We just finished Harry Potter... what next?
February 8, 2020 8:03 PM   Subscribe

The kids loved Harry Potter, couldn't get into Pratchett's Truckers, what's next?

Just finished reading the Harry Potter series to the kids (the 9 year old, and sporadically attending, the 11 year old) (also, is there a merit badge for reading the whole thing aloud?).

Tried at my sister's recommendation Terry Pratchett's Truckers, but after about 4 chapters the 9 year old (11 not in attendance) just wasn't into it, I think because I found it way funnier than he did.

My instinct is to try Discworld, but you might have to be a bit older to enjoy those? (And regardless, where would you start? I suspect the Mort books would be most amusing for him?)

So what's a book (or preferably, series) at the right level that the readalouder would also enjoy? (We've in previous years already covered every Geronimo Stilton at the library)
posted by colin_l to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
His Dark Materials? Works at that age, though some parts will go over at least the 9-year-old’s head. the prequels/sequels (so far) are a bit more mature.
posted by supercres at 8:19 PM on February 8 [10 favorites]

Akata Witch and Akata Warrior!!!!
posted by raccoon409 at 8:19 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]

Looking at a list of young adult adventures from the 80's when I was reading aloud to my own kids:

Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett is very funny and particularly accessible for younger readers.

Catwings is fantastic for younger readers - very sweet stories

Talking to Dragons is the first in a series. Great book - strong heroine, lots of funny twists on familiar storybook tropes, adventure but not too scary - more like the early HP books than the later ones.

I see Patricia C Wrede has several books on the list - I remember her as good but not clearly enough to give her the strong recommendation of the ones above.

Finally, the Narnia series is a classic and a good read aloud, although there are some elements of CS Lewis's Christian world view that might be problematic to adults, it is great fun for kids.
posted by metahawk at 8:21 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

On preview: The Tiffany Aching Sub series is a far more approachable (in my opinion) entry to Discworld. Starting with the Wee Free Men Tiffany has her own adventures, goes to a very different school (of sorts) and in turns funny and sincere.
posted by mce at 8:24 PM on February 8 [19 favorites]

I read Howl's Moving Castle, the Diana Wynne-Jones book, to my daughter and we both thought it was great. (The Miyazaki adaptation takes enormous liberties with it, so knowing the book, IMO, won't spoil the movie, and vice-versa.) She also liked all that Unfortunate Series Of Events stuff. And of course there's The Hobbit.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:39 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]

Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, definitely.
posted by WCityMike at 8:43 PM on February 8 [6 favorites]

Maybe Scarlett Thomas’s Worldquake books? But pre-read them, there’s a lot going on and they’re more complex than Harry Potter.
posted by centrifugal at 8:48 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus series (book 1 is the Amulet of Samarkand), featuring a delightfully snarky djinn (Bartimaeus) and the teenage magician who summons him.

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series (book 1: Artemis Fowl), featuring a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy for ransom.
posted by mogget at 9:13 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

Cornelia Funke's Inkworld trilogy

Jodi Lynn Anderson's May Bird trilogy

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and the sequel Smek for President.
posted by Redstart at 9:19 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Maybe give Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series a try.
posted by gudrun at 9:31 PM on February 8 [8 favorites]

My kids are about the same age. Elder son is a voracious reader, but the younger one is a bit harder to please. Anyway, the elder recommended that I read The Lighting Thief aloud to his younger brother last summer. We ended up reading the entire 6-book series and are now on the second book of the next one. They're a lot of fun, you learn about Greek mythology, and there's plenty of humor. The elder drops in for his favorite chapters.

(I'd also say... I don't think His Dark Materials is gonna be a good fit, especially since you are looking for something with a bit of humor!)
posted by rouftop at 11:06 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]

I fukken loved The Worst Witch at that age, if they aren't done with schools of magic it'd be a good next step.
posted by Jilder at 11:07 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

My 9 year old daughter (well, she turned 10 yesterday) is obsessed with The Land of Stories books. It's similar to historical fiction, only it's fairy tale fiction--as in, what happens after the fairy tales are concluded? Cinderella is not immediately loved by her people because she's a peasant. Little Red Riding Hood builds an isolationist kingdom, etc. After she read one of the books 10 times I decided I'd better read at least one to know what she was reading. They're super fun.
posted by fyrebelley at 11:16 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

The Hobbit > The Lord of the Rings
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 PM on February 8 [6 favorites]

The Percy Jackson books are very popular with our Potter/fantasy-lovong 11 year old and his friends.
posted by chbrooks at 11:21 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]

seconding Bartimaeus! it's delightfully snarky
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:10 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

A Wrinkle in Time has a similar theme of good versus evil and youth saving the world. Plus it has witches. There were a couple of sequels or spin offs from Wrinkle, I don't remember how many, but each book stands alone.
posted by kbar1 at 12:18 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]

Seconding The Hobbit. The kids (8- and 10-year-old girls) said they can't decide which is better, The Hobbit or a Harry Potter book.

Seconding Artemis Fowl. Just finished it. They begged for "just one more chapter" each night.

Seconding the Tiffany Aching stories of Discworld. (The first two, at least.) They quote the Nac Mac Feegle with alarming regularity. Curiously enough they heard me read Going Postal to my wife when they were much younger, didn't understand everything, but loved it anyway. To this day on any merry-go-round the older one seeks out a black horse to ride and calls it Boris.

Equally curiously, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe left them cold.

And of course Percy Jackson. And they liked the Magnus Chase series, also by Riordan.
posted by wjm at 12:40 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]

John Connolly’s ‘Samuel Johnson’ series.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 12:59 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

The Wizard of Oz books. There's 14 of them by L. Frank Baum and they come in a very nice 5 volume set. They're a lot of fun to read aloud (so much better than the Hobbit, which imho is very clunky on the tongue).
posted by kokaku at 1:06 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]

My SO says Diana Wynne-Jones, or, for Pratchett, start with the Tiffany Aching series. Ursula Le Guin Wizard of Earthsea or Gifts series (AKA 'Annals of the Western Shore'); Jasper fforde Last Dragon Slayer series; Suzanne Collins Gregor The Underland Chronicles; Holly Black and Cassandra Clare Magisterium series Jessica Townsend Nevermoor; Ian McDonald Everness series; Neil Gaiman Interworld; Robin McKinley Dragonhaven.
posted by pompomtom at 3:37 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I'm 48 and I find the Mort books pretty funny. (Note I have only listened to them on Audible, not read them.)
posted by DarlingBri at 3:51 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I’m going to plug the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. It may be a little too advanced/mature for 9-11yos, but if you’re reading it aloud perhaps it’s okay now? Otherwise, file it away for a couple years from now. Full disclosure: I don’t have children, so my age-appropriateness radar may be off!

The series has a ton of badass female characters, which I love, and several moments that made me (a 29yo) bawl. It’s one flaw in my view is that it has a bit of a male gaze problem; e.g., a male author describing his female characters in unnecessary physical detail. But I think every series has its flaws, and this one could be a teachable moment.
posted by shb at 4:31 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Edward Eager: Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Knight's Castle, The Time Garden, Magic or Not?, The Well-Wishers, Seven-Day Magic.

Mary Norton: The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, The Borrowers Avenged.

Joan Aiken: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts in Battersea, Nightbirds on Nantucket, The Cuckoo Tree.
posted by TrishaU at 5:42 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]

Patricia Wrede's Dealing With Dragons!
posted by ChuraChura at 6:08 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Diana Wynne Jones, but I'd vote for Year of the Griffin.
posted by 3lliot at 7:03 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Rick Riordan has a book imprint called Rick Rioran Presents which "publish[es] great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage."

My kids have loved every one of the books they've read so far, especially the "Aru Shah" and "Sal and Gabi" series. I read both Aru Shah books & thought they were pretty funny.
posted by belladonna at 7:03 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]

Nthing the Talking to Dragons series by Patricia Wrede, which is funny and light, and also the Bartimaeus Trilogy, which I found to be hilarious when I read it in my 20s (although most of the jokes are in the very frequent footnotes, so it might be trickier to read aloud? I'm sure you could figure it out).

Another idea that isn't exactly fantasy but is funny and fanciful is A Series of Unfortunate Events.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:33 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci series:
Charmed Life
The Lives of Christopher Chant
Conrad's Fate
The Magicians of Caprona
The Pinhoe Egg
Witch Week

Nthing Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books.
posted by lagomorph at 7:35 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]

Nthing Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, and mentioning that if you get the e-books from the author's site (which I do not have at hand, but Google will provide the URL) there is a "New Millennium" edition of these books which more accurately reflects modern-day youth and technology - which is a particularly notable difference for Book 3.
posted by WaywardPlane at 8:43 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

My son went straight into the Percy Jackson series and all the sequel series that followed.
posted by Mchelly at 11:00 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series
posted by Balthamos at 3:12 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

The Nevermoor books by Jessica Townsend are fun. They are still being written, so only the first two are out, with the third due out this summer. the first book is "The Trials of Morrigan Crow ".
posted by nalyd at 4:05 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

The Witch Trade series is full of magic and adventure too
posted by existentialwhale at 7:03 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I absolutely loved Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series at that age.
posted by lesser weasel at 8:02 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

At that age I found Diana Wynne Jones (whom I adore) to be over my head and did not enjoy her books. Same for Lord of the Rings (but not The Hobbit, which I enjoyed).

Books I really loved as a bookworm at those ages:

The Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander.
Tamora Pierce has a bunch of good series. I think it's fine to start from the first series (Alana) and just keep going.
Brian Jacques's Redwall series.

Seconding Wizard of Oz, Percy Jackson, YA Terry Pratchett books (Johnny books, digger books, Tiffany aching books), Patricia C wrede, and Diane Diane's young wizards.
posted by Cozybee at 4:04 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

brian jacques' redwall series is pretty excellent
posted by megan_magnolia at 6:08 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Absolutely do the Tiffany Aching books, but be aware that they grow up with Tiffany, and the fourth one may deal with themes too adult for your kids. (It opens with Tiffany, as the local witch, having to deal with a family in which there is such physical abuse that a girl suffers a miscarriage. It’s such a good book that I am seriously considering getting imagery from it tattooed on my body, but I’m 35.)
posted by ocherdraco at 12:00 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]

Thanks, all, looks like we're set for at least a couple years! Surprised nobody mentioned Dahl - I found some forgotten editions in my piles of books over the weekend while looking for something else. The kids didn't get into them years ago, but they were probably too young then. The kids loved the Wizard of Oz books, I think we read them when they were like 4~5ish.

Looks like it's The Hobbit, then the Tiffany Aching series, and then see what's next after that.
posted by colin_l at 8:39 AM on February 13

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