How to avoid Harry Potter (hint: Tiffany Aching)

For the past year or two, I’ve been reading Harry Potter to my seven year old daughter for a bedtime story. It started out at about her level, but by the fifth book it’s definitely at a teen level because of dark themes, including sadism and torture. (Professor Umbridge, I’m looking at you.) We’re up to the last book, and I’m avoiding it. Not just for the adult themes, but also for fear of what to read when we’re done. After all, when she’s misbehaving, the only threat that always works is to threaten that we won’t read Harry Potter that night.

Happily, my friend and coworker suggested The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. It’s the first of a four-book series about a no-nonsense girl named Tiffany Aching who wants to be a witch, and how she teams up with a band of fairies whose three skills are fighting, drinking, and stealing.

That was the first book I’ve ever found that can compete with Harry Potter. And boy have I tried. We’re already on the second book (A Hat Full of Sky), and I’m not sure which series she’ll want to finish first.

If you have a child under the age of 10 who has not yet read all the Harry Potter books, I strongly recommend The Wee Free men as a speed bump after the first two books.


4 thoughts on “How to avoid Harry Potter (hint: Tiffany Aching)

  1. We just finished I Shall Wear Midnight, and there are places where you’ll probably consider skipping over a sentence or two. And, frankly, some of the early parts are pretty dark.

    (I’m here because Google suggested this page among the responses to my query about a possible fifth Tiffany book.)

  2. Yep, my wife finished it recently, and she says there is a little mature content. I prefer to explain rather than censor (especially since she can read over my shoulder) so we’ll seee.

  3. I’m glad your wife has read it. Personally, I kind of wish I’d read the second chapter, “Rough Magic,” ahead of time so I could have been better prepared to talk with my son about the content. After that chapter, it’s not so bad. Always glad to find more Tiffany fans! – Laura

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