The best fantasy books about friendship and bravery

The Books I Picked & Why

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why this book?

I first read this book when I was about 13 years old and it started me on my journey through the various wonderful fantasy worlds that so many fantastic fantasy writers have created. JRR Tolkien’s descriptions of Middle Earth and the multitude of characters that inhabited it were so vividly brought to life with his wonderful writing. What really came through for me was the underlying story of how, with the help of good and trustworthy friends, you can achieve the seemingly impossible.

That premise stayed with me and grew into the nugget of an idea that underlies my own storytelling. The Lord of the Rings is really worth reading by anyone who loves fantasy books. Don’t be put off by it looking daunting as it’s really three separate books and not one big long book as it might appear.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

By J.K. Rowling

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Why this book?

I read each Harry Potter book, as it was published, to my (then) two young children and this was the first book in the series. It captured our imaginations then and still does today. Although they are now adults, my children still love the books and have read them for themselves and even have audio versions.

Harry, despite having no love at home, finds love in the shape of his two best friends. Their friendship enables him to overcome real adversity and eventually win the day. The great thing is that although the books are fantasy they bring two very different worlds together and make both very real. The books are a great source of escapism when real life is a bit tough.

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How to Train Your Dragon

By Cressida Cowell

Book cover of How to Train Your Dragon

Why this book?

I just love dragons and this book is the first in a whole series about different dragons. I’m also a big fan of the Vikings and these books bring those two favourite things together.

The book’s hero is a young Viking boy called Hiccup and this book tells the story of how he goes about catching and training a dragon. It is such a fun, and funny, book and the illustrations are brilliant because even you or I could probably have a go at drawing them too. You will find yourself laughing out loud.

The writer Cressida Cowell has created some brilliant characters that I’m sure you will enjoy reading about as much as I did. If you enjoyed the film, you’ll love the book.

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By Rowan and Yew

By Melissa Harrison

Book cover of By Rowan and Yew

Why this book?

This book is a new find for me and I loved it.

It’s about a group of ‘Hidden People’ who are trying to find their way back home. Hidden People are tiny folk who most humans can’t see but who can be seen by some children – children aware of the world of nature around them. Hidden People are guardians of the Wild World, the world of nature and animals and birds and the like.

This delightful and informative book has a strong message about protecting the world around us. I was enchanted by the story of the, sometimes scary, adventures that these tiny people experienced on their journey back home and I’m sure you will be too.

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The Lightning Thief

By Rick Riordan

Book cover of The Lightning Thief

Why this book?

This book is a firm favourite of mine, as are the others in the series.

The way that Rick Riordan brings Greek mythology into the modern era and into the human world is inspiring. Once again the thread of strong friendships runs throughout the story, as Percy deals with discovering his heritage and the powers that come with it. It helps, of course, that these friends are, in some cases, like him with godlike powers or come from the world of mythology. But this book, like all those I’ve chosen, shows that good friends will always be there to help you to achieve your aims – you just have to be a bit brave.

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