What To Read After... Harry Potter
Published on: 27 November 2017 Author: Emily Drabble
How do you possibly follow one of the biggest series in children's literature? We have some ideas - and you've helped us out with some great ideas too!
It's still the eternal question, almost ten years after the last book in the series was published and 20 years after it began with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. How do you pick what to read next?
For younger readers, it may be the case that they have read Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets (and possibly Prisoner of Azkaban) and now need to find books to fill the gap while they grow up enough to handle the rest - after all, the series does get somewhat dark...
So what can children who love Harry Potter read next?
For 10+ readers waiting until they're ready to continue the Harry Potter series after Prisoner of Azkaban
Dragon's Green, the first book in the new magical Worldquake series from Scarlett Thomas and published by Canongate, is set in a magical school with the same sort of warm, relatable characters as Harry Potter - as well as some definite tongue-in-cheek humour that works brilliantly against a big, dystopian fantasy world. The second book in the series, The Chosen Ones, is out in April 2018.
There's great new heroine to follow in Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. Could Morrigan (a 'cursed child', blamed for every misfortune and destined to die on her eleventh birthday) even be the heir to Harry Potter's throne?
Also for younger readers, new School Librarian of the Year Lucas Maxwell has an idea:
Our students love Harry Potter so it wasn't a surprise that they also love Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden! It's got everything a Harry Potter fan needs: terrifying creatures that crawl from the shadows, an orphaned hero with magic powers, tons of action and great twists!
For those craving a massive new series to get their teeth into
It's got to be Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. This addictive, cult series started in 2007, telling the adventures of skeleton detective Skulduggery Pleasant and teenage girl Valkyrie Cain (as well as her reflection character Stephanie Edgley). Can Valkyrie stop evil forces that are threatening the world and keep the darkness within herself safe inside? There are nine fantastic books in the first series, and now a second series has begun with Resurrection. The passion of Skulduggery fans for the series is legendary - just check out the Facebook page or the official website.
Also worth a read is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. The first five books are set in Camp Half Blood, a training base for Demi-gods like Percy - it's a setting to rival Hogwarts.
For older readers who have finished the Harry Potter series
The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo is another magic-filled teen read. Fans say the fantasy world feels as homey as Hogwarts - you can read our interview with Leigh for more information.
Also try The Witch's Kiss teen series by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, published by HarperCollins, which fuses magic with romance and drama.
Of course (and lots of you said this) another possibility is to start reading the Harry Potter books all over again: the illustrated versions this time! Jim Kay's images in the new editions are sublime.
And when you're not reading, do visit the spectacular Harry Potter and the History of Magic exhibition at the British Library, which is running until February. You'll get to see early drafts of Harry Potter, original illustrations by Jim Kay, and even fascinating sketches and drawings by JK Rowling herself, as well as gorgeous medieval manuscripts and ancient books of magic, herbalism, apothecary and dragons. It's perfect for children aged 9 and over.
We were blown away by how many recommendations you sent in - this really is a reading list to envy! Read on for heaps of ideas from readers, librarians, authors and teachers...
Dianna Wynne Jones
The Howl's Moving Castle author was a very popular choice, with @AliceStainer saying that all of her books are 'enchanting' while @HannahTheEditor added: 'There are so many I discovered as an adult reader!' Diana was also picked by @ruth_pat ('particularly the wonderful Chrestomanci series'), @LibraryDroog, @readsheffield, @littlehux and @Suze_est_iratus.
The Dreamsnatcher trilogy - Abi Elphinstone
These books were described as 'perfect for young readers' by @Alibrarylady, who added: 'Thrilling, compelling adventures of magic, evil & bravery but full of friendship & heart too.' That view was shared by @bookloverJo, who said they're 'filled with magic, adventure with friendship at their very core'. Sounds very Harry Potter to us.
The Bartimaeus Sequence - Jonathan Stroud
Jonathan's Lockwood & Co books were mentioned, but there was even more love for Bartimaeus, which was described as 'phenomenal' by @Year5Belmont. 'Both my son and I loved it,' added @scribblestreet, while it was also chosen by @CaldewLibrary, @sumthinblue, @MrWatersGB and @CaroleAnn1982.
The Apprentice Witch - James Nicol
This was described as 'another magical world that will appeal to readers of Harry Potter with spells and creatures to entertain all' by @authorontheedge, while @bookloverJo agreed: 'Perfect for lovers of magic - he conjures up a truly believable magical world just like HP.' Sounds like a pretty safe bet...
Knights of the Borrowed Dark - Dave Rudden
This came 'highly recommended' by @eamonnlally, while @OliviaMHope said simply, 'Clever, funny, dark, heroic'. But if you need a bit more information, enter @PawsomeCatMaman, who made us want to read Knights of the Borrowed Dark immediately: 'Orphan, Denizen Hardwick, has grown up reading fantasy books. One day, he is summoned to meet a mysterious aunt he never knew he had and is drawn into a fantastical underworld and secret organisation, fighting magical creatures of darkness'.
Liesl & Po - Lauren Oliver
Over on Facebook, Jessica revealed that her book club of 10 and 11-year-olds "very much enjoyed" Liesl & Po, adding, 'Magic, murder and mystery. Perfect.' Yes, it sounds pretty perfect to us, too - and to Cathy, who replied, 'I adore this book. It's beautiful, magic and dark. I've used it with class visits and library groups too.'
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
One for older readers, this, but it came up a lot so we thought it was worth mentioning (it got suggested on Facebook and by @starlinguk and @RuthMoss on Twitter). @AwatsonOne was the first to propose it - promising 'great humour' and 'moments of genius' - but be warned, as @bcb567 pointed out, 'There's some adult content in the series that might not be quite suitable.' So maybe you should read it before passing it on to your family.
Ideas from children themselves
The brilliant book group at Glenthorne Library in South London had heaps and heaps of ideas for us about where to turn after Harry Potter:
- Candice suggested Beast Quest by Adam Blade - Candice
- Rhys plumped for Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and anything by Christopher Edge
- Khizar is a fan of The Power of Five by Anthony Horowitz
- Ruby thinks you should try out The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer and the Last Dragon series by Chris d'Lacey
- David loves The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, while Julia likes The Lord of the Rings
- Izzy backed the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan (we saw lots of support for these and the Magnus Chase books on Twitter)
- ... and Jess said you should just read Harry Potter again! (Alright - she also praised The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie.)
And even more suggestions to keep you busy...
- Septimus Heap by Angie Sage got loads of support on Twitter, with @starlinguk saying, 'Not just because they're about wizards, but also because they're well-written and suck you in'
- Ursula K Le Guin's Earthsea books are always popular and were suggested many times, including by author SF Said, who said they are 'the best books about magic' he's ever read. (Incidentally, SF Said's own book Varjak Paw was recommended by @Stitchinscience.)
- Alan Garner was also a popular choice, with @Mole_9 suggesting 'Weirdstone and The Moon of Gomrath for younger readers, Red Shift and The Owl Service for older, and the heartbreaking Strandloper for adults.'
- @Wh_LRC went for Magicians Guild by Trudy Canavan
- The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner got backing from @sumthinblue and @jennymosswrites, who said, 'So much excellence here'. Quite a recommendation!
- Children's book consultant @Jake_Hope suggested The Psammead by E Nesbit, saying: 'The language is sometimes complex, but magic, myths, mishaps & subtle morals in Nesbit's Psammead stories offer an enchanting insight into an enchanted world of possibility with utterly convincing child's eye perspective.'
- Patrick Rothfuss's In The Name of The Wind and The Nowhere Chronicles by Sarah Silverwood got backing from @HazeleyLibrary, while Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom for Sale was suggested by @apprenticemomma.
- There was loads of love for Tiffany Aching by Terry Pratchett, including from @QBridgeLibrary, @SilkAvril, @missjuliejools, @sumthinblue and @uncatchablefish, while @KatyGulliver plumped for Discworld.
- Unsurprisingly, lots of people on Twitter - including @ruth_pat, @PewterWolf and @nosugartea - suggested Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.
- 'Until you've read Playing Beattie Bow by Ruth Park you are only half alive,' announced @missjuliejools. Consider that a must for your reading list, then.
- Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and Restless trilogies got lots of love, while @farmgirlwriter also suggested series that her daughter enjoyed, including Lauren Child's Ruby Redfort, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Sinclair's Mysteries by Katherine Woodfine.
- Fans of Harry Potter are sure to enjoy The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson - it was recommended by @WGS_LRC, @LucePearse, @peetea7 and @MHarrison13.
- @DoncasterLib spoke from experience when recommending The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott, saying, 'It got me through my post-Potter blues!' @Karimiztan is also a fan: 'Utterly amazing.'
- @bookloverJo is a big fan of the Alfie Bloom series by Gabrielle Kent - 'a thrilling, dark adventure'.
- The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan got lots of support on Twitter, including from @sumthinblue, @aliyazaidi and @kenwhatimean.
- There were heaps and heaps of recommendations for Jenny Nimmo's Charlie Bone series - too many to list here, in fact. Though @EvilStevieB explained that it 'never gets as dark as Potter', which might be helpful (Evil Stevie also suggested The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell 'for those who like fantastic beasts').
- The Territory trilogy by Sarah Govett was first suggested by @DavisKaro, and @BrodieSarah couldn't have agreed more: 'My Godson loved it. He's been researching how he is going to survive in the wild after a flood.' Entertaining and useful, then.
- The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde was picked by @SalemHSLibrary, while @LibraryDroog suggested heaps of great books including The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, The Changeover by Margaret Mahy and Shades of London by Maureen Johnson. They also suggested The Demon's Lexicon trilogy and the Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan: 'Like Harry Potter, they're witty, whip-smart and full of smart, brave teens foiling the plots of dastardly villains!' Perfect.
- Going back to the classics, @aliyazaidi and @DerbyshireLibs are big fans of The Chronicles of Narnia, with the latter saying they 'keep that wonderful sense of magic, adventure, and growing up with powerful friendships alive!'
- Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising got lots of love, with @edenGD02 saying, 'I still read those books now' and @childrensbookol adding, 'The prominence of Celtic mythology and children with magical powers are bound to keep a young reader engaged'.
- Magisterium - a collaboration between Cassandra Clare and Holly Black - was backed by a few tweeters, with @WyrmbergSabrina saying it has a similar 'darkness' to the later Harry Potter books and adding: 'Very enjoyable.'
- @CaseysCrayon recommended a personal beloved book - Elizabeth D'Onofrio's Sword Striker. 'It's not a famous book, but it's my favourite. Though the setting is medieval, it was inspired by the spirit of Star Wars.'
- Alex Scarrow's Time Riders series came 'strongly recommended' by @WyrmbergMalcolm, while @HotmailPeace promised, 'If you have any sense of adventure then read Time Riders by Alex Scarrow. You won't be disappointed.'
- We're definitely intrigued by Imogen White's The Amber Pendant, recommended by @jojosbooks and @SiobhanRowden, who called it 'a full throttle magical adventure, complete with feisty heroine, malevolent nemesis and monkey sidekick'. Sign us up.
- @AlisonRunham offered her backing to Molly Moon - 'gets overlooked becuse the name and sometimes the covers make them seem for younger children, but they're FAB.'
- And finally, if you're looking for something from further afield, @mrgarethosborne praised Carlos Ruíz Zafón's Trilogy of Mist - 'Children's reading universes should be broadened with as many translated books as possible.'
Well, that should all keep you going for a while...
Revisit the first book
Author: J K Rowling
After the misery of life with his ghastly aunt and uncle, Harry Potter is delighted to have the chance to embark on an exciting new life at the Hogwart's School of Wizardry and Witchcraft.
How well do you REALLY know Harry Potter? Take our quiz to find out what Hogwarts is called in Dutch and what Moaning Myrtle is known as in Germany...