The best fantasy books to reignite your sense of wonder

Alexandria Miracola Author Of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel
By Alexandria Miracola

Who am I?

I’ve been captivated by wonder for four years now, but it’s my family’s experience of grief that convinced me that wonder is essential. On a dark December day, my grandpa, John, passed away. There was an emptiness that would not go away, until God broke through the darkness that was suffocating our hearts and home. I was reminded that wonder is a gift from a loving, intentional Father and a sword that cuts through the lies that tell us faith is pointless, childish, and weak. I hope that my own story, as well as the others I’ve shared here, helps reignite your own desire to fight for wonder.


I wrote...

Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel

By Alexandria Miracola,

Book cover of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel

What is my book about?

In a home nestled on a quiet, cobblestone street, a young woman is holding tightly to wonder. All is quiet and good, as it should be. But as Christmas approaches, Penelope Grace learns how easily circumstance can mock joy. A nameless shadow is haunting her family, and there seems to be no hope of defending them against his relentless attacks.

Still, Penelope is not content to do nothing. On a cold winter’s night, she finds herself chasing an unexpected friend through the softly falling snow. But which will prove stronger? Shadow or Light? Despair or wonder? Follow her now through an ice-laden forest, down a worn, frozen path, to a winter carousel covered in snow, and we’ll join the battle for wonder together.

The books I picked & why

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East

By Edith Pattou,

Book cover of East

Why this book?

This is a retelling of the classic fairy tale, and it’s a world that I love to disappear into year after year. East challenged me to see beyond the surface of my circumstances and gave a glimpse of the treasure that was only waiting for me to have the eyes to see it. It’s the book that convinced me that the reality of grief wasn’t the end of my family’s story.

East

By Edith Pattou,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Full of fear and excitement, Rose, a young woman, journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear, only to find that her journey has just begun, in a retelling of the classic tale, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." Jr. Lib Guild. An ALA Notable Book & Top Ten Best Books for Young Readers. Reprint.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

By C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Why this book?

The Pevensie children’s adventures were my introduction to portal fantasy, and my love for it has never changed. There’s a particular kind of expectant hope and childlike wonder that begins on this story’s pages and finds its home in readers’ hearts. It’s a hope that’s kept me peeking into wardrobes ever since, and it’s a rare and special story that can bring that kind of childlike wonder into a person’s grown-up years.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

By C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lucy steps into the Professor's wardrobe - but steps out again into a snowy forest. She's stumbled upon the magical world of Narnia, land of unicorns, centaurs, fauns... and the wicked White Witch, who terrorises all. Lucy soon realises that Narnia, and in particular Aslan, the great Lion, needs her help if the country's creatures are ever going to be free again...


Inkheart

By Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell (translator),

Book cover of Inkheart

Why this book?

I have been a reader all my life, but Inkheart is the story that made me want to be a writer. Every page is both an invitation for book lovers to step inside the dream of beloved characters coming to life and a call to confront the villains who emerge from the very same pages. If ever there was a book that celebrates the simple wonder of being a reader and crafting stories of your own, it’s this one.

Inkheart

By Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Inkheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in Cornelia Funke's internationally celebrated
trilogy - magical, thrilling and mesmerising.

'I
don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the
joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading' Diana Wynne Jones

Meggie
loves books. So does her father, Mo, a bookbinder,
although he has never read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously
disappeared. They live quietly until the night a stranger
knocks at their door. He has come with a warning that forces
Mo to reveal an extraordinary secret - a storytelling secret that
will change their lives for ever.

Also a major film starring…


The Legend of Holly Claus

By Brittney Ryan, Laurel Long (illustrator),

Book cover of The Legend of Holly Claus

Why this book?

This is the book that taught me not to dismiss wonder as something that’s only for children. This warmest of winter tales helped me see that wonder is a light to illuminate times of grief and loss; a fiery hope that combats fears; and a faith that defies the circumstances that seek to steal our joy. I have never encountered a fictional world that felt more like home.

The Legend of Holly Claus

By Brittney Ryan, Laurel Long (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Legend of Holly Claus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Santa Claus's daughter, Holly, comes to Earth seeking an end to the curse cast upon her and the Land of the Immortals by an evil wizard, whose own punishment will end only if Holly willingly gives him her pure heart.


The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Hobbit

Why this book?

To refuse to overlook someone simply because they are small in stature or seem, in our eyes, to be small in courage or heart – there are few things that are more fueled by a sense of wonder than that. Wonder refuses to dismiss the seemingly insignificant or weak. This story embraces whimsical fun and the importance of wonder all at once and will forever be one of my favorites.

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Hobbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special collector's film tie-in hardback of the best-selling classic, featuring the complete story with a sumptuous cover design inspired by THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and brand new reproductions of all the drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.

But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid…


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