10 books like Irish Fairy and Folk Tales

By W.B. Yeats,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Coming of the Fairies

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of The Coming of the Fairies

This is a surprise pick. It’s the first book about “real” fairies that I read. I was 15 years old when my local librarian showed me the book. The author was best known for creating the Sherlock Holmes series, and he wrote a book about fairies? 

The Cottingley fairies appear in a series of photographs taken by two young girls living in England in 1917. When the pictures came to the attention of writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he interpreted them as clear and visible evidence of the existence of fairies. Many people accepted the images as genuine; others believed they had been faked. This fascinating account of the “sightings” allows us to get inside the mind of a highly intelligent man who also happened to believe in fairies. But were the fairies real?

The Coming of the Fairies

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Coming of the Fairies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PREFACE This book contains reproductions of the famous Cottingley photographs, and gives the whole of the evidence in connection with them. The diligent reader is in almost as good a position as I am to form a judgment upon the authenticity of the pictures. This narrative is not a special plea for that authenticity, but is simply a collection of facts the inferences from which may be accepted or rejected as the reader may think fit. I would warn the critic, however, not to be led away by the sophistry that because some professional trickster, apt at the game of…


The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

By Katharine M. Briggs,

Book cover of The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

For a serious look at English fairy lore, try The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature by K.M. Briggs. It’s only one of the author’s many books on fairies, so if you’re interested in English fairy lore, the work of Katharine. Briggs is a gold mine.

The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

By Katharine M. Briggs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fairies in Tradition and Literature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fairies fascinate young and old alike. To some they offer tantalizing glimpses of other worlds, to others a subversive counterpoint to human arrogance and weakness. Like no other author, Katharine Briggs throughout her work communicated the thrill and delight of the world of fairies, and in this book she articulated for the first time the history of that world in tradition and literature.

From every period and every country, poets and storytellers have described a magical world inhabited by elfin spirits. Capricious and vengeful, or beautiful and generous, they've held us in thrall for generations. And on a summer's morn,…


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

By Susanna Clarke,

Book cover of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

As you probably gathered from my notes above, when it comes to reading historical fantasy, I think there are tons of great options. But if you only try one of the books I’m highlighting, make it Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Susanna Clarke’s masterpiece has whimsy for days and is set in one of my favorite eras (Napoleonic Europe). And even when I laid the book down during some of the slower bits, I never doubted I’d pick it back up; Clarke’s stewardship was too amusing, too inventive, and ultimately too trustworthy—I always had faith she was shepherding me to a satisfying conclusion. And she did: in the end, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell proved itself more than worthy of the time it took to read.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of…


Artemis Fowl

By Eoin Colfer,

Book cover of Artemis Fowl

Yes, it’s about elves, centaurs, and gnomes. But it is also very much a mystery. Part police procedural with Capt. Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police, part ransom caper, and part ticking bomb suspense, Artemis Fowl mixes all of these classic crime components with fantasy, scatological humor, and unexpected twists to create a story both original and familiar. Another much-loved selection from the Cavanagh library.

Artemis Fowl

By Eoin Colfer,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Artemis Fowl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an original movie on Disney+!

Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has discovered a world below ground of armed and dangerous--and extremely high-tech--fairies. He kidnaps one of them, Holly Short, and holds her for ransom in an effort to restore his family's fortune. But he may have underestimated the fairies' powers. Is he about to trigger a cross-species war?

Disney's “Artemis Fowl” is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonzo Anozie, with Josh Gad, and Judi Dench.


The Folk of the Air

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Folk of the Air

Holly Black is a master of the fae tale. Much has been said about this trilogy already but I assure you, the praise is well-deserved. Each book has a tight and dynamic plot, prose that fairly flies off the page, and a conclusion that is very satisfying. The first book was almost deceptive in the way it presented a not-very-strong protagonist until she evolves and becomes so much more than the reader thinks her to be. It’s the best kind of fictional surprise.

The Folk of the Air

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover Holly Black's epic bestselling The Folk of the Air series in this complete e-book collection which includes: The Cruel Prince, The Lost Sisters, The Wicked King, and The Queen of Nothing.

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her…


Folk

By Zoe Gilbert,

Book cover of Folk

I just discovered this book and want to teach it in every one of my classes! Folk is a series of stories about the villagers in a tiny, closed-off island filled with strange rituals and a cacophony of alliances and grudges. Her language is simply thrilling, and the fairy tales are shocking in all different ways. We hear a different perspective in each story, so the book results in a fairy tale about how small communities work and what the ‘folk’ in them must do—and believe—in order to get along.  

Folk

By Zoe Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Folk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A captivating, magical and haunting debut novel of breathtaking imagination, from the winner of the 2014 Costa Short Story Award LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 'That rare thing: genuinely unique' OBSERVER 'Will win you over ... Magical' THE TIMES 'Absolutely stunning. I loved it' MADELINE MILLER, AUTHOR OF CIRCE On the remote island of Neverness, the villagers' lives are entwined with nature: its enchantments, seductions and dangers. There is May, the young fiddler who seeks her musical spirit; Madden Lightfoot, who flies with red kites; and Verlyn Webbe, born with a wing for an arm. Over the…


Grandfather Tang's Story

By Ann Tompert,

Book cover of Grandfather Tang's Story

Tangrams are ancient Chinese puzzles made of up to seven interlocking geometric shapes. As Grandfather Tang assembles his polygons, the animals he creates spring to life. You’ll be astonished to learn all the creatures you can make with a square, a parallelogram, and five triangles. Wooden or plastic tangram puzzles are easy (and inexpensive) to find online, but be sure to help your child make their own out of paper so they can get solid, hands-on experience seeing how they can transform a square into so many different shapes.

Grandfather Tang's Story

By Ann Tompert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grandfather Tang's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This folktale told using ancient Chinese puzzles and watercolor illustrations has been beloved for over thirty years and is the perfect addition to your Father's Day reading list!

When Little Soo asks for a story, Grandfather Tang arranges the tangram pieces and two magic fox fairies spring to life. The foxes change shapes as quick as a wink, from rabbits to dogs to squirrels and geese. But their game turns dangerous when a hunter raises his bow. . . .

Originally published in 1990, Grandfather Tang’s Story will continue to delight new readers as the wonder of the tangram puzzle—and…


Magicborn

By Peter Bunzl,

Book cover of Magicborn

If you’ve ever believed in fairies then this is the book for you. I adored the setting of the Greenwoods where twins Storm Girl and Wild Boy are born and live until they are forced to leave. This is where the adventure begins – and what an adventure. It’s a book full of feisty characters, which is something I admire. They simply won’t give up and keep going until they uncover the secrets about their past. The other adorable character in this book is Coriel who is a robin who can talk to Storm Girl. I’ve always wished I could understand bird language! This is the first of a new series and I simply can’t wait for the next one.

Magicborn

By Peter Bunzl,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magicborn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Curse is changed. You'll never know. The truth is lost. The lie will grow.

The year is 1726 and the Royal Sorcerer of England is on the hunt for those who are Magicborn. When Tempest is captured, she is taken to Kensington Palace alongside a boy like her, Thomas.

Trapped, Tempest and Thomas find their magic flickering to life and, with it, long-buried memories. For they are the lost prince and princess of Fairyland, bound by a deadly curse. But now the fairies are coming to get them, and with the truth revealed...can they both survive?

The first in…


The Last Storm

By J.D. Linton,

Book cover of The Last Storm

This book is a fantasy romance novel that takes place in a world where humans live alongside fae. Except the fae and humans are at war and living in a divided world. The lives of the king of the fae and the daughter of a human general end up intertwined and the story that develops between them is wonderful. This book is for those who love enemies-to-lovers tropes and new magic systems.

The Last Storm

By J.D. Linton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ara Starrin’s entire life has been a lie.

Hidden in the shadow of her controlling father, General Evander of Auryna, Ara has never tasted true freedom. For most of her life, she’s been locked away in his estate as he is determined to protect her from the bloodthirsty Fae across the border.

But as her twenty-sixth birthday comes and goes, he decides it's time for her to marry, against her wishes and completely unbeknownst to her.

Ara’s fate is sealed the moment he announces her engagement.

Rogue Draki’s entire life has been a painful truth.

Raised at the hands of…


Magicalamity

By Kate Saunders,

Book cover of Magicalamity

For those who prefer their humor British, this fantasy adventure will more than fill the bill. Eleven-year-old Tom Harding thought he was just a normal kid, but he wakes up one day to discover that his parents are in hiding from evildoers in an alternate world called the Realm—and to top it off, he learns his dad is a magical fairy and he himself is a demisprite, or half fairy, of which he had no clue. Aided by his klutzy cousin Pindar, a trio of bickering fairy godmothers, and an assortment of goofy, otherworldly creatures and characters, Tom sets out on the magical adventure of his life to rescue Mum and Dad. The action is fast and fun and the humor is nonstop, with lots of understated Britishisms like “When you’ve just been told you might be about to disintegrate, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else.” And, of course,…

Magicalamity

By Kate Saunders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magicalamity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tom is in shock. He's just discovered that his dad is an escaped fairy on the run. And that he must trust his life to three dangerous fairy godmothers he's never met. Two of them are hardened criminals, and one falls out of the window when she tries to fly . . .

Will their mad magic be enough to help Tom rescue his dad from the clutches of some killer fairies?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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