This weekend, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was released in German. Not very interesting for me (although, today, I've finally managed to put my English edition in my bookcase - don't ask!), as I've gotten the novel ages ago when it came out in English.
Of course, a lot of books were sold this weekend, that's just to be expected. And, of course, all online-magazines I read did an article about it. One even managed to talk about fan fiction. But, as quite often, they didn't seem to get it - fan fiction isn't restricted to "Harry Potter" and isn't starting now, because people don't like the end of the novel. Such stories have been around for ages - and not just for "Harry Potter" either. I've been doing some of it, actually (and I'm still working on my "Harry Potter" dystopia without Harry Potter).
The fifth movie is still running in my hometown, too (although this week will be the last, or so they claim).
And, even before the kids have finished the latest and last novel, there's already people worrying: Will children continue to read books after "Harry Potter?" To me, that's pretty much like asking "Will air continue to be the favoured breathing medium for mankind?" There's never been a generation in which all children were avid readers. Not when I was a kid, not when my father was a kid, not when his father (whoever he may have been) was a kid. But there have always been readers, too - like me, for example. (I need more bookshelves...)
Admittedly, "Harry Potter" has made reading more popular - and not just for kids, there's been a lot of adults who started reading again, too. That's a good thing and one more reason not to damn the novels. But what is even more important, from my point of view, at least, is that the novels have attracted such a wide variety of readers. Nominally, the novels were for kids, but a lot of adults read them with just as much fun.
During that time I've stumbled across at least two more series of novels I'd advise people of all ages to read as well: "Artemis Fowl" and "Skulduggery Pleasant." I'd also recommend "Half Moon Investigations" by Eoin Colfer (who has written "Artemis Fowl" as well - and added to my inspirations, see to the right of this blog).
I personally think, the main reason "Harry Potter" was so successful was the fact that it was one novel in a long time dealing with fantasy, magic and fairy tales - and that not in an old-fashioned way. Before this, most children's novels (and those for teenagers) seemed to be based solely on reality, history or other non-fantasy areas. Maybe people thought the children needed to learn about reality, forgetting that "you can't build with your hands what you haven't seen with your mind" (quote courtesy to "Tail Spin") - in other words: without fantasy no imagination and without imagination no innovation.
With the success of "Harry Potter" other novels of that type were once again published in Germany, giving children access to a wider range of different fantastic worlds. And that's a good thing.
So stop worrying about children not reading anything else after "Harry Potter" - better spent some time showing them there's other good books to read!