Sunday, January 15, 2012

I've Read Harry Potter - Now what?

In terms of kid's books, this is one of the hardest questions to answer.  Harry Potter is a brilliant book series, and I am sorry to say there isn't one series out there that will satisfy kids in the same way that J.K. Rawlings has done!  Her superb writing and her ability to create a world that all kids wish existed is unparalleled!

That said, there are still wonderful series for those kids who like the idea that magic may be out there among us.  The following books are great to try if you wish you could one day find you had magical skills which were up to now unimaginable to you!  They are also full of fast paced action,  evil villains and new worlds that are living among us unseen.

I hope one (or all) of these books can capture a little bit of the Harry Potter magic for your kids!

Title:          Magickeepers:The Eternal Hourglass
Author:     Erica Kirov
Target:      Grades 4-7
Series:        Yes
What this book is about: 
Imagine turning thirteen and finding out you are from a family of magicians, and not smoke and mirrors magicians, actual magic producers!  The spells that protected you from the bad guys have expired and you are forced to move into a casino with your long lost Russian relatives.  They are training you to fulfill your, until now, unknown potential.  Of course that doesn’t stop the bad guys from coming after you, so you must study earnestly.  You also have to learn to eat fish eggs and cabbage, which may actually be worse than the bad guys.
Why I loved this book:
While I am not normally all that interested in books about magic this one  was very nicely done!  The story is not overly complicated, and does bring in some great Russian culture, as well historical references in an engaging way.  The action is lively and fast paced and the story is well written.
I found myself saying I would read just one more chapter and that usually turned into at least three.  Nick was such a relatable and likable character and the pace of the book was just right to keep me engaged! 
Who this book is for:
Those who like the idea that magic may be among us!
Final thoughts:
Nice start to a series.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

Title:          Fablehaven

Author:     Brandon Mull

Target: Grades 4-8
Series:        Yes
About the book:
The basic story is about a brother and sister who stay with their grandparents, only to find out that their grandparents are caretakers for a woods that contains magical creatures.  When rules accidentally get broken, evil is unleashed and the siblings must work to regain their family.  
Why I love this book: 
Magical creatures in this story are not seen as delightful impish characters, but as complex, flawed beings with motives and feelings of their own.  The brother and sister could not have more distinct and differing personalities, with Kendra being responsible and cautious, and Seth being curious and a risk taker.  Seth actually drove me crazy, but that’s because as a kid I was just like Kendra!
The story does have alot of action and it moves at a fast pace.
Who this story is for:
Kids who like action and mythical creatures.
Final thoughts:
Fairies and witches and giant cows, oh my!

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Fablehaven

Title:          The Unwanteds
Author:     Lisa McMann
Target:      Grades 4-8
Series:        Yes, this is the first book in a trilogy.  The others have not yet been published.
What this book is about:
In the land of Quill you are a Wanted (great), Necessary (ok) or Unwanted (yikes).  We start the story off with twins, Aaron and Alex, one is Wanted, the other Unwanted.  Unwanteds are sent to the death farm were the inevitable is supposed to occur.  However, much to the surprise of the Unwanteds, the death farm is actually a mirage for the magical kingdom of Artime, where those in the creative arts can flourish and learn magic.  However, Artime cannot remain hidden from Quill forever, so a  showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.
Why I love this book:
Let me start off by saying the cover calls this book the Hunger Games meets Harry Potter and on some level this is true.  However, I can say without a doubt that this book is not a good as either book, let alone a combo.  The characters are simple and the plot is straightforward.  So why am I recommending it?   Because it is ideal for an elementary/middle school child.  It is easy to get caught up in this interesting story and frankly the premise is extremely creative.  The fact that it is written for it’s audience means that 9 - 12 year olds will be thoroughly engaged and the content is appropriate for them!
Who this book is for:
Kids who loved Harry Potter and Hunger Games will enjoy this book.  My son read it in two days straight!
Final thoughts:
A highly imaginative book!

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: The Unwanteds

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