The best middle grade fantasy books somehow featuring birds

Jennifer Frances Adam Author Of The Last Windwitch
By Jennifer Frances Adam

Who am I?

I’ve always been passionate about horses – in fact, I’ve adopted five wild mustangs over the years and ride often – so it’s no surprise that they often find their way into my stories. But birds and feathers tend to be important elements of my books, too. I live on a working family farm surrounded by hawks, bald eagles, blue herons, swans, owls, and countless others… but I suspect the true reason there are birds in my books has to do with the little sparrows who like to perch on my windowsill as I write!


I wrote...

The Last Windwitch

By Jennifer Adam,

Book cover of The Last Windwitch

What is my book about?

Brida is a hedgewitch’s apprentice in isolated Oak Hollow, but her fickle magic never seems to cooperate. While trying to gather herbs in the woods one day, she stumbles across a herd of mythical stormhorses and accidentally draws the attention of the Queen of Crows. On the run from the queen’s Huntsman and a flock of crow spies, she discovers the secret truth about her family and her own special power. To save everyone she loves, she must learn to master her magic, free the stormhorses, and defeat the queen before wild storms and a collapsing climate destroy the realm. 

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Cinders and Sparrows

By Stefan Bachmann,

Book cover of Cinders and Sparrows

Why this book?

When Zita Brydgeborn, an orphan employed as a cranky widow’s maid, receives an unexpected letter delivered by a scarecrow she is thrust into the heart of a mysterious battle between good and evil. Discovering that she might be the only living heir to a dynasty of witches, she must learn more than spells and charms if she hopes to survive the foe who claimed her family’s souls. With a clever crow and two castle servants as her closest friends, Zita confronts a tangle of family secrets and sinister magic to break a deadly curse. This book is a delightfully creepy read with all the elements of my favorite stories: a brave girl with a hidden past, bird imagery, witchcraft, fiercely loyal friends, and family secrets. It’s beautifully written and strikes the perfect balance between spooky danger and gentle humor.


How to Save a Queendom

By Jessica Lawson,

Book cover of How to Save a Queendom

Why this book?

Stub-the-Nuisance is an orphan apprentice at a rough tavern with only a chicken named Peck for a friend. But when a spell-shrunk wizard appears in her pocket, she finds herself bound in an adventure to save a young queen. After years of abuse and bullying, she discovers her own strength and the joys of true friendship. This book is an absolute delight filled with detailed worldbuilding, quirky humor, and characters that will tug your heart. The focus on found family lends a deep layer of poignant authenticity to the story and makes this a book worth reading over and over again.


Unseen Magic

By Emily Lloyd-Jones,

Book cover of Unseen Magic

Why this book?

There are rules for living in the magical town of Aldermere, including the fact that the ravens must be fed. For Fin, it’s the first place she’s ever felt safe – especially since she can spend a memory for a cup of tea that will help her forget memories that feed her anxieties. But when a visit to the tea shop goes horribly wrong, Fin must confront the source of her fear before something sinister destroys the entire town. This is a heartwarming story about finding courage, facing your past, and trusting your friends. It’s a lovely, thoughtful, charming book steeped in unexpected magic (like doors that don’t always lead where you expect!) and deep truth. I think this could be a great book for families to read together because it offers the sort of comfort that readers of any age can appreciate. 


The Flight of Swans

By Sarah McGuire,

Book cover of The Flight of Swans

Why this book?

When Princess Andaryn’s father gets lost in the woods and returns wed to a mysterious woman with magical power, her life is turned into a nightmare. To save the lives of her six brothers, she agrees to a bargain, swearing to remain silent for six years. In a cruel trick, the wicked queen transforms them into six black swans and Ryn discovers that protecting them will be far more difficult than she ever expected. But she doesn’t need a voice to fight for those she loves and seeing her courage and steadfast determination makes this a book I’ll never forget. This is a beautifully written, richly imagined retelling of the fairytale “Six Swans” or “The Wild Swans” and I loved it. Readers ready to bridge the gap between middle grade fantasy and young adult fantasy will appreciate following Ryn as she grows from powerless young girl to strong young woman.


A Secret Of Birds & Bone

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave,

Book cover of A Secret Of Birds & Bone

Why this book?

Sofia lives a quiet life with her mother, brother, and a pet crow. But her mother is a bone-binder, famous for magic keys and keepsakes made of bone, and when a silver-veiled stranger suddenly appears with a request one day a chain of events is set in motion that will challenge everything Sofia thought she knew. Taken to the city orphanage after her mother’s arrest, Sofia discovers a sinister mystery and meets a thief hiding secrets of his own. With nothing but a bone locket made by her mother, she must find the courage to escape through the catacombs and save everyone she loves. This is a dark, spooky book perfect for young readers wanting a scary thrill. It’s beautifully written and richly textured with imagery of birds and bones, shadows and secret places. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in birds, curses, and wizards?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about birds, curses, and wizards.

Birds Explore 117 books about birds
Curses Explore 44 books about curses
Wizards Explore 63 books about wizards

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Howl's Moving Castle, Where the World Ends, and The Bird and the Sword if you like this list.