Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fantasy Reading Suggestions for Middle School

There is no shortage of reading lists for children of all ages.  Everyone has their own idea of what books should be read at what age and it gets daunting to keep your kids up with the academic lists.  I've almost completely stopped reading the school book lists, at this point.

What we desperately need at our house is an appropriate list of books for free time reading.  Books that entertain while not being below our middle schooler's reading level, yet not including too much of an adult theme. And please, please, no vampires and the like.  My child just isn't interested in anything too scary.

Unexpected Homeschool: Fantasy Reading Suggestions for Middle School

Our daughter is not exactly a typical girl in her reading taste.  While, yes, she likes stories of princesses and fairies, she also loves most fantasy even those generally acknowledged as more oriented towards boys.  Growing up I loved the Little House on the Prairie books.  Amber has never made it through the whole series; it was too tedious and more like a history lesson.

The end of a book series for Amber is a dreaded time. She misses her characters, while we, her parents, are now left with the task of finding more books.  We've scoured for online lists, searched Amazon a hundred times over, hunted our local library, and quizzed other parents for reading suggestions.   Below are all books Amber has read during her middle school years, or close to them, and she personally recommends these to other readers.

Middle School Book List:

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley - This is a nine book completed series with a fantasy and fairy tale theme.  This is one of Amber's all time favorites.

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer - An ongoing series with three books at this time.  It's another fairy tale adventure themed series that might actually rival The Sisters Grimm for Amber's top spot.

Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima - A five book fantasy series with wizards, warriors, and enchanters. 

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima - A four book fantasy series that takes place in the medieval world with castles, Queens and wizards.  (There is also a new related four book series beginning in 2016 called The Shattered Realms).

The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy by Jessical Day George - The trilogy includes Princess of the Midnight Ball (a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses), Princess of Glass (12 Dancing Princesses mixed with Cinderella), and Princess of the Silver Woods (12 Dancing Princesses with Little Red Riding Hood).

The Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier - Fantasy, time traveling and a little romance mixed together for young adults.

The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan - A fantasy adventure series of twelve books set in a medieval world.  Amber was quite distraught when she discovered the twelfth book was the end.

The Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan - A continuing series, currently with five books, based in the same fantasy world as The Ranger's Apprentice while focusing on different characters.

David Eddings -  Amber has read all of his fantasy books and recommends the majority of them.  The following series are all fantasy and based in a medieval type world with magic and sorcery involved.
  • The Belgariad - A five book series.
  • The Malloreon - Another five book series.
  • Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress - Both books are related to the Belgariad and Malloreon series.  Amber found The Riven Codex to be tedious.
  • The Elenium - A three book series.
  • The Tamuli - A three book sequel to The Elenium.
  • The Dreamers - A four book series.

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (and Todd McCaffrey) - This is a seemingly endless series of books.  The original books occur in a medieval type world with dragons, but later books explain how the inhabitants of Pern arrived there, which includes a change in technology. For middle school readers, we would suggest starting with the first two trilogies:
The Original Trilogy:
  • Dragonflight
  • Dragonquest
  • The White Dragon
Harper Hall Trilogy:
  • Dragonsong
  • Dragonsinger
  • Dragondrums

Do you have any suggestions?  We'd love to hear them as I'm sure Amber is already in need of more books!

FishFlix.com Review


  1. My 13 yo daughter and one of my 21 yo twin boys love love love fantasy series. I would add Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series and Lloyd Alexander's Prydian Chronicles, don't watch the movies, they are really awful and have nothing to do with the actual stories they are supposedly based on. Also a really good series is Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. His other series, The Beyonders is also very good. Yep, we like fantasy here too!

    1. Great suggestions! Amber read and loved the FableHaven series, but that was several years ago so I was hesitant to add it to the middle school list. Glad to know it appeals to the older kids too! My husband has the Susan Cooper and Lloyd Alexander books. We started The Book of Three as a read aloud several years ago. Amber liked it, but I wouldn't let her finish it alone because we were reading it aloud. It's still not finished. I should just set her loose on that series. Thanks for the reminder.

    2. If she enjoyed Fablehaven she should try the Beyonders. Same writing style with a unique sense of humor, wait until you see how the main character gets to the other world! I found it a little darker than Fablehaven but not too violent or scary. A pretty easy read, but that isn't a bad thing in a for fun book.

    3. I'll be sure to suggest the Beyonders to Amber. She's getting ready to start her summer reading and will need fun books.

  2. Thanks so much Christy for your list of books .. and thank you Amber too!! My daughter is starting up 6th grade this upcoming school year 2015-16 so we are on the hunt for good reads too. This list will surely help me get a jump start on it. I think I will start her off on the Sisters Grimm series and go from there. Thanks a bunch!

  3. The Giver is my absolute favorite book! I also love Witch on Blackbird Pond. Those are both books I read in Middle School. Brandon Sanderson has some good fantasy books as well, his Alcatraz series is good for that age group