I could probably do HP posts 24/7.
But, for now, I'll pick on the Reader's Advisory portion of the program.
What do you recommend to people to read next?
I know there's been news about HP readers not reading anything "after." But I do think that many people, having found and loved HP, will be looking for what to read next. And I think our job, as readers, is to share our love for books by making recommendations. (And as a librarian, it's really my job!)
RA is an art form. There is no exact formula; ideally, it involves time, listening, and access to a lot of books. It's about hearing why someone liked a particular book; and using those things to find another book for them.
Common mistakes include thinking why you like the book so assuming that's true for everyone; or picking one main criteria and not going beyond that. Another mistake is not respecting the original book.
To use our boy Harry as an example, telling someone who has read, adored, and now cried over Harry Potter, "hey, that's great, I know books that are so much better written than that" is a sure fire way to turn the reader off. They know when you're dissing them and their choices.
And, again with Harry Potter -- all to often "readalike"* suggestions are very fantasy oriented. Because it's the easy tag. But guess what? People read HP for reasons other than fantasy.
So, here's my question. You have a reader (any age, second grader to grown ups; let's get as many books as possible) who adores HP and now wants.... more. Something else. What are some of the other things in HP that readers react to? And what books would you then recommend?
Non fantasy elements about HP: orphans, school stories, boarding school stories, underdogs, humor, a story told over several volumes.
So, what books? And why? Now, keep in mind this doesn't have all those characteristics. But here are some ideas!
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. orphan, underdogs, humor. (While this series turns out to be Alternate Universe, so could fall under a fantasy label, this book reads as strictly historical fiction.)
The Keeping Days books by Norma Johnston. Historical fiction; but the story is set over six books, with things from earlier books being very important in later books. Other "sweeping series" include the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell, the Poldark books by Winston Graham, and the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian. Honestly, I haven't read all these books; but the Sharpe books and the O'Brien books also have the elements of friendship and adventure that many HP readers like.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Orphan. And, of course, FHB's other titles may fit, also: The Secret Garden has the orphan element, and Little Lord Fauntleroy has the "poor boy who turns out to be rich" element.
So, what would you recommend, and why? The only rule is: no fantasy!
* I have nothing against booklists like that! I like them, make them, use them. But I prefer one on one with kids and teens and adults, because it's a better fit.
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