The thing I love most about fantasy books is how many kinds of fantasy books are out there: high fantasy, portal fantasy, xenofiction, epic fantasy. The list goes on and on!
So even if you think you don’t like fantasy, there is probably a subgenre of fantasy that you WILL enjoy. Today I will walk you through some of the fantasy genres and provide some fantasy book recommendations for kids in 4th grade or around 10 years old.
Fantasy Books for 4th Grade
High fantasy is what one usually thinks of when thinking of fantasy books. High fantasy takes place in a totally fictional world from our own. It is a made-up world containing fictional creatures, and at times, fictional languages.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
“Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. Their goal is for her to stop terrorizing their town. Even so, Xan is nice. Xan rescues the children and takes them to families who will welcome them on the other side of the forest. He feeds the babies with starlight as he goes. One year, Xan feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, giving the child a lot of magic. Luna is a little girl who Xan wants to raise as her own. Luna’s thirteenth birthday is coming up, and her magic starts to come out, which can be dangerous.
The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
“Princess Emeralda, also known as Princess Emeralda.” Emma isn’t the best princess. There aren’t any tinkling bells in her laugh, she trips over her own feet and she doesn’t like Prince Jorge, the man her mother hopes that she will marry. She doesn’t like him. But even if Emma thought she could get away from her problems, she didn’t think she would turn into a frog to do it. When he was told to kiss a frog so that he could return to being a prince, somehow the spell backfired and Emma turned into a frog herself! In this way, their journey began. They are on a search for human form.
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Hogwarts is a magical place, and if you like that, you will love these high fantasy books!
On the other end of the spectrum, low fantasy is what you’ll find. Magical or supernatural forces are present in low fantasy, but the story takes place in the real world and in our time and space. Often, it is called magical realism, which is a mix of the real world with magical things in it.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Is James going to be able to move at a normal speed again? James lost a lot of magic when he tripped and spilled the crystals by the old peach tree. He looked like he couldn’t get away from the ants. Is that peach still there? Was getting bigger and bigger. Was it as big as a house? In fact, when James crawled into the house, there were a lot of his friends there. There were a big grasshopper, a ladybug, a centipede, and more. There was a moment when the peach was rolling away and “amazing things began to happen.”
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Omri has a birthday today, but his best friend, Patrick, only gives him a little Indian toy. As a way to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cabinet and locks the door with an old key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. As soon as he turns the key, Omri will make his plastic Indian into a real person from a different time and place! As soon as Omri meets the tiny warrior called “Little bear,” the two form a very special friendship that lasts for a long time. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear?
If you like reading books that have a world inside of a world, check out these magical books!
Portal fantasy is one of my favorite things to read or write about. It’s like a doorway to another world or dimension. Some of your favorite books that you didn’t know were part of a specific genre.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
She ends up far away from home in the world of Wonderland after a fall down a rabbit hole.” In the course of Alice’s journey, she meets a variety of strange people and animals: the White Rabbit, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and a lot more.
If you like books that mix real-world stories with magic, you might like these other portal fantasy books!
Fairy Tales, Folktales, and Myths
Another type of fantasy is fairy tales, folk tales, and mythology. Classic stories about good vs. evil and stories about how the world came to be are just a few.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Iconic: It tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own little planet to travel the universe, where he meets some very interesting people. His personal journey ends with a trip to Earth and more adventures.
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
“A Prince and a poor person.” In the end, Prince Brat and his whipping boy end up trading places after getting into trouble with dangerous outlaws. In this case, the two boys have no reason to like each other. But when they run away, they have no choice but to trust each other.
Fairy Tales, Folktales, and Myths
If you like Tales of Beetle the Bard or old fairy tales, don’t forget to read these books! They’re both great!
Scientists and physicists might be thought of as separate genres, but they are in fact part of the fantasy genre. Stories about science fiction are based on “imagined future scientific or technological advancements,” and they often show “space or time travel and life on other planets.”
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
In the wild, can a robot stay alive? She finds out when she opens her eyes for the first time that she’s on a remote, wild island. There’s no way for her to know how or why she’s here. She just knows she needs to stay alive. In the end, after she had to fight a storm and escape a bear attack, she realized that her only chance of survival was to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s animal residents. This is how it works: As Roz gets to know each animal on the island, it starts to feel like home. Then a mysterious past comes back to haunt her.
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Science fiction and dystopian fiction are good for kids who like stories about people who have to fight to stay alive.
Xenofiction is another type of fantasy literature. How do you know what xenofiction is, you ask? It’s a story from the point of view of an animal. I have given you your Surly Housewife trivia for the day.
Poppy by Avi
Mr. Ocax, the owl, says he will protect the mice living in an old farmhouse as long as they ask permission before “moving around.” Deer mouse Poppy is very afraid, but until she sees Mr. Ocax eat her mouse fiancé, she’s a loyal and obedient servant. On a dangerous and eye-opening quest, Poppy meets Ocax, who she fights one-on-one in the end.
Fantasy Book Series
It’s one of the things we love most about fantasy books, because they tell great stories. And sometimes, the stories can’t fit into one book. In, the book series. This is the first one. It turns out that some of the best-known book series are fantasy books!
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Narnia is a world that is always frozen in winter and controlled by the White Witch. Four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, step through a wardrobe door and into Narnia.” But when almost all hope is gone, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, means a big change and a big sacrifice.