The Wonder of Nevermoor

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

I have a confession to make – I love reading children’s fantasy novels, particularly middle-grade fiction. Probably not all that surprising considering I am a primary school teacher librarian. However, one series has stood out recently and made me question – Is this the next big thing since Harry Potter? 

Of course, I am talking about none other than the Nevermoor series written by Sunshine Coast author Jessica Townsend. The Nevermoor series features the trials and tribulations of the female protagonist Morrigan Crow. Morrigan, or Mog for short, is a cursed child who is destined to die at midnight on Eventide when she is whisked away to the magical land of Nevermoor by the mysterious Jupiter North. Here she discovers she has a mysterious magical power and becomes a member of the elite Wundrous Society.  

The first novel in the series Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is a multiple award winner that broke records in Australia as the fastest-selling children’s debut novel of all time.  A movie adaption of the novel is currently in progress. The next novel Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrgian Crow followed a year later, prompting comparisons to J.K. Rowling’s  Harry Potter phenomenon

It was in anticipation of Townsend’s newest release in the series, Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow that got me thinking. What is it about this series that is so special? What sets it apart from other novels? Could this be the current generation’s Harry Potter moment? 

“Townsend has something of Rowling’s knack for memorable characters, of balancing darkness with whimsy and building from scratch the geography and politics of an immersive fictional world.” 

Linda Morris, Sydney Morning Herald

For me it comes down to the ability of Townsend, as was the case with J.K. Rowling, to create the following: 

Universal Appeal 

The adventures of Morrigan and her friends in Nevermoor appeal to both children and adults alike. As well as broad appeal, the work of Townsend has experienced popularity and success around the world. For me, this is an essential ingredient. The ability to transcend audiences and markets is an important step in creating a transmedia success story. With the first Nevermoor movie in the works, it is only a matter of time before Morrigan Crow and Jessica Townsend are household names. 

Quirky Characters 

Like Harry Potter, the world of Nevermoor has many quirky and interesting characters from the antagonist Ezra Squall to the benevolent Jupiter North and Fenestra the Magnificat.  The relationships Morrigan develops with the other characters, particularly her friends from the Wundersociety adds to the appeal of this novel. This was also the case with Harry and his friends from Hogwarts. 

Darkness and Light 

A good children’s fantasy novel successfully combines elements of darkness with lighter humorous moment sprinkled throughout.  The presence of Morrigan’s antagonist Ezra Squall looms in the background as did Voldemort in Harry Potter. For me, the Nevermoor series strikes just the right balance – a little bit scary but not too much. 

Escape to another world 

Townsend has created a detailed, magical world that allows readers to escape from their everyday lives.  The strange happenings of Nevermoor has both children and adults coming back for more. With another six stories planned in the series, Morrigan Crow is bound to become a household name. 

Final Thoughts 

As I begin reading Hollowpox, I do think bigger things are ahead for Morrigan Crow and Jessica Townsend. I may be a little biased, but how wonderful would it be for a series containing a young female protagonist written by an Australian author to be the next shining star in children’s literature? Afterall we could all use a little light relief amid a global pandemic. 

Promotion of a Reading Culture


 Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Many of us can fondly recall reading for pleasure in our childhoods. I can remember being excited and looking forward to silent reading time in the classroom.  However, recent studies have found a decline in the number of students reading for pleasure.  With reading for pleasure linked to many academic benefits and overall achievement, a focus on promoting a reading culture in schools is more important than ever before.

School leadership plays an important role in establishing and fostering a reading culture. Without the support of principals and administrators, teachers can feel pressured to drop reading practices that support reading for pleasure in order to focus on increased curriculum demands and standardised testing. Often, independent student reading can be one of the first things to go.  Unfortunately, a qualified school librarian is usually next with funding for the position at the discretion of the school leaders.

Where to from here? Educators need to take a stand and reclaim reading for pleasure in their schools and classrooms. A holistic approach to reading needs to be front and centre in every classroom. Fortunately, there are some simple and easy ways for every teacher to create a reading community in their class.


Reading for pleasure not only builds academic skills, it helps develop important personal attributes and life skills such as empathy, resilience, problem-solving and the ability to experience life through the perspective of others.  Good stories can change a young person’s life. The right book at the right time can have a profound impact and many of us can remember a story that changed our perspective or helped us deal with a difficult time in our lives. Therefore, it is essential that educators foster and pass on this gift to the students in their care. We need to make reading for pleasure a priority in our classrooms rather than an optional extra. Our students deserve this.

Useful Resources

Raising Readers by Megan Daley is a must read for all educators and parents. Great tips, ideas and booklists for raising readers in your life.

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller shares the keys to cultivating life-long reading habits in your students.

Promotion of reading Pinterest board –  I have curated a collection of useful articles with tips on how to create a reading culture in your school.

Pernille Ripp – an excellent blog from experienced teacher and author Pernille Ripp. Lots of useful articles on the importance and promotion of reading for pleasure.

500 Hats – a useful teacher-librarian blog by Barbara Braxton, with practical ideas, information and insights to support a culture of reading in your school.