is Harry Potter, which is, to an extent, appropriate for this age group. Parents should monitor the child’s reception as the books progress, as the later novels can be scary and quite dark.

Is Rick Riordan appropriate for middle school children?

Yes, Rick Riordan’s literature would be a great choice for middle schoolers.

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