A reading round-up of spell-binding books for kids
Are your children big fans of witches and wizards and all things magical? Are you are looking for more magical books for kids?
My children’s book of the month is a magical story of witches and wizards by Cressida Cowell. In keeping with the theme of magic, this month’s reading round-up is full of witches, wizards and magicians. I’ve included magical books for young readers from toddlers to teens. Please note: all age range guidelines given in bold are 100% approximate and flexible.
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1) Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll & Jan Pieńkowski
Helen Nicoll and illustrator Jan Pieńkowski created a series of great picture books for kids about Meg the Witch, her cat Mog and other friends including Owl. These books have been around since the 1970s but are timeless classics.
Meg’s spells never go particularly well. There are many titles in the series to explore. We particularly enjoyed Meg on the Moon. The books are wryly funny. The simple illustrations, colourful pages and clear text make the books very appealing to toddlers and young children.
2) Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul
Young children will love the adventures of Winnie the Witch and Wilbur, her big black cat. There are lots of books in the Winnie and Wilbur series including The Pirate Adventure and The Amazing Pumpkin. Winnie and Wilbur have incredible adventures together.
When Winnie decides on a magical plan she acts on it quickly. Meanwhile Wilbur often has to cover his eyes with his paws in shock. In a favourite of ours – Winnie and Wilbur in Space – the witch and her cat launch into space. They encounter dangerous space rabbits and have to act quickly to save their rocket. Luckily Winnie knows lots of spells to help deal with tricky situations.
These books are great to read to young children and for children to read themselves as they gain reading confidence. They are great fun to take your time over looking at the illustrations. Korky Paul’s detailed illustrations reveal little jokes. Paul’s illustrations even include characters from other books for kids he has illustrated. Many special guest stars appear at Winnie’s Birthday Party in Happy Birthday Winnie and on other occasions.
3) Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
From the author and illustrator of The Grufallo, Room on the Broom is a classic picture book about a friendly witch and her cat. It’s great for bedtime stories as well as being a book that young children can read independently as their reading confidence grows.
The lyrical text flows enchantingly as more creatures join the witch on her broom. The illustrations are entertaining, colourful and engaging. Together the group of animals and the witch bravely face a fearsome dragon.
4) Witches and Wizards Sticker Book by
This sticker book is full of creepy yet charming creatures. Children can arrange the stickers to create scenes of magical mayhem. There are over 500 stickers. The ghoulish activity book is great for children over three. The activities encourage children to create their own visual story by putting the characters exactly where they want to within the colourful pages of scenes.
If your children love this sticker book format there are many other sticker books in this series to choose from. Options include Unicorn sticker books and Ancient Egypt sticker books.
Which brings me conveniently on to an adventurous fiction for older children that finds inspiration in magicians of Egyptian mythology …
5) The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
The Red Pyramid is the first of The Kane Chronicles trilogy by Rick Riordan, the creator of the Percy Jackson book series. Siblings, Sadie and Carter Kane reunite after years of separation. They embark on an epic adventure, discovering that they are from a family of magicians (or shesh) who are connected to the House of Life, an Ancient Egyptian temple of magic. In The Red Pyramid ancient mythology meets with magic. Sadie and Carter learn how to cast spells using Ancient Egyptian magic as the evil god Set threatens the world.
The Kane Chronicles is usually recommended for children aged 10 plus. However my son read it at age 9. Always take age recommendations as rough guidance only.
6) The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
The Magic Thief is the first in a series of four fantasy books about a young boy who stumbles into a world of magic after desperately picking the wrong persons pocket. In the cobbled streets of The Twilight, Coonwaer is hungry and cold. When he tries to steal from the wizard Nevery, he begins his own magical journey as a wizard’s apprentice. The adventures of this series of books for kids are captivating and spell-binding. Children can also read the sequels, Lost, Found, Home and an e-book A Proper Wizard.
This book is accessible and a great bridge for readers who are growing in confidence and are ready for chapter books. It’s readable for children age 7 plus, but can be of interest to fans of fantasy who are older too.
7) Clockwork by Philip Pullman
Clockwork: or All Wound Up is a magical and slightly shocking tale. It’s perfect for young readers who love spooky stories. The mysterious Dr Kalmenius weaves magic into his clockwork figures. While clockwork figures spring to life the story also brings to life the magic of storytelling. And like any good fairy tale it has a moral for its readers.
Clockwork is a good read for children who are fairly confident readers and who are excited by mysterious spooky stories. For children who are less confident it could be a great book for an adult to read out loud or alongside them. I’ve previously provided a full review of Clockwork here. Age range is approximately 8 plus, but again this is very flexible.
8) The Adventures of King Arthur by Russell Punter and Andrea Da Rold
The Adventures of King Arthur graphic novel is a great way to introduce young readers to the fascinating legends that surround Arthur. Using clear text and bold imagery, the graphic novel is an accessible and appealing format. The book tells the stories of sorcery and drama that follow Arthur through his life. It explores the legends of the sword Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Morgan Le Fay and the Lady of the Lake.
The title is suitable from age 7 plus, but older children with an interest in myths and legends are sure to enjoy it too. My 10-year-old certainly did!
9) Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
The blurb on the back of Bad Magic tells us that “It does NOT contain MAGIC”, so why am I including it on this list of magic books for kids? As you explore the world of Bad Magic the answer to this question could get clearer, or maybe it won’t. Fans of Bosch’s The Secret Series will know that the author’s hilarious writing style is full of misleads and tricks. Magic tricks perhaps?
Despite a twelve-year age gap, Clay and his older brother share a bond over magic tricks and their code for magic words is “bad words”. Two years after Clay’s brother went missing, 13-year-old Clay is sent to a summer camp on an island with an active volcano. Then Clay’s magical adventure really begins. Or does it? This mysterious and funny book is suitable for age 8 plus, but as always, those age guidelines are flexible.
10) The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
What list of magical books would be complete without a book from the Harry Potter universe? Although I haven’t included the Harry Potter books in this round-up, if your child is showing any interest in magic stories get them started with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as soon as they are old enough. But you probably already know to do that!
The Harry Potter series is so well-known, so alternatively I’m adding The Tales of Beedle the Bard to my list. The collection of fairy tales written by Beedle during the 15th century have been well-known and much-loved by wizard and witch children through the ages. Even Muggle children will enjoy these magical fairy tales today.
This edition has been newly translated by Hermione Granger and includes accompanying notes by Professor Albus Dumbleodre. As Harry Potter fans will be aware, Dumbledore left his copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Hermione in his will. She had missed out on these fairy tales as a child, having been raised by Muggles. But the book was invaluable in her adventures in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The tales can be enjoyed by children from approximately 8 plus, or read out loud to younger children. They will be especially enjoyed by children and grown-ups of any age who are Harry Potter fans.
11) Beast Quest by Adam Blade
The Beast Quest book series tells the epic adventures of young heroes Tom and Elenna as they fight to keep the magical realm of Avantia safe. They are assisted by a good wizard – Aduro. Using many magical tools and weapons the young heroes free mystical beasts that have been enslaved by the evil wizard Malvel. Ferno: The Fire Dragon is the first of many fantastic books for kids in the series.
The text of the Beast Quest books is very straight forward, but is exciting and fast paced. The series is a good bridge into chapter books for children who are just gaining the confidence to read longer texts independently. The books are ideal for children aged 7 plus. There are also Early Reader books in the series for younger readers. The number of books in the series means children who enjoy the books are encouraged to keep finding more and reading more. Fortunately it is possible to read them out of sequence. So your kids can pick up any of the series that the library has in stock and keep reading!
Over to you…
Have you found amazing magic books for kids that you would like to share and recommend? Who are your children’s favourite witches, wizards and magicians? Please share you and your children’s ideas in the comments below.