|November 17, 2000|
November 17, 2000 - Children's Tales of Magic for fans of Harry Potter
If you are a fan of Harry Potter of any age, (yes, it's really O.K. to read them even if you're purportedly grown up) you might be a bit impatient for the next book to come out. Author J.K. Rowling is turning her next efforts to two short books which are textbooks in the Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages will be finished in time for Comic Relief's bi-annual Red Nose Day on March 16th 2001, and the entire proceeds will go to the charity. Frankly, the textbook I want to read is, Hogwarts: A History, but as far as I know, no plans to write it have been announced as yet.
Readers that want to find out what happens to Harry Potter in part five of the series, tentatively titled Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , will have to wait. Rowling is taking her time with it, and estimates it will be available "within two years". In the mean time, she's encouraging kids to read the works of other authors while waiting.
The Harry Potter books are a take on a classic theme in children's fantasy, in which, a child learns they can do magic, and this opens them to an entire new world where they feel that they belong for the first time in their lives. Often, they use their magical powers to save their friends, save their school, or even, save the world. In some forms of children's magical fantasy, a child finds a magical object or encounters a magical being, and this leads them to a series of adventures. Often, the adventures don't turn out as expected, and the child tries to keep the magical knowledge secret from the outside world, or perhaps, just from their parents.
Books on these themes:
Diane Duane's Wizard Series - For young adults and adults, extremely well written and highly recommended. Similar to the classic theme used in the Harry Potter books
So You Want to Be a Wizard
A Wizard Abroad
The secondary series of these books about Cat Wizards:
Book of Night With Moon
To Visit the Queen
Jane Yolen - A writer of great children's books, this one is very similar to the classic theme used in the Harry Potter books, but written years earlier.
Edward Eager - A writer of children's fantasy classics - recently re-released. Stories about children finding magical objects or magical beings.
The Time Garden
Magic By the Lake
Other Edward Eager children's classics that I haven't re-read recently, but are likely about the same themes:
Magic or Not?
Mary Norton - Writer of children's classics, including The Borrowers series. This book has the magical object theme.
Bed-Knob and Broomstick
E. Nesbit - Considered by many the first modern writer of children's classics. All of her children's fantasies are worth reading. Many of these have the magical object or creature theme.
Five Children and It
The Phoenix and the Carpet
The Story of the Amulet
The Enchanted Castle
This entire list covers books written throughout the 20th century. E. Nesbit wrote starting in the early 1900's, and Diane Duane's most recent books were written in the late 1990's. Most, if not all these books are currently in print, so hopefully, they'll tide you over until the next Harry Potter is available. If you haven't heard them, check out the unabridged audiobooks of the entire Harry Potter series, exquisitely narrated by Jim Dale, published by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing.
If you have a favorite children's fantasy, classic or contemporary, that covers the themes I've mentioned, please share it with me. Drop me an email in care of Warren James at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll never be too old to read great children's books. You shouldn't be either.
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