How do you find good fantasy books for 6th graders?

Fantasy novel Quest of the Keys has ended up on required reading lists for schools because it was designed to foster self-improvement and leadership development training in young people. Many middle school students first discover their love for reading in the classroom, then seek out more exciting fantasy worlds to discover. Fantasy is the oldest style of writing in the world, borne out of the oral histories of ancient peoples and dating back to Gilgamesh and Homer.

While in the past students would head to the library for inspiration, today they’re more likely to head to Amazon. About 40% of teenagers say they have purchased a book online. But even more teens (74.5% according to one survey) said they have had a parent, teacher, church member, or another trusted adult recommend an inspiring book to them. So if you’re looking for good fantasy books for 6th graders, here are some good places to start.*

“Tuck Everlasting,” by Natalie Babbitt

This young adult novel has been hailed as a “classic” for young readers. Not only does it serve as an adult-approved morality tale on the dangers of immortality, but it’s also been enjoyed by generations of kids for its thrilling, high-stakes plot.

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis

Of all the books on this list, this novel needs no introduction. It’s one of the most beloved fantasy books of all time, still delighting readers of all ages. The colorful fantasy world of Narnia is also grounded in a deep sense of right and wrong.

“Tales From Shakespeare,” by Mary and Charles Lamb

Although most 6th graders aren’t quite ready for Shakespeare, this collection recreates the playwright’s famous works in prose form. They can serve as the perfect introduction to the most famous plays ever written, many of which come alive with thrilling fantasy elements.

“The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents,” by Terry Pratchett

This novel is an action-filled story that serves as a good entry point to the imaginative Discworld series. This fairy tale with a twist follows a talking cat and his gang of rats as they try and scam unsuspecting townspeople.

“The Wizard of Oz,” by Frank L. Baum

A classic of American literature, most people are familiar with the film version of this Depression Era tale. However, Baum’s original work often shows up on lists of good fantasy books for 6th graders.

*To compile this list, we consulted a variety of reading lists, including Scholastic, the California Department of Education, Library lists, and more. All the books listed here showed up on multiple guides to good fantasy books for 6th graders and fantasy books for middle school students in general.