Book list

Books with a touch of magic

Magic comes in a range of strengths. There are a lot of books around like Harry Potter for those of you who want something similar.

If you are an older reader and you enjoy stories of magic and fantasy but would like to see a more serious treatment of the battle of good against evil than Harry Potter, or if you prefer your wizards to be a bit more awesome than Professor Dumbledore, then you might like to have a look further down the list. You might also like to look at my articles: 'The battle of good against evil' and 'The power of naming'.

Books for younger readers

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Dr Dolittle adventures to Africa to cure the monkeys of a terrible illness.

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm venture to the most remote corner of the world to clear their explorer father's name. A sky-ship adventure.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

In the beginning we were a group of nine. Three are gone, dead. There are six of us left. They are hunting us, and they won't stop until they've killed us all. I am Number Four. I know that I am next.

Fly Me Home by Polly Ho-Yen

Far from home, in a strange and uncomfortable new country, Leelu finds a little bit of magic to help her settle in with her family and new friends.

Tin by Pádraig Kenny

Christopher is a real boy and his friends are mechanicals. But if it turns out that Christopher isn’t actually a real boy after all...what difference does that make?

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club by Alex Bell

Junior Explorer Stella Starflake Pearl encounters wild, weird and downright dangerous magic in the Icelands.

Beetle Boy by M G Leonard

Darkus tracks down his lost father...with the help of his uncle, friends and a vast beetle army. But he makes a serious enemy out of Lucretia Cutter, beetle collector.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Callum can’t even flunk magic school. His Dad’s always told him magic is dangerous, and Call is about to find out the truth. (It is).

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

There are wild animals out there to be saved and whatever you think of him, Kester Jaynes really is the man for the job...unless you know

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley

Haunted house. Or is it Michael himself who is being haunted?

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

Short stories of terror collected within a long story of terror. And quite surprisingly horrid.

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Epic fairytale set in the grim starving forests of Russia. Feo and her wolves set out to rescue her mother from prison.

Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz

Matt is the first of The Five to be found. He has to find the other four. He's in a battle against the Old Ones. It's a race against time. And he doesn't even know it yet.

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help by Douglas Anthony Cooper

Kids who converse with ghosts on a regular basis need Professional Help, right? But will Milrose Munce survive to tell the tale?

Barnaby Grimes: Return of the Emerald Skull by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

More adventures with Barnaby Grimes as he runs errands across the city, through the alleys and over the rooftops. But there are dark forces to match himself against.

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Quick-witted tick-tock boy meets wolf on rooftops. Disposes of same. Solves wicked mystery. Unsung hero.

Monster Blood Tattoo: Lamplighter by D M Cornish

Rossamund, fresh out of the foundlingery, makes his way in a world where monsters roam.

Hazel's Phantasmagoria by Leander Deeny

Hazel stays in the country with her Aunt and cousin. Oh, and they are both seriously weird and the place is scary.

Fearless by Tim Lott

Locked away for no reason. Stripped of name, shaved of hair, dressed in grey. Little Fearless fights against the injustice for herself and all the other girls who aren't so brave.

Sebastian Darke, Prince of Fools by Philip Caveney

Sebastian Darke, Prince of Fools. Not a prince. Not much of a fool. Seeks employment. Finds adventure...and a princess.

Troll Mill by Katherine Langrish

Peer Ulfsson, fighting to find his own place in the world, learns that everything actually has to come second to loyalty and love for friends and family. Plenty of trolls and strong magic.

The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley

Miles Wednesday, orphaned, unwashed and living in a barrel - sneaks into the circus, helps a little someone, gets into a big adventure, and ends up very much happier...

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

One problem. Two people trying to solve it. Faery and Ploddy. Course, you'll have to believe in faeries to get on with this one.

Corby Flood by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Corby Flood solves mysteries, mends broken lives, and is loved by everyone, except the five unamusing clowns in bottle green bowler hats...

Arthur and the Forbidden City by Luc Besson

Arthur goes in search of the Minimoys, and his Grandpa, and the family fortune, all in his own backgarden. But the garden is a big place when you're only three quarters of an inch tall.

Arthur and the Minimoys by Luc Besson

Arthur goes in search of the Minimoys, and his Grandpa, and the family fortune, all in his own backgarden. But the garden is a big place when you're only three quarters of an inch tall.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You is a problem for Jared Grace when he finds it in his uncle's study. There are plenty of creatures out there that don't want Jared to read it. But the Guide is also the best help Jared could have in his battle with the creatures...

Clemency Pogue, Fairy Killer by J T Petty

Clemency Pogue, Fairy Killer - girl with a conscience.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Harry gets closer to his deadly enemy, Lord Voldemort.

The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

To be an apprenticespook Thomas Ward has to leave his old life behind him. And he has to sharpen up his wits too. But he's already well-equipped, being the seventh son of a seventh son...

The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea

Pidge and Bridget set out to save the world from destruction, with all the hounds of the evil Morrigan on their trail.

The Scarecrow and his Servant by Philip Pullman

A scarecrow needs a servant if he's really going to get out and see a bit of the world.

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud

Nathaniel is junior in the government now, but he still needs his djinni, Bartimaeus, to help him out of a tight corner. Pity then that Bartimaeus is less than willing...

Troll Fell by Katherine Langrish

Down, but not out, Peer Ulfsson survives his ghastly uncles, cold, hunger and loneliness, only to face the Troll King. He could save himself, but goes back for his friend...

Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Arthur's come by a key, by mistake. But now he's got it, he might as well have a go with it. It belongs to the House. A very magical place.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Evil times bring forth great leaders, but Eragon never expected to be a great leader. Nobody can plan to be a Dragon Rider. It just happens...

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer

'We, Cosmo Hill, are the world's only Supernaturalists.'
Cosmo grinned weakly. 'What? You don't like clothes?'
'That's naturists, Cosmo. And nobody does that any more, not with the ozone layer spread thinner than cling film. We call ourselves Supernaturalists because we hunt supernatural creatures.'

Measle and the Wrathmonk by Ian Ogilvy

Measle, thin, hungry and scruffy, takes on Basil, all-powerful wrathmonk.

Hamish and the Fairy Gifts by Moira Miller

Hamish doesn't really believe in the Wee Folk, but he still has to deal with them on a daily basis. Magic, Scottish variety.

Stravaganza: City of Stars by Mary Hoffman

Georgia follows Lucien but she finds herself in sixteenth century Remora. There she meets other stravaganti, including Lucien, but her role turns out to be quite different.

Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

Lucien travels to sixteenth century Belleza and becomes deeply involved in political intrigue.

Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve

Compelling sequel to Mortal Engines. Love, jealousy, betrayal, anger, loyalty and bravery. Brilliant!

Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman

Another chance to visit Lyra in Oxford. A short story.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Another difficult year for Harry.

Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones

Gair's father is a hero and a chief, and his brother and sister have astonishing powers, but Gair is just Gair - ordinary. But ordinary Gair finds that he is the one who might just be able to save his people from the warring Dorig, and the Giants.

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

Chrestomanci the great enchanter takes orphans Gwendolen and Cat under his wing, but living with a great enchanter isn't as enchanting for Gwendolen as she had supposed.

The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones

High Treason at Court. A plot to bespell the King. The Merlin is implicated. Who can Roddy and Grundo turn to for help? A magician from another world, of course.

Pure Dead Brilliant by Debi Gliori

Rampant magic in a haphazard household.

A Handful of Magic by Stephen Elboz

Kit the magician and his friend, Prince Henry, sneak out at night on Kit's flying carpet in search of adventure . . . and find it!

Temmi and the Frost Dragon by Stephen Elboz

Well, yes, that cuddly flying bear does cause some of the problems, but he helps solve them too . . .

Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell

Lizzie Dripping always has her head in the clouds. Short stories.

Elementals: Water by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Six short stories about ancient, elemental spirits, and water. Not just for children.

The Last of the Sky Pirates by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Lowly, insignificant under-librarian dreams of becoming great Librarian Knight . . .

Count Karlstein by Philip Pullman

You would know better, wouldn't you, than to strike a bargain with Zamiel, the Demon Huntsman?

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp

Well, if a human needs rescuing from the deepest, darkest dungeon in the infamous Black Castle, who else is up to the job, if it isn't The Prisoners' Aid Society of Mice?

Otto and the Flying Twins by Charlotte Haptie

In the beautiful City of Trees, in the divided world of magicos and normals,Otto learns, to his surprise, that he might actually belong to the other side. . .

Firewing by Kenneth Oppel

Adventures in the Underworld. Superhero bats, unlikely hero bats, deadly enemy bats. Fluffy beasties, human emotions.

Facing the Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross

Dinah and SPLAT face their old adversary, the Headmaster.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

Visit the fantastic kingdom of Narnia, where the wicked White Witch's icy grip is about to be challenged by the mighty Lion King, Aslan.

Artemis Fowl: the Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Fairies need Artemis. Artemis needs fairies. Fair exchange, no robbery. Tricky situation though.

The Malifex by Steve Alton

Merlin lies under a stone enchanted, waiting for another great hero to rise up and fight the powers of darkness with him. But when he awakes from the enchantment, it isn't Merlin at all, just Merlin's apprentice, and nor is there a great hero to fight the powers of darkness - just Sam, and his friend Charly.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming

Family adventures in a flying car.

Cold Tom by Sally Prue

He thinks he's an elf, but the Tribe don't want him. He's a liability. His fangs haven't grown. His voice is ugly. He's losing his sharp eyesight and hearing. Where can he go where he will be safe, and where does he belong?

When Marnie Was There by Joan G Robinson

Is Marnie an imaginary friend? Or is she real? Perhaps it doesn't really matter. Anna and Marnie share a wonderful friendship, but when Marnie has to leave, Anna finds she is better able to make new friends . . .

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

It's a town eat town world. The great traction city of London is prowling round the Great Hunting Ground looking for prey. But, if London hopes to use re-created weapons of mass destruction in its bid for superiority, then London must expect to have enemies - Tom, Third Class Apprentice of the Guild of Historians, and the dreadfully disfigured Hester Shaw, for a start . . .

The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson

Tilja and Tahl set out, with their grandparents and a bad-tempered horse, on a great quest to find the mysterious magician who alone has the power to renew the magic barrier which surrounds their valley and keeps the occupants safe from attack by invading armies.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Dangerous fairies, might grant your wish, might blast you away with a biobomb. Depends how they feel . . .

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

It's easy to be carried away by a good book! Bastian Balthazar Bux is drawn into the amazing world of Fantastica, and finds it hard to escape.

The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Times are difficult in the ancient and learned sky city of Sanctaphrax. But when Maris and Quint join forces to help her father with his important research, they unwittingly unleash the ancient curse of the gloamglozer . . .

The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean

Haoyou rides his magnificent kite into the skies for the travelling JadeCircus.

Caught on a Train by Carlo Gebler

A harmless competition to tell the best tale. But nobody would want to judge this competition with the vindictive Mr Cink determined to win at any cost.

Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson

The Manth people are overwhelmed by the forces of the Mastery and enslaved. Only Kestrel Hath is left behind, and she vows revenge.

Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones

In a divided kingdom Clennen the Singer travels from village to village carrying news. But when he agrees to take a passenger up to the north things begin to go wrong.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The little prince and the airman form a special kind of friendship and a special kind of understanding.

The Lost Grandad by Geoff Steward

You can have a go at mind-travelling in this book along with Joseph and his Lost Grandad, who turns up just in time to help Joseph find his imagination. A lot of laughs.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Lonely and neglected Mary Lennox makes friends, with a little bit of magic and a secret garden.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Tiny people with big ideas. They don't want to move away from under the kitchen floorboards, but they will if they have to.

Clockwork or All Wound Up by Philip Pullman

Do you think you can sell your soul to the Devil, and get away with it?

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C O'Brien

Why should this tribe of super-rats help ordinary mousewife, Mrs Frisby? And how did the rats become super-rats?

The Big Bazoohley by Peter Carey

A big bazoohley is a big prize, and Sam Kellow really needs to win one urgently, to help his parent's shaky finances. Can he spot his big chance when it comes?

Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones

David meant to say the curse, but he never expected it to work! Now he's got a rather strange kind of friend who doesn't live by the same rules as everyone else . . .

The Midnight Folk by John Masefield

Kay Harker sets out to discover the long-lost family treasure, with his friends, the Midnight folk to help him - they are Kay's toys which were locked away with the arrival of his new governess.

Stig of the Dump by Clive King

Stig is a caveman and he lives in a den at the bottom of the old quarry. He's Barney's secret friend. But where does Stig really come from?

The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross

What lengths will this Headmaster go to to run an orderly school?

Holes by Louis Sachar

How Stanley Yelnats manages to redeem the curse which has dogged the fortunes of his family for four generations.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

A fast-moving story about how two cousins, Bonnie and Sylvia, have their home stolen away from them by their greedy guardian.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The power of the Dark Lord increases, but somehow, Harry seems to be a match for him.

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins, timid hobbit of The Shire, finds that he can indeed bring about the prophecies of the old songs, as he riddles with Smaug the Great Worm in the halls of the old King Under the Mountain.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Follow Alice into her Wonderland and meet the Cheshire Cat, the Hatter and the March Hare for yourself - and many more too.

The House of Rats by Stephen Elboz

When the master disappears, there are plenty of others who would like to take his place as head of the huge, old house. What can the children do about it?

The Wind Singer by William Nicholson

Thrilling battle of good against evil set in the weirdest landscape you could imagine.

I was a Rat by Philip Pullman

Humorous story about boy with identity crisis.

The Third-Class Genie by Robert Leeson

A genie from the days of Aladdin pops out of an old beer can to help Alec with his school bully problem. But Alec ends up having to help the genie out.

The Brugan by Stephen Moore

If you move into an old cottage that is built on ancient fairy crossroads you must expect to get strange things knocking on your door.

The Tower at Moonville by Stephen Elboz

It's difficult to be a Good Boy if you are under the thumb of your really wicked uncle. Nathan Wheatear prefers not to spend his life as a rat catcher.

Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

When the old grandfather clock strikes thirteen Tom knows it is time to go and play with his new friends in the garden.

Temmi and the Flying Bears by Stephen Elboz

Cuddly flying bear is kidnapped by the wicked Witch-Queen's men and taken back to her Ice Castle. Temmi follows on behind determined to rescue.

Snatchers by Helen Cresswell

A none-too-successful guardian angel does his best to protect Ellie from The Boss.

Ragboy, Rats and the Surging Sea by Alan Temperley

Life is not easy for Silas the ragboy. But his luck changes when he meets a distressed mermaid on the beach after a storm and decides to protect her.

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Exciting battle of good against evil. The hunt for King Arthur's Holy Grail is on. Is Merlin really there, helping them all out?

Lady Daisy by Dick King-Smith

Victorian talking doll is found by young boy.

Huntress of the Sea by Alan Temperley

Eerie tale of evil enchantments in a Scottish glen.

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

The psammead (pronounced sammyadd) grants the children anything they wish for. But is he deliberately trying to make things go wrong?

The Bold Enchanter by Weem Whitaker

Sensible princess has doolally mother who brings mayhem to the kingdom when she has one wish granted to her by a wood sprite. Princess and miller's son sort it all out.

Bag of Bones by Helen Cresswell

A funny little bit of magic leads Griselda Dogberry into another world. But baddies are after her.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Boarding school romps, magic and adventure.