I recently found myself having yet another conversation with parents about what their children can read beyond Harry Potter. I get asked this question or variants of it All. The. Time. There are several ways to answer this, depending on what your specific problem is. I’m going to address those problems over several blog posts, so stay tuned. For today, I’m looking at the very youngest Potter fans.
My child loves the Harry Potter movies but is too young to be reading the books. Are there books for her age range with similar appeal?
I’m going to assume that you’re looking for books that your child can read herself, not books that you read to her or read together. The following are early readers and chapter books my daughters loved when they were about 6-8 years old.
The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne was designed with early readers in mind. The protagonists, Jack and Annie, travel around the world and throughout history from a magic tree house they find in the woods near their home. The books are well researched, and Osborne often provides non-fiction companion books, such as the much-read Titanic guide my elder daughter loved. Magictreehouse.com also provides additional materials and activities for that REALLY curious kid in your life.
The Unicorn School series by Linda Chapman was my younger daughter’s favorite chapter book series when she was six. Focusing on social development and growth, the series provides engaging characters and promotes problem-solving skills.
The Rainbow Fairies series by Daisy Meadows was another favorite. The simple, formulaic plots made the stories easy and quick to read, which is good because there are DOZENS of them! My younger daughter would devour them like popcorn.
The Moomintroll series by Tove Jansson is one of my own favorites from childhood. Originally written in Finnish, the series is populated entirely by fantastic characters you won’t find in American literature: trolls, hemulins, snuffkins, snarks, and a wide variety of woodland creatures. The cozy Moomin family provides a safe, nurturing home base from which Moomintroll and his friends can go off on rollicking adventures.
Though these may be more challenging and require parental assistance, ANYTHING by Roald Dahl, but for young readers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach are good choices.
Have further suggestions? Please share them in the comments!