These fantasies are about magical schools, where the everyday becomes fantastic. Many of these fantasies pre-date the wildly popular Harry Potter series, but all contain similar elements, including magical teachers, and magic as part of the curriculum. Some of these stories portray schools in a magical world, where students must deal with magic as well as normal school issues such as bullying or self-esteem.
Most books are located in the School (S-) Collection (Room 112, Main Library) of the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library. However, books may also be located at the Center for Children's Books and older books may be located in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Room 346, Main Library) or in the Oak Street Facility. To verify the location of an item, please search for the book in the Online Library Catalog. If you require assistance locating an item, please ask for assistance at the SSHEL Information Services Desk.
Alexander, Alma. Gift of the Unmage. 2007.
As the seventh child born of the union of two seventh children, fourteen-year-old Thea has not fulfilled her parents’ hope of having special magical powers, and they try a last, desperate measure before sending her to a school for those with no magical ability. However, the students can't escape magic, and it finds its way into the Wandless Academy.
Chainani, Soman. The School for Good and Evil. 2013.
With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile, her best friend Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. When the girls’ fortunes are reversed and Sophie is at the School for Evil and Agatha at the School for Good, the girls are convinced that a mistake has been made, but in trying to remedy it they learn more about themselves and fairy tale conventions than they bargained for.
Duey, Kathleen. Skin Hunger. 2007.
In alternate chapters, Sadima travels from her farm home to the city and becomes assistant to a heartless man who is trying to restore knowledge of magic to the world, and a group of boys fights to survive in the academy that has resulted from his efforts.
Sequel (A Resurrection of Magic):
Sacred Scars. 2009.
Hawkins, Rachel. Hex Hall. 2010.
When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
Sequels (Hex Hall):
Spell Bound. 2012
Horowitz, Anthony. Groosham Grange. 2008.
After being expelled from school, thirteen-year-old David Eliot is sent to Groosham Grange, a spooky and sinister boarding school where ghosts and ghouls rule the school and the students study witchcraft. Originally published in 1988.
Return to Groosham Grange: The Unholy Grail. 2008
Jones, Diana Wynne. The Lives of Christopher Chant. 1988.
Chronologically, this is the first Chrestomanci story. Chrestomancis are nine-lived wizards, each of whom live at Chrestomanci Castle. Their children are joined by other magically-talented children to form a kind of boarding school where the students learn about themselves and their powers. Some members of the school venture to other worlds or the current Chrestomanci travels to other worlds to deal with problems.
More Chrestomanci stories in chronological order:
Conrad's Fate. 2005.
Charmed Life. 1977.
Witch Week. 1982.
Magicians of Caprona. 1980.
Jones, Diana Wynne. Year of the Griffin. 2000.
This is the sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm (S. J713da). In this tale, younger siblings and new characters come together at the University to study magic.
Lackey, Mercedes and Rosemary Edghill. Legacies. 2010.
After her family is killed, Spirit White is taken to Oakhurst Academy, a combination orphanage and school for those with magical powers, where she and her new friends investigate when students start mysteriously disappearing.
Sequels (Shadow Grail):
Laybourn, Emma. Missing Magic. 2007.
Thanks to his influential uncle Kelver, Ned’s gotten into an elite new school. But there’s a problem--everyone there can do magic. And Ned? Not a lick. Amidst whispers of the terrifying Necromancers, Ned struggles to adjust to his new situation. Then, just as he’s getting accustomed to having his hair turned into snakes and his books into bricks, the Necromancers strike! Ned and his classmates are kidnapped. But without magic, how can he possibly help them escape?
Le Guin, Ursula K. A Wizard of Earthsea. 1968.
The young boy Sparrowhawk becomes apprentice to a Master Wizard; but impatience to learn faster takes him far from home to Roke Island, where he enters the School for Wizards. As a student of magic, Sparrowhawk exceeds his years in accomplishment, but pride and jealousy drive the boy to try certain dangerous powers too soon. A terrible evil is let loose in the land.
Lidell, Alex. The Cadet of Tildor. 2013.
At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers, but when her mentor is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and best friend Alec struggle to do what is right in a world of crime of political intrigue.
Murphy, Jill. The Worst Witch. 1981.
It's Mildred's first year at Miss Cackle's Academy for witches; but already she knows she's the worst at everything. When she makes a particularly disastrous mistake, Mildred decides to run away. On her way she makes a shocking discovery and must overcome her problems to save the school.
Request from SSHEL Oak Street
The Worst Witch Strikes Again. 1980.
Not available at UIUC
A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch. 1983.
The Worst Witch at Sea. 1995.
The Worst Witch Saves the Day. 2007.
Neff, Henry. The Hound of Rowan. 2007.
After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in "mystics and combat" in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him.
The Second Siege. 2008.
The Fiend and the Forge. 2010.
The Maelstrom. 2012.
Nimmo, Jenny. Midnight for Charlie Bone. 2002.
Charlie is reasonably happy, living with his impoverished mother and paternal grandmother. But when his father’s strange family observes his uncanny talent, he is sent to a strange school with a sinister headmaster. Soon Charlie and his new friends become part of an ancient battle.
Sequels (The Children of the Red King):
Charlie Bone and the Time Twister. 2003.
Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy. 2004.
Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors. 2005.
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King. 2006.
Charlie Bone and the Beast. 2007.
Charlie Bone and the Shadow. 2008.
Charlie Bone and the Red Knight. 2010.
Pierce, Tamora. Alanna : The First Adventure. 1983.
Alanna's dream is to be a knight; so she takes her brother's place and travels to the palace of Tortall as a page. But she must learn to accept herself and her magic before she can defeat her enemies and become a lady knight.
Sequels (Song of the Lioness):
In the Hand of the Goddess. 1984.
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man. 1997.
Lioness Rampant. 1988.
Pierce, Tamora. First Test. 1999.
Keladry of Mindelan is determined to be a lady knight, like her heroine Sir Alanna. She must prove herself to the other boys and her instructors as well as overcoming physical and magical challenges before she can become a page.
Sequels (Protector of the Small):
Lady Knight. 2002.
Pierce, Tamora. Sandry's Book. 1997.
Four children, outcast and misfit among their families and peoples, are brought to Winding Circle to learn a new way of life and discover their hidden talents.
Sequels (Circle of Magic):
Tris's Book. 1998.
Daja's Book. 1998.
Briar's Book. 1999.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 1998.
Harry Potter has a miserable life with his relatives until magical things begin to happen and he finds himself at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. In his first year, he makes new friends and enemies and faces a terrifying challenge.
Sequels (Harry Potter):
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 1999.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. 1999.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 2000.
S. R797ho 2003
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 2003.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. 2005.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 2007.
Sherman, Delia. The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. 2009
In New York Between, a parallel Manhattan that is home to various creatures of folklore, Neef meets her counterparts at Miss Van Loon’s school for human changelings, where Neef learns the basics of diplomacy and soon gets into trouble.
Stevermer, Caroline. A College of Magics. 2002.
Teenager Faris Nallaneen, heir to the small northern dukedom of Galazon, is still too young to claim her title, so her despotic Uncle Brinker insists she be sent to Greenlaw College, where all students major in magic.
Sequel (A College of Magics):
A Scholar of Magics. 2006.
Willard, Barbara. Spell Me a Witch. 1979.
Things are not going well at the Academy for Young Witches. Belladonna Agrimony, the principal, seems to be losing her powers and three of the most dreaded of the Sevenly Sisterhood are arriving for an inspection. But even when the ultimate disaster has happened, they find a happy ending.
Yolen, Jane. Wizard’s Hall. 1991.
Poor Henry. It's not enough that his mother has sent him away from home to learn magic. It's not enough that everyone at his new school calls him Thornmallow because he's "prickly on the outside, squishy within." It's not enough that the only talent he shows at Wizard's Hall is an ability to make messes of even the simplest spells. Now, when Wizard's Hall is threatened by a cruel sorcerer's fearsome beast, it is up to Henry--er, Thornmallow--to figure out how to save not only his new friends but also the entire school for wizards.