Witches, wizards and mythical creatures. Is there anything more to fantasy books for kids?
Hands up if you think that fantasy books are just souped-up fairy tales for little kids. If you flick past books with dragons and mythical beasts with barely a second glance. Or perhaps you even consider them as an inferior genre to kids' books set in the real world, with real people and real issues.
Is that you? Does any of the above apply to you? If so, grab yourself a cuppa and give me five minutes of your time. Because I'm going to show you why you're wrong. Why you very definitely should choose fantasy books for your kids. Hell, I'm even going to recommend a few for you to try! Are you ready?
...escape the real world
...a book genre for kids of all ages
One of the things we really love about fantasy books is that they are suitable for all. Whatever the age of your child, there's a fantasy out there to inspire and enthrall them. Of course, the themes and storylines get more involved and complex for older readers. But there are still lots out there for younger readers. Some of our favourite picture books for little ones are great fantasy stories. An all-time favourite is 'Where The Wild Things Are', a classic by Maurice Sendak, published in 1963. Naughty Max, dressed in a wolf costume, has wreaked havoc at home. So, he is sent to his bedroom without his supper. His room magically transforms into a jungle and he sails to an island with terrifying mythical beasts. And thus begins a fantasy adventure where, spoiler alert, Max tames the creatures and becomes King of the Wild Things.
Even without words, a well 'written' fantasy book can bring great enjoyment. We have a fine collection of wordless picture books which can transport children of all ages. 'Journey' follows the story of a bored child, whose parents are too busy to play with her. When she finds a red crayon, she draws a doorway on her bedroom wall - don't try this at home, kids! All of a sudden, she discovers that she can walk through the doorway. And a magical world awaits her, full of adventure. And, because the book is wordless, the reader can use their imagination to add their own fantasy story to the beautiful illustrations.
...spark their imagination with fantasy books for kids
So, your child has opened a fantasy book and entered a world of magical creatures. A magical world brought to life by an author with a vivid imagination. But it doesn't end there. Or it doesn't have to. Because the author has opened up your child's mind to ideas they'd never thought of before. Imagine a child who has the ability to stop animals dying with a simple touch of his hand? I'll bet your child would never have imagined that unless they read The Life and Time of Lonnie Quicke.
...fantasy books for kids to fire their creative writing
Or could they conjure up a bizarre parallel London, frozen in time? And inhabited by shift-shaping beasts, determined to end the world? As a result of reading The Midnight Hour, yes they could! Opening a child's mind to the world of fantasy books is like switching on a light. And the result is that you bring out a whole new level of creativity in their own writing. Suddenly their own ideas go from school-based, or football-related, tales to fantastical stories with time-travel, mythical beasts and magical quests!
...experiment with their own bravery and courage
While we're talking about quests, these feature fairly regularly in fantasy books for kids. Often the main character is transported to a dangerous place where they alone have the ability to save someone, or even to save the world! This allows the child reading it to imagine how they would be brave, or find their courage. It gives them a safe place in which to think about the attributes they have. And perhaps even gives them the confidence to deal with a real-life issue they're having, such as bullying or being the new kid at school.
...hands up if you're ready for a fantasy journey!
If you've got this far, I hope it means that I've convinced you! So all you need to do is leap into the exciting world of fantasy books for kids! Because we've got a whole lot of magic, mystery and fantasy waiting for kids of all ages at The Little Bookstall!