A Book About Magic: Picks for the 2022 TPL Reading Challenge

June 22, 2022 | Lucas

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TPL Reading Challenge 2022

Most people may think of children's books or fantasy when they think about a book about magic, but this category can be interpreted as broadly as you want. Our recommendations for "a book about magic" category include graphic novels, children's picture books, and history.

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

Like all the men in his family, Aster is supposed to grow up into a shapeshifter, but he's more interested in witchery and the women's magic in his family. When he starts trying to learn witchcraft in secret, he learns about the terrible fate of someone who tried the same thing in the past. But a mysterious danger is threatening the other boys and Aster knows that he can help as a witch. 

101 Magic Tricks by Bryan Miles

101 Magic Tricks: Any Time, Any Place by Bryan Miles

Thinking about taking up a new hobby or skill? TPL has plenty of books to help you learn about slight-of-hand magic tricks. This book includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions that will have your friends and family amazed in no time.

David Copperfield's A History of Magic by David Copperfield

David Copperfield's History of Magic by David Copperfield

An entertaining look into the world of illusion from the world’s greatest and most successful magician, famous magicians and artifacts housed at David Copperfield’s secret museum.


Staff Recommendations

Here are some recommendations from TPL staff for this category:

Magic Candies by Hui-na Paek

Magic Candies by Hui-na Paek

The story follows a young boy who eats some unusual candies and finds himself able to communicate with his dog and his couch, among others. This funny, touching, brilliantly illustrated book will bring joy to adults and children.

– Kate, Librarian


Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

A classic book of an English nanny who blows in on the East Wind with her parrot-topped umbrella and her bottomless magic carpet bag. Jane and Michael Banks are introduced to her most delightful ways. I read this book as a child and have been enchanted with Mary Poppins ever since!

– Jennifer, Public Service Assistant


No Gods  No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

Explores magic, heritage, found family, and how society reacts to outsiders. The characters and story are mysterious and leave readers with more questions about the fascinating world Turnbull has created leaving readers to wonder: are monsters among us?

– Mallory, Librarian


Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny and her friends have been learning a uniquely Nigerian form of magic throughout the series as they fight serial killers, ghosts, and wannabe deities. The books incorporate all kinds of cultural details and mythology. I devoured them as quickly as I could! I'd recommend these books to any reader who enjoys a magical school meets adventure story, especially if you're looking for one not set in the U.K. or North America. 

Other categories:

  • a book about family
  • a book about a city
  • a coming-of-age story by a BIPOC author
  • a book that is a retelling of another story
  • a book published this year

– Ames, Services Specialist


The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa

Rintaro loves spending time at his grandfather's bookshop, curled up in the corner with a good book. When his grandfather suddenly dies, Rintario tries to run the bookshop on his own while his aunt makes arrangements for him to move in with her. Rintaro stops going to school, choosing to read and run the bookshop instead. One day a cat walks in. The cat starts speaking to him, it is alarming at first but Rintaro quickly warms up to his new friend, aptly named Tiger. The cat needs help rescuing books from being destroyed, Rintaro finds himself in a series of mazes of increasing difficulty. Along the way he learns the value and importance of each book and why they deserve respect. Books and cats: what's not to love?

Other categories:

  • a book about time
  • a book about solitude
  • a book you read just because

– Pauline, Librarian


The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke

Set in the same world as Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Characters suddenly, and unexpectedly, leave their ordinary lives behind and take on various magical mysteries, catastrophies, and challenges. This is a short, whimsical book that doesn't require any previous knowledge of the world, and is easy to enjoy in short moments of spare time. It also builds and fleshes out the world if you enjoyed the longer novel or show, and includes some of the same beloved characters!

– Kieran, Page


French Recommendations

If you like to read in French, check out the list of recommended books for "la magie" - there's a mix of books, eBooks and digital audiobooks to try. 


Recommendations from the Facebook Group

These are just some of the recommendations from our Facebook TPL Reading Challenge 2022 discussion group. You can read the entire thread, even if you don't have a Facebook account.