To have a book in your stocking or as a gift gives a strong message that reading is precious and something special. If your family are anything like mine, I am asked what do the kids want for Christmas from November onwards. It is a perfect time to have a TBR list ready, so you can stock up on books for your child to read in 2018. However, as with all gifts, they need to be carefully chosen, or they will just sit on the shelf gathering dust.
If you have a Harry Potter fan, there are some questions you need to ask before you buy. I have learnt from experience that children who love Harry Potter can have different tastes. When recommending books similar to the series to children who can’t find a book to read next, I discovered that sometimes they don’t enjoy stories about magic – here are a few themes that hooked them in instead:
- The well-developed characters that became their close friends. (C)
- The fine detail and backstory that pieces together the threads of the story as it gradually unfolds. (D)
- The adventure and action that compels some readers to keep turning the page (A)
- The moral tone with the strong sense of loyalty and belonging that JK Rowling creates. (M)
- Empathising and relating to the underdogs, who know better and will come out on top in the end. (E)
Whatever it is, to choose the perfect gift, it’s important to understand why your reader is such a fan. Here’s a list of possibilities, I have included texts that Harry Potter fans often fall in love with and enjoy reading next.
Darkmouth – Shane Hegarty (C) (E)
The sly, gentle humour and one-liners keep the pace of this story bobbing along. The premise is not new but the storytelling, through richly developed characters, wit and action are fantastic. The relationship between the hero and his dad add some depth to the story.
Age 9 -12
The Underland Chronicles – Suzanne Collins (C) (M) (E)
The author of the Hunger Games has written a superb series for slightly younger readers. The characters are rich and relatable, and the need to belong and family underpin the plot. Have a read of my full review if you want to find out more.
Age 9- 12 (Avid readers 8+)
Spiderwick Chronicles – Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (C) (E) (D)
A popular series of books with children who enjoy a bit of black humour and the extraordinary. The film and TV series are wonderful, but just like Harry Potter, nothing quite compares to the book.
Age 8-12 (Avid reader 7+)
Pegasus Series- Katie Ohearn (A) (C)
I have always recommended this series to die-hard Percy Jackson fans. However, readers who are fascinated by the legend of the Beadle and the Bard and love the quest that drives the plot through the Harry Potter series often zip through this series.
Age 9 – 12 (Avid reader – 8+)
The Crooked Sixpence – Jennifer Bell (C) (A)
Often recommended in books shops as the next read after Harry Potter as it has so many parallels. I think however that it is best read a while later, as great a read as it is, straight after it often doesn’t quite measure up.
Age 7-11 (Avid reader 6+)
Septimus Heap – Angie Sage (C) (A) (D) (M) (E)
A darke wizard planning to take over all things. He has killed the queen and locked up the Extraordinary Wizard. Using Darke magik he plans to create darke creatures. However, he has overlooked the fact that a seemingly ordinary boy is destined to stop him. Some pretty strong parallels to Harry Potter, but it has a more mature feel. Avid readers enjoy this meaty series, the humour and warmth with which it is written make it one of my favourites.
Age 10-12 ( Avid reader 8+)
Ruby Redford – Lauren Child (A) (E)
Set in our world, Ruby Redfort appeals to readers who are not drawn into Harry Poter by the fantasy genre but by the problem solving action-packed narrative. As a teenage James Bond/ Alex Rider character, Ruby is intelligent, smart and, in lots of ways, a typical more teenager. She plays it cool but likes to win. Many boys who were reluctant to read a book with a female lead have been pleasantly surprised and called back for Book 2 in the series.
Age 10 – 13 (Avid reader 8+)
What books have your Potter fans fallen in love with?