Young Adult Fantasy Classics
Although classified as Young Adult, and featuring young protagonists, these are wonderful books that are a joy to read for all ages. Each of them is the first in a famous series. Updated July 2011.
- The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)
The first novel in the award winning Chronicles of Prydain. The series, which draws from Welsh Mythology, tells the story of young assistant pig keeper and his companions, and how they face the evil in their land.
- The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)
Young Will discovers he is the latest of the Old Ones, beings with supernatural powers who protect the world from the forces of the Dark. Cooper combines folklore with suspenseful action.
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin (1968)
LeGuin combines elegant writing, a vividly imagined, detailed world, and an anthropological sensibility inherited from her father A.L. Kroeber. This book and its sequels are considered one of the greatest fantasy series ever written.
- Wise Child by Monica Furlong (1987)
Set in an ancient England of witches and magic, the real theme in this coming-of-age story is human values and relationships. Like the other books in this section, the main character is young but the themes are ageless.
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)
Pullman is noted for his layering of history, science, philosophy, myth, and other elements into a complex structure, while still telling a good story.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)
One of the less-remarked qualities of Rowling's books is her ability to combine light and humorous action with serious high fantasy without weakening either -- not an easy feat.