the wee free men

Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett — Terry Pratchett is well known for his huge Discworld series, but his Tiffany Aching books are for a younger audience, more sequential, and just as intellectual and humorous. They follow the story of a young girl raised in a farmland whose world is colliding with the dreamland—including nightmares. She befriends a tribe of tiny warriors and learns she is a witch. These books are longer and a bit wordy, so they are more appropriate for older (middle school) or very voracious readers.

the book of three

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander — This is a classic fantasy series, which many consider the first fantasy epic to come from the United States. The Black Cauldron is in this series (although it isn’t the first book!) but in my opinion, the books are much better than the cartoon. They are based on Welsh mythology but very accessible— everyone should be familiar with these books!

rowan of rin

Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda — This is a fantastic series for even those who say they don’t like reading. I love Emily Rodda books because they are both imaginative and easy to imagine for the reader! Dragons, prophecies, young boy who becomes the hero—you know this, but it’s still very fun and very earnest. Plus, the monsters are always amazing and creepy. (I also recommend Rodda’s Deltora Quest books--there are 15 total!)

dragon's milk

Dragon’s Milk (and series) by Susan Fletcher — I read this in middle school and it was the perfect bridge between girliness and my animal-loving tomboy interests. If I’m honest, I still love these books: they have telepathy, dragons, and other magic like you haven’t seen before, and very well-rounded characters — even the villains and minor ones.

secret of the unicorn

The Adventures of Tintin and Snowy by Hergé — In my opinion, these comic books are the greatest out there, in my opinion. The crime mysteries are always interesting (though tame) and the characters are lovable. There is plenty of both humor and action, too. Not only entertaining but, in a way, educational. The art, setting, and stories are largely realistic and well-researched; Tintin travels all over the world to solve mysteries and makes friends from all cultures. Written in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, they are an interesting insight into the early 20th century.

(By now your child has probably already made his way through Harry Potter, Narnia, Redwall, and Percy Jackson—and the spin-off series! But if he hasn’t, I recommend all of them! They are beloved and substantive series.)