If you only look for the “new” books on the library shelves, you might miss some of the series that were popular ten or fifteen years ago (or even longer). Although not every book or series ages well, there are many that stand up well in comparison to our newest books. That may be especially true about fantasy series. Here are some fantasy series for elementary and middle school kids that will bring hours of reading enjoyment. Remember, you can also ask a library staff member for help if you need a book suggestion!
The Spiderwick Chronicles were written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black and follow the adventures of the Grace children who discover a world of fairies. There were 5 books in the original series and three in the spin-off series Beyond the Spiderwick. These series are great for kids who want to read fantasy, but who aren’t ready for really long, complicated books.
Lloyd Alexander was a prolific writer of fantasy books during the 1960s and 1970s. His Chronicles of Prydain drew heavily from the legends of King Arthur and Welsh mythology. One book of the series was named as a Newbery Honor book and another won the Newbery Medal. Don’t let the well-worn covers stop you; these books have just been loved by several generations of kids.
The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan has always reminded me of The Lord of the Rings, probably because of the Rangers. The series follows the adventures of Will, an orphan who is chosen as an apprentice Ranger, and includes skilled trackers, archers, and warriors in the service of the King of Araluen. Will strives to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors, and threats. There was also a prequel series and a spin-off series.
The Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke explores the question of what might happen if characters could come out of our storybooks.
In The Five Kingdoms series, Cole Randolph sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath a haunted house and he dives in after them. They end up in the Outskirts, five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends.
Step into these fantasy worlds, but hang on to your hat! You’re bound for some exciting adventures.