If you haven’t guessed it yet, we love Harry Potter. (did you see our Harry Potter room and our Harry Potter gift guide?) J.K Rowling invited children into her brilliant world of witches, wizards, and magic and in doing so, created a generation of readers. Harry Potter became not just for children but for everyone with a love for fantasy and the power of love, friendship and family. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and Harry Potter’s birthday at the end of this month, we have put together a list of books to read if you loved Harry Potter. And for parents whose kids are not quite ready, we have a list of books to help them prepare for the big day.
In my house, we don’t allow the kids to watch the Harry Potter movies until they can read the books. It is amazing how this incentive motivates my kids to read. So, whether you are BP (Before Potter) and getting ready for the big day or AP (After Potter) and need a new read, we have the perfect book for you.
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The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Joanna Cole- It was hard to choose just one Magic School Bus book because I love this series. They are fun, educational and of course, a magical. Each book has a way of taking the unknown and making it a little less scary
Journey by Aaron Becker– This 2014 Caldecott Honor book has spectacular illustrations and leaves the wording to your imagination. There are no words written in this story about a girl who uses her magical red marker to draw a door to another world. We included this book for the younger age group but, this beautiful book will appeal to all age groups.
Tuesday by David Weisner- This is another fabulous book with no words.David Weisner is a wonderful artist whose books have the element of magic. This hilarious magical book will leave you and your kids looking out the window next Tuesday and 8:00!
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig– This book is the winner of the Caldecott Medal. This story is a classic tale about the choices we make. Add a little magic and it’s a recipe for enjoyment.
Heidi Heckelbeck has a Secret by Wanda Coven– These early readers have large type, cute pictures but are definitely not short on fun. Heidi seems like a regular eight-year-old girl but, she is a witch. She may not be ready for Hogwarts quite yet, but with 21 books in the series, she is keeping herself occupied in the meantime.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson– I have always loved this book. It is magical and is about the power of pure imagination. All three of my kids love this book as well. Harold is able to use his purple crayon to create a world.
Magic Tree house Series by Mary Pope– We sing the praises of this series every chance we get. Adventure, magic and little bit of education- what more can we ask for? Do you love dragons? Pirates? Magic Tree house will have a book for your child to enjoy.
Matilda by Ronald Dahl- We adore this story in my house. We love the book, the movie and the musical. After all, who doesn’t love a story with a happy ending and little bit of magic to get you there?
The Kingdom of Wrenly by Jordan Quinn- This series of early readers has pictures on almost every page and easy to read language. The Stories, however, are fun and full of adventure. They are sure to keep your child engaged with fairies, trolls, and mermaids.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon is a graphic novel that is funny, engaging and perfect for a little witch or wizard who would like to encounter dragons a little less menacing than the ones Harry encounters.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis– This is a classic tale of four siblings who step through a wardrobe and into the land of Narnia. This story is one of the original fantasies with witches, talking lions, and creatures galore.
The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott– I mentioned this book in our Little Library for the month. My son has this book at camp with him and it loving it. Another book about the chemist Nicholas Flamel is a bonus
Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage– This is another one of my son’s books that I stole so I could read. Septimus Heap is the seventh son of a seventh son. He disappears the night that he is born and his parents are told he is dead. That night, his father finds a baby girl in the snow. This story sets up the adventures for the rest of the series with magic, adventure, and bravery.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is full of magic and mystery. The amazing combination of fiction with antique photographs leads to a truly unique story. In this story, Jacob travels to a remote Island off the coast of Wales searching for answers. What he finds are more questions.
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer– While this story is about the land of fairy tales, it has the element of magic and wonder that Harry Potter fans will love. Alex and Connor’s grandmother gives them the family book of fairy tales. Before they understand what is happening, they find themselves transported into the book. They set off an adventure to get back home.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5 book series by Rick Riordan– I am including this series because of how many times my son has read it. I don’t think there is a boy (or girl) out there who has read this series and not loved it. It is the only series that can compare to Harry Potter in terms of how much my son LOVES it. It is not magic in the strictest sense of the word. Rather, it’s about the Greek Gods.
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern– This is one of my favorite books of all time. The story is about two magicians who enter their apprentices into a magical competition. They don’t know when the competition begins or how it will end. This story is pure magic. Reading the descriptions gave me the same feeling that I had the first time Harry enters Diagon alley.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber – Caraval is a game that is played once a year in a remote location. To get there, you need an invitation. Tella and her sister Scarlett have received an invitation and escape the island they live on and their cruel father to attend. This story is dark and magical where nothing is at it seems.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman– Quentin Coldwater is a high school student obsessed with the made of world of Fillory. He finds himself admitted to a magical college that is both secret and elite. The best way I can describe this series is if Harry Potter was admitted to Hogwarts in College. It has a different feel but it is fun, imaginative and entertaining. I’m a little obsessed with the tv series as well.
The Mermaid’s sister by Carrie Anne Noble– This book is probably the least well know on the list. I received it for free one month from Amazon and I have to say that I really enjoyed this story. It is a fairy tale meets the real work story as Clara discovers her sister Maren is slowly turning into a mermaid. This is a quick and enjoyable read.
Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom– I absolutely love this book. I recommend it for Harry Potter lovers because of the wonderful element of magic that is in this story. It is NOT a fantasy. Rather, it is a heart warming tale of the life of a fictional guitar player and musician named Frankie Presto. The book is narrated by Music in a similar way that The Book Thief is narrated by Death. I recommend it because of how much I love it and I don’t think this book gets enough recognition. But there is a caveat that it is an entirely different genre unlike the rest of the books on this list.