Harry Potter is well known as one of those books that makes reluctant readers not so reluctant after all. When kids turn the final page of Harry Potter, it’s the perfect time to harness that interest in reading with a few more choice chapter books. Unlike many “Books for kids who like Harry Potter…” book lists, I am not exclusively recommending fantasy titles. Now that you’ve gotten your child hooked on reading through the magic of Harry Potter, it is the perfect time to share the glory of other genres! On this book list you will find not only fantasies, but detective stories, time travel mysteries and nail biting adventures. What all these books to read if you like Harry Potter have in common is that they are page turners. They grab you from the first paragraph.
I recommend these “books to read if you like Harry Potter” for independent readers, ages 10 and up, but — of course — every reader is different, so use your best judgement. If your child is a little younger try these books for kids not ready for Harry Potter — even if your kid has read HP! The beauty of many of these recommendations is that they are either trilogies or series, which will keep your kids reading even longer! Win-win. (Note: titles and covers are affiliate links.)
MORE: We have more than 100 book lists for kids. See them all in the book list index.
Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy). It’s a tome of a book, but if your child was able to read one of the later Harry Potter books, he can certainly get through this one. I adore the metafictional aspect of this book. There’s something so wonderful about characters escaping the confines of their stories. Meggie’s father’s read aloud skills are so magical is actually able to read characters out of the books! Unfortunately an evil character he has read out of a book is on a mission to bring him down and Meggie’s father has accidentally read his wife into a book. Spellbinding.
Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk. I just finished reading this captivating book. I also think this would make an excellent read aloud, and am planning to read it to my boys. The story draws upon both Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer. Jack climbs up the titular plant to rescue his Papa, who has been stolen by the giants in the midst of a famine and ruled over by a greedy, gold-hoarding king with a chicken that lays golden eggs. Shurtliff’s inventive twists and the way she weaves in references to popular fairy tales and nursery rhymes is ingenious.
The Map to Everywhere is very exciting and it’s magical adventurous spirit makes it one of the best books to read if you like Harry Potter! I was hooked by the end of the first page, which let me tell you does not happen very often these days. Two worlds collide when Fin, a master thief in a magical pirate world meets Marrill, a “normal” girl who boards a ship in a mirage in an Arizona parking lot. The two join up in a multi-world quest to find two parts of a famed pirate map that Fin thinks might help him find his mother. This is the first in a brand new series and I’m pretty excited to read the next book!
The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern) is the first book in a series by Princess Academy author, Shannon Hale. A retelling of the fairy tale of the same name, all of the Books of Bayern series (there are four) benefit from Hale’s superior ability to create intricate, fully-realized worlds. Ani (the girl in question) is sent on a journey to a neighboring land to marry. When her maid betrays her, Ani goes into hiding and discovers her latent gift of speaking to the wind. A gorgeous read for both girls AND boys.
Savvy is about the magical Beaumont family. Mibs is about to turn thirteen, the age when each child finds out what his or her magic, or “savvy”, will be. Her brothers can control natural elements, her mother can do everything perfectly and Mibs is anxious to find out what her special quality is. Right before her 13th birthday party, her father has an accident and Mibs is convinced that her power will heal him. She runs away with her siblings and friends to try and reach him. A magical coming of age story; a wonderful book for kids who love Harry Potter.
The False Prince (Ascendance Trilogy). I devoured this series as it was being published. Each year I eagerly awaited the publication date of each new installment in the trilogy. The Kingdom of Farthenwood is in turmoil and a nobleman is determined to pass off an unknown orphan as the missing prince. He brings three boys to train at his estate, promising that the one who best completes the test will have a new life as the ruler of Farthenwood. As a reader, I was constantly on my toes as to the outcome and a surprise twist will leave kids eager to read the next two books
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. This book is very different from Harry Potter, for while Harry is learning about the powers of the supernatural, Calpurnia Tate is learning about the magic of the natural world. In 1899, Calpurnia loathes the expectations set for 12 year old girls; she’d much rather read Darwin’s The Origin of Species and catch and study wildlife with her naturalist Granddaddy. I loved this tale of a girl coming of age at a time when natural and engineering discoveries were changing the world. There is now a sequel, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate.
The Mysterious Benedict Society (Series). These books are very popular and for good reason! They are impossible to put down. I find the plot hard to describe in just a sentence or two, there are so many puzzles and mysteries to be solved. The story centers around 4 children who answer an advertisement for gifted children and find themselves at the center of an elaborate adventure that puts all their mental strengths to the test.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (Series). If you’ve ever dreamed of spending a night in the library, this is the adventure for you. Luigi Lemoncello, a world-famous game creator has designed the local library and 12 7th graders get to spend the night. They have exactly 24 hours to find the secret exit and win a prize.
The Candymakers When 4 kids gather for the Confectionery Association Conference, they end up trying to solve the mystery of a stolen secret ingredient and create the best candy ever. A nice long book to keep them reading, reading, reading.
On the Blue Comet. Like the Hogwart’s Express, the Blue Comet is a magical train that takes children on unexpected adventures. However, the Blue Comet crosses time and space, taking its riders back and forth between the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. You can only board the Blue Comet if you possess an intense need to escape your current situation. That’s exactly what happens when Oscar witnesses a crime. He is transported through time and must find his way back again. Suspenseful.
Story Thieves. When Owen discovers his new friend Bethany is half-fictional and has the ability to jump into books, he convinces her to take him into his favorite book. Even though Bethany is adamant that Owen be very careful not to change any part of the story, he secretly decides to try and affect the outcome of the plot by thwarting the villian, thereby winning himself glory with his peers. As you can imagine, such a disruption sets in motion a serious of chaotic and potentially disastrous events!
Icefall. Solveig and her brothers, along with berserkers set to protect them, wait anxiously through the winter, trapped in a fortress near snowy mountains and the frozen sea. While they wait for word from their father the king, it slowly becomes clear that someone amongst them is a traitor, but who? This is a thrilling mystery for kids who like stories that keep them perched on the edge of their chair in tense anticipation. I also recommended this on my list of Winter Chapter Books.
Under the Egg is part mystery, part treasure hunt, part friendship story and a suspenseful, engaging read. Just before her grandfather died, he whispered to Theodora, “There’s a letter… And a treasure” hidden “under the egg.” Theodora, whose mother is incapable of taking care of her, must find away to pay the bills and she starts her search for this mysterious treasure involving a work of art. Her hunt takes her all over New York City, into the past, and introduces her to a diverse group of new friends. The ending is slightly convenient, but the book is so engaging that everything works.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Detailed pictures are just as essential (if not more so) to communicating the story as the text. My standard few sentences of a review are inadequate. Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station when his secretive life is interrupted by the connections he makes with an unusual girl and an elderly toy vendor. A magical, marvelous, intricate, mysterious and stunning middle grade book for Harry Potter fans.(and good for read alouds, too).
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Trilogy). It’s been a while since I read this series but I was riveted by it. Two kids, Lyra and Will, cross parallel universes in a world where their souls (for lack of a better word) exist outside of their bodies as animal companions. The plot is complex and is heavily involved with philosophy and theology. It is a fantastic trilogy but is better for older kids who want book like Harry Potter; I recommend it for ages 12 and up.
More book lists your kids will love:
- Books for kids who like Percy Jackson
- Books for kids who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Books for kids who like the Chronicles of Narnia
- Books for kids who like Artemis Fowl
- Books for kids who like Roald Dahl
See all our book lists in the master index!
Like this book list? I have a new book list every Monday. Stay in touch!