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For my 9 yr old, recommendations to follow up first 3 Harry Potter books? (HP spoilers in thread)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

My 9 yr old has really just gotten into reading and has just been eating up the first three Harry Potter books. I'm afraid that book 4 and the others will be too dark for her. She's really sensitive. I'm not going to forbid her from reading the others, but I am cautioning her about it and I'd like to have some other books to offer her.

 

I think she really likes the kind of Cinderella magic stories like HP. She's also enjoyed other fantasy stories where a seemingly ordinary kid turns out to be magical (The Salamander Spell) or gets drawn into a magical world (Dragon Rider). She also loved both Penderwicks books so far. We listened to an audiobook of "The Sister's Club" by Megan McDonald (Judy Moody) and she liked that a lot, too, although it wasn't as meaty as "The Penderwicks". I know she liked a lot of books her teacher read aloud last year like "When You Reach Me" and lots of Roald Dahl.

 

I'd love to get her hooked on another series that doesn't grow with the reader like HP. I'd like one she can just plow all the way through. She's beyond Magic Treehouse, but I'd love something that had a whole buncha books like that.

 

Suggestions?

post #2 of 21

Has she read the Narnia books?  I wouldn't consider them nearly as dark as Harry Potter.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

No, she hasn't. Thanks for the suggestion. I remember reading them as a kid and liking them. I might run them by her. Not sure if they can compare to Harry Potter, but not sure what can...

post #4 of 21

If she liked *When You Reach Me*, the same author wrote *First Light*. I read this with my middle grade book club and we all loved it!

*Howl's Moving Castle*, was another we read and enjoyed. Susan Fletcher has a wonderful Dragon Series. I think the first one is called *Dragon's Milk*. You might find some titles that look interesting by searching through the Newberry Awards. The newest is *Moon Over Manifest*. Ooooh... *Girlwood* is wonderful. *The Goose Girl* is the first in a series that I really loved too. 

 

Sorry about this rambling post, I was thinking out loud...

 

happy reading,

~traci

post #5 of 21

 

If she liked The Penderwicks, she may like Hilary McKay's Casson Family series (Saffy's Angel, Indigo's Star etc.). It's British, about an unconventional family of artists living in a messy old house. The first story does deal with death of parents but like the Penderwicks, the event happened long ago before the story begins and the young orphaned girl is already safe, loved and happy in her "new" family when she understands what's happened. 

 

Also, not a series, but books by Eva Ibbotson are wonderful for this age - Journey to the River Sea, The Star of Kazan, etc. They all have an old-fashioned air about them. 

 

 

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville - charming story with a terrific young heroine who is lost in a magical underground, trash-filled mirror version of London

 

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and sequels

 

The Magyk series with Septimus Heap by Angie Sage (less intense than HP, but also less interesting)

 

The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix (his trilogy of Liriel, Sabriel and Abhorsen is wonderful and waaay better than Keys, but probably more appropriate for 12 and up - although I would give it to my 9 y.o (and I think I did))

 

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken and sequels. I've only read the first but it was quite good. They were written about 40 or 50 years ago. 

 

The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper - also written decades ago. 

 

Oh, and for some reason, When You Reached Me reminded me of Harriet the Spy. I don't know why (maybe it's the wandering around unsupervised). I don't think the stories are connected at all, but if she hasn't read Harriet, she may like it. Oh, and Pippi Longstocking. 

 

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for all the great recommendations. I feel like I've got a good jumping off place now!

post #7 of 21

 

One other thought, since she liked When You Reached Me, is a book by Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

 

In When You Reached Me, the main character is enthralled with A Wrinkle in Time. She has re-read it many times. It's the first book in two interconnected series by L'Engle, so there would be plenty to keep your dd busy for a good while. Personally, I read Wrinkle as an adult, and it does absolutely nothing for me. I think L'Engle is heavy-handed, the pacing of the plot is terrible, the story itself is awkward and full of problems, the heroine is charmless, the other characters annoying....but I am definitely in a very small minority. Most women I know who read it during their angsty adolescence adore the book, and its sequels. 

 

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Y'know we actually were gifted "A Wrinkle In Time" this Christmas. SO that's a a good possibility. I read it as a kid and it didn't really do anything for me. Actually it so much didn't do anything for me that I don't remember it at all. I liked a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, but I really have absolutely no memory of the plot of that book!!

post #9 of 21

I never understand why people think the HP books get darker.  In the first one alone, Harry burns Voldemort's face off of the back of Quirrels' own head, killing the teacher (at the young age of 11).  We learn Harry's parents were murdered, Voldemort attempted to murder Harry (as a BABY), his aunt and uncle abuse him, Quirrell hexes Harry's broom while he's flying, we learn about the Restricted Section (and some of what those books hold), see the slaying and then drinking of unicorn blood.  And that's just the first book, not to mention 2 & 3. 

 

Anyhoo, I was going to recommend the Lemony Snicket books (Series of Unfortunate Events).

 

And I LOVE A Wrinkle in Time (and the ones that followed).

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

They're darker because we're there for the good guys getting killed starting with Cedric Diggory in the 4th, then on to Sirius Black, Dumbledore, and numerous others in the 7th. We weren't there when Harry's parents got killed. The tone of the books also shifts greatly. I don't see how people can't see that they get darker wink1.gif ! She's plowing through the 4th one now, though, and I won't stop her, but I did let her know that it would be okay to take a break from it and come back later if it gets too intense.

 

Thanks for all the good suggestions. I think I'm going to suggest the Gaia Girls series after seeing it on another thread. I'll definitely also throw in A Wrinkle In Time and I also checked out a couple of promising titles, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry and The Secret of Platform 13 the last time I went to the library. Several of the others upthread sound like they might be up her alley, too.

 

Thanks y'all! You rock!

post #11 of 21

It certainly is a dark book but my Nieces and Nephews love it. They are much older than my DD so they are at the age to manage all the thrills.

post #12 of 21

 

Yesterday, I saw a trailer for a new film released soon (this weekend maybe?). It's called The Eagle. It reminded me of the book by Rosemary Sutcliffe, The Eagle of the Ninth, about the lost legion of Roman soldiers who disappeared in Caledonia (Scotland) in the 1st Century A.D. The movie is based on the book, but I'm sure it's changed a lot. 

 

Anyway, it's a great book and there are several sequels. It's another that was written in the 1950's or thereabouts. 

 

post #13 of 21

Sister's Grimm by Michael Buckley!!

 

LOVE THEM! And I mean me. I read them while working at a children's bookstore. The reading level is maybe a little lower than HP but they're great stories and if she's a fan of fairy tales she'll probably enjoy them. The main characters are 9 and 11 (I think). I have only read the first two.

 

Also, I LOVE LOVE the Percy Jackson books. (I think the series is called The Olympians, by Rick Riordan). A little darker, but most of the scary stuff happens to mythical characters...At least in the first three books. But Percy Jackson starts out as an ordinary (well, ordinary as in a kid who gets kicked out of schools all the time and has ADD and trouble making friends and whatnot) who finds out he's a demi-god, so along the lines of what it sounds like you're looking for. It is a series about a boy but there are several great girl characters and if she's at all interested in Greek mythology she'll probably love it.

 

Also, I love love anything Terry Pratchett. His Discworld books are written for adults but he has a few for young readers: The Bromeliad Trilogy ( a bit like the borrowers, or the littles), The Johnny series, The Carpet People, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Nation. And he has actually written a trilogy based in his adult world (discworld) for yound readers, the Tiffany Aching series (Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith). I LOVE TERRY PRATCHETT. The awesome thing about the Tiffany books is that after she's read them, she can segue into the adult series (in a few years of course). And I do find that most of Pratchett's adult books are adult moreso in THEME. There is a lot of oblique adult content that would go over her head or at least not register strongly but no graphic sex scenes and very little violence, most of it being in the books that feature Sam Vimes and most of it being against obvious bad guys.  Obviously you'd have to decide for yourself but I would be totally fine with my 13-14 year old reading the Discworld books.

post #14 of 21
I disagree about the Magyk (Septimus Heap) series being less intense. We just read a chapter last night about babies dying and a mother's reaction to seeing her "dead" infant. NOT what I was expecting. My kids love HP and have no problem with the series (ages 3-10) at all. None-not even the movies. But they were wildly disturbed by this part of Magyk and if I were to have read that when I was pg and had high anxiety, I probably couldn't have finished the book.

I will, however, second the Rick Riordan suggestions. A little dark, but definitely ok for a 9 yo who can handle the first 3 HPs.
post #15 of 21

Already some great choices. My 8 year old dd1 adores many of these books (in addition to HP): Percy Jackson, the Tiffany Aching books (@Matthia: there is a fourth I Shall Wear Midnight). Other things in a fanciful vein that have been hits: The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Collville, the Redwall books (there are about a billion of these), the Half Magic books by Eager. If she's sensitive, the Oz books (after the first one which is kind of lame) are written at a higher level that HP, but are gentle in the extreme. They are also funny and whimsical with some very subtle humor.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

I disagree about the Magyk (Septimus Heap) series being less intense. We just read a chapter last night about babies dying and a mother's reaction to seeing her "dead" infant. NOT what I was expecting. My kids love HP and have no problem with the series (ages 3-10) at all. None-not even the movies. But they were wildly disturbed by this part of Magyk and if I were to have read that when I was pg and had high anxiety, I probably couldn't have finished the book.

I will, however, second the Rick Riordan suggestions. A little dark, but definitely ok for a 9 yo who can handle the first 3 HPs.


Hmm, sorry about that. I don't recall that scene. We don't have the books - we borrowed from the library so I can't check to refresh my memory. That must be when the little girl is given to the Heaps? I've read so much Victorian gothic type literature where that's a fairly over-used melodramatic plot device that it didn't really register. 

 

I still think Magyk is less intense overall than HP - the overriding sense of evil, the Nazi-type overtones, the genetic cleansing, the betrayals and bullying and torture and murder, the attempts to defy death and the ultimate damning of Voldemort's soul, that permeate throughout HP are much more prevalent than the kind of basic good vs. evil battles that are in the Magyk series. Many children are disturbed by the deaths of Sirius Black, Cedric Diggory and Dumbledore, not to mention all the deaths in the last book (did any of the Order survive other than the adult Weasleys?) . I know my DD wept when Dobby died in the last movie and she's in her teens. The torture scenes, both in the books and in the movies, are pretty intense too. I loved HP and think they are great books, but they deal with big themes in a very dark, intense way. 

 

But that is a good point that some children may be very sensitive to certain things in the Magyk series. I often see Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls series recommended, and I recall being disturbed by some of the blood-thirsty stuff she wrote and similarly wondering about how some kids would feel about it.

 

That's why I think pre-reading is very important, especially if the children are really sensitive. If I pre-read, I'm aware of any specific things that my children will find particularly upsetting and I can either minimize that scene if it's a read-aloud or suggest another book completely. 

 

post #17 of 21
Yes, everyone is different. Maybe part of it is that my kids were raised exposed to HP more with my love of it so none of that bothers them? I know I cried when several characters died in the Deathly Hallows but my kids knew from me reading it (they weasled it out of me!) who died so they were not surprised and though sad, not as upset as I was. But talking about dead babies and the horrors Boy 412 went through was somehow different for my kids. And I hadn't read it before. It had come highly recommended so I didn't think about it. I would have passed on the series had I known this part, but we're almost done with the book so we might as well finish it and hope for some closure and resolve.

p.s. Maybe you should use spoiler tags about who exactly dies?
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
 
p.s. Maybe you should use spoiler tags about who exactly dies?


Well, I think there's a time limit on "spoilers", particularly on plots that are so well known. These are "deaths" that happened almost: 11 years (Cedric Diggory), 8 years (Sirius Black), 6 years (Dumbledore) and 4 (Jan. 29  2011 minus July 21, 2007 equals 3.5 years: round up to 4, but really does 3 vs. 4 years make a difference - how nitpicky should we be for a spoiler - is 5 years long enough or do we wait 10, or 50 or 100 years?) years (the Order) ago, in the biggest publishing phenomenon in recent history.  The books and movies have been widely reviewed, analyzed and dissected, particularly on the issue of the potential impact of the deaths of prominent characters on the young audience. It's hardly a surprising revelation anymore. I also think that in a thread discussing cautions about what children may find disturbing reading, the disclosures are relevant. 

 

I think that if someone wants to avoid spoilers, it's incumbent on them to avoid discussions about the book (or film), particularly when it's an old release that's been around for a long time. If they enter a discussion, they should be prepared for revelations about the topic under discussion. 

 

 


Edited by ollyoxenfree - 2/13/11 at 4:00pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
 
p.s. Maybe you should use spoiler tags about who exactly dies?


Well, I think there's a time limit on "spoilers", particularly on plots that are so well known. These are "deaths" that happened almost 11 years (Cedric Diggory), 8 years (Sirius Black), 6 years (Dumbledore) and 4 years (the Order) ago, in the biggest publishing phenomenon in recent history.  The books and movies have been widely reviewed, analyzed and dissected, particularly on the issue of the potential impact of the deaths of prominent characters on the young audience. It's hardly a surprising revelation anymore. I also think that in a thread discussing cautions about what children may find disturbing reading, the disclosures are relevant. 

 

 

 

 

 


Maybe put spoilers in the title of the thread, then? I know many people who do not know the deaths and want to be surprised when they read the books. Yes, they have been out for awhile, but that doesn't mean we can't still be nice and not give it all away, kwim? It's one thing to say "there are many deaths" and another to pinpoint exactly which ones. I'm sure most people don't care, and god knows I've read all the books at leas t a dozen times, but some people do get bothered by seeing spoilers in these threads. And your years are a bit ahead there. #7 came out in late 2007. wink1.gif
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

well, I'll put a spoiler notice in the thread title, but I'm with olly. I think these particular books are so well known that anyone opening up a thread about them should not be surprised to see details posted.

 

thanks for all the book suggestions so far!!

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