Monday, July 18, 2011

MOMday: If you liked Harry Potter, then....

On Saturday, the hubby and I took advantage of the free Gramma babysitting to go on a date to see the final Harry Potter movie.  Really liked the flick, but it made me feel like maybe I need to re-read books 6 and 7 again.  I've only read them each once so I don't remember them as well as I do the first few and the movie caught me off guard in a few places.

As I was thinking about re-reading the books again, I remembered back to when I first read them back in the early 2000's.  I attended the midnight releases for books 5-7 (dragging hubby along for the ride - I think he secretly enjoyed those strange bookstore parties as much as I did).  When I finished book seven, I was left with a huge feeling of "What now?"...and I knew I definitely wasn't alone there.

So, as a part of a list that has been growing for the last 5 years...here is my "If you liked Harry Potter, try this one" list.   In keeping with the point of MOMday, I have included books that would be suitable for littler Harry Potter fans as well as a few for us big kids too :)  Many of my choices may seem a little odd as "after HP" reads, but I am going with the thought that as kids grow, their reading tastes evolve and am offering up options.

The NeverEnding Story (Michael Ende) - If you watched and loved the movies, this book might actually catch you by surprise a bit since the movies were only based on very small parts of the book.   This is a beautiful book filled with so much imagination.  Probably best for kids 10 and up

His Dark Materials trilogy (Philip Pullman) - The Golden Compass was releases as a movie a few years back and really wasn't up to the snuff I thought it should be (hence why no more movies were made, I guess).  The books are really quite fantastic, though.  Filled with adventure and thrills.  The series was recommended to me 9 years ago by a 13 year old.  I'd say they are good for ages 9 and up (if the kid is ok with good guys/bad guys) There is some deaths involved so you might want to read them as well to prepare yourself for questions they might have.  Many of the religious references that you might have heard about this series are bound to go over the head of any kid who reads it.  The books work for many different levels of readers.

Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen trilogy (Garth Nix) - For the teen in your life, these can't be beat.  Honestly, I couldn't put them down when I read them and they are definitely classed as YA fiction.   I'd say ages 12 and up, though they would probably be of higher appeal to the 13-16 year old crowd since younger kids might not understand some of the relationships that play out with the characters.  Magic and necromancy.   It is a well crafted story that is sure to be a big hit.  This one is really great for adults too...even hubby was drawn into the story (he HAD to read them after he saw me get so lost in them)

The Wizard of Oz series (Frank L. Baum) - Betcha didn't know that The Wizard of Oz is actually a series of around 12 books?  These would be suitable to read aloud to a younger child who may grow into Harry Potter or to give to a child of about 7 or 8 to read on their own.  Best part?  If you have an e-reader, you can get the ebooks for free through the Gutenberg Project as they are out of copyright.

The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien) - I'm sure you probably read it in school (was my school the only one who DIDN'T have it on the required reading for English?)  I think Harry Potter is a great stepping stone to Tolkien.  Most kids won't be ready for Lord of the Rings, but the Hobbit is really a children's book.  It was how he intended it when he wrote it.   This is one I would say would be great to read together at bedtime from about 7 years old.  It is a story that every kid should experience.  When I first read it at 23, I didn't know what I had been missing.   It was the first fantasy book I read and I can quite honestly say it changed my life and opened a whole new world of fiction to me.  One that I had been searching for and didn't know what I was missing. 

Artemis Fowl series (Eion Colfer) - a boy criminal genius with designs on running the world and the faerie underworld who aims to stop him.  Enough said?   This delightful series would be an excellent choice from about age 7 and up.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series (Michael Scott) - I only recently read these ones and loved them thoroughly.   Young Harry Potter fans will remember the mention of Flamel in the first HP book.   Scott is a mythology expert and he weaves legendary characters from history into this series on the presumption of "what if they didn't die and, instead, became immortal...where would they be now?"  Kids as young as 9 or 10 will be able to appreciate the books at a story level.  Adults will be able to appreciate how much Scott put into the books from a mythology standpoint.  Each book has a section at the end that explains the background behind a mythology mentioned in the book.

Wicked Lovely series (Melissa Marr) - First saw this mentioned in PC Cast's House of Night series and when I found out it was a real book, I tracked it down. This one is for the teen in your house.  Faeries and magic.  Love and war.   Unfulfilled destinies.  Secret worlds.  It's all there.   Probably best for girls 12 or 13 years and up.   Boys might be able to get into it as well, since there are storylines in the series that play out in a way that a teen boy might appreciate too. 

A Modern Faerie Trilogy (Holly Black) - Another fantastic trilogy about faeries.  Can be fairly dark but it is an absorbing read that draws you into the faerie world and leaves you gasping for more.  Excellent choice for a teen.

Twilight series (Stephenie Meyer) - what list would be complete without mentioning Twilight.   Every teen girls is bound to fall in love with a world of dark, dangerous boyfriends.   If they read HP as a kid...this is what they will obsess over as a teen.  It also opens up the whole host of copycat teen vampire romance books for her as well.  After reading this story, sometimes you just don't care that the other books suck.

Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins) - a dystopian story about a civilization who must be reminded about past transgressions by participating in a cruel reality show each year where the winner is the sole survivor.   It is twisted and sinister and spot, but is a story that makes you appreciate the world we live in.   Your teenager will love them.   Heck - you probably will as well (and with the movie coming out next year - it might be a good call for a holiday gift this year)

Uglies series (Scott Westerfeld) - Imagine a world where, on your 16th birthday, you are surgically altered to make you "Beautiful" and then are sent to live in a place where the beautiful live and party.  Now imagine if you question why the government would do this and you wish to stay "ugly".   These books are an incredibly captivating story about an underground movement to change the world.  Every teenage girl should read these.

and for us big kids you moved through the YA stuff as fast as our kids did...here are some adult fantasy books that will keep you going into the future. If your teen is an advanced reader, they might be up for giving some of these a try too...I've linked to the first book wherever I talk about a series.

Hopefully that gives you some options for your kids (and for yourselves) as a way to keep the magic going in your lives.   Happy reading!

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