Fantasy Books I Wish I Had Read as a Child

June 23, 2020 Top Ten Tuesday 6

Graphic: Fantasy Books I Wish I Had Read as a Child

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme was originally the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. This week marks TTT’s 10th anniversary! The topic is Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10!; it offers a chance to revisit a topic you didn’t get the opportunity to participate in. I had actually started compiling this post for April 27, 2020, when the topic was Books I Wish I Had Read As a Child.

Before I get started… Happy 10th Anniversary to Top Ten Tuesday! I have participated off and on since 2013, and have discovered quite a few favorite bloggers through the TTT meme.

Books I read and loved as an adult

The Harry Potter series didn’t come out until I was in my 30s, with a child of my own. But as a lonely, bookish child, I would have loved its blend of magic, friendship, boarding school, and adventure.

Series: The Protector of the Small, by Tamora Pierce

I didn’t discover Tamora Pierce until I was in my early 40s, and her first book wasn’t released until I was in college, so I couldn’t have read them as a child. I love them now, but I know they would have made a huge impression on me as a child… especially as a girl growing up in the ’70s, hungry for fantasy about capable, intelligent, kick-ass girls. I’m counting each of these as separate series: the Song of the Lioness quartet, the Immortals quartet, the Protector of the Small quartet (pictured above), and the Circle of Magic quartet.

I first read and fell in love with The Perilous Gard (Elizabeth Marie Pope) in my college years, but I would have loved its blend of historical fiction, magical-realism-bordering-on-fantasy, and a hint of romance, if I had read it in my tween years.

I stumbled on Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series in my twenties, but if I had discovered it sooner, it would have earned a treasured place on my bookshelves beside Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. (Once I found them, the series earned that place anyway!)

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan

I would have devoured Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus quintets and his Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase trilogy if they had been around when I was a child — not only because they are exciting, fast-paced, and witty, but because they feature an increasingly diverse cast. My childhood reading was overwhelmingly populated by white protagonists… not by choice, but because that’s mostly what was available. It would have been very good for me to read more diversely at that age.

Series: Tales From the Chocolate Heart, by Stephanie Burgis

Another series I would have loved is Stephanie Burgis’s diverse series featuring dragons, Tales from the Chocolate Heart. Although it’s set in a fantasy world reminiscent of medieval/Renaissance Europe, there are characters of color and characters who may be LGBTQ+ — something seen only rarely in children’s fantasy until recently. And besides, they are delightful and just plain fun!

The Castle Gower series by Jessica Day George wasn’t published until my own child was almost too old for them, but I love the charm and whimsey of this series, and would have been delighted by the books at around the age I discovered the Narnia and Prydain books.

Books I still haven’t read

I never read any of these books as a child, and haven’t read them yet! They are on my TBR list, and I still plan to read them someday, because honestly, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a well-written children’s book, even as an adult.

Are there children’s fantasy books you think I should add to this list? Please share them in the comments!

6 Responses to “Fantasy Books I Wish I Had Read as a Child”

  1. Angela

    I think I would have loved Rick Riordan’s books as a kid, too – I feel like I learn things when I read them, but they’re still so much fun!

  2. Sammie @ The Bookwyrm's Den

    Lots of great series here! I actually did read The Dark is Rising Sequence as a child, and it was one of my favorite series! I’ve been meaning to re-read it. I haven’t read the Castle Glower series yet, but I want to. I’ve heard wonderful things.

    You should try Nevermoor (The Trials of Morrigan Crow). I’ve read it recently as an adult (because I was an adult when it came out, so yeah), and it’s got the same whimsy and enchanting feel that I had when I first read Harry Potter at eight! I was so impressed that a book could give me that feeling even as an adult that the series has become a quick favorite of mine. :3
    Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den recently posted…Books That Should Be Mashed Together II || Let’s Make A MonsterMy Profile

  3. Lark

    I was in my late 20s when the Harry Potter books came out…and I loved them. But I would have loved them even more if I’d been able to read them as a kid.
    Lark recently posted…Haiku reviews…My Profile

  4. RS

    Ah, The Perilous Gard. Great pick! I read it in high school and had no idea how old it was then. I gave it 5 stars so I’ve always recalled the title fondly, but damned if I can remember a single thing about it.
    RS recently posted…Ten Authors I Own The Most Books FromMy Profile