Reading List: Worlds Filled with Magic
Ordinary life looks different when magic is introduced, which adds to the allure of books centered around magic realism and fantasy. Imagining other worlds, fantastic creatures, and daring adventures enhances the depth and intrigue of real life. This collection of books is selected for readers ages 8-12 and focuses on magic in several forms. From time travel to innate magical powers, the interpretation of the word “magic” differs from one story to the next. However, the themes of cooperation, friendship, and love prevail, no matter where (or when) protagonists find themselves.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
By: Jewell Parker Rhodes
Visiting her grandmother in the Louisiana bayou, ten-year-old Maddy begins to realize that she may be the only sibling to carry on the gift of her family’s magical legacy.
|A Bitter Magic
By: Roderick Townley
When twelve-year-old Cisley’s mother, who controls real magic, disappears during a magic act, Cisley is left with her cold, distant uncle and a great mystery, which will only be solved if she can summon her own magic.
|Dragons in a Bag
By: Zetta Elliott
In Brooklyn, nine-year-old Jax joins Ma, a curmudgeonly witch who lives in his building, on a quest to deliver three baby dragons to a magical world, and along the way discovers his true calling.
|The Eye of Ra
By: Ben Gartner
Exploring a mysterious cave in the mountains behind their house, John and his sister Sarah are shocked to discover they’ve time-traveled to ancient Egypt! Now they must work together to find a way back home from an ancient civilization of golden desert sand and a towering new pyramid, without parents to save them. The adventures abound—cobras, scorpions, a tomb robber, and more! The two kids have to trust each other, make friends who can help, and survive the challenges thrown at them or be stuck in ancient Egypt forever.
By: Karuna Riazi
A trio of friends from New York City finds themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair. When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first, they have to figure out how. Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, Farah, and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game?
|The Magic Half
By: Annie Barrows
Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.
By: Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
In a world where everyone possesses magical abilities, powerless twelve-year-old Abby, an Ordinary, is sent to a special school to learn how to negotiate a magical world with her unmagical “disability”—and to avoid becoming a victim of kidnappers, carnivores, and goblins ready to prey upon the Ords.
|The Serpent’s Secret
By: Sayantani DasGupta
Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear, and a drooling rakkhosh demon shows up in her kitchen. Soon she is swept into another dimension, full of magic, winged horses, annoying talking birds, and cute princes—and somehow, Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world.
|Sisters of Glass
By: Naomi Cyprus
Halan is a powerless princess. She is heir to the Magi Kingdom, a blazing desert land ruled by ancient magic. But unlike every royal before her, Halan has no magical powers of her own. Nalah is a powerful pauper. The glassblower’s daughter, Nalah, lives in the land of New Hadar, where magic is strictly outlawed. But Nalah has a powerful force growing within her, one she can’t always control. When a legendary mirror connects them, Nalah and Halan finally meet and must work together to save their two worlds before everything they know is shattered forever.
|A Snicker of Magic
By: Natalie Lloyd
The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic, but Felicity is convinced the magic is still there, and, with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle, she hopes to bring the magic back.
|The Unicorn Quest
By: Kamilla Benko
In an antique-filled mansion, sisters Claire and Sophie find a ladder to the magical land of Arden, where wraiths roam freely, unicorns have disappeared, and the guilds of magic no longer trust each other.
|Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
By: Grace Lin
Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.