fantasy book open on table for summer reading!

Have you chosen which books to read this summer? This break from school has endless possibilities—an exciting fantasy read can whisk you away to a magical place for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, no matter where you are!

This collection of summer fantasy books suggests several reads suitable for each range of grade levels, including both newer series and esteemed fantasy classics.

Fantasy Books for Elementary Students (3rd-5th)

If you’re in third, fourth, or fifth grade and you’re looking for an enticing read this summer, consider one of these children’s fantasy books! 

1. Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz RyanThe winner of the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Mañanaland is the tale of Max Córdoba’s journey to uncover secrets hidden within his family. With only a compass and a legend from his grandfather to guide him, he endeavors on a quest to uncover his destiny.

This novel is praised for Ryan’s visually expressive language that transports you into the enchanting world Max explores. If you’re looking for an encouraging story that exudes hope and takes you on an adventure in under 300 pages, pick up Mañanaland!

2. The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches by Roald DahlIf you’ve read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, or James and the Giant Peach, you’re familiar with the whimsical nature of Roald Dahl’s literature for children.

The Witches, Dahl’s fourteenth novel, is an even more emotionally rich tale about witches that harm children who are abandoned—what starts as a story told to the main character by his grandmother turns into real danger he must face.

If you’re an elementary student looking for a read to thrill you and tug at your heart this summer, The Witches is a perfect pick! 

3. Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge

Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan EldredgeEvangeline Clement is the youngest in a long lineage of haunt huntresses, tasked with tracking down local monsters to keep the community safe. When Evangeline and her grandmother are summoned to resolve a case in the vibrant city of New Orleans, she must face a mystery more shocking than ever before!

Evangeline of the Bayou showcases a feisty, driven lead character and strong messages about loyalty and bravery. You’ll love the immersive setting of the Louisiana bayou and the fast-paced, supernatural adventure Evangeline embarks on.

4. Redwall by Brian Jacques

Redwall by Brian Jacques children's fantasy seriesLong fantasy series can be the most immersive reads, since the author is able to dedicate many more chapters to building an enthralling world! This is the case for the most popular fantasy series, such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Eragon, as well as our next summer reading recommendation: Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. 

You’ll follow anthropomorphized woodland creatures in the magical settings of Redwall Abbey and Mossflower Wood in this 22-book series. In each installment of the series, these peaceful, lovable creatures must take up arms to defend themselves and their homes from evil forces. Readers especially love Jacques’ vivid imagery—since he wrote the first novel for a school of the blind, he wanted to make the language exceptionally descriptive.

If you’re a fantasy lover who grows attached to your favorite novels, consider diving into this series! While the first installment published was Redwall, it is actually the ninth book in the series—you can choose to read them in chronological order or in the order of release. 

Middle Grade Fantasy Books to Read This Summer (6th-8th)

Middle schoolers deciding which books to read this summer, these fantasy reads about ghosts, magic, and magicare best suited for your grade range!

1. Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend middle grade fantasy novelHaving been born on the unluckiest day, Eventide, Morrigan Crow is cursed. After being blamed throughout her life for all the misfortunes in her community, she’s expecting to die on her eleventh birthday. Instead, she encounters a mysterious figure and is propelled into a magical adventure that could save her from her unfortunate fate.

As you follow Morrigan on her quest to discover her powers, you’ll encounter everything from dragons to magicians in the land of Nevermoor! Plus, this action-packed page-turner has two equally charming sequels: Wundersmith and Hollowpox

2. The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce

The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce fantasy seriesIf you enjoy Narnia, Mulan, The Lord of the Rings, or medieval fantasy stories about knights and mages, you’ll devour the Song of the Lioness series. Beginning with Alanna: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce takes you on a four-book coming-of-age journey with Alanna of Trebond as she disguises herself as “Alan” and endeavors to become a knight. 

Throughout the series, she undergoes challenges of puberty, friendships and romance, and her ambitious determination to become a female knight. Alanna’s story has been beloved by readers since it was published, and the “Tortall universe” created by Pierce continues with more series (like The Immortals and Beka Cooper, which chronicle two more impressive female leads: a prodigal magician and a fierce guard).

3. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi sci-fi fantasyConsidered a steampunk version of Jumanji (with touches of Ready Player One and Five Nights at Freddy’s), The Gauntlet follows a trio of friends that are trapped within the board game they started playing. Twelve-year-old Farah and friends encounter friends and foes on their journey to solve the game’s puzzles and defeat its maniacal architect—or else, they’ll be trapped forever like those that came before them. 

Riazi’s first novel keeps the stakes high throughout the thrilling adventure, led by a cast of compelling characters supported by strong friendships. The author’s flair for description creates a vivid setting, immersing for any middle grade fantasy and science fiction reader.

4. Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud paranormal fantasy novelYears into a national epidemic of ghosts, Lucy Carlyle joins Lockwood & Co., the smallest paranormal investigation agency in all of London. Thus ensue the events of the Lockwood & Co. series of five books, starting with The Screaming Staircase (in which Lucy must help her agency redeem itself after a case gone wrong).

Stroud imbues genuine humor and thrilling suspense into this story of teenage ghost investigators. What starts in a haunted house in book one culminates in adventures bringing the team to the creepiest spots all around London in the rest of the series, with shocking revelations towards the end!

Summer Reads for Fantasy-Loving High Schoolers (9th-12th)

Luckily for older students looking for captivating books to read this summer, there are MANY excellent fantasy reads for young adults

1. Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny

Nine Princes in Amber by Roger ZelaznyConsidered one of the best young adult fantasy novels, Roger Zelazny’s Nine Princes in Amber starts with protagonist Carl Corey waking up from a coma with amnesia. Soon, he discovers that he is one of nine heirs in a superhuman royal family, and he must revive his memories and mystic powers—with none other than his family seeking his destruction.

Zelazny’s unique style of writing and the simplicity of the plot in Nine Princes in Amber is balanced with the mysterious world and complex family secrets he creates. This read is an intriguing introduction to his acclaimed, 10-book The Chronicles of Amber series.

2. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyRay Bradbury is one of the most famous 20th-century American authors, best known for his science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, he continues to showcase his storytelling prowess but in a more richly poetic approach. Set in the fictionalized community of Green Town, Illinois, two 13-year-old friends encounter a frightening traveling carnival and are forced to undergo nightmarish experiences. 

In this standalone story that’s also part of Bradbury’s Green Town collection, the protagonists must face their fears and learn from them—the story confronts existential topics through the author’s own nostalgia for his childhood. Considered a classic blend of fantasy and horror, Something Wicked has directly influenced behemoths in the fantasy-horror genre (namely, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman).

3. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education by Naomi NovikA more contemporary fantasy novel than the works above, Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education details sorceress Galadriel Higgins’ experiences as she attends Scholomance, a dangerous school for magically gifted students. However, it isn’t a comforting learning environment like Hogwarts. No teachers and no friendships mean that students must face monsters and dark magic on their own. 

Our protagonist is a half-Welsh, half-Indian sorceress who must learn how to control her powerful abilities in a world where most magical children don’t reach adulthood. Those looking for a modern magic society or romance fantasy will love the Scholomance trilogy!

4. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn by Brandon SandersonThe last feature in this collection of fantasy books to read this summer: Mistborn is set in the dystopian world of Scadrial, where a tyrant Lord Ruler has had society under his grip for a thousand years. In comes Kelsier, a descendant of those who opposed this ruler, along with many of the underworld’s elite in order to restore light into this darkened world.

Brandon Sanderson is one of the most acclaimed modern fantasy and science fiction writers. Fans love his devotion to worldbuilding, dynamic characters, and masterful writing that produces charming, immersive dialogue. The magic system in this series is especially unique, and the twisting-and-turning plot will keep you enthralled through each chapter!

Reading (and Writing) Practice with Piqosity

We hope at least one of the fantasy novels above landed on your list of books to read this summer! Reading is an incredibly enriching way to spend your time during school breaks—not only does it take you to unreal, magical worlds, but it also helps you improve your reading and writing skills ahead of the next school year!

If you’re looking to improve your skills in time for your reading and English classes this fall, Piqosity can help! We offer full online ELA courses, each including dozens of concept lessons, personalized practice software, and over 100 reading comprehension passages. We also offer full Math courses for each grade—as well as ACT and Digital SAT test prep—so you can have access to all the learning help you need across middle and high school!

The best part? Try out all of Piqosity’s features with our free community account, which feature a free mini diagnostic exam to evaluate your current ELA skills. When you’re ready to upgrade, Piqosity’s year-long accounts start at only $89.