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This might seem an odd post on a family cruising blog, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve had this conversation over the past few weeks in George Town, i.e. kid boat central in the Bahamas.

It seems that many boat kids become avid readers at a young age. This is both amazing and frustrating. Amazing for obvious reasons, but frustrating because it’s difficult to keep them satisfied. This niche of young, avid readers devour 100+ page books in a day. This poses a problem because parents (and librarians) have likely suggested all of the ‘beginning reader’ fiction they know, and eventually, the child is introduced to Harry Potter, and they crave more…but finding something as engaging can be a struggle. The child wants more, but they’re not quite ready for the more complex epics with edgier content. And that’s another problem, edgier content. The young adult publishing market is booming, which is great for teens, but these titles usually cover topics that our younger readers aren’t quite ready for.

So, back to Harry Potter. What about it did they like? The adventure? The fantasy? Kids like Harry Potter for different reasons, so determining what your child liked about it will really help you find another series they’ll love.

Beyond Harry Potter – a.k.a. book series with Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

All of the following were highly sought after in my middle school library. I’ve read most of them, and have found zero questionable content for young readers, but each family must make this decision for themselves. Enjoy!

39 Clues Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, mystery

# of books in series: 11

Note: What’s really interesting about this series (beyond the content) is that each book is written by a different popular children’s author, so reading this series exposes your child to a variety of excellent authors and you know they’ll want to explore some further.

 

Artemis Fowl Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, fantasy

# of books in series: 8

Note: There’s an anti-hero…and unlike Harry Potter, you won’t know who to root for!

 

Cirque Du Freak Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: fantasy, paranormal, horror

# of books in series: 12

Note: Don’t be freaked out by the ‘horror’ classification. It’s vampires AND a children’s series. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not Vampirina innocent, but it’s not Twilight or Interview With A Vampire either.

 

Marty & Grace Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, mystery, sci-fi, cryptozoology

# of books in series: 4

Note: Roland Smith is one of my favorite children’s authors to recommend to avid young readers. His writing style keeps the story going and there is never a dull moment. This series is my favorite of his, but you really can’t go wrong with any of his books.

 

The Missing Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, mystery, sci-fi

# of books in series: 8

Note: Such a great series. Haddix is one of those authors that helps bridge the gap between ‘beginning chapter books’ and ‘chapter books’. Every time I’d put a Haddix book in a kid’s hand, they’d come back for more. Her Shadow Children series is also very popular.

 

His Dark Materials Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, fantasy

# of books in series: 3

Note: If your child read Harry Potter, you’re probably not too worried about the controversy some claim with with this one.

 

Kingdom Keepers Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, fantasy

# of books in series: 7

Note: If your child loves Disney, this series will put them over the moon…especially if they’ve been to one of their parks.  And let’s be honest, Ridley Pearson AND Disney…does it get any better?

 

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, mystery, humor

# of books in series: 4

Note: Grabenstein is a riot. He’s kooky and the kids love it.

 

Percy Jackson & The Olympians Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, fantasy, mythology

# of books in series: 5

Note: Like Harry Potter, this series turns non-readers into readers. Once your kids read one Riordan series, they’ll want to read them all. This is a must read!

 

The Chronicles of Narnia Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, fantasy

# of books in series: 7

Note: It’s a classic. Need I say more?

 

Peter and The Starcatchers Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, fantasy

# of books in series: 5

Note: Think of this like a prequel to Peter Pan, and a really awesome one at that. Lots of adventure. Dave Berry for the humor AND Ridley Person for the mystery – yes!

 

Treasure Hunters Series

info on GoodReads

purchase on Amazon

Genres: adventure, survival

# of books in series: 6

Note: Of course, the fact that the characters are cruising kids alone should make you want to get this entire series, but knowing that James Patterson teamed up with Chris Grabenstein, Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryseries author, now you’ve got a cruising kid classic.

Wrapping up…

eReaders have made it really easy to keep good books in our kids’ hands regardless of where we are in the world. Whether you’re checking books out through your public library’s ebook system or purchasing them through your favorite ebook store, having a plethora of books available for your child in any format is super important to help them build their love of reading.

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More  Resources:

  • If you’re in the market for an ereader/tablet for your child, I recommend this one. It’s super easy to purchase and download ebooks, but it’s also app capable, so your public library’s ebook system should be available. That being said, they also might get distracted by the other apps on their device…but there is a parent dashboard to monitor use.
  • If you’re not sure whether a book is appropriate, check out this site. You just type the title at the top and it offers reviews from both parents and kids. There are also headings like ‘Violence’, ‘Language’, etc.
  • My favorite book recommendation site is this one. You type the title of a book your child really liked, and it pops out titles that are similar. Most of the time, it’s right on. Sometimes, not so much…but def worth a look!