Young awkward, orphaned boy discovered he is descended from witches and wizards, needs to develop courage and master simple magic to prevent the world from being destroyed by the big bad….Harry Potter? Nope, it’s Lewis Barnavelt, the main character in many of John Bellairs’ books, my favorite being The House with a Clock in its Walls.
Lewis is chubby and awkward and just wants to be liked, plus he fights evil with weak-ass magic. There is something very sweet and dark about Bellairs’ writing. It is full of humor and warmth and, in some places, it is actually quite scary. Bellairs clearly remembers how it feels to be an outcast and I love his books for it.
Plus, many of his books are illustrated by Edward Gorey. Perfect.
One of my favorite children’s series of all time. If you are looking for books for a little one in your life (or if you just enjoy reading great, gothic horror books) I highly recommend this!