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10 Epic Books for Kids
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As a dad who loves nothing more than snuggling up with my kids for story time, I’m always on the lookout for books that spark their curiosity and feed their hungry imaginations. After all, childhood is fleeting, so I want to fill their days with as much magic as possible!
That’s why I’ve handpicked this list of truly epic books for kids – tales overflowing with enchantment, adventure, and those special storytelling ingredients that turn reading into something extraordinary. These stories have transported us to fantastical lands, made us laugh, and taught us so much about life. I just know your family will love curling up with these books for children on your next read to your child night!
What Makes a Book Truly Epic for Kids?
When I think of epic books for kids, a few key things come to mind:
- Fantasy worlds that let imaginations run wild. Give me magical castles, enchanted forests, talking animals – anything is possible between those pages!
- Relatable characters that kids connect with. Every kid needs a hero!
- Page-turning adventure that makes you lose track of time. An epic story sucks you in and doesn’t let go.
- Life lessons about friendship, courage, and growing up. The best stories have heart.
- Inspiring messages to reflect on. These tales stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
The books on this list deliver all that and more. I know because I’ve seen my kids totally engrossed in fantasy as they follow along, eyes shining and mouths agape. We’ve gone on exciting quests together, met unforgettable characters, and learned so much about ourselves, making it a great list of books for 4th graders.
If you’re ready to ignite your child’s imagination and spark a lifelong love of reading, then this list of top 10 must reads of all time is for you! Let’s dive in.
- “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling
- Why it’s epic: This book casts an unforgettable magical spell over readers young and old. My kids were instantly captivated by life at Hogwarts and whisked away to a world where paintings move, wands choose wisely, and an ordinary boy finds out he’s destined for greatness. It’s a true hero’s journey filled with wonder, friendship, and no shortage of danger. We’ve read through the series multiple times, and somehow the magic never fades!
- Age: 8+
- “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
- Why it’s epic: This classic picture book takes kids on an imaginative adventure while also helping them process complex emotions like anger in a healthy way. When Max journeys to the land of the Wild Things after being sent to his room, my kids and I have talked about feeling out of control and finding ways to calm down. We’ve howled at the moon together with Max once he returns home, belly full of warmth, finding the comfort of love.
- Age: 3-8
- “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White
- Why it’s epic: This tale of an unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider plucks at the heartstrings every time. It teaches so beautifully about kindness, courage, mortality, and all the wonders of life on a farm. Bittersweet but full of hope, this book will stay with your kids long after finishing. Get the tissues ready though – no dry eyes in our house by the end!
- Age: 8-12
- “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis
- Why it’s epic: This timeless classic whisks readers away to the enchanted kingdom of Narnia through something as simple as a wardrobe. My kids bravely joined the Pevensie children on a quest to defeat an evil White Witch alongside the chivalrous lion Aslan. It’s a thrilling fantasy adventure that also unpacks themes of temptation, sacrifice, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
- Age: 8-12
- “Holes” by Louis Sachar
- Why it’s epic: This Newbery Medal-winning book is an expertly woven tapestry combining three storylines of the unluckiest family ever over generations. As always, Sachar blends comedy and pathos flawlessly. We were on the edge of our seats following Stanley Yelnats’s tenure at Camp Green Lake juvie where warden’s forcing boys to dig mysterious holes in a dried up lake bed looking for buried treasure from one of the intertwined storylines.
- Age: 9-12
- “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
- Why it’s epic: This mind-bending, genre-blending adventure story follows Meg Murry, her genius brother, and friend on a quest across the cosmos to rescue her scientist father. Our whole family was mesmerized by their run-ins with three supernatural beings and travel via tesseract “wrinkling time”. It sparks imagination while exploring complex themes of good vs. evil. Truly ahead of its time!
- Age: 10-12
- “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
- Why it’s epic: My oldest daughter was enthralled by this thought-provoking dystopian tale of a supposedly utopian world free of pain, but also emotion, memories and color. When 12-year-old Jonas is selected as the next Receiver of Memories, his entire worldview shifts as he alone bears forbidden memories of the past. It sparked some of our most insightful discussions about individuality and freedom.
- Age: 10-12
- “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan
- Why it’s epic: Modern Greek mythology? Sign my kids up! They absolutely adore the demigod Percy Jackson and his adventures among the gods, monsters, and other figures from Greek myths. It’s an action-packed quest sprinkled with enough humor and authentic, diverse characters to keep kids flipping pages. We’re already onto book four!
- Age: 8-12
- “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen
- Why it’s epic: When I was younger, I devoured this survival story in two days! It chronicles 13-year-old Brian’s grit and resourcefulness after a plane crash leaves him stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet. It’s an edge-of-your seat adventure tale that reminds kids of the inner fortitude we can summon in difficult times.
- Age: 9-12
- “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
- Why it’s epic: This heartwarming book about August Pullman, a 5th grader with a severe facial difference, teaches the power of kindness and not judging a book by its cover. Told from multiple viewpoints, it takes readers on an emotional journey of understanding, compassion, and friendship. A perfect read to discuss empathy and inclusion.
- Age: 8-12
The Magic of Reading Epic Books for Kids Together
However your family enjoys reading together – snuggled up before bedtime, lounging on a rainy weekend, or listening on road trips – epic books for kids provide the ultimate shared experience. As you embark on thrilling adventures, laugh and cry together, and get lost in these rich imaginary worlds, your bond will grow.
Nothing compares to the twinkle in their eyes as the pages turn and the story comes to life in their minds. These tales help them make sense of the world – all while developing vocabulary, empathy, and a love of reading.
I hope you and your kids will soon start your own epic book journeys! Find a cozy nook, brew some hot chocolate, and let the magic begin. Here’s to creating lifelong memories, one great book at a time. Happy reading!