Not long ago, my (almost) 9-year-old twins faced a problem: What do they read after Harry Potter?
They wanted another series. They wanted fantasy. They wanted adventure.
For recommendations, I turned to a friend of mine with older kids. Without a second thought, she said: “The Warriors. It’s about cats.”
Look at these covers! These cats mean business. Serious business.
This feline franchise consists of an enormous number of books, including several story arcs, spin-offs, and special editions. As of 2012, 14 million English-language copies had been sold around the world, and I’m sure that number is much higher today. The author is Erin Hunter, a pseudonym for a writing team developed by HarperCollins.
So far, my kids have read 32 Warrior books. I haven’t read them myself, so I have no idea how to describe them except to say that any mention of these books reminds me of Wanda Gág’s iconic children’s story, Millions of Cats:
There are countless warrior cats in these books, all with awesome names like Cinderpelt, Bramblestar, and Leafpool.
What do these cats do? I’m not really sure, but this is how the publisher describes the first series, Warriors: The Prophecies Begin:
For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their ancestors. But the warrior code is threatened, and the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger. The sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying—and some deaths are more mysterious than others.
In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary housecat named Rusty . . . who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.
My kids are addicted to this franchise. They’ve renamed our family’s cats “Flowerfur” and “Sunpelt,” engage in Warrior Cat-infused imaginative play, and write Warrior Cat fanfiction.
Now, the question is, what should they read when this feline phase is over?*
*I am particularly interested in fantasy/series featuring diverse characters, but appreciate all recommendations ideal for a middle grade audience. Thank you!
**Everyone in our household now has a “Warrior Cat” name. My twins are Autumn Tail and Copper Pelt.