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Alberto Alvarez-Perea via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Kids' Books Have Gotten Longer Thanks to the 'Harry Potter Effect'

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Alberto Alvarez-Perea via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

For many readers, Harry Potter was the series that first acquainted them with stories that surpassed the 300-, 500-, and even the 800-page mark. It's been nearly two decades since the first book was released and today, lengthy children's texts have become somewhat of a norm. There's even quantitative proof: A recent survey of books aimed at kids in grades three through eight found that the average page length has increased by 115 percent in the last 10 years, Gizmodo reports.

Using their own archives, The Booklist Reader calculated the average length of middle-grade novels for every decade since 1976. Kids' books have gotten 173 percent longer in the past 40 years, but most of that growth has taken place fairly recently. In 2006, the average middle-grade book was 174.5 pages long and that average has since risen to 290 pages. 

According to Booklist's former Books for Youth editor Ilene Cooper, the page inflation can be attributed to the Harry Potter craze of the last twenty years. The books themselves follow the growth trend as the series goes on, but their impact on the fantasy genre may also point to a cause. “Fantasies tend to be really long,” Cooper told Booklist. “Authors are building another world. Readers of fantasy want to get lost in those worlds.”

Close to a decade after the final book was released, Harry Potter's influence on readers both young and old is still being felt. And with an original Harry Potter play and a new movie on the way, don't expect the boy wizard to be falling out of favor any time soon. 

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Hamilton Broadway
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A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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New Tolkien-Themed Botany Book Describes the Plants of Middle-Earth
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iStock

While reading The Lord of the Rings saga, it's hard not to notice J.R.R. Tolkien’s clear love of nature. The books are replete with descriptions of lush foliage, rolling prairies, and coniferous forests. A new botany book builds on that knowledge: Entertainment Weekly reports that Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium provides fantasy-loving naturalists with a round-up of plants that grow in Middle-earth.

Cover art for botanist Walter Judd's book
Oxford University Press

Written by University of Florida botanist Walter Judd, the book explores the ecology, etymology, and importance of over 160 plants. Many are either real—coffee, barley, wheat, etc.—or based on real-life species. (For example, pipe-weed may be tobacco, and mallorns are large trees similar to beech trees.)

Using his botany background, Judd explores why Tolkien may have felt compelled to include each in his fantasy world. His analyses are paired with woodcut-style drawings by artist Graham Judd, which depict Middle-earth's flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and shrubs in their "natural" environments.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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