Fantasy Books For Readers Who Do Not Like Fantasy

Fantasy Books For Readers Who Do Not Like Fantasy

Not a fan of fantasy lands full of made-up creatures and magic? What about books that are full of names of people and places you cannot pronounce, let alone spell? Try these books that have more “mild” fantastical elements and are great reads for those that want to try out fantasy, but are not ready for Harry Potter or The Hobbit.


Click on the titles to read a sample on Amazon!

“Mild” Fantasy Books

One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Based on a real gorilla who lived in a mall, One and Only Ivan will have you laughing and crying all through the book. Told from Ivan’s point of view, you will get lost in his world and forget that gorillas do not have thoughts-or maybe you begin to believe that animals can have thoughts and feelings and you may find yourself changing your mind on how humans treat animals. This is a must read!

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

This story is told through the point of view of a very personable that has a lot to say. The problems that the tree both faces and observes are real. The friendship the tree makes are real, too. I enjoyed the touch of humor Applegate put in with the animals’ names and the interactions with the animals and the tree. No magic here, just a tree with feelings and a lot to say!

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L Holm

This humorous book about a grandfather who goes back to his teenage self will have you rolling. It almost made me believe it could happen, with some scientific experiments. I loved that there were multiple plot lines and things going on because it kept you reading.

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

What would you wish for if you found a fish that granted all of your wishes? What would the repercussion be if your wishes came true? This book kept me reading to find out how or if everything would work out in the end after Charlie turned her world upside down, while trying to make things better.

All the Answers by Kate Messner

An anxious, paranoid girl finds a pencil that answers all of her questions, and she has a lot! Her problems are realistic and I think that many readers would identify with her (I know I did) making this a magical book even for those who do not enjoy reading about magic.

Fantasy Books with a “Touch” More Fantasty

This book is full of Chinese fables and beautiful illustrations. I enjoyed the folklore and adventure these characters faced, and I think you would too!

A graphic novel based on Jacks and the Beanstalk. The illustrations are pretty awesome and the storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat.

What if a doll could talk? Your favorite stuffed animal? What journeys do these loved one take when you no longer have them? I loved watching Edward grow and his story was both tragic and uplifting.

An adventurous tale about a mouse who wants to save the princess he loves. I loved the love story, the adventure, and the suspense!

Centered around the California Gold Rush, this book feels like a historical fiction novel, until you discover Lee’s secret. This book is full of suspense and will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will find yourself rooting for Lee and hoping she makes it to California. Her journey is tough, but does she have the strenght to make it?

Do you have any other books to add to this list? I would love to hear them.

Happy reading!

I am a middle school teacher who loves to read ALL KINDS of books. I am part of the ARC-sharing group LitReviewCrew, a co-creator for the YouTube Channel Legit KidLit and the Podcast Read to Write KidLit. Check out my Linktree for more:

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