They've Finished the Harry Potter Series – Now What?

Fret not, Muggles – these Common Sense recommendations can help keep your kids interested in reading
Common Sense Media
Monday, July 23, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– Your children have finished all the Harry Potter books – they may have even read them several times. They loved the world that J.K. Rowling created, and you’d like to translate that enthusiasm into a love of reading. What to do now that the series is finished?

It’s a tough question, because the Harry Potter books are a unique combination of several genres: fantasy, mystery, adventure, and horror, with an orphaned hero, a British inflection, and a boarding-school setting. No other books cover all of those bases. The trick is to find out what your children liked best about Harry, and then find other books that match that particular aspect. Here are a few to check out at your local library:

The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
Combining a modern setting with Arthurian and Celtic myth, this is a tremendous, if somewhat slow-moving, series (except for the first book which can be skipped) about the final battle between the Light and the Dark, and about a boy who discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, defenders of the Light. Five books, but start with book 2, The Dark Is Rising. (Good for ages 9 and up.)

His Dark MaterialsTrilogy by Philip Pullman
This is a rich and complex fantasy about a girl on an alternate Earth where everyone has a daemon, an animal that shares his or her soul. Begins with The Golden Compass (good for kids 10 and up), which is also out in theaters December 2007. The Subtle Knife is more violent and complex -- a little better for 12 and up. The third, The Amber Spyglass, has religious content that may offend some, but is otherwise okay for kids 12 and up.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
When she is cast out of Wonderland by her evil aunt Redd, young Alyss Heart finds herself living in Victorian Oxford as Alice Liddell and struggles to keep memories of her kingdom intact until she can return and claim her rightful throne. This series is just getting started, with a second book out August 2007. (Good for ages 9 and up.)

Underland Chroniclesby Suzanne Collins
When 11-year-old Gregor and his 2-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. One of the best fantasy series for Potter fans, it starts with Gregor the Overlander. (Good for ages 9 and up.)

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Just out this May, this story about twins, magic, a prophesy, and a San Francisco book store is nonstop fun. (Good for ages 10 and up.)

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