whatareyoureadingWith this month’s release of a new Harry Potter title (a play, now onstage in London), we are reminded of just how wonderful this series has been to encourage kids to read big books, and how satisfying a long arcing narrative can be for people of all ages. There’s probably a good reason why adults who grew up reading Harry Potter are now Game of Thrones fans.

We have ordered a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and we are cursing our book vendor, which did not ship so we had it on release date). Update: book has arrived! While you wait to borrow it, here are some read-alikes and suggestions:

For kids and families:

  • For families who want to start reading Harry Potter, an age-by-age guide from Common Sense Media.
  • Check out the recently published fully illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Large format, great for read-alouds. Look for the second book in the illustrated series, HP and the Chamber of Secrets in October.

For teens:

What about Harry Potter kept you reading for the whole series?

  • Was it the magic and wizardry? Try Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine series (soon to be a movie), or Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle.
  • Was it the action and suspense? Try Harlan Coben’s Mickey Bolitar series or Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series.
  • Was it following characters throughout a series? Try Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven cycle, or maybe it’s time to tackle Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

For adults:

  • Lev Grossman’s Magicians novels feature the adventures of college-age witches and wizards. And they’re snarkily funny.
  • A family of sorcerers takes on racism in Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country.
  • And, we can’t resist this new series, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. Book two comes out in September.
Reading matters: Beyond Harry Potter