Level 1: For the Young Readers

Part 2 of my Level’s of Science Fiction and Fantasy Series

I look at this group of novels as something you would pick up in 4th to 6th grade that could draw you into the fantasy/science fiction universe.  When I was in that age group, I read all of the Wrinkle in Time series and loved it.  I also read Jurassic Park, The Lost World and Sphere and loved them, but don’t think I was the target and wouldn’t fit them in this group.  Despite loving those books, I really didn’t get into other fantasy or science fiction until later. But if you’re trying to build some love of Science Fiction and Fantasy from a young age, these would be some good choices.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- This seems the obvious choice.  It’s the book and series that got so many into reading generally.  It has so many great aspects of fantasy: the world building, the layered plot where more and more is revealed as the series goes on, the interesting, fantastical elements.  It’s incredibly accessible as the story consistently follows one main character with very few deviations.  It’s easy to read but that doesn’t take away from its magic. 

The Giver- Few books could get young readers into dystopian science fiction than this highly accessible and well written novel.

The Hunger Games- Deals with some older themes so it’s probably on the edge with level 2, but its writing and structure are simple enough that I think a young reader could really appreciate it.  The story is engaging, the characters are interesting, it hits the right emotional notes.  The kind of book that can show how fun dystopian science fiction can be. 

A Wrinkle in Time- A blend of fantasy and science fiction.  I loved this book so much as a child and really enjoyed the follow-up novels (especially A Swiftly Titling Planet).  It doesn’t deal with a ton of concepts but I remember how intriguing the idea of the tesseract was to me as someone new to science fiction.  I was fascinated by the idea of folding space to travel. 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- I did not fully get into the Narnia novels, but they are incredibly accessible and many love them.  I was a big fan of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on my first reading.  Finding that fantasy world within your own home was an exciting proposition. 

The Hobbit- Tolkein is the king of fantasy and this is a fun, engaging, less serious story that young readers could certainly enjoy. 

The Golden Compass- So much going on in this alternate, magical earth.  I think it’s very accessible, but some of the ideas in the last two novels might be difficult for younger readers.  Personally I liked The Golden Compass better than the last two in the series and think it is one that could easily get young readers into fantasy. 

Redwall-  I never actually read this, but it is one that comes to mind based on talking to others I know who loved Fantasy novels. 

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