Margin: Exploring Modern Magical 


C H I L D R E N ' S   R E A D I N G
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CONTRIBUTORS TO Margin have assisted in compiling the following list of children's stories and books which they think represent the best literary magical realism for kids.

We recognize that not everyone will agree with the entries in this list, but in the name of exploration, we have made it a policy to keep this list of titles and references intact unless our own research uncovers discrepancies. We are interested, however, in your thoughts and seek a dialog. If you would like to make a point of contention regarding a list entry, or if you would like to make other comments regarding these entries, please do so in our Reader Feedback section.

Click here to submit additional reading recommendations (authors, stories, books, poetry, nonfiction resources, etc., being as specific as possible).

NOTE: If you are interested in buying any of these titles, we recommend that you support your local independent bookseller by clicking here. While Margin is not a commercial publication (we receive no commission whatsoever for any referrals we make at Margin), we do strongly recommend that you support independent booksellers, who are more likely to give writers on "the edge," like magical realists, the opportunities that chain bookstores often will not.


Note: Please see our terms of use below. We have created this resource to further enlightenment about magical realism among students, teachers, fans and others.

However, it is not permissible to download this entire list for blogging or commercial purposes.

There are very specific examples in this reading list which are not part of the public domain; we can easily search and locate anyone who uses this list without permission. We will use every legal means to protect the copyrighted material on this website, so please take this warning seriously.

In a more collaborative spirit, please note that participants in university studies (students, professors, etc.) and other non-profit endeavors similar to Margin's are welcome to contact us to make arrangements for including part or all of this list for educational purposes. If you are a student or a teacher or otherwise have questions about using this list or wish to inquire about permission to use part of it, feel free to direct such inquiries to the publisher, Tamara Kaye Sellman at; surface mail address:

321 High School Road N.E.
Ste D3, PMB #204
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

C H I L D R E N ' S   F I C T I O N

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KEY: the numbers in the following brackets indicate age appropriateness:
[preK] -- preschool-aged
[4-8] -- ages 4-8
[9-12] -- ages 9-12
YA -- Young Adult

  • Adler, David A. The Cam Jansen Series. [9-12]
  • Agee, Jon. The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau. [4-8]
  • Almond, David. Counting Stars; The Fire Eaters; Heaven Eyes; Secret Heart; Skellig [9-12]; Kit's Wilderness. [YA]
  • Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me, Ultima. [YA]
  • Armstrong, Jennifer. The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan. [YA]

  • Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting. [9-12]
  • Banks, Lynn Reid. The Indian in the Cupboard. [9-12]
  • Bennett, Cherie. Zink. [9-12]
  • Billingsley, Franny. Well-Wished. [9-12]
  • Block, Francesca Lia. The Weetzie Bat Series. [YA]
  • Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. [YA]
  • Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. [9-12]
  • Butterworth, Oliver. The Trouble With Jenny's Ear. [9-12]
  • Byng, Georgia. Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism. [9-12]

  • Catling, Patrick. The Chocolate Touch. [9-12]
  • Cormier, Robert. Fade. [YA]
  • Coville, Bruce. Jennifer Murdley's Toad; The Skull of Truth. [9-12]
  • Cox, Judy. Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe. [4-8]
  • Crew, Gary. Strange Objects. [9-12]

  • Dahl, Roald. James and the Giant Peach. [9-12]
  • Dicamillo, Kate. Because of Winn Dixie. [9-12]
  • Dickinson, Peter. Inside Grandad; Tears of the Salamander. [9-12]
  • Dickinson, Peter and Robin McKinley. Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits. [YA]

  • Fleischmann, Paul. Mind's Eye. [YA]

  • Fry, Rosalie. The Secret of Roan Inish. [9-12]

  • Godden, Rumer. The Doll's House. [9-12]
  • Grossman, David. Duel; The Zigzag Kid. [YA]

  • Hamill, Pete. Snow in August. [YA]
  • Hamilton, Virginia. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush. [YA]
  • Hoffman, Alice. Water Tales: Aquamarine & Indigo. [9-12]

  • Johnson, Crockett. The Harold and the Purple Crayon Series. [4-8]

  • Keats, Ezra Jack. Dreams. [4-8]
  • Kindl, Patrice. Owl in Love. [YA]

  • Levy, Janice. The Spirit of Tio Fernando. [4-8]

  • MacDonald, Caroline. Speaking to Miranda. [YA]
  • MacEwan, Ian. The Daydreamer. [9-12]
  • Milgrim, David. Cows Can't Fly. [4-8]
  • Mowry, Jess. Ghost Train. [9-12]
  • Myers, Christopher. Wings. [4-8]

  • Napoli, Donna Jo. Soccer Shock. [9-12]
  • Naylor, Phyllis. Sang Spell. [YA]

  • Polacco, Patricia. Babushka's Doll. [4-8]

  • Rodgers, Mary. Freaky Friday. [YA]
  • Rylant, Cynthia. Van Gogh Cafe. [4-8]

  • Sachar, Louis. Holes; The Wayside School Series. [9-12]
  • Smith, Robert Kimmel. Chocolate Fever. [4-8]
  • Snicket, Lemony. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill. [9-12]
  • Spinelli, Jerry. The Library Card [9-12]; Maniac Magee. [YA]
  • Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Shiva's Fire. [YA]

  • Waugh, Sylvia. The Mennyms. [9-12]
  • Weeks, Sarah. Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash. [preK]
  • Wynne-Jones, Tim. The Maestro. [9-12]

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