Do you kids dream of splendor, magic and adventure? Do they love stories about King Arthur and the Round Table? If so, these children's books for kids who love King Arthur, knights, sorcery and chivalry will transport them back to the days of Camelot and its legendary heroes.
This list of King Arthur books includes retellings of the Arthurian legends as told by Sir Thomas Malory in his Le Morte D'Arthur, as well as original titles which draw upon some of its elements. I included books for all ages, roughly listed in order for youngest readers on up.
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Children's Picture Books Inspired by King Arthur
King Arthur's Very Great Grandson
by Kenneth Kraegel
This is a bit of a twist on the knight adventure story. Young Henry Alfred Grummorson sets out to slay some beasts and meets some very formidable creatures. At least they seem formidable. It just so happens that none of the mythical beasts want to do battle. They'd rather play games, make friends, blow smoke rings, that sort of thing. All in all, though, young Henry still finds it all quite exciting. A marvelous story.
Merlin and the Dragons
by Jane Yolen
Yolen takes readers back to the days of a young King Arthur. When Arthur is beset by disturbing dreams, Merlin tells him the story of a battle between two dragons and another boy, Emrys, who had prophetic dreams. This is a long picture book, best for older listeners. Ming's illustrations alone make the book worth checking out.
The Kitchen Knight
by Margaret Hodges
This story, based on The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney, is not for readers who prefer to avoid tales of damsels in distress who can't rescue themselves–although that makes a good talking point when reading critically with your children. Sir Gareth comes to Camelot, but no one knows him and he is sent to work in the kitchens. His fate is sealed, however, when he rescues a princess from the evil Red Knight. If you enjoy this title, Hodges has other Arthurian books to check out. Great illustrations!
Chapter Books like King Arthur
You may notice that The Magic Tree House Camelot spin off, Merlin Missions, is not on this list. That's only because its a popular series and you probably already know about it. Perhaps it even inspired your child's interest in Arthurian lore! Here are some books that may be new to your kids.
Stealing the Sword
by Wendy Mass
Fans of Magic Tree House will enjoy the Time Jumpers series, which begins with a story inspired by Arthurian legend. A mysterious dragon-headed doorknob sends Chase and Ava back in time to Camelot and they must figure out how to return to the present day. Very easy to read text for ages 6 and up.
The Knights' Tales series
by Gerald Morris
I quite like these quirky books with their bumbling characters who are heroes in spite of themselves. The tongue in cheek humor may go over the heads of younger readers. That's okay because there is a big need for early chapter books which are sophisticated enough to appeal to older readers who still need books at an easy level. The audiobooks are also a fun way to experience this series.
Middle Grade King Arthur Books
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
by Michael Morpurgo
Morpurgo retells and translates the 14th century tale of Sir Gawain. After taking on a green giant, Gawain endures trials, perilous adventures and heroic tasks. Great for kids who want to connect with the older versions of Arthurian legend.
The Otherworld Chronicles
by Nils Johnson-Shelton
12-year-old Artie Kingfisher (get it?) loves a video game called "Otherworld." When Otherworld merges with the real world, Artie discovers his surprising relationship to King Arthur. This is a fun and unique retelling of the Arthur story and will appeal to kids who love gaming, computers and fantastical tales.
The Wizard's Dog
by Eric Kahn Gale
Nosewise the dog is distressed when his master, Merlin, is kidnapped! Obviously he must do whatever it takes to find and rescue Merlin. Hilarious adventures follow. A fresh and funny take on a traditional tale, and a terrific choice for fans of animal stories.
The Sword in the Stone
by T. H. White
Enchantments, magic and adventure abound in this tale in which Merlyn tutors the young Arthur before he becomes king. This classic book from the 1930s and its sequels were the basis for Disney's animated version. Because of the "vintage" language, I recommend it as a read aloud so an adult can explain some of the more archaic references. A certain band of Merry Men make an extended cameo.
The Camelot Code
by Mari Mancusi
Interestingly, this is yet another King Arthur-inspired book in which the characters are enthusiastic video gamers. King Arthur time travels to the present day, Googles himself (!) and discovers his eventual fate, according to legend. Obviously dismayed, he refuses to return to the past. It is up to Sophie and Stu to send him back.
YA King Arthur Books
These retellings contain more explicit violence than middle grade choices. I recommend them for teens ages 14 and up.
Here Lies Arthur
by Phillip Reeve
Set in 5th century Britain, Reeve's retelling centers on Gwyna, a child rescued by Myrddin during an attack on her village. Myrddin protects her by disguising as the Lady of the Lake. There is little romance and knightly chivalry in this tale, just a compelling, THRILLING story.
Once & Future
by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Here's an intense science fiction version in which Ari, a refugee from space, crash-lands on Earth, and pulls Excalibur out of a tree, calling up both Morgana and Merlin. She discovers that the original Arthur has somehow been doomed to repeat his story over and over. In order to break the curse, she must also overthrow the tyrannical Mercer corporation. Complicated but exhilarating.
More books to enjoy: