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16 Incredible Mythical Creatures (in Children’s Books)

Celebrate mythical creatures of myth and legend in your favorite children’s books. Yes! You can find your favorite mythological creatures in magical, fantastical children’s books, including picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books. Maybe you’ll discover a new favorite book and mythical creature!

What are mythological creatures?

Found in the realm and genre of fantasy, mythological creatures are creatures from folktales, mythology, and fairy tales. From monstrous creatures to magical, mystical beasts, these mythical creatures have inspired writers and readers for centuries. Some are magical with powers, while others are not. Some are humanoid, while others are all animal. All of them are endlessly fascinating fictional creations. (Or are they?)

Mythical Creatures

Here’s a list of mythical creatures and where they’re found in children’s books.

Centaur

A Greek mythological creature, a centaur, has the lower body of a horse (including four legs and hooves) and the upper body of a human.

Over in the Woodland by Nicole Abreu and Shar Abreu, illustrated by Susanna Covelli (ages 4 – 8)

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Chupacabra

Chupacabra is a legendary mythical creature from Mexico. When I went to university in Mexico, my friends were terrified of the chupacabra news stories about mysterious incidents of exsanguinated cattle. These elusive creatures suck the blood out of cattle or goats. Creepy, right? Not in these children’s stories…

El Chupacabras by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Chas McCreery (ages 4 – 8)

Chupacarter by George Lopez and Ryan Calejo (ages 7 – 10)

Dragon

Dragons are mythical beasts from many cultures’ pantheons, including Greek mythology, Chinese mythology, and Celtic mythology. Sometimes dragons are fire breathing but not water dragons because the lore of the dragon is as varied as the cultures they represent.

Izmelda The Fairest Dragon of Them All! by Joan Marr (ages 4 – 8)

Little Red Riding Hood and the Dragon by Ying Chang Compestine (ages 4 – 8)

The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep (ages 4 – 8)

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott

Dragon Slippers trilogy by Jessica Day George

Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland series

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

Elf

The elvish race is associated with Britanic, Gremanic, and Celtic mythologies and folklore. Elves are known for their beauty and pointed ears and are often portrayed as very tall.

The Elves and the Shoemaker (My First Fairy Tales) adapted by Mara Alperin (ages 4 – 8)

The Adventurers Guild by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

The Adventurers Guild by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Fairy

Fairies are the most popular mythical beings in literature. They’re often depicted in modern stories as winged creatures with different magical powers and personalities. However, in Irish mythology, the race of fairies is called Tuatha De Danann or fae and is not winged. These fae kingdoms of light and dark are often battling each other.

Never Girls series by Niki Thorpe (ages 7 – 10)

Recklesby Cornelia Funke (ages 9 – 12)

Wicked Nix by Lena Coakley (ages 9 – 12)

Midsummer Mayhem by Ranji LaRocca (ages 8 – 12)

Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis (ages 8 – 12)

Goblin

Goblins are smallish, often green, monstrous creatures from the lore of many European cultures. They are usually depicted as tricksters, dangerous, and malicious.

Who’s the Grossest of Them All? Which Fairy-Tale Character Will Win? by Susan McElroy Montanari, illustrated by Jake Parker (ages 4 – 8)

Tank & Fizz The Case of the Slime Stampede by Liam O’Donnell (ages 7 – 10)

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke (ages 8 – 12)

Barb The Last Berzerker by Dan & Jason (ages 8 – 12)

mythical creatures in children's literature

Grindylow

Grindylows live in ponds, waiting to attack unsuspecting children and drag them into the water. They’re common in English and Celtic folklore and some of the most frightening mythical creatures besides Red Hats. (Those are SO creepy!)

Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis (ages 8 – 12)

Gryphon / Griffin

Griffins, also spelled gryphons, can be found in the legends of European cultures, including Greek and Roman mythology. It’s a winged creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle. These mythological creatures are often vicious and deadly beasts. But maybe they are misunderstood. Read more about griffins who might not be so deadly in these children’s books:

Over in the Woodland by Nicole Abreu and Shar Abreu, illustrated by Susanna Covelli (ages 4 – 8)

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (ages 8 – 12)

The Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong (ages 8 – 12)

The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland (ages 8 – 12)

Kitsune

I’d love to see more books with kitsunes because they’re the coolest mythological creatures and come from Japanese mythology. Kisunes are fox-like creatures with a few major differences — they are magical (and sometimes considered to be demons) and have multiple tails, usually between two and nine. Somestimes kitzune are guardian fox spirits.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (ages 8 – 12)
(Korean fox spirit main character, not specifically a kitsune)

Reckless by Cornelia Funke (ages 9 – 12)

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (YA) (ages 13+)

Mermaids

Mermaids are half fish, half human creatures of the water. sometimes, they’re friendly, but other times they’re vicious. It depends on the stories you’re reading. In Peter and the Starcatchers, the mermaids are fierce predators. But in Emily Windsnap, our main character is a half-mermaid kid looking to connect with the mermaid community.

How to Meet a Mermaid by Sue Fleiss (ages 4 – 8)

Over in the Woodland by Nicole Abreu and Shar Abreu, illustrated by Susanna Covelli (ages 4 – 8)

Undersea Mystery Club Problem at the Playground by Courtney Carbone (ages 6 – 9)

Emily Windsnap series by Liz Kessler (ages 8 – 12)

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (ages 9 – 12)

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (ages 12+)

Ogre

Ogres are large giant-like creatures who are usually depicted as dumb and mean.

LillyBelle: A Damsel NOT in Distress by Joana Pastro, illustrated by Jhon Ortiz (ages 4 – 8)

Pegasus

Pegasus are winged horses from Greek mythology. Who doesn’t want to fly on a winged horse?

PegaSisters Go to Camp by Brooke Hartman, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley

Pegasus by Kate O’Hearn

Sasquash (Yeti / Bigfoot)

Depending on the culture, this ape-like creature cryptid can be called different names. Yeti is the name that the creature is called in the Himalayan mountains in Asia. Bigfoot is the western area of North American name. Sasquash and Witkio are its names in the Eastern North American regions.

Miss. Turie’s Magic Creatures by Joy Keller and Richard Watson (ages 4 – 8)

Creature Campers The Secret of Shadow Lake by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo (ages 6 – 10)

Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler (ages 8 – 12)

The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors (series) (ages 8 – 12)

Satyr

From Greek mythology, satyrs are male humans with the lower body and legs of a goat. The Greek god Pan or Dionysus is a satyr.

I Am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (ages 8 – 12)

Selkie

From Norse and Celtic mythology, selkies are almost a kind of shapeshifters. With their seal coat, they are seals that live in the waters. But selkies can remove their seal skin and become human. Without their seal skin, they will not be able to become a seal again, allowing for many stories about humans who steal the selkie’s coat to trap them.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (ages 8 – 12)

Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis (ages 8 – 12)

Secrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas (ages 8 – 12)

Troll

Trolls (and giants) are common Norse mythology magical creatures but are also found in Celtic and Britanic mythologies. Large, strong, and dangerous, trolls are mythical creatures who live in caves or rocky areas.

Who’s the Grossest of Them All? Which Fairy-Tale Character Will Win? by Susan McElroy Montanari, illustrated by Jake Parker (ages 4 – 8)

Vole and Troll by Iza Trapani (ages 4 – 8)

Tank & Fizz The Case of the Slime Stampede by Liam O’Donnell (ages 7 – 10)

Ferno the Fire Dragon (Beast Quest #1) by Adam Blade

Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer (ages 9 – 12)

Frostborn: Thrones and Bones by Lou Anders (ages 9 – 12)

Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis (ages 8 – 12)

Unicorn

Unicorns are mythical creatures of Celtic mythology. They look like horses with a single horn that they use to fight each other and to heal humans. Legends often say that to see a unicorn is to be blessed.

Unicorns Are the Worst by Alex Willan (ages 4 – 8)

Little Lost Unicorn by Lorna Hussey (ages 4 – 8)

Sparkly New Friends (Unicorn and Yeti) by Heather Ayris Burnell (ages 7 – 10)

Moonsilver (The Unicorn’s Secret #1) by Kathleen Duey (ages 7 – 10)

Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Skyes (ages 8 – 12)

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman (ages 8 – 12)

More Good Books with Mythical Creatures

Picture Books

Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Amber Ren

Chapter Books & Middle Grade Books

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper #1  by Lucy Coats

Legend of the Dream Giants by Dustin Hansen 

Skyriders by Polly Holyoke

The Magical Animal Adoption Agency Clover’s Luck by Kallie George

The Fabled Stables Willa the Wisp by Jonathan Auxier

Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper #1  by Lucy Coats

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

The Monster Missions by Laura Martin

The Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate

Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter by Zoraida Córdova

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

Lark and the Wild Hunt by Jennifer Adam

Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis 

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

More Mythical Creatures (That I Love)

Chimera

El Cucuy / El Cuco

Duende

El Justo

Giants

La Llorona

Phoenix

Sprites

Spider Woman

Thunderbird

What are your favorite mythical creatures?

Celebrate mythical creatures of myth and legend in your favorite children's books. Yes! You can find your favorite mythological creatures in magical, fantastical children's books, including picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books. Maybe you'll discover a new favorite book and mythical creature!

KEEP READING

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Fairy Tales

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