Fantasy – Children’s Literature Genres

Fantasy - Children’s Literature Genres

Photo by: Donnie Nunley

Fantasy – Children’s Literature Genres

The last post in our literature genres series dealt with the science fiction genre.  The fantasy genre is often confused with science fiction, but there are some very clear differences between them.

Fantasy Characteristics

Fantasy novels are set in an entirely new world completely different from the world as we know it.  The setting of a fantasy novel will be filled with magical elements and characters.  This is one of the main things that separates fantasy from science fiction, the use of magic instead of technology.  Fantasy will also include elements that could not possibly be true such as talking animals.

Fantasy for Younger Children

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – Although this book may not be thought of as fantasy, it definitely includes travel to another world filled with magical creatures.  Children will love watching the young boy romp with the wild things!
  • The Magic of Merlin by Stephanie Spinner – This book brings alive the story of Merlin the Magician, King Arthur, and the knights of the round table to young children.
  • The Magic Nutcracker by Margaret Hillert – A little girl rescues her toy nutcracker prince from evil mice.  After the battle, he takes her to his country to show her amazing sights in this classic tale.

Fantasy for Older Children

  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – The classic story of a boy who would never grow up delights children everywhere.  Many children may have watched the movie, but they will still love reading the story for themselves.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Transported into a world filled with magical creatures, four children battle evil and learn about forgiveness.
  • the Chronicles of Pyrdain series by Lloyd Alexander – In the first book of the series, The Book of Three, we meet Taran who is an assistant pig-keeper.  He and his companions set out on a quest to save the land of Pyrdain.

Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read, so I had a hard time picking just a few books to list here. has a great list of the best children’s fantasy books.  There are over 400 books listed, so your child will have plenty of fantasy books to read!

One of the highlights of a good fantasy novel is being able to immerse yourself in a completely different and exciting new world.  Fantasy feeds a child’s imagination and teaches valuable lessons that apply to our world as well.

What fantasy books do you encourage your child to read?

Elementary Reading Curriculum at Smart Tutor

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