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Fun SFF Summer Adventures for Kids

Summer is a time for adventuring, and these sci-fi/fantasy books for young readers will lead the way.

book cover art of the lightning thief

There’s nothing better than summer vacation. With no school and, more importantly, no homework, the promise of fun-filled days in the sun are every kid’s dream. But as every parent knows, no matter how many activities you plan, inevitably you’re going to hear two dreaded words: I’m bored.

It might feel like it’s your duty to solve your child’s boredom. After all, idle hands get into trouble more often than not. But instead of scheduling another activity, you can cure boredom by encouraging your little one to use their imagination. Boredom is an invitation. It opens the door for creativity and there’s nothing better to help that spark than a good book. 

We found eight books that will transport your kids to new worlds. They’ll go to leadership camps for the supernatural, summer camps for demigods, and discover worlds underneath and beyond our own. Each one tackles problems in fun imaginative ways and introduces themes that will give your kids new perspectives to think about.

the best part? Each book is a new beginning. From entire series to books with on-going sequels, these characters will become your child’s adventure buddies as they fight evil, learn how to bounce back from mistakes, and captivate their imagination all summer long.

Our Favorite SFF Summer Adventures for Kids

wizard-of-earthsea-ursula-guin-books-like-name-of-the-wind

A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle Series Book 1)

By Ursula K. Le Guin

Before Ged became the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, he was simply known as Sparrowhawk. His desire for knowledge and power made him a little reckless. Like that time he accidentally unleashed a dark power on the world when he fiddled with ancient secrets. To restore balance, Sparrowhawk had to master the power of his words, tame a dragon, and even cross death’s door. This is his tale.

All kids make mistakes, but knowing how to fix them is important. Sparrowhawk does all that and more in this magical adventure.

The Carpet People

The Carpet People

By Terry Pratchett

Complete with illustrations and updated text, this delightful tale is a hilarious and imaginative adventure through the most unlikely of places—the carpet.

Every tiny citizen of the empire knows the story of how Carpet began. But now, a new story starts. As Fray leaves a trail of destruction across the Carpet, power-hungry villains create their own wave of havoc, and two brothers set out on a journey to end all journeys. But this story won’t end well if someone doesn’t do something … or more accurately, if everyone doesn’t do something.

books like Harry Potter

The Lightning Thief

By Rick Riordan

For the most part, Percy Jackson is a good kid. Sure, he sometimes can’t focus on his work, and yeah, he might have a tiny temper. But that doesn’t change how weird things are getting at school. For example, he could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. 

When he tells his mom, things get even weirder. Turns out, the father he never knew is Poseidon: yeah, that Poseidon. To keep him safe, she sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods. But Percy can’t seem to stay out of trouble. As war brews among the gods, Percy and his friends set out on an epic quest to try to stop it.

There’s summer camp, and then there’s Camp Half-Blood. This fun series immerses kids in action, adventure, and Greek mythology that they won’t want to put down.

sal and gabi break the universe

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

By Carlos Hernandez

On Sal Vidon’s third time in the pricipal’s office, he meets Gabi Real for the first time. She’s there to defend her friend, Yasmany. Gabi believes Sal planted a chicken in Yasmany’s locker even though no one saw him do it—or knows where the chicken went. But the truth is a bit more complicated. Like, how Yasmany bullied Sal and that Sal is an excellent magician. 

Gabi can spot a trick a mile away, so when she learns Sal can conjure more than a chicken, she takes it in stride. The only problem is their experiments threaten to put the entire universe at risk.

Filled with supportive adults, this story balances deeply emotional themes with sharp humor and plenty of adventure that your kids will devour.

Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander

By Suzanne Collins

Before she wrote Katniss, Collins wondered what would happen if you fell down a manhole instead of a rabbit hole and what kind of world you’d find.

When Gregor accidentally falls through a grate in his apartment building’s laundry room, he’s shocked to discover a whole world exists underneath his feet. Underland is nothing he expected, where in the darkness of the underground, cockroaches, spiders, and rats try to coexist with humans. 

But Gregor’s arrival may not be as accidental as he thought. Underland is on the brink of war. And Gregor is part of the world’s uncertain future. He doesn’t want to stay, doesn’t want to fight, but when he realizes this may be the only way to get answers about his father’s disappearance, Gregor sets off on a dangerous voyage that will change him—and Underland—forever.

Tristan Strong

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

By Kwame Mbalia

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong hasn’t felt strong ever since he lost his best friend. He couldn’t save Eddie in the bus accident. So when a sticky creature shows up the first night at his grandparent’s Alabama farm and tries to steal Eddie’s journal, Tristan fights back and accidentally punches a Bottle Tree. Somehow, it opens a door to MidPass, a volatile world with burning seas, iron monsters, and haunted bone ships. 

Tristan finds himself in a battle, one that has exhausted black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit. To win the war and get Tristan home, they have to convince trickster god, Ansani, to come out of hiding and weave the hole in the sky. But Ansani always demands a price and Tristan can’t afford to lose more of what he loves.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is a wildly imaginative story filled with African-American legends, West African mythology, and one very determined protagonist struggling with grief that will delight your kids from start to finish.

The Wild Robot

The Wild Robot

By Peter Brown

When robot Roz wakes up on a remote, wild island, she has no idea how she got there. She has a lot of questions. Where is she? How did she get there? Can robots survive in the wild? But most importantly, what is her purpose? After making it through a violent storm and escaping a bear attack, Roz realizes to survive, she’s going to have to adapt by learning from the unwelcoming animals. As she slowly befriends the island’s inhabitants and makes the island her home, her past comes rushing back to haunt her.

Told from an unusual protagonist facing extreme circumstances, this wonderful story is packed full of adventure and heart.

amari and the night brothers

Amari and the Night Brothers

By B.B. Alston

Thirteen-year-old Amari Peters adores her older brother Quinton. And why wouldn’t she? He’s the golden boy of their low-income projects with two scholarship offers to Ivy League schools. So when he goes missing, Amari doesn’t understand why the police act like it’s his fault. 

But when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, with an invitation for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she realizes there was more to Quinton than she ever knew. Disguised as a leadership camp, Amari is soon surrounded by the supernatural. She has to compete against kids who have been training their entire lives, and to make matters worse, she’s given an illegal ability. 

In over her head, with her fellow classmates believing she’s their enemy, and an evil magician threatening the world, Amari has to pass three tryouts or risk never learning the truth about her brother.