Top Ten Tuesday: Harry Potter-esque Books

Books that are similar in tone or content to the Harry Potter series.


As a children’s librarian I often get asked for Harry Potter read-alikes. Caregivers are often desperate to keep up their child’s reading moment, and are looking for another series that will inspire their child the way the Harry Potter books did. These series all feature strong, inventive young characters who encounter magical situations and scenarios, and who grow and develop through a series of books. Some are a bit easier to read than Harry Potter, while others are a bit higher level, so there should be a little something for readers of different levels. Hopefully one of these series will help fill the Harry Potter-shaped vacuum that can occur once a child has finished the series….

  1. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
  2. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  3. The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
  4. The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
  5. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chaining
  6. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  7. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
  8. Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones
  9. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  10. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke



  1. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okarofor
  2. Gakuen Alice by Tachibana Higuchi
  3. Uncommon Magic by R. J. Anderson


  1. Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones, which is set in a school for witch-orphans. Although this is one of the grimmer books in the Chrestomanci series, it has many comical scenes including misadventures on a broomstick and an unforgettable school dinner.
  2. The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. Three siblings who grew up in an orphanage, or rather, a series of orphanages, face down a Big Baddie who just won’t die.
  3. Lumberjanes for the group adventures, friendships, and unique mentors.
  4. Gotham Academy for the group adventures, friendly and sinister staff, mysterious castle academy, crime, maps, and general adult skulduggery.


  1. The Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud is Harry Potter esque in that it is simply fantastic story-telling in a child centred world where adults have too much power (and sometimes they should!). I am just as addicted to these books as I was to HP, so that’s saying something.
  2. I too think that Iron Trial is almost an exact readalike, it was good, but just a little too similar. If you are stuck and don’t know how to get your kid to move on, try this. It’s good, it’s a little darker, but it’s HP.
  3. I also enjoyed The Immortal Secrets of Nicholas Flammel and though it’s a little bit more like Percy Jackson than HP it has some of the same qualities. Special kids on a journey with some adults as their guides and teachers, ultimate evil to bring down, save the world etc… The series is long too, if you have a serial reader, this is good.
  4. Gaiman’s Neverwhere was a very immersive world like HP and had great characters and dialogue. It’s a stand-alone, but it is wonderful.
  5. Can I say The Lunar Chronicles here? I mean, there is no magic, there is no wizarding school BUT there are strong female characters doing great things in a very entrancing sci-fi world. The evil of Levana is certainly comparable to Voldemort, she’s a little more about tactics and Voldy is about fights and war (simpler that way), and so I think this is a little more sophisticated, a little older of a read, but still a valid comp. 🙂