Name of Collection: Science Fiction & Fantasy

School Name: Park Slope Education Complex at M.S. 88

Address: 544 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Phone: 718-788-4482 x.230

Librarian: Melissa Ahart

Librarian's e-mail:


From The Hobbit to Harry Potter, science fiction and fantasy books are a cornerstone of children’s and young adult literature. These highly motivating works encourage exploration, speculation, and imagination in readers of all ages. Most science fiction and fantasy readers tend to be EXTREMELY avid, so they can easily exhaust the standard titles that the average library carries, so this pathfinder will give you a brief introduction and ways to expand your collection if you are unfamiliar with these genres. The larger genre categories of "fantasy" and "science fiction" contain many subgenres like cyberpunk, steampunk, time travel, mythic fiction, sword and sorcery, uchronia or alternative histories, fairy-tale retellings, urban fantasy, and multicultural fantasy. Fantasy and science fiction books have been a rich part of the history of children and young adult literature and continue to grow more popular, with ever-expanding offerings and series of epic length.

Questions for Inquiry:

How can I expand my fantasy and science fiction offerings to keep avid readers going and entice reluctant readers?
What does a core collection of science fiction and fantasy novels for middle school contain?


science fiction
SF or sci-fi
subgenres: dystopia, post-apocalyptic, sword & sorcery, high fantasy, epic fantasy, space opera, alternate history OR uchronia, fairy tales OR fairy tale retellings, time travel, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, steampunk, time travel, dark fantasy, first contact, hard science fiction, magical realism, mythic fiction

Subject Headings:

Science fiction
Fantasy fiction
Fairy tales
Time travel--Fiction

Dewey Decimal Classification(s):

F (fiction), 398.2 (fairy tales & folklore), 741.5 (graphic novels), 808.8 (short story anthologies and collections)

Key Books


Cawthorne, James and Michael Moorcock. Fantasy: The 100 Best Books. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1993.
*Lynn, Ruth Nadelman. Fantasy Literature for Children and Young Adults: A Comprehensive Guide. 5th ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2005.
*Mendlesohn, Farah. The Inter-galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2009.
Pringle, David. Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1997.


Most collections of book lists for teens and similar reader's advisory tools contain a section on fantasy and science fiction. See Nancy Pearl's Book Crush, Anita Silvey’s 500 Great Books for Teens and 100 Great Books for Children, Nancy J. Keane’s Big Book of Reading Lists, and Paul Gravett’s Graphic Novels: An Introduction, for example.
*Manguel, Alberto. The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
Marcus, Leonard S., ed. The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2006.
*Yolen, Jane. Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie, and Folklore in the Literature of Childhood. Atlanta: August House, 2007.


Major works in key subgenres:
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck everlasting. New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1975.
The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when they discover that a ten-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret about a spring whose water prevents one from ever growing any older.

Beagle, Peter S. The last unicorn. New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 1968.
With the assistance of Schmendrick the Magician, an immortal, beautiful unicorn searches for her lost fellows.

Bradbury, Ray. Something wicked this way comes. New York : Avon Books, 1962.
Two boys, best friends in a small midwestern town, finally come to understand that of all the terrors threatening them from Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show the greatest menace exists within themselves.

Card, Orson Scott. Ender's game. New York : TOR, 1991.
Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race.

Chabon, Michael. Summerland. New York : Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children, 2002.
The ferishers, little creatures who ensure perfect weather for Summerland, recruit Ethan Feld, one of history's worst baseball players, to help them in their struggle to save Summerland, and ultimately the world, from giants, goblins, and other legendary, terrible creatures.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander. New York : Scholastic, 2003.
When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving humans, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

Le Guin, Ursula K. A wizard of Earthsea. New York : Bantam Books, 2004.
A boy grows to manhood while attempting to subdue the evil he unleashed on the world as an apprentice to the Master Wizard.

L'Engle, Madeleine. A wrinkle in time. New York, N.Y. : Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1962.
Meg and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.

Levine, Gail Carson. Ella enchanted. New York : HarperTrophy, 1997.
In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.

Lewis, C. S. The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. New York : HarperTrophy, 1994.
Four English school children find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch who has cursed the land with eternal winter.

Lowry, Lois. The giver. New York : Bantam Books, 1993.
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

McKinley, Robin. The hero and the crown. New York : Ace, 1984.
Aerin, with the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword, wins the birthright due her as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North.

Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York : Little, Brown, 2005.
Seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, where she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human.

Pierce, Tamora. Alanna : the first adventure. New York : Simon Pulse, 1983.
Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone. New York : A.A. Levine Books, 1998.
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Smith, Jeff. Bone. New York : Graphix, 2005.
Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are run out of their home, Boneville, and become separated in the wilds, but better fortune begins when the three cousins reunite at a farmstead in a deep forested valley, where Fone meets a young girl named Thorn.

Tolkien, J. R. R.The lord of the rings. [One-volume ed.]. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Presents the classic trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) which chronicles the great quest undertaken by the hobbit Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring to journey across Middle-earth and cast the One Ring, filled with the power of the Dark Lord Sauron, into the Cracks of Doom.

Magazine Articles

Adams, John. "Linkages: Science Fiction and Science Fantasy." School Library Journal 26.9 (May 1980): 23. An older article that gives a thorough overview of the history of juvenile SF and fantasy pre-1980.

"Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror 2008" VOYA April 2009. 10-12. VOYA publishes an very helpful annual list of their best-reviewed titles for that year.

Kofmel, Kim G. "SCI-FI 101." Library Journal 129.14 (Sep. 2004): 46-47. An interesting article about science fiction readers of all ages: why they love this genre and what SF fan expectations are for the library.

Meloni, Christine. "The Rise of Vampire Literature." Library Media Connection 26.2 (Oct. 2007): 30-33. The meteoric rise of vampire books for teens, with booklist.

Mendlesohn, Farah. "The Campaign for Shiny Futures." Horn Book Magazine 85.2 (Mar. 2009): 155-161.

Pierce, Tamora. "Fantasy: Why kids read it, why kids need it." School Library Journal 39.10 (Oct. 1993): 50. A persuasive article by one of the most prominent contemporary authors of fantasy for teens on the importance of reading fantasy.

Will, Chase M. "The Alluring Darkness." Young Adult Library Services 2008: 17+. A good short editorial about why teen readers choose horror and dark fantasy books.


Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database
An online index to historical and critical items about science fiction, fantasy and horror. Compiled by Hal W. Hall and hosted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Texas A&M University.

NoveList K-8 Plus
NoveList's specialized database for elementary and middle grade readers has booklists for adventure stories, fantasy, graphic novels and manga, horror, readalikes, and science fiction, as well as a large collection of reviews in all genres. Available through the New York public library systems.

Web Sites:

Plymouth District Library Teen Zone, Out of this World: SciFi, Fantasy & Horror for Teens
A strong annotated book list to help in collection building.
Library Booklists: Young Adult Speculative Fiction
A large collection of annotated links to booklists across the internet.
No Flying No Tights
A site devoted to comics, but helpful for its fantasy, science fiction, and horror sections. The sister sites Sidekicks for elementary students and The Lairfor older teens and adults have the same genre divisions also.

Lists of award-winning books can be very helpful for getting the basics into your science fiction and fantasy collection, as many of the winners and runners-up of the Newbery, Printz, and other major awards for children's literature include titles from these genres.
The Nebula Award has instituted a "Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy" as of 2006.
Golden Duck Awards for Excellence in Children's Science Fiction Literature
The Cybils is a community award given by children's and YA book bloggers established in 2006. Check out the winners and finalists in the fantasy and science fiction category (divided into teen/YA and elementary/middle grades).

Community Resources:

Brooklyn Public Library
New York Public Library
Queens Public Library
The public library systems all have extensive collections of fantasy and science fiction for adult and teen readers alike.

Curriculum Standards Related to This Topic:

New York State Learning Standards: Language Arts
English Language Arts:
Key Idea ELA2.LR1: Listening and reading for literary response involves comprehending, interpreting, and critiquing imaginative texts in every medium, drawing on personal experiences and knowledge to understand the text, and recognizing the social, historical and cultural features of the text.
Performance Indicator ELA2.I.LR1A: Students read and view texts and performances from a wide range of authors, subjects, and genres.
Performance Indicator ELA2.I.LR1B: Students understand and identify the distinguishing features of the major genres and use them to aid their interpretation and discussion of literature.
Performance Indicator ELA2.I.LR1F: Students evaluate literary merit based on an understanding of the genre and the literary elements.

*An asterisk next to material indicates that it is recommended in this subject area but not available in this CCD collection.