Hello world, Millie Florence here!
A couple of weeks ago I posted a YouTube Video full of middle-grade book recommendations of the high fantasy kind, and you guys loved it! So, I decided to make an easily skim-a-ble blog post version for those who prefer reading to watching. That said, if you missed the video and prefer to watch, you can find it below.
Stay tuned because, this book recommendation thing will be a series, and there are more posts and videos to come. If you want to be notified the moment they come out you can subscribe to my YouTube channel, or if you want something more low key, you can subscribe to my email newsletter for monthly video and post-round-ups.
Now lets get to the books!
What is High Fantasy?
According to Wikipedia –
“High fantasy is set in an alternative, fictional (“secondary”) world, rather than the “real” or “primary” world. This secondary world is usually internally consistent, but its rules differ from those of the primary world. By contrast, low fantasy is characterized by being set in the primary or real world, or a rational and familiar fictional world with the inclusion of magical elements.”Wikipedia
Basically high fantasy is a type of fantasy that takes place in a made-up world as opposed to taking place on earth.
What makes a good high fantasy middle grade book?
Everyone has their own opinions on what makes a good book, but here are mine. All the books on this list follow these criteria on some level.
- Creative and imaginative
- Some funny and humorous moments
- A thoughtful, heartwarming, and hopeful theme at its core
- Beautiful language and a classical writing style don’t hurt either.
And now… on to the books!
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is a master of storytelling. She has written a string of award-winning, and award honor books, with The Tale of Despereaux among them.
This book tells the enchanting story of a little mouse with very big ears living in the mouse holes of the king’s castle. Under the playful premise lies a story of love and light, forgiveness, stories, darkness, and belonging, all told through lyrical prose.
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton
On the Only Island in The World, there is a mountain known as Majestic. Mount majestic rises and falls every day, and it always has, no one know why, until one young girl discovers the reason. It’s actually the belly of a sleeping giant – a giant who could wake up at any moment!
Creative, clever, heartwarming, and uproariously funny, it’s everything I love in a middle-grade book. I read it aloud to my siblings and there were parts that I couldn’t read for laughing. This would make an excellent family read aloud as it will keep younger siblings entertained and older siblings challenged and thinking.
The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
I do love my Newbery Award winners. XD
“Moonlight is magic, ask anyone you like.”
This is the enchanting and twisty story of a village that sits by a deep dark forest. Everyone knows there’s a Witch in the forest, so each year they leave a baby for her to find, hoping it will keep her from attacking them. But the witch, Xan, is kind. Each baby she finds she carries across the forest to a loving family on the other side, wondering why on earth the village would abandon such children, to begin with. But one year, the baby she finds swallows a bit of magic, and it’s clear that not just any family can take care of this magical child.
A blend of fantasy and mystery, The Girl who Drank the Moon is filled with unexpected twists and turns. It’s a story about motherhood, childhood, despair, joy, and love.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
(I guess I like books that have ‘moon’ in the title.)
Newbery Honor book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, takes place in a fantasy version of ancient China, and centers on young Minli, a girl who’s family lives at the base of Fruitless Mountain. Seeing how unhappy her mother is with their poor life, Minli sets off on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon to ask how to change their fortune. Along the way she meets magic, adventure, and unlikely friendships.
This book explores the question: what is true happiness, and how is it reached? The normal format of the story is often broken up by stories that the characters tell each other, and all the stories told within the book eventually link together for the end realization. The book is a beautiful and magical glimpse into Chinese culture, full of clever ties to Chinese folklore and fairytale style prose. This was my family’s most recent read aloud, and it was a favorite among all.
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Vivid, rich, funny, and imaginative, my 9-year-old sister has proclaimed this her favorite book of all time.
Furthermore takes place in a magical world where color represents magic, so, when a young girl is born with “hair and skin as white as milk” everyone assumes that she has no magical talent at all. But the girl, Alice, knows this is not true, and when her father disappears she must use all her magic and the help of her unwanted companion Oliver, to venture into the deadly and unpredictable country of Furthermore, to save him.
It’s a story of family love, unlikely friendships, and loving yourself as you are. Tahereh’s prose is luscious, rich, and experimental. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will appreciate this book, as it was heavily inspired by it.
Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
Sensing a pattern? Moons and moors.
Nevermoor, the first book in a middle-grade series by British author Jessica Townsend, is what some people are calling ‘the next Harry Potter’. It certainly does have a rapidly growing fanbase and a movie deal, and I don’t think it’s been over-hyped either.
Morrigan Crow is destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But she doesn’t. Instead, she is saved by the eccentric Juniper North and whisked off to the magical city of Nevermoor. She loves it there and wants to stay, but the only way she can do so is if she wins a spot in the Wunderous Society through a series of dangerous, magical trials.
With clever, quirky humor, bright characters, and magical adventures, my whole family loved this book.
Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen by Millie Florence
My debut fantasy novel, Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen is a story of family, change, and how even in the darkest moments there is always light if you look for it. I think it’s safe to say that I like this book quite a bit. XD
Lydia Green never had reason to worry much before.
She lived in a timeless Glen on the edge of the Valleylands with her mismatched family of fairies, philosophers, and two troublemakers known as the Zs.
But now, at age eleven, her world is turned upside down when rumors reach Mulberry Glen about a mysterious Darkness that dwells in the forest Tenebrae.
Lydia knows it is nothing to be trifled with, but, fiery and headstrong, the Zs have other ideas. A foolish choice puts their lives in danger, and although she is no hero, Lydia realizes that family is something she is willing to fight for.
But among the shifting library shelves and lonely stone towers of her quest, Lydia is chased with more questions than answers. The Darkness of the forest lurks within her own mind, and how can you fight something which is all in your head?
In her second novel, Millie Florence weaves a tapestry of passion, heart, and magic. Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen is a pure, hopeful fantasy for both parents and children alike.
Pick up your copy today to experience this fervent and uplifting tale.
That’s all I have for you today! I hope you enjoyed it and that you consider checking out some of the books mentioned. If you have high fantasy middle-grade recommendations of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments below, because I am always looking for more books to read, and you may help out some other readers as well.
docendo disco, scribendo cogito,
– Millie Florence