If your students have devoured the Harry Potter series and are clamoring for more magical fantasy adventures, here are 15 books like Harry Potter that we adore.
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1. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Gr. 3–6)
When a beautiful woman named Severine bewitches Corinne’s father and evil creatures attack her village, 11-year-old Corinne and her friends try to help. Through friendship, loyalty, and bravery, Corinne discovers she has a special power. Elements from traditional Haitian folktales give this evil witch story a multicultural twist. The sequel is Rise of the Jumbies.
2. The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz (Gr. 3–6)
This book introduces Elliot and Uchenna as they are on a field trip to the New Jersey Pine Barrens. After finding a Jersey Devil, a fierce, tiny, dragon-like creature, they reluctantly go to their terrifyingly bizarre teacher for help. It turns out that Professor Fauna leads a secret organization committed to protecting mythical creatures, and he invites the children to join, setting up the next books in the series.
3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis (Gr. 3–6)
This first book in the classic series has everything a magic-loving child could want: an ordinary piece of furniture that transports siblings to an enchanted, wintry world; talking animals; a wicked witch; and a great battle of good vs. evil. Even after the almost 70 years since it was first published, this series is the definitive fantasy for kids.
4. The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight (Gr. 3–6)
Like the rest of the paintings at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, 13-year-old Mona Dunn is alive but only allowed to interact with the other painted inhabitants of the gallery, NOT with people in the real world. But one day she recklessly begins a friendship with the gallery director’s son, Sargent.
5. The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson (Gr. 3–6)
The door between our world and the enchanted Island is located on platform 13 at King’s Cross Station, and it’s only open for nine days every nine years. Nine years ago, the baby prince of the Island was kidnapped and has been trapped in our world until the door opens again. Now, a team of magical creatures, including a fairy, a hag, an ogre, and a wizard, has nine days to find the prince and bring him home.
6. The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (Gr. 3–6)
The son of a wizard-king must team up with his sworn enemy, the daughter of a magic-hating warrior-queen, to fight an even greater threat. This first book of a new series is as funny and adventurous as Cowell’s popular How to Train Your Dragon series but with more magic and witchcraft.
7. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Gr. 3–6)
When 12-year-old Aru accidentally triggers the end of time by lighting a sacred lamp, her hilarious animal sidekick, Subala the pigeon, suddenly appears to guide her on her hero’s quest to save the world. This book brings ancient Hindu mythology into the modern world.
8. The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol (Gr. 4–8)
When Arianwyn, an apprentice witch, fails her witch’s examination, her grandmother uses her influence to get the disgraced girl a position in the remote outpost of Lull, where everything goes wrong for poor Wyn, even her spells against harmless snotlings. But when dark magic enters Lull, Wyn must prove her worth as the town witch.
9. The Books of Beginning: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (Gr. 4–8)
When Kate, Michael, and Emma are sent to a new orphanage, they find The Emerald Atlas, a magic book that allows them to travel through time. Michael gets stranded in the past, and as the girls try to rescue him, they meet hilarious dwarves, a powerful warrior, and an evil witch who is also seeking the Atlas. This first book in the series is full of nonstop action and magical adventure.
10. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Gr. 4–8)
Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches in this Newbery Medal–winning fantasy set in a dystopian society.
11. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers (Gr. 4–8)
Though her parents don’t believe her, 11-year-old Theodosia is certain she can see curses on the ancient artifacts inside the Museum of Antiquities and Legends, where her parents work. When an extremely cursed artifact is stolen from the museum, Theo must find a way to save England from the Serpents of Chaos. Also see the other books in this series for more Ancient Egyptian mystery.
12. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Gr. 4–8)
When a wicked witch turns Sophie into a old woman, she seeks refuge inside an enchanted castle inhabited by the cursed wizard Howl, his fire demon, and his apprentice. The castle moves in ways reminiscent of Hogwarts, and this funny, adventurous fantasy series shares many fans with Harry Potter.
13. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Gr. 4–8)
Full of nonstop action, this prequel to Peter Pan introduces Peter, the leader of a group of orphan boys aboard the Never Land. On the ship Peter meets Molly, who is guarding magic material that gives humans the ability to fly. Fearsome pirates, mermaids, and the infamous crocodile all make appearances in this first book of a very fun fantasy adventure series.
14. Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood (Gr. 4–8)
When her headmistress mysteriously disappears, Chantel, a student at Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded, takes responsibility for the school’s younger students and begins to discover her full powers when she must fight against marauders who are besieging the city.
15. Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (Gr. 5–9)
At age 12, Hoodoo is the only one of his family in rural Alabama who can’t cast even a simple spell. But when the creepy Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo begins to feel his first thrill of occult power. The chilling supernatural plot will appeal to readers who like the scarier elements of Harry Potter.
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Plus, must-read series books.