These 8 books will take kids away to another world, in the best possible way.

Good fiction develops imagination and empathy, not to mention reading skills and appreciation for good literature. Your young reader will enter into new worlds through these wonderful works of fiction.

Books to Fire Young Imaginations
The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

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I probably wasn't old enough to appreciate this instant classic when I first read it as a child, but that didn't stop me. (Thank goodness.) 10-year-old Milo comes home from school one day to find a tollbooth sitting in his bedroom. Since he doesn’t have anything better to do, he pays the toll and drives through–and embarks on a strange journey into a fanciful world where he encounters all sorts of strange characters. A satisfying and delightfully nerdy book that will engage both kids and adults, albeit on different levels.

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A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle begins her groundbreaking science fiction/fantasy work with the famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night,” and plunges you headlong into the world of the Murray family, who must travel through time to save the universe. I wanted to be Meg, of course. Wrinkle is the first—and most famous—of the Time Quintet, but I read them all, again and again.

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The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

A. A. Milne said that while the merits of most books are debatable, "one does not argue about The Wind in the Willows." This is the story of four stubbornly loyal friends: river-loving Mole and Ratty, infuriating (but lovable) Toad, and wise Badger. A tale of friendship, loyalty and mapcap adventures. Exuberant, joyful, and full of fresh air.

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The Search for Delicious

The Search for Delicious

From the author of Tuck Everlasting. Twelve-year-old Gaylen sets off to poll the kingdom about which food should stand for “delicious” in the new dictionary, but his simple quest soon reveals civil war is brewing. This is a sweet tale of a boy, his father-figure, a mermaid, and a dictionary, full of magic and mystery. Age 8 and up.

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My Father’s Dragon

My Father’s Dragon

In this charming book, Elmer Elevator runs away with an alley cat to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon, which he’s able to do with the help of a pink lollipop, a hairbow, and chewing gum. This is the first book in a trilogy; the whole set is collected in Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon. Plenty of action, but nothing scary--perfect for young readers (as young as 4 or 5).

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The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

These stories of epic quest and good vs. evil are part myth, part fairy tale. These books are wonderful, touching, and timeless. In the words of C.S. Lewis: “Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron. Here is a book that will break your heart.” Age 7 and up (The Hobbit). Age 10 and up (LOTR).

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Five Children and It

Five Children and It

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“It” is a Psammead--a sand fairy (and a cranky and irritable one at that) that must grant one wish a day to the children who found her. They soon learn to be careful what they wish for. J.K. Rowling has called E. Nesbit her favorite author and inspiration, and young Harry Potter fans may be interested in reading Nesbit for themselves. Age 9 and up.

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The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia

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In this classic series, 4 british children discover that a wardrobe in their London home opens into a magical world called Narnia, where animals talk, magic is real, and the evil White Witch duels the fierce lion Aslan. The Narnia books are loved by young and old alike. Age 7 and up. Older C. S. Lewis fans should check out his Space Trilogy, which is better suited for older teens and adults.

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Where do you want to go next?

paper gains table of contents
good reads for bookish parents
books that belong in every family’s library
series kids love (and their parents do, too)
great picture books
books for baseball fans
books girls love
books boys love
books for young creatives
delightfully silly books
animal tales
books for the transportation-obsessed
books for young adventurers
books to fire young imaginations
books to pore over
classics for a reason
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