The best children’s fantasy books with Christian themes

Marissa Burt Author Of Storybound
By Marissa Burt

Who am I?

My bookshelves sag under the weight of novels crammed between fat books of theology. The Gospel kindles my imagination, and my writing grows from exegetical seeds. The Christian story begins, after all, with the Word who spoke the universe into existence, the Word who became flesh, the Word who raises the dead and gives life to the world. Each of my recommendations thrums with this heartbeat, and I trust that these books will offer you courage, companionship, and hope while reminding you that Jesus has indeed made right all that is wrong in this world. Look for his coming, for he is our happily ever after.

I wrote...


By Marissa Burt,

Book cover of Storybound

What is my book about?

In the land of Story, children go to school to learn to be the perfect character: a brave hero, a trusty sidekick, even the most dastardly villain. They dream of the day when they will live out tales written just for them.

But when an ordinary girl named Una Fairchild finds herself Written Into Story, she discovers that the magical land is threatened by a dark secret. As she digs deep into Story's shadowy past, Una realizes that she is tied to the world and its long-forgotten King in ways she never could have imagined—and it may be up to her to save it.

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The books I picked & why

The Princess and the Goblin

By George MacDonald,

Book cover of The Princess and the Goblin

Why did I love this book?

I first discovered George MacDonald’s work in a church library, where his books took up several shelves! The Princess and the Goblin is a great introduction to his fantasy novels. This charming story builds on familiar fairy-tale tropes and offers us ingredients that fantasy readers love: homey characters, growing peril, mysterious magic, and events that require uncommon courage and sacrifice. Follow it up with The Princess and Curdie for more delight.

In doing so you will join a great company of beloved Christian authors who appreciated George MacDonald’s genius: C S Lewis felt that Phantastes “baptized [his] imagination.” My favorite author L.M.Montgomery often reread At the Back of the North Wind. G.K. Chesterton felt "[The Princess and the Goblin] . . . has made a difference to my whole existence . . . ” And even J.R.R. Tolkien thought well of The Golden Key. And I add my wholehearted recommendation! Enjoy!

By George MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Princess and the Goblin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Princess Irene lives in a castle in a wild and lonely mountainous region. One day she discovers a steep and winding stairway leading to a bewildering labyrinth of unused passages with closed doors - and a further stairway. What lies at the top? Can the ring the princess is given protect her against the lurking menace of the goblins from under the mountain?

Book cover of Out of the Silent Planet

Why did I love this book?

Ideal for middle-grade readers or above, C.S. Lewis’ often overlooked science fiction series transports readers to otherworldly realms and invites us to imagine how the entire universe, with all its accompanying principalities and powers, might be crammed full of the glory of God.

Out of the Silent Planet, the first in the Space Trilogy, introduces us to Ransom, a linguist and accidental hero, whose adventures take him to Mars, Venus (Perelandra), and back to Earth (That Hideous Strength). We watch him adapt to extraterrestrial life, fend off the horrors of interplanetary greed and spiritual colonization, wrestle with the Un-Man, and confront the banal and terrible evils that threaten fallen humanity. As with all of his writing, Lewis brilliantly weaves together intriguing characters, high stakes, and Christian reality.

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Out of the Silent Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in C.S. Lewis's classic sci-fi trilogy which tells the adventure of Dr Ransom who is kidnapped and transported to Mars

In the first novel of C.S. Lewis's classic science fiction trilogy, Dr Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet's treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there. Ransom discovers he has come from the 'silent planet' - Earth - whose tragic story is known throughout the universe...

Book cover of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Why did I love this book?

Andrew Peterson is a thoughtful writer, musician, artist, and theologian whose creative work reflects his faith. My children have read the entire Wingfeather Saga many times and whole-heartedly recommend it for other young readers. One of my sons recommends this as a light-hearted yet deep Lord of the Rings-esque saga with touches of comedy, family, and Christian values. And another told me it is an exciting adventure and a funny story that is good for all ages. And I add to that my appreciation for the clever and inspiring artwork that accompanies the stories.

By Andrew Peterson,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After living for years under the occupation by the evil Fangs of Dang, the Igiby children find a map rumoured to lead to the lost Jewels of Anniera - the one thing the Fangs will do anything to find. The family is thrown headlong into a perilous adventure, uncovering truths about who they are that will change their world forever.

Repackaged with new illustrations, this is the opportunity to discover the Wingfeathers.

Hinds' Feet on High Places

By Hannah Hurnard,

Book cover of Hinds' Feet on High Places

Why did I love this book?

No Christian fantasy booklist stands complete without an allegory. Assuming you’ve read the G.O.A.T. — Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress — why not give Hurnard’s beautiful story a try? I read this as a girl, joining Much-Afraid as she follows her beloved Shepherd through trials and sorrows to ultimately reach the Kingdom of Love. I revisited this book as an elementary classroom teacher and again while homeschooling my children. 

Hind’s Feet on High Places reminds readers of the virtues of the Christian life: battling craven fear, weeding out selfishness, cultivating charity, learning from sorrow, and always, always, calling out for the Shepherd. This works well as a read-aloud, providing wonderful opportunities for discussion. (The sequels veer into theologically disputable territory, so, as always, read with discernment.)

By Hannah Hurnard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hinds' Feet on High Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With over 2 million copies sold, Hinds’ Feet on High Places remains Hannah Hurnard’s best known and most beloved book: a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd. Included in this special edition (February 2009 release) is Hannah Hurnard’s own account of the circumstances that led her to write…

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why did I love this book?

What fantasy list would be worth its words without mentioning the father of the modern genre? I include the complete trilogy because any competent reader is never too young for The Lord of the Rings — even early elementary children will enjoy this as a read-aloud. While Tolkien was clear that the LOTR is not an allegory, his devout Christian faith shines through in the redemptive themes of self-sacrifice, justice, and benevolent kingship.

I first visited the Shire in junior high and spent subsequent lunchtimes and classes clandestinely poring over its pages. I requested stew with bread and cheese for dinner and wore a ring on a chain, daydreaming about misty mountains, elven feasts, and heroic battles. I’ve never regretted a re-read, and it’s been a great delight to introduce my own children to these beloved pages. If you’re looking for more Tolkien, get your hands on a copy of his underrated Letters from Father Christmas.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

52 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…

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