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After Harry : Zombiekins, Blue Girl, Hearts at Stake
© Deanna Toxopeus
October 31, 2010

Halloween is the most kid friendly of holidays. It's the one with the candy. Teachers like this holiday as it leads to theme lessons, from the pumpkin toss in gym to zombie multiplication in math, that they can adapt to everything. But what is a Harry Potter fan to do? It is hard to convince these same theme-drunk power mongers that Rowling's work is scary enough for the Halloween book report. I have a list of four books that fit the bill and are still worth reading.

Zombiekins

Writer: Kevin Bolger / Reading Level: Grade 5 / Suggested Audience: Grade 3 to 6 / Target Audience: Zombie fans, little boys

No one in Dementoville goes near Old Lady Imavitch's house, until the day there is a garage sale. Stanley buys the beat-up teddy bear with the bunny ear, a dangly eye and claws. Instead of listening to the warning of the creepy old lady, Stanley takes the stuffed animal home.

Stanley awakes to a scene of horror. All the playroom animals have been vivisectioned. Only Zombiekins was spared. Thinking it was the dog's fault, Stanley takes they toy to school. Soon his school mates are turning into zombies.

This is a funny, fresh, and surprisingly age appropriate take on zombies from Ottawa author and teacher Kevin Bolger. Gross-out humor and cartoon illustrations will appeal to the male Potter fan, the ones that liked the Weasley Twins. Parents shouldn't worry; there are times that Bolger is not writing for the young, but rather the parents who might read the book to their children.

The Blue Girl

Writer: Charles de Lint / Reading Level: Grade 4 / Suggested Audience: Grade 7 and up / Target Audience: Nonconformists, ghost story fans

Imogene is determined to change. A new school means a new beginning, right? First step is to find a friend that is different from the group she used to run with. Who cares that this friend, Maxine, is an outcast with a control freak for a mother?

But Imogene's new school is haunted by the ghost of a student. He's got a crush on Imogene and turned to his fairy friends, who have problems making the best choices. Their attempts to get Imogene to notice them bring the attentions of something far more sinister. Add to that the reappearance of Imogene's childhood imaginary friend, who can now be seen by other people, and you have an exciting book.

Well written, this book would be a find for the teen Potter fans and those who enjoyed The Ghost Society. There is tension, smart plotting and a real sense of what high school is like. Fans of de Lint's Newford set (of which this book is a part) will recognize some characters as spear carriers. Imogene is very powerful, a real role model for troubled teens trying to straighten out.

Hearts at Stake

Writer: Alexandra Harvey / Reading Level: Grade 8 / Suggested Audience: Grade 7 and up / Target Audience: Vampire romance fans, girls

nlike most of her friends, Solange is not having a birthday party nor is she getting a car. Solange has her transformation into a vampire to look forward to. She is the first girl to be a vampire born rather than a vampire made, so Solange is also the fulfillment of a prophecy. Sometimes a girl can't catch a break.

Her best friend, Lucy, is human, but fits in well with this community. She provides a nice buffer for Solange, helping her live a normal life. And Solange's handsome brother Nicholas, and you can see why a girl would hang around this family.

This teen vampire romance could have been a pale imitation of Twilight or one of the tens of others out there. Instead it is a nice deviation in the vampire mythos, filled with humor and strong females, for once. Author Alexandra Harvey's tale will satisfy all but the most jaded vampire fan. Shippers from the Harry Potter universe will enjoy this story for romance, as well as the kids battling for the greater good.

From the Classics

Classics! So littered with those shiny medals handed out by librarians and journalists that it can be hard to see the cover. But at RevolutionSF, we believe there is value behind the metallic paper. Covers are overrated anyways.

Where the Wild Things Are

Writer: Maurice Sendak / Reading Level: Grade 4, but this is an Adult Directed book (read it to your kids) / Suggested Audience: Junior kindergarten and up / Target Audience: Monster fans, kids with overactive imaginations

Max is what my grandmother would have called a handful. But when he threatens to eat up his mother, he is sent to his room. Once sequestered there, a forest grows up and the walls disappear.

Max ends up in the land where the wild things are and is elected their king.

Sendak created a magical world based on children's imaginations in 1963. The younger Harry Potter set will love the world building, while older readers will see the references to make believe that also permeate Potter books. Warning: The movie adaptation is not aimed at the same audience as the book. Wait until they are older for that.


Here's the big list of all Deanna's features on books to read After Harry. Deanna Toxopeus likes reading books under the covers with a flashlight, as long as the lights are on. She discusses nerd-related books for kids on her blog.

 
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