The best fairy books 📚

Browse the best books on fairies as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Coming of the Fairies

The Coming of the Fairies

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Why 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…

From the list:

The best children’s books about fairies

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Book cover of The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

By Katharine M. Briggs

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books about fairies for adults and kids

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Book cover of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales

Irish Fairy and Folk Tales

By W.B. Yeats

Why this book?

Yeats, a mystic poet, travelled across Ireland in the late 1800s and early 1900s, asking country people if they’d ever seen fairies and taking down their stories. “I believe when I am in the mood that all nature is full of people whom we cannot see,” he wrote in an earlier book, The Celtic Twilight. “Even when I was a boy I could never walk in a wood without feeling that at any moment I might find before me somebody or something I had long looked for without knowing….” Yates believed the songs and stories "handed down among the…

From the list:

The best books about fairies for adults and kids

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Book cover of Grandfather Tang's Story

Grandfather Tang's Story

By Ann Tompert

Why this book?

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.

From the list:

The best books for helping your kids fall in love with math

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Book cover of Little, Big

Little, Big

By John Crowley

Why this book?

The same way hearing “soap opera” used as a pejorative upsets me so much I want to fake my own death, frame my estranged father for murder, and wrest control of his business empire, hearing “fairy tale” used that way makes me want to wave a wand and turn the detractors of science fiction and fantasy into horny toads.

John Crowley’s Little, Big, winner of the World Fantasy Award, is not only a fairy tale with actual fairies, but also one that’s an actual tale. So many novels described as literary forget to tell a story. This is not…

From the list:

The best multi-generational family sagas that put the “opera” into “soap opera”

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Book cover of Finding Faeries: Discovering Sprites, Pixies, Redcaps, and Other Fantastical Creatures in an Urban Environment

Finding Faeries: Discovering Sprites, Pixies, Redcaps, and Other Fantastical Creatures in an Urban Environment

By Alexander Rowland

Why this book?

Have you ever had a book actively try to stop you from reading it? This non-fiction book was guarded like all doorways into Fairie. Every time I sat down to read it the kettle would come to a boil, or the phone would ring! I read it cover to cover though. Even finding it again to tell you about it was a challenge.

From the list:

The best books for learning the old legends

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