72 books like Irish Fairy and Folk Tales

By W.B. Yeats,

Here are 72 books that Irish Fairy and Folk Tales fans have personally recommended if you like Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Coming of the Fairies

Bobbie Hinman Author Of The Sock Fairy

From my list on children’s books about fairies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by fairies. I remember watching dragonflies in my backyard, convinced that they carried fairies on their backs. I hung pictures of fairies on my bedroom walls. I even moved my dollhouse furniture outside and set it up under a tree so the fairies would be comfy. This wasn’t as farfetched as it sounds when you consider that I grew up before the digital age and was always encouraged to use my imagination. When the movie Peter Pan was released, I fell in love with Tinkerbell. I’m convinced that all of this prepared me to become the writer of a series of fairy books. Who knew?

Bobbie's book list on children’s books about fairies

Bobbie Hinman Why did Bobbie love this book?

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?

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…


Book cover of The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

Mary Losure Author Of The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World

From my list on fairies for adults and kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mary Losure is the author of The Fairy Ring, or Elsie and Frances Fool the World. Though she doesn’t happen to believe in fairies herself, when she went to Cottingley, England, and explained that she was writing a children’s book about the girls who took the Cottingley Fairy Photographs, she met a surprisingly large number of people who did.  Plus, she’s always been interested in imaginary worlds. Her most recent book, Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d, is the story of a magic-seeking boy who grew up to become the world’s greatest alchemist. Oh, and also discovered the secrets of the universe….

Mary's book list on fairies for adults and kids

Mary Losure Why did Mary love this book?

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.

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,…


Book cover of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Duncan Hubber Author Of Notes from the Citadel: The Philosophy and Psychology of A Song of Ice and Fire

From my list on The best philosophical fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic at the University of Queensland whose research areas include horror films, screen trauma theory, the cinematic representation of urban spaces, and the collision of romanticism and postmodernism in fantasy literature. My first book, POV Horror: The Trauma Aesthetic of the Found Footage Subgenre, was adapted from my PhD thesis. I am an avid member of the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, and my second book represents over a decade of talking and writing about George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, having grown out of conversations in forums, podcasts, symposiums, and fan conventions, as well as my own background in literary analysis and research.

Duncan's book list on The best philosophical fantasy novels

Duncan Hubber Why did Duncan love this book?

Clarke transports the reader to England during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. There is, however, one small twist: magic once existed in this world and has now returned through two men, drastically changing the course of history and society.

The story is rich in gothic atmosphere and wry humour, and is positively bursting with ideas (there are almost 200 footnotes!). Clarke imbues her protagonists with conflicting approaches to the pursuit of knowledge, with Norrell representing cautious rationality and conservative methodology, while Strange embodies an adventurous spirit and a willingness to embrace the arcane and often the dangerous.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

22 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…


Book cover of Artemis Fowl

Sam Middleton Author Of Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr

From my list on novels that blend science fiction and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fantasy uniquely combines elements of science fiction (advanced technology, futuristic settings) with those of fantasy (magic, mythological creatures, and supernatural elements). This fusion creates rich and versatile storytelling that often comes with a deep sense of mystery beyond what science fiction or fantasy achieves on their own.

This blend also requires greater “buy-in” from the reader to believe in the world we’re being presented. As readers, we often accept dwarves in fantasy with little to no explanation. We do the same with spaceships in science fiction. But dwarves in spaceships require truly creative storytelling to achieve a much higher buy-in threshold. The author who can pull this off has my attention.  

Sam's book list on novels that blend science fiction and fantasy

Sam Middleton Why did Sam love this book?

The only Young Adult book on this list but firmly deserving of its place, this book is the perfect example of how to successfully blend science fiction and fantasy. 

Colfer takes a traditional fantasy fairy society and gives them advanced weaponry, surveillance gadgets, and time-stopping devices. It works incredibly well, and through convincing world-building I was immediately bought into the idea of fantasy creatures with sci-fi technology. 

A standout feature of the novel is the characters, whose backstories, motivations, and behaviours all help to build this science fantasy world. We get an elf “LEPRecon” officer with access to bionic wings, a centaur who heads the technology department of the “Lower Elements Police,” and a dwarven thief who sells stolen human property on the black market. They were all enormously fun to read.

By Eoin Colfer,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Artemis Fowl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

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.


Book cover of The Folk of the Air

Nafiza Azad Author Of Road of the Lost

From my list on about the fae.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many kids love fairy tales and so did I but I was always puzzled by the lack of fairies in these tales. The idea of a separate world containing these beautiful but flawed creatures enthralled me from an early age. I read everything about them so that I could get my hands on, whether the book was fiction or nonfiction. When doing my Master's in Children’s Literature, I studied fae tales that appear around the world which evoked a thirst in me to write my own…so I did. All the books on this list give a glimpse of the chaotic nature of the fae, of the world that surely exists beyond our comprehension. I hope they are as much a treat for your imagination as they were mine.

Nafiza's book list on about the fae

Nafiza Azad Why did Nafiza love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Folk

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of She Never Told Me about the Ocean

From my list on fairy tales for adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American author and writing teacher both at Harvard and Oxford’s online programs. I've mostly written poetry and nonfiction, then in 2021 I published my first novel, She Never Told Me about the Ocean. I started writing the book when my daughter was born as a way to explore the complicated feelings and fears that suddenly washed over me. The book—like a daughter—outgrew my plans and expectations for it. It became, unexpectedly, a mythology of mothers and daughters. For two decades I've studied fairy tales and myths. Fairy tales deal in fears and the stories we tell ourselves to feel safe—which is why I read them and use them in my writing.

Elisabeth's book list on fairy tales for adults

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Why did Elisabeth love this book?

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.  

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…


Book cover of Darling, There are Wolves in the Woods

J.L. Jackola Author Of Adrift

From my list on where romance is as significant as world-building.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reader, I have always been partial to fantasy—the sweeping worlds, the heroics, the adventures, and the characters. I grew up immersed in fantasy, and as I began my writing journey, I remained immersed in it. I love being transported to another world and escaping the mundane of life, exchanging it, if only briefly, for a life of excitement and magic. I am a fantasy romance writer at heart, and my writing personifies my love affair with both fantasy and romance. To me, romance is just as tantalizing as world-building. My books consist of powerful romances that weave perfectly with the magical world in which they bloom.

J.L.'s book list on where romance is as significant as world-building

J.L. Jackola Why did J.L. love this book?

A more recent read for me was The Wicked Woods Chronicles by Indie author L. V. Russell.

Russell weaves a tale of faeries and love in this dark fantasy that is wickedly satisfying. Teya stumbles into the forest of the faerie and finds herself entangled with creatures ranging from monstrous to beautiful.

When she meets Laphaniel, it is not love at first sight, but as her journey into the land of the faeries continues, love blooms in unexpected ways. This love story is set in a world that is mystical and enchanting while horrifying at the same time.

The romance is prevalent throughout the series, beckoning us to read further to discover Teya and Laphaniel’s fate.

By L V Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darling, There are Wolves in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The woods are dark and wicked,
and perhaps some things would be better off staying lost…

Teya Jenkins is ten years old when her sister is taken.
Niven is never found, because no one knows where to look.
No one but Teya that is, who heard the whispers of the trees
and saw the beautiful creatures that dwelled in the shadows.

It is only after another tragedy, years later, that Teya finally dares
to enter the forest that haunts her dreams, determined to bring home
her sister and mend the fractured remains of her family.

Beneath the whispering oaks, she…


Book cover of War for the Oaks: The Screenplay

Nancy M. Bell Author Of Laurel's Quest

From my list on magic and myth in our everyday lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love horses and I love the magic that exists in the world. I have always been drawn to both. My maternal grandmother had the ‘second sight’ as they called it, and I have inherited that from her. My books and poetry reflect my sincere belief that magic and wonder are alive and well and that we need to nourish them by acknowledging their existence in our everyday lives. The miracle of life, the sun rising and setting every day, the dance of the stars and moon across the sky, the glory of the northern lights—who can claim that isn’t magic? 

Nancy's book list on magic and myth in our everyday lives

Nancy M. Bell Why did Nancy love this book?

While in a style all her own, Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks mirrors de Lint’s ability to bring the thrill of magic and danger into our world against the backdrop of our mundane reality. I love the idea that magic exists alongside the reality most think is the be all and end all. To believe that the things we see out of the corner of our eye actually exist, perhaps just in an alternate realm that lies beside ours. I have to say I believe in magic. I thoroughly enjoy this book and have read it more than once.

By Emma Bull, Will Shetterly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked War for the Oaks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eddi McCandry has just left her boyfriend and their band when she finds herself drafted against her will in a faerie war between the Summer and Winter Courts, the WAR FOR THE OAKS. While trying to cope with her new otherworldly bodyguyard, the Pooka, Eddi also struggles to build a new life, a new band, survive the schemes of the Queen of Air and Darkness -- and discover the magic that is truly her own. Emma Bull and Will Shetterly write novels, short stories, screenplays, comic books, poetry and essays. Emma was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula and World…


Book cover of A Dark and Hollow Star

Erin Grammar Author Of Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl

From my list on YA fantasy with “unlikeable” heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I firmly believe that everyone, especially teenage girls, should own their right to pick and choose. Life guarantees you’ll run across the opportunity to make “bad” decisions, but these are so much more fun to read about than a path that’s straight and narrow. Cultivating radical empathy for my fellow humans, even those I don’t agree with, is a passion that makes me a kinder person and a more nuanced writer. Plus, I like shouting at books as much as the next reader. It makes my cats come running, which makes them tired, which makes them sit and cuddle. Diabolical, indeed.  

Erin's book list on YA fantasy with “unlikeable” heroines

Erin Grammar Why did Erin love this book?

This Final Fantasy and DnD-inspired contemporary fantasy has 5 POVs, but we’re really here for prickly leather queen Nausicaä. Nos is a sarcastic ex-Fury with a short temper, a sword, and a serious grudge against the Deities who exiled her to the mortal realm. She’s old, she’s cranky, and she’s totally soft for Arlo, an adorable half-fae girl on a mission to uncover the mystery behind unsolved magic murders in Toronto. I seriously can’t resist a grump and sunshine team-up. 

By Ashley Shuttleworth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Dark and Hollow Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Beautifully written and deliciously complex…I couldn’t get enough.” —Nicki Pau Preto, author of the Crown of Feathers series

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The…


Book cover of Sprite's Secret

Bobbie Hinman Author Of The Sock Fairy

From my list on children’s books about fairies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by fairies. I remember watching dragonflies in my backyard, convinced that they carried fairies on their backs. I hung pictures of fairies on my bedroom walls. I even moved my dollhouse furniture outside and set it up under a tree so the fairies would be comfy. This wasn’t as farfetched as it sounds when you consider that I grew up before the digital age and was always encouraged to use my imagination. When the movie Peter Pan was released, I fell in love with Tinkerbell. I’m convinced that all of this prepared me to become the writer of a series of fairy books. Who knew?

Bobbie's book list on children’s books about fairies

Bobbie Hinman Why did Bobbie love this book?

I love children’s series that encourage young readers to keep track of what their favorite character is up to in the next book…and the next. Pixie Tricks is an early chapter book series that does just that. In the first book, the main character finds a portal to the fairy world right in her own backyard. In the following books, she must deal with baffling situations such as mysteriously leaking faucets and figuring out a way to rescue her cousin who is somehow trapped inside a video game. There are 5 books in this series and children ages 6 to 8 love to collect them all.

By Tracey West, Xavier Bonet (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sprite's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Fairies + magic + fantasy + New York Times bestselling author Tracey West = Pixie Tricks!

Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Eight-year-old Violet didn't expect to find a portal to the fairy world in her backyard. And she certainly didn't think she would have to defend the human world from trickster pixies! With the help of her new…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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