A few months back, we posed a question to our Facebook followers, asking: "Where should I direct my child now that she/he has blown through all of the 'Harry Potter' books and is sad that they're over?"
Thank you for all of your answers! The participation and passion were so much fun to see, and we promised to share what we learned.
For an expert take, we consulted a librarian as well.
Conveniently, King County Library System has a booklist of Harry Potter Read-Alikes put together by children's librarians.
Emily Calkins, readers' services program coordinator for KCLS, particularly recommends "Gregor the Overlander" (by Suzanne Collins), which is really action-packed, and "The Golden Compass" (Philip Pullman), which is for a slightly more sophisticated reader who's looking for something with the complexity of the later Harry Potter books.
"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, "The Thief" by Megan Whalen Turner, and "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry are also on the list and would be good fits.
Seattle Public Library offers personal, emailed recommendations through its Your Next 5 program.
Here, at long last, is a list of what our readers suggested, sometimes with snippets of their comments.
Note: We don't have personal familiarity with all of these titles and authors, so … buyer beware. The recommendation for the "Twilight" books, in particular ("Twilight," "Eclipse," "New Moon" and "Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Mayer) prompted some debate over their age-appropriateness (and their literary worth).
"The Amulet" series by Kazu Kibuishi follows the adventures of Emily, a young girl who discovers a magical amulet in her great-grandfather's house.
"Uglies," "Pretties," "Specials" and "Extras," by Scott Westerfeld.
The "Inkheart" trilogy, and everything by Cornelia Funke. Also everything by Tamora Pierce! Amazing fantasy with female leads.
"100 Cupboards" trilogy by N.D. Wilson
The "Percy Jackson" series by Rick Riordan (probably the closest match: Instead of “You’re a wizard, Harry” it’s “You’re a demigod, Percy.”) Also Riordan's "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard" books.
My 11-year-old daughter (huge Harry Potter fan) loves the "Wings of Fire" series by Tui T. Sutherland.
My daughter moved from Harry Potter to the "Fablehaven" series. She LOVED it!! It's by Brandon Mull.
Khari Toure wrote a wonderful children's book called "Love Yourself." It has a beautiful message and promotes an anti-bullying message.
"Lumberjanes" (Noelle Stevenson) is great! Not a magical school but a summer camp.
"The Spiderwick Chronicles," by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi.
"Keeper of the Lost Cities" series by Shannon Messenger.
"Magic Thief" trilogy by Sarah Prineas.
"The Midnighters" trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.
"The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place," six-book series by Maryrose Wood.
"The Sisters Grimm" fantasy series by Michael Buckley.
"Artemis Fowl" series by Eoin Colfer.
"Eragon" and "The Inheritance Cycle" series by Christopher Paolini.
The "Redwall" books by Brian Jacques.
My son loved reading the "Warriors" books by Erin Hunter.
"The Secret of Platform 13" by Eva Ibbotson; predated "Harry Potter" but has drawn comparisons.
The "Winterhouse" series by Ben Guterson.
The "Theodosia" series by R.L. LaFevers.
Shoutouts to some classics: "Chronicles of Narnia," by C.S. Lewis; "Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkein; "A Wrinkle in Time" and its sequels by Madeline L'engle
Author recommendations: Robin McKinley's young adult books are fantastic. As is everything Tamora Pierce has written. Brandon Sanderson has a couple of young adult series as well.