Like many fantasy fans, we were first introduced to the genre through children’s literature, where good always triumphs and nothing is too fantastical. From tiny people living in the walls, to alternate worlds hidden just alongside our own, children’s fantasy is full of secrets to be discovered, spells to learn, and magical beasts to befriend.
With Christmas on the horizon, we thought this might be a good time to revisit some of our childhood favourites — who knows, they might still make good stocking fillers!
E. Nesbit — Five Children And It
A group of siblings discover a Sand fairy in a gravel pit beside their house. He grants them one wish a day, but somehow all their good intentions for wishes end up causing havoc.
Susan Cooper — The Dark Is Rising
A boy learns that he is one of the Old Ones, destined to gather a number of magical objects and fight the powers of darkness.
Joan Aiken — The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Two girls embark on adventures in an alternate England that has been overrun by wolves.
Philippa Pearce — Tom’s Midnight Garden
A boy discovers that when the clock strikes thirteen, he can sneak outside and into the past.
Enid Blyton — The Enchanted Wood
Three children discover the Faraway Tree, which reaches into the clouds and is inhabited by a number of magical creatures.
Jill Murphy — The Worst Witch
A clumsy and disaster-prone girl struggles to make her way through witch school.
Mary Norton — The Borrowers
A family of tiny people live in the walls of an English house, surviving on items “borrowed” and repurposed from nearby humans.
Penelope Farmer — Charlotte Sometimes
A girl at boarding school in the 1960s swaps places with a girl at the same school in 1918 every night.
Dianna Wynne Jones — Howl’s Moving Castle
A young girl is transformed into an old crone by a powerful witch, and takes a job as a cleaning lady for a temperamental wizard in order to find a way to break the spell.
Elizabeth Goudge — The Little White Horse
A recently orphaned teenage girl is sent to live with relatives in the West of England, and embarks on a magical adventure.