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If you love Harry Potter, try these similar books too

Updated on February 21, 2010

Pottermania will never die!

 Harry Potter fans will not go away! Before there were Twihards, Potter fans ran the show, delighting in the magical tales of the Boy Who Lived and his fight against You Know Who. Even with the series completed and the final book being adapted into two films in the next couple years, the series' popularity has not waned. Potterheads, as I like to call them, will always flock to sites like mugglenet.com to share theories about the books, discuss their favorite characters, and critique the movie adaptations. The video games have been a hit. Warner Bros. is opening a Potter-themed amusement park at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Some Potterheads may be sad that there are no more books coming out. There are some who read nothing but Harry Potter, over and over. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but there are plenty of other fantasy books out there that Potterheads can enjoy and read to get over their sadness.

The Chrestomanci Series by Diana Wynne Jones

Meet Christopher Chant, a great wizard known as the Chrestomanci. When he was a child, Christopher discovered that he had nine lives and could access parallel worlds. As Chrestomanci, he is responsible for regulating the use of magic in all the worlds.

These books are geared for younger readers, and they will delight young Potterheads and their parents with stories of children discovering magic, full of humor and fantasy. Many readers have drawn parallels to Harry Potter, even though Jones's books were published first.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Another popular fantasy novel by Jones, brought to movie screens by Hayao Miyazaki, this book tells the story of Sophie Hatter, a young woman whose life is too boring, until the Witch of the Waste puts a spell on her, turning her into an old woman. Sophie seeks out the wizard Howl who resides in a moving castle (hence the title), not realizing that she may have some special powers of her own. Look for some more Potter similarities, like invisibility cloaks and other sorts of whimsical magic. Jones masterfully weaves together dozens of plot threads in a manner that will delight readers young and old.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A classic children's novel from 1963, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and friend Calvin O'Keefe through the far reaches of space and time in search of Meg's missing father. A powerful story of self-discovery and the fight of good vs. evil, this novel and its sequels in the Time quartet will enchant and challenge readers age 9 and older.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Jonas lives in a world without pain, suffering, or unhappiness. It is also a world without music, color, or much choice of anything. When the children of the town turn 12, they are each assigned a job position. Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memories. The Giver, an elderly mentor, imparts memories and feelings of love, joy, pain, and despair to Jonas, who begins to question the true nature of his community. Certain aspects of this chilling "utopia" are scarily realistic. A haunting but ultimately hopeful tale, The Giver leaves the reader pondering why it can be necessary to choose pain over numbness and self-delusion. The bond between Jonas and the Giver echoes the mentor-mentee relationship of Dumbledore and Harry.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Okay, you may be wondering how a children's book about a widowed field mouse trying to save her family from the farmer's plow has anything to do with Harry Potter, but bear with me. A lot of people are familiar with the 1980s Don Bluth classic film The Secret of NIMH, with its mystical rats granted human wisdom and reason by genetic experiments. The novel delves even deeper into the history of the rats of NIMH and their plans for establishing their own community in the woods where they won't have to steal power from humans. Mrs. Frisby is the true hero of the story, however. She may not have supernatural powers, and she is a meek mouse, but she will stop at nothing to save her ill son Timothy, and for that she shows Potter-level courage and determination.

Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key

Remember the Disney film from the 1970s with its endearingly cheesy effects and plucky orphans Tony and Tia? Read the original novel from 1968 for a suspenseful, thrilling story of two extraordinary children on the run from menacing adults who want to exploit their powers of telepathy and telekinesis. Tony and Tia of the book lead a grim, un-Disneylike life at a detention center for youths. There Tony has to fight other kids to keep their belongings from being stolen, and Tia herself (who is mute in the novel) is accused of stealing because of her ability to open locked doors. When they start to gather clues about their shadowed past, they go on the run, aided by a kindly priest, to the mountains to find their people. Accused of being witches, Tony and Tia face real dangers on their journey, and readers will be rooting for them the whole way to the satisfying finish.

For older readers

The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde

Imagine Miss Havisham leading an anger-management session for the morose characters of Wuthering Heights. If you like that idea, then go on a whimsical literary romp with literature detective Thursday Next in an alternate reality Great Britain. In Fforde's world, people can literally jump into the pages of books. Thursday's aunt, for instance, becomes lost in a Wordsworth poem. It's Thursday's job to patrol the book world, tracking down counterfeit manuscripts and hunting vampires on the side. In the first book The Eyre Affair, Acheron Hades kidnaps Jane Eyre from the original manuscript of the novel, and the world panics because if someone alters an original manuscript, every single copy on earth is also changed. Thursday must enter the manuscript herself to save the heroine from literary homicide. Brimming with allusions and fanciful characters, each book in the series becomes zanier than the last--Cro-Magnons, cloned dodo pets, an escaped killer Minotaur, and characters from well-known books abound in the pages. There's also time travel, werewolves and vampires. Another special twist that connects the series to Harry Potter--Acheron Hades can sense his name being spoken and appear there at will. Remind anyone of Voldemort? A perfect series for bibliophiles looking for some Monty Pythonesque wit and Harry Potter-type fantasy.

Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

A highly-literary graphic novel, Unwritten follows the real-life model of a boy wizard fantasy series very similar to Harry Potter. Tom Taylor's father disappeared years ago after writing the wildly-popular 13-volume series about a boy wizard named Tommy Taylor and his loyal friends going up against the evil vampire Count Ambrosia. Tom, still bitter about his father's abandoning him and leaving him no money, ekes out a living making appearances at fantasy conventions. However, when a mysterious woman calls into question his shady origins, people begin to wonder if Tom is really the boy wizard made flesh. It seems that some dark forces have been following Tom his whole life. The tension builds up to a creepy denouement in Tom's father's old manor during a mystery-horror writer's meeting that brings to mind the associations of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and other classic writers. This is an ongoing series, so expect more volumes to come out.

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    • obsexed profile image

      Katie Butler 

      8 years ago from Sensual, USA

      A Wrinkle in Time has been one of my favorite books since I was a child. I love Howl's Moving Castle, both the book and the film. I will have to look into some of these others. Thanks!

    • Browland profile imageAUTHOR

      Browland 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I've heard of Cooper's series but haven't yet read it. I'll have to look into it! Thanks

    • Elefanza profile image

      Elefanza 

      8 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain

      I've heard about The Thursday Next series and I will certainly have to check that one out. It looks hysterical. Have you ever read Susan B. Cooper's The Dark is Rising series? That is another series that is quite good.

    • ezhuthukari profile image

      ezhuthukari 

      8 years ago from Kerala

      I just love Harry Potter books! It is sad that J.K. Rowling won't be writing any more abt HP :-( Thanks for the recommendations..I think I will try to get hold of the book 'The Giver'...

    • Browland profile imageAUTHOR

      Browland 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the suggestion! I haven't read those myself, but I've heard good things about them.

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 

      8 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      I would like to add the Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, about the young wizard Ged. To my mind this is incomparably better than Harry Potter, but was never afforded the same hype. There are four Earthsea books about Ged: A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1971), The Farthest Shore (1972), Tehanu (1990).

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