Media Reviews: Fantasy-Themed Books for Kids of All Ages

Mythical creatures, kids with superpowers and a new website from J.K. Rowling are among the recommended titles from the Columbus Metropolitan Library

Erin L. Merold
Lost in the Imagination: A Journey through Nine Worlds in Nine Nights

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

Young Iris takes her job as “elevator button pusher” very seriously. No one can push buttons like she can. That is, until her baby brother pushes the button before she can. “Betrayal!” But then Iris finds an old, discarded elevator button, and when she pushes THAT button, whole new worlds open to her—literally. This title is a great way to foster your child’s need to explore, discover, and yes, push all those buttons. FOR AGES 5-9

The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: The Fuzzy Apocalypse by Jonathan Messinger, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff

Based on the award-winning podcast The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian, Chief Detective Finn Caspian and his fellow crewmates’ adventures are now a chapter book series for early independent readers. In this first installment of the series, Finn and his crewmates, Elias, Vale, robot Foggy and Captain Abigail, answer a distress call on an alien planet. Once there, however, they discover that the entire planet is rigged to explode within a matter of minutes. This title is perfect for readers just starting out with chapter books who enjoy both adventure and humor in their reading. FOR AGES 6-9

Lost in the Imagination: A Journey through Nine Worlds in Nine Nights by Hiawyn Oram, illustrated by David Wyatt

In a journey reminiscent of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” Professor Dawn Gable is whisked away on a journey through nine fantastical realms, each more outlandish than the last. Written in the form of a research notebook, each world’s description includes beautiful illustrations, black-and-white sketches and a labeled map. “Lost in the Imagination” is perfect for the young reader who enjoys taking a thorough examination of each new world they discover when reading. FOR AGES 9-14


Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

After Nnamdi’s father, the chief of police, is murdered, 12-year-old Nnamdi feels helpless to protect those he loves. After all, how can a young boy stand up to the corruption that he sees all around him? Just when he is feeling completely hopeless, he is gifted with mysterious powers that turn him into a Hulk-like giant. With his new abilities, Nnamdi is determined not only to protect his fellow citizens from criminals, but also to solve the mystery of his father’s murder. Set in modern-day Nigeria, this title is perfect for the reader who just can’t get enough superhero stories. FOR AGES 10-15

A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology

A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology edited by Dhonielle Clayton

In this collected anthology of fantasy/sci-fi short stories, every reader is sure to find something to excite the imagination. With characters ranging from dangerous young men intent on harvesting magic from the dead, to magical warriors battling for a prince’s hand in marriage, to a galactic thief who steals from the rich to give back to the poor, there is sure to be something to retain the attention of any reader. FOR TEENS

The Ickabog

Try This Website

The Ickabog

Did you know J.K. Rowling’s new fantasy novel has its own website? Launched in the midst of the worldwide lockdown in 2020, “The Ickabog” currently hosts three chapters read aloud by Rowling herself that can be listened to for free, as well as a recording of “Song of the Ickabog.” The Activities section contains a variety of book-related downloads that are meant to keep children occupied while secretly working on their comprehension skills. Perfect for any child who loves works by J.K. Rowling. FOR AGES 7-16

Erin L. Merold is an information services specialist at the Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.