As Potter-Mania Cools, Youth Turn to Other Options


(Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:44 AM EDT)

With a wait list peaking at around 400 hold requests, the newest Harry Potter book has been in high demand at Arlington's public libraries since its release in late July.

But now, two months later, readers might actually be able to find a copy of the book to check out.

The library system currently has 135 copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in circulation, and, in the last few weeks, Central Library youth services supervisor Rachel Harlan noticed that a number of copies were gracing the four, nearly empty, shelves devoted to the Harry Potter series.

(A considerable number of holds remains on the 60 to 70 audio versions of the book, however.)

Although Harry Potter mania has died down over the past couple of months, Harlan predicts that there will be a surge of interest in the series during the releases of the final two movies.

“Things tied to pop culture never die,” she said. “And [Harry Potter's popularity] will be ongoing. New readers are going to keep coming up.”

And now that J.K. Rowling's magical series has ended, children are turning to other books with fantastic worlds, themes of good versus evil and other “Harry Potter-esque” characteristics.

“Harry Potter hooks kids on a lot of different levels,” and it's these varied aspects of the series that often lead young readers to other similar books, Harlan said.

Such books include Lemony Snickett's “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” Garth Nix's “Bartimaeus Trilogy” and C.S. Lewis' “Chronicles of Narnia.”

Books with movies coming out in the near future, like Philip Pullman's “The Golden Compass,” also are getting attention.

Other books Harlan recommends for young Harry Potter fans include:

* John Scieszka's “Time Warp Trio” series.

* Mary Pope Osbourne's “The Magic Tree House” series.

* Christopher Paolini's “Eragon” and “Eldest.”

* Roald Dahl's “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

* Beverly Cleary's “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.”

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