Lorena Koppel recommends you spend your summer relaxing and enjoying a great book! If you loved the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and are looking for similar reads to enjoy, you’ve come to the right place! Here are 5 of the best middle-grade fantasy essentials for your next reading adventures.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
The first in an exciting series that takes place in a refuge for magical creatures when Kendra and her brother Seth are sent to spend the summer on their grandfather’s farm, they have no idea that he is the guardian of Fablehaven, one of the last sanctuaries for true magic.
After Kendra discovers this secret, they are thrust into a hidden world of trolls, fairies, imps, satyrs, and witches—all of which are commanded by ancient laws. When these rules are broken and they’re faced with an ancient peril, Kendra must find the bravery to save her family despite the odds.
The Serpent’s Secret: Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, Book 1 by Sayantani DasGupta
A magical story drawing elements from Bengali folktales, starring a strong-willed protagonist and infused with humor Kiranmala, an Indian girl living in New Jersey with her adoptive parents, don’t know that she’s a princess from another dimension until her parents have disappeared, and a rakkhosh demon crashes through her kitchen and tries to eat her!
When two princes arrive at her door to “rescue her,” she’s introduced to the magical world she knew only from her parent’s wild stories of her origin. She embarks on a quest to save her parents and her city: fighting demons, solving riddles, avoiding ancient forces of evil, and learning the truth about who she is.
Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
A book brimming with beautiful legends and magic inspired by Chinese folklore Minli and her family live in a poor village where farming is difficult because of the barren soil around what they call “The Fruitless Mountain,” which is told to be the broken heart of the Jade Dragon. Despite their hunger, Minli is driven by her hope for better fortune, and the joy of hearing her father’s stories and legends.
When she spends their little money on a lucky goldfish, who tells her the way to the wise Old Man of the Moon, Minli embarks on a quest to ask for a better life for her family. On the way, Minli meets many curious characters, including a friendly, flightless Dragon who joins her on her journey. Minli soon discovers that not all is what it seems and that she might have been seeking the wrong question all along.
If you like this book, make sure to look for Grace Lin’s similar books, Where The Sea Turned to Silver and Starry River of The Sky
Story Thieves by James Riley
What if you could enter any book you wanted? Owen’s ordinary life of school and chores takes a turn for the impossible when he sees his classmate Bethany climb out of a book from the library.
Bethany has a secret: her father is a book character, giving her the ability to enter stories. She’s been searching through every book to try and find her missing father. Owen promises to her that he won’t tell anyone about what he saw—as long as she takes him with her into his favorite book, just once. But things aren’t as simple as they seem, and soon they’ll need to figure out how to fix the ruined Kiel Gnomefoot series, and protect Bethany’s secret once and for all.
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
A fantastical science fiction that weaves Korean folklore and futuristic worlds Min and her family have spent their lives on a dismal planet, hiding a powerful secret: they are descended from a long line of fox spirits.
Across the galaxy, supernatural races and humans have thrived together—but fox spirits have a bad reputation as wicked and untrustworthy, despite their powers to shape-shift and Charm. But when Min and her family receive news that her brother Jun has gone missing in search of the mystical Dragon Pearl, Min knows something is wrong. The Dragon Pearl is a mythical artifact with great power, but her brother would never leave the battle-cruiser position he fought so hard for. Min runs away in search of her brother and the truth, relying only on her wits and a lot of fox-magic.