A big mooncake for little star book cover

A big mooncake for little star

Grace Lin

jE Lin
Picture Books, Fantasy, Nature

Reimagines the cycles of the moon as a mother bakes a Big Moon Cookie and, despite Mama's request to wait, Little Star begins nibbling at it every night.

Casey's picture

A beautiful original folk tale--be sure to look out for nods to real constellations! -Casey

Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies book cover

Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies

Christian Trimmer

jE Trimmer
Picture Books, Fantasy, Humor, Classics, Animals

In this twist on the story of Snow White, pretty and sweet Snow Pony--beloved by children for her talent in braiding hair and dancing--follows a trail of delicious apples into the woods, where she meets seven miniature ponies.

Casey's picture

An enchantingly hilarious retelling of Snow White that stars, you guessed it, ponies!! What's not to love? -Casey

The Amulet of Samarkand book cover

The Amulet of Samarkand

Jonathan Stroud

Fantasy, Young Adult

Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.

Brent's picture

This trilogy is really good. More for older kids than the others in this list, but really good. I liked them enough to read the last one on my own. -Brent

Uprooted book cover


Naomi Novik


"Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows--everyone knows--that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn't, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose"--

Brian's picture

One of my favorite fantasy books! I love that it's a stand-alone story. -Brian

The blue sword book cover

The blue sword

Robin McKinley

Young Adult, Fantasy

Harry, bored with her sheltered life in the remote orange-growing colony of Daria, discovers magic in herself when she is kidnapped by a native king with mysterious powers.

Amanda's picture

Added by Amanda

Tess of the road book cover

Tess of the road

Rachel Hartman

Young Adult, Fantasy

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can't seem to keep out of trouble. When Tess's family decides the only path for her is a nunnery, she chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. The open road is a map to somewhere else-- a life where she might belong.

Amanda's picture

A very complex, poignant, lovely book about mental illness, grief, and healing, all set in a fantastical world. -Amanda

Queen Victoria's book of spells book cover

Queen Victoria's book of spells

Fiction, Fantasy

""Gaslamp Fantasy," or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontë's, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period. Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic"--

Amanda's picture

This book of short stories was my first introduction to the world of Gaslamp Fantasy--historical fantasy set in a magical version of the 19th century--and I was immediately in love. The stories are all magnificent, well-written, and fun to read. -Amanda

Burn for me book cover

Burn for me

Ilona Andrews


While searching for Adam Pierce, who can set anyone and anything on fire, private investigator Nevada Baylor is kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan, a billionaire with dark powers who is also searching for Pierce and needs her help.

Melody's picture

If you judged a book by its cover, this would would taste like a plastic but romantic cheese. Ilona Andrews is such a beloved writer (duo) in the urban fantasy world, they don't need attractive book design! Their books will sell despite the cheese. I listened to this audiobook series out of turn and regret it after finishing the explosiveness that was Book 1, Burn for Me. I had complained that Book 2 (White Hot) was a little too action packed. Book 1 would have set up that action nicely. This book reminded me of superhero movies--lots of high powered magic and muscle. And that muscle? Apparently the book designer took that to heart, giving the hero a 6-pack so tight it required extra shading in the tendinous intersection. LOL. Who was the art editor that cried "more shadow!" But back to Book 1. Burn for Me began and ended with well developed characters in addition to all that action. I couldn't wait to revisit Book 2 so I can move on to Book 3 (Wildfire). -Melody

The giver book cover

The giver

Lois Lowry


Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Kara's picture

An amazing book by Lois Lowry that stayed with me for a long time after I finished reading it. -Kara

Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone book cover

Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone

J. K Rowling


Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches. This is the first Hary Potter book.

Kara's picture

I first heard about the Harry Potter books from Iowa's First Lady, Christie Vilsack during a Community Reading Month talk in about 1998. It's twenty years later the Harry Potter books are still very popular (and are some of my favorites). -Kara