Book series appropriate for children between 8-14 years old.
This was one of the first adventure/fantasy series my parents let me read. Follow the adventures of Peter, Edmund, Lucy, and Susan as they explore the mystical realm of Narnia. Along the way they encounter talking animals, evil witches, enchanted islands, lost princes, and the clash between good and evil. Of course there are some drawbacks, such as, disappointment when your own wardrobe does not open up into an enchanted forest. This series also explores the backstory of Narnia, the White Witch, and the origins of the wardrobe. My favorite book is The Horse and His Boy. Also, this series carries universal lessons about the importance of family, perseverance, faith, and the endurance of the human spirit. This is one of the few children’s series that both children and adults can appreciate. I highly recommend the Focus on the Family’s radio theatre drama version of this series. It is a great series to listen to on long car rides. I cannot recommend the movies.
Charlie Bone is an eleven year boy who lives with his mean grandmother. However, Charlie is not an ordinary boy. Through his father, he is a descendant of the Red King. Through his mother, Charlie is related to Mathonwy, a Welsh magician. With both parents coming from magical families, no one is surprised when Charlie develops the ability to travel through photographs and pictures. His grandmother enrolls him Bloor’s Academy, a local school for magically gifted children. This kicks off a series of misadventures and Charlie suddenly finds himself embroiled in an ancient struggle between good and evil. While this series is not as complicated as The Chronicles of Narnia, it is still a fantastic read. Also, the narrative is fast paced and keeps the reader craving the next installment.
Reading Order (American Titles):
Fourteen year old Meg Murry is the oldest child of scientists Alex and Kate Murry. She is the outcast of the family and is unpopular at school. While she is mathematically gifted and extremely intelligent, she rarely utilizes her strengths. She adores her mother and three brothers, especially her youngest brother, Charles Wallace. Her father went missing several years ago and Meg misses him terribly. This series explores the limits of humanity and the weirdness of parallel universes. These books have everything: action, adventure, drama, humor, some romance, and an inspiring tale of two kids flying through time and space looking for their father. Unlike some children’s literature, this series is intelligent, complex, and requires the reader to think about what it means to be human. This is a classic most children will remember years after their first reading. I recommend this for children in the 5th grade and above.
This is a fantasy series aimed toward older children. Instead of following a linear narrative, the books describe different periods of history in the world of Redwall. This includes narrative set in the Mossflower Woods, surrounding islands, and Southsward. Some of the books focus on specific characters that are legendary figure in other books. Most of the stories take place before the founding of the Redwall Abbey. All the characters are animals including: mice, badgers, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, and birds. While this is a fantastic series, the lack of linearity does make the overarching narrative come across as slightly choppy. My brothers and I devoured each book with enthusiasm. There are twenty-two novels.
Chronological Reading Order:
This series follows the adventures of Will, an orphan who is taken as an apprentice by the famous Ranger Halt. Follow Will as he attempts to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from fearsome Vikings, traitors, international threats, and invaders. Will is accompanied by his best friend and apprentice knight, Horace. This is a strong series for children looking for a fast-paced adventure fantasy series. The books are not overly complex and there is no overarching message about morality. However, it is action-packed and a good series to hone reading comprehension skills. My younger brother and I both eagerly awaited the release of each book. I would especially recommend this series for young boys who do not want to read about princesses, romance, and icky kissing scenes.