One thing that a lot of millennial parents have in common: we grew up reading Harry Potter. For those of us with children old enough to dig into the dark arts, either as a read-aloud exercise or independent readers, there is a conundrum: how to keep from reading all seven volumes at once. After all, we have fond memories of waiting for the books to come out. Memories of poring over every detail and rereading the series in preparation for a new book. Memories of going to a midnight sale of a new book. Our kids won't have that. They won't have to wait for the films, or even wonder where early Hogwarts students went to the bathroom.
I started reading the books to my own children when my oldest was 5, my second was 2, and my third was but a mere twinkle. We burned through the first three, before my spouse and I decided we were going way too fast, and that the later books aren't exactly written with littlest kids in mind. Fortunately, it was around that time that the (amazing, magical, gorgeous) illustrated editions started coming out from Scholastic. Now we wait for those to read "the next book." And, sure, this means that we've read the first three a few times, (and watched the movies and listened to the audiobooks and colored in the coloring books and waved replica wands about while reciting spells), but in a quest for other magical books to read while we wait, we've discovered a Gringott's-worthy treasure trove of magical and fantastical books.
1. 'The Gauntlet' by Karuna Riazi
My kids were really taken by Wizards Chess in The Sorcerer Stone, and I knew that they would love The Gauntlet. For three friends in New York City, what first appears to be an ornate and ancient game, turns out to contain worlds; and those worlds are keeping these friends captive.
2. 'Marabel And The Book Of Fate' by Tracy Barrett
Some people reckon Harry is "the chosen one" as "the boy who lived," and in Marabel And The Book Of Fate, Marabel's brother is supposed to be the chosen one according to a well known prophecy. But when Marabel sets off on a quest to find him after he's been kidnapped, she turns the Book of Fate prophecy on its head.
3. 'The Storm Keeper's Island' by Catherine Doyle
I was convinced I would never find a world as rich as the halls of Hogwarts, but then my imagination made land on the shores of Arranmore Island. Fionn is sure to be the next Storm Keeper, guarding over the island and the magic it holds. This book is adventure after adventure.
4. 'Over The Moon' by Natalie Lloyd
Ron, Harry, and Hermione (and Neville and Luna and and and) are real people to me, and you'll never convince me otherwise. Over The Moon is out this March, and I'm already so excited for readers to meet Mallie. And if you've ever fancied a ride on a Thestrel, then this is definitely the book for you.
5. 'Sanity and Talululah' by Molly Brooks
If you think your kid would be a natural in Potions or Herbology, they'll likely love the sci-fi, mad science, space station hijinks of these two best friends. This one's perfect for readers graduating from read-alouds to independently reading graphic novels. Once this one's cracked open, your kids (and probably you, too) will keep turning those pages.
6. 'The Unicorn Quest' by Kamilla Benko
If your Harry Potter fan wants to know everything about how magic works in that universe, they'll totally dig the system of magic in this portal fantasy about sisters and unicorns. An added bonus, the second book, Secret In The Stone, is out now, too.
7. 'Tin' by Pádraig Kenny
Ever wished you had a robot for a friend? (Just me?) Tin, a sci-fi fantasy for young readers has some of the best characters I've read in a while, including mechanical beings with undeniable souls. It's wholly original and spellbinding. While it's already out in the UK, it'll be making its way across the pond this spring.
8. 'Kiranmala And The Kingdom Beyond: The Serpent's Secret' by Sayantani DasGupta
The second book in this thrilling series just came out (and was an instant bestseller!), so it's the perfect time to jump on the train and join in the wild ride. Kiranmala most ignores her parents' folktales about the Indian underworld, until her parents disappear, leaving only a cryptic note. If you're looking for your next kick-butt heroine, Kiranmala is your girl. The second book: Game Of Stars is out in hardcover ($16.19, Barnes and Noble)