The best middle grade fantasy books about dragons, sword fights, elves, and such

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, I’ve been creating stories about worlds just beyond the reach of our fingers but not beyond the reach of our minds. Now, all grown up, I have the pleasure of seeing those stories on bookstore shelves—some in locations and languages all over the world.


I wrote...

The Lost Property Office

By James R. Hannibal,

Book cover of The Lost Property Office

What is my book about?

The Lost Property Office is the first in a trilogy that follows American thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles as he navigates a hidden world of London secret societies—the Ministries of Trackers, Guilds, Secrets, and Dragons. While searching for his missing father, Jack learns of his place in the Ministry of Trackers and meets apprentice quartermaster Gwen Kincaid (the Watson to his Holmes). The two must recover a powerful artifact to save Jack’s father and stop the mad Clockmaker from recreating the Great Fire of London. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Keeper of the Lost Cities

James R. Hannibal Why did I love this book?

Keeper of the Lost Cities is the first of ten books in the series of the same name. Who doesn’t love a long-running series with plenty of stories to tell? Shannon is amazing at creating fantastical worlds that intersect with our own. Sophie Foster’s telepathic abilities are her first clue that perhaps she doesn’t quite belong. And when Fitz shows up—a boy who shares her ability—he confirms it. Fitz whisks her away to a land of elves, wonder, and danger. This is a wish-fulfillment book of I-should-be-anyplace-else-but-here that goes terribly wrong when a group of rebel elves proves they are intent on doing Sophie harm.

By Shannon Messenger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Keeper of the Lost Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestselling series
A USA TODAY bestselling series
A California Young Reader Medal-winning series

In this riveting series opener, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She's skipped multiple grades and doesn't really connect with the older kids at school, but she's not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie's a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret-at least, that's what she thinks...

But the day Sophie…


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

James R. Hannibal Why did I love this book?

You can see Andrew Peterson’s whimsy in the title of this book and feel it throughout the story. Three children in a world very similar to our own are thrown into an adventure in which they must face sea dragons and terrible venomous lizard people. The Wingfeather Saga (which this story begins) captures readers with a gorgeous world and nonstop adventure. But where it wins my heart is the overriding theme. The soul of this story is family.

By Andrew Peterson,

Why should I read it?

9 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. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

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.


Book cover of Fear No Evil

James R. Hannibal Why did I love this book?

Fear No Evil is the first in Allen’s Towers of Light series of family reads. In similar fashion to the Wingfeather Saga, a group of siblings must navigate a new world to save their parents. Allen’s world enables us to see a world untouched by sin and then the damage done when sin begins to taint the landscape and its inhabitants. I love these stories so much because of Allen’s unique fireside storytelling style. The easy and almost rhythmic flow of his prose lends itself to read-alouds that adults, middle graders, and younger siblings can all enjoy.

By Allen Brokken,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fear No Evil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Separated by tragedy on the river...
...Lauren, Aiden and Ethan are lost and alone in a valley of darkness.

Without each other or their Knight Protector, the three siblings must navigate the wilderness while fending off creatures tainted by evil. Meanwhile, the yellow acolyte has ascended the throne of the Iron Hills and holds Mother and Father captive in the heart of the mountain. Will the children's faith give them the courage to save their parents?

"My kids are loving these books! They arrive and are devoured quickly and passed on to the next child to read. I like to…


Book cover of The Unwanteds

James R. Hannibal Why did I love this book?

I love a good underdog story, and what better underdog is there an unwanted tweenager? Lisa wrote the Unwanteds as a fantastical answer to the loss of arts programs in public schools. In her story, set on the island of Quill, artistic tendencies are suppressed and those who fail to hide it are banished to (well, no spoilers). But if you love a good magical boarding school tale of friends, traitors, and new abilities, this series is for you.  

By Lisa McMann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unwanteds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A riveting middlegrade dystopian novel from New York Times bestselling Wake author Lisa McMann that Kirkus Reviews calls "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter."

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret--behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a…


Book cover of Dragon Rider

James R. Hannibal Why did I love this book?

Dragon Rider is a lesser-known tale from the author who brought you Inkheart. As I said before, I love stories about worlds that intersect our own, and Dragon Rider is one of those. When the human expansion threatens to destroy the home of the last known dragons, Firedrake and his brownie friend Sorrel set out in search of the Rim of Heaven, where dragons can live in peace. A boy, Ben, is swept up in their journey and a fast-paced adventure follows. Good and bad humans as well as an evil manmade dragon keep the heroes on their toes and the pages turning.

By Cornelia Funke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dragon Rider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The very first dragon adventure from the legendary author
of Inkheart, Cornelia Funke - now a major film, over
1 million English language copies sold worldwide and a New
York Times bestseller!
Now a Sky Original film, only on Sky Cinema

'A warm-hearted dream of a book.' THE GUARDIAN

'Funke is the queen of world-building ... glorious escapism'
THE TIMES

A dragon. A boy. A journey.

Firedrake, a brave young dragon, embarks on a magical journey
to find the legendary place where silver dragons can live in peace
for ever.

Along the way, he discovers extraordinary new friends and a…


You might also like...

Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time

By PJ Davis,

Book cover of Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time

PJ Davis

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Featured in "Best Middle Grade Fantasy Books" - Reedsy Discovery

"Fun & Fast Paced, This is Middle Grade Fantasy at its Best!" — Shaun Stevenson

"If you know any middle-grade readers who enjoy science fiction/fantasy with a mix of action, danger, and humor - recommend this book to them, or just go ahead and give them a copy." — The Fairview Review

“With elements of adventure, exploration, other worlds, and fantastical science, Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time is an exciting middle-grade novel with plenty of suspense… Behind the adventure are important messages about believing in oneself and finding inner strength.” — The Children's Book Review

"The plot of Nemesis and The Vault of Lost Time is a tapestry of surprises characterized by its unforeseen twists and turns. It’s this element of suspense that grips the readers, while the vivid descriptions create immersive visual experiences. Beyond its adventurous core, this mystery novel delves into themes of friendship and the nuanced dynamics of father-son relationships, offering a multi-layered reading experience." — The Literary Titan

Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time

By PJ Davis,

What is this book about?

Thirteen-year-old Max is a daydreamer. It gets him into trouble at school, but his restless curiosity really turns problematic when he runs into a mysterious professor at his uncle's bookstore.

The old man informs Max that time is being sucked out of the planet by invisible bandits, stolen from unsuspecting people one breath and one sneeze at a time, and is being stored in a central vault. Once full, the vault will fuel a hungry horde of invaders looking to cross into earth, and cross out all its people.

What's more, the professor claims he knew Max's missing scientist father.…


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Interested in elves, identity, and brothers?

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