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What Else Do Potter Fans Read?

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softwareNerd
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I know the board has Harry Potter fans. I read the first book a when it came out. Recently, I have started reading the books aloud, to my 7 year old. (We got through the 11 Lemony Snicket books and he wanted more of the same calibre.)

After this, what?

What other modern fiction writers (in the juvenile and "young adult" category) do you Harry Potter fans like?

What about older authors: C.S.Lewis, R.L.Stevenson and so on? Any recommendations from that era?

Edited by softwareNerd
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My mother read me The Hobbit when I was 7 or 8 and I enjoyed it a lot. C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia was a good read, but be aware that Lewis was a Christian apologist and the Chronicles are an extended Christian allegory. They're still excellent children's books, IMHO, but you have to watch out for the subtext. Lewis' science fiction trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelanda and That Hideous Strength) should be avoided; they're dull as ditchwater.

E. B. White's Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan are also good, as are many of Roald Dahl's works.

Oh, and it would be a crime to leave out John D. Fitzgerald's The Great Brain and its many sequels.

Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH is a classic, although I don't remember the author.

Edited by softwareNerd
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What other modern fiction writers (in the juvenile and "young adult" categroy) do you Harry Potter fans like?

When I was in second grade I started to take off reading books on my own. I remember at that time the Goosebumps series was new and I remember really liking them (it was scary to a seven year old though). If you try Goosebumps, be sure to find some of the older ones as I remember they worsened progressively in quality. I second the Chronicles of Narnia and The Great Brain - I read them many times when I was younger. Also try Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Glass Elevator again, Rohl Dahl. I also really liked The Borrowers series and The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

20000 Leagues Under the Sea was good, maybe for you in an abridged form. Other good abridged books would be Robinson Crusoe and if you can find it, Swiss Family Robinson. Above all I suggest taking a visit to your local library and experimenting with books that sound interesting - its the best way to find new books.

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When I was a kid, I enjoyed Enid Blyton's "The Famous Five" series. I don't remember the philosophy behind the novel, but I do remember that the books were very exciting. There is no magic in the books and they are adventure stories, in some ways very much like Harry Potter.

I'm afraid that these are all the books I read during my childhood which I can recommend for kids. The library in the town where I lived was very poor (and I don't know if anything has changed, because I haven't been there for quite a while). Of other books I read back then, I remember Agatha Christie's "Poirot." My father used to bring me these from the adults section. He's a big fan of detective stories. When I read those, he brought me the big volumes of Pierre Souvestre's "Fantomas." I think there were seven books, though I don't really remember any more and they were terribly boring.

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In the early grades, I would read Goosebumps, Boxcar Children (an orphaned family of children who lived alone in a Boxcar, and solved mysteries while at it!), and The Hardy Boys. I just gave away about 50 of these books, and I saw the thrift store selling them for 25 cents a peice. I assume they'll be easy to find at a book exchange.

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I remember a book called "The Seven Songs of Merlin" by T.A. Barron at least 7-8 years ago. It is the second of the five "Lost Years of Merlin" series. I have not read the other ones, just the Seven Songs book, but that gave me a lasting impressing that I don't think I can ever forget.

Another series would be Orson Scott Cards Ender series. Starting with "Ender's Game", then "Ender's Shadow", and ending with "Shadow of the Hegemon". Not sure if the last 2 books would be too much for a seven year old, the later two probaly has too much politics/ military/ philosophical content, but "Ender's Game" is definitely easy enough to understand.

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Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, a contemporary and friend of Tolkien. If you have a background in Christianity you'll recognize that the series is a Christian allegory. If you don't, they're just a set of good books. I read them as a child, they're quite good. (edit: heh, i wrote that before i saw khaight's comment)

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera
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My brother's favorite books were Lord of the Flies and the Outsiders...I read them and thought they were pretty good too. I could see how both would appeal to young boys.

Edited by Dagny
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Thanks to all for the various suggestions. I've made a little list of the recommendations, to use as a quick-reference:

* Boxcar children (yes my son reads these and likes them)

* Junie B. Jones (he's not old enough to think of it as 'girlie' yet)

* Jigsaw Jones

* Cam Jansen

* Magic School Bus

* Hardy Boys

* Lemony Snicket

* Harry Potter

* E.B. White (Stuart Little, Trumpet of the Swan, Charlotte's Web)

* Roald Dahl

* John D. Fitzgerald's The Great Brain and its sequels

* C.S.Lewis (but avoid his science fiction)

* The Hobbit

* Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH

* Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Glass Elevator

* The Borrowers series

* The Mouse and the Motorcycle

* Goosebumps (the older ones)

* 20000 Leagues Under the Sea (abridged)

* Robinson Crusoe (abridged)

* Swiss Family Robinson (abridged)

* Enid Blyton's "The Famous Five"

* The Mysterious Valley" by Maurice Champagne.

* Orson Scott Cards Ender series

* Alexandre Dumas (abridged)

* The Seven Songs of Merlin" by T.A. Barron

* Orson Scott Cards Ender series

* Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander

* Lord of the Flies

* The Outsiders

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I also highly recommend His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pulman. I have reprinted editions that I bought at Barnes and Noble and the first book is entitled The Golden Compass, not The Northern Lights.

Pulman wrote these books (according to a friend) specifically as a refutation of C.S. Lewis' pro-Catholic Narnia books. I enjoyed reading them immensely, and I didn't know that at all before I finished. They really are quite good.

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... Philip Pulman.... wrote these books (according to a friend) specifically as a refutation of C.S. Lewis' pro-Catholic Narnia books.
Did you enjoy the C.S.Lewis books?

My son has read a couple, but mostly without me reading with him. Yet, the little I read did not impress me. There were some parts where I thought the author showed no originality at all: a biblical story was simply reproduced changing some minor concretes.

Yesterday, we were reading "Prisoner of Azkaban" and there's a funny little scene where what Snape thinks is a little piece of parchment starts saying rude things to him... stuff like "wash your hair you slimeball". Coming at the place it did in the narrative, it was a release of dramatic tension. The reader saw Harry was in trouble with Snape, and suddenly the tables were turned. My son was in splits of laughter. (He'll quote those lines to me for the next few days.)

I mention this because it made me think that I have never found a sense of fun (which is present in Potter and Snicket) in the short parts of C.S.Lewis that I have read.

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Did you enjoy the C.S.Lewis books?

My son has read a couple, but mostly without me reading with him. Yet, the little I read did not impress me. There were some parts where I thought the author showed no originality at all: a biblical story was simply reproduced changing some minor concretes.

I assume the book that you are talking about is the first in the Narnia series The Magicians Nephew which has a biblical theme, somewhat, where it describes Aslan creating a particular world. Although even in that book there is no overt theme of Christianity. I having read the Naria Series multiple times when younger, detected no pro-Catholic themes in the books, and can only now when older see that it could be interpreted that way. For the most part, the books are about adventures, heroes, and a well defined good/evil dichotomy. Far from being regurgitations of Christian mumbo-jumbo, the stories were original and fun. It would be unfortunate if you rejected the series simply because it can be interpreted as Christian allegory. A child reading them will not be affected or even realize any "hidden meaning" on the author's part. On the other hand I haven't read any of Lewis's books outside of the series and therefore would not recommend reading him as a general author because of his known biblical bias.

Edited by Myself
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Yes, it was the first book. The parallels with the biblical story were clear. As for my son, he has no idea about the bible (and hardly any about "god"), so he does not see parallels. No, I have not rejected it. For instance, he reads Magic School Bus, with its constant "save the environment" messages. I can see why he likes those too. He'll probably pick up C.S.Lewis again when he's done with Potter. Mostly, I follow a Montessori-type approach to most things with my son: i.e. expose him to something that will likely have some value for him, motivate him if he is hesitant, and observe how he likes it and what value he draws from it. Then, learn from the observation, and act accordingly.

Actually, the main point I wanted to make above was not so much about the Christianity, but that the books are not as gripping as Snicket and Potter. With the latter two, he does not want to sleep... "just one more chapter". C.S.Lewis interested him, but did not grip him.

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Pulman's books, like C.S. Lewis, don't have nearly the sense of delightful mischief of the Harry Potter books. They are more serious; there are cute moments, but I'd say they're better suited for the 11-15 range than for your son, SoftwareNerd.

Robert Heinlein's science fiction for children (Have Spacesuit, Will Travel; The Rolling Stones; etc.) is fun and enjoyable. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel is one of my all-time favorite books just for all the time Kip spends working on that spacesuit.

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Oh, I thought of some more! (I'm terrible, sorry)

The Myth series by Robert Asprin is wonderful!

Ditto for the various Exploits of Ebenezum and Wanderings of Wuntvor by Craig Shaw Gardner. You may not be able to breathe for laughing while reading those two, though, they are hysterical.

The Xanth books by Piers Anthony (the EARLY ones, though, don't go much past #10 because they become increasingly bad after that point) are also good.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels are great. He's also written some other good books for children like The Carpet People.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books are good (Farmer Boy especially . . . dunno how closely your son would identify with the sewing and so forth)

Beverly Cleary's Ramona books are fun

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge by Judy Blume are good . . .

I read the Sideways Stories from Wayside School when I was younger but I remember that their humor relied a LOT on things just being kind of, well, gross and/or stupid. Boogers.

Newberry award winners like Dear Mr. Henshaw, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Hero and the Crown , The Sign of the Beaver and so forth are usually well worth checking out.

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I will re-state was someone above posted earlier, but the "His Dark Materials" series is excellent, and has a good strong moral framework which would be rationally approved of.

I'd second the person who recommended leaving these books for a somewhat older child. They're very good, but the ending is (in my opinion) wrenchingly tragic. It would be difficult to explain properly to a young child.

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  • 1 year later...

I don't know many new kid books, because I'm an adult now, but 10, 15 years ago, when I was a kid, I loved to read (aside from Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and -don't tell anyone- ermsweet vally high), classics like 'Tom Sawyer', 'Anne of Green Gables' 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' OK, I can't think of any more off the top of my head, but before HP, the book I read over and over was "The Secret Garden"

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