10 Great Book Series for Kids

Want to get reading with your kids? Here are ten books series that have been FishFam-tested. 

Since I am a bookworm, it was really important to me that our kids love to read. FishPapa loves to read, so it sounded like an easy thing to swing. For the most part, it’s working so far.

Everyone loves a good story.

We do have to do a fair amount of battling with electronic devices, but overall, they all like books, especially when we work through a series of books together as a family read-aloud.

I started reading longer chapter books to my eldest son when he was about four or five. It was such a wonderful experience for us. It’s been harder to swing a read aloud as the years go by since my older kids can read on their own and don’t have to or want to wait for me. But, most still love a family read aloud.

I’m not sure that I could catch my 15yo in the same room, but I bet you he’s listening.

10 Great Book Series for Kids

There’s something about a serial adventure that attracts us all. Whether it’s those addicted to Downton Abbey or a reader waiting for the latest installment of his favorite hero story, we all want to see what happens next.

Series books are great for family read-alouds since they encourage discussion and contemplation about how the adventure will continue in the next volume.

Here are some of the series of books that we’ve enjoyed together:

Head’s up: This post does include Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees.

Imagination Station series by Paul McCusker – We’ve received review copies of the Imagination Station books since the series first began. My 8-year old has been thrilled with each new addition. He can read them himself, but he loves it when we read them together.

Each book is a step back in time by cousins Patrick and Beth as they set out on an adventure to help keep the past the way it’s meant to be. We’ve enjoyed these books as a complement to our own homeschool history study.

The Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace – I first read these books when I was in fifth grade. I would have started sooner had I known of their existence. My experience with this early 20th century series was reading out-of-print editions. How thrilled was I that they brought the books back into print so that I can read them with my girls.

The stories follow Betsy from age 5 all the way into adulthood. As she grows, so do the complexity of the stories and subject matter. I loved growing up with Betsy and her best friends Tacy and Tib.

The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Most of us probably have been exposed to the Little House books in some form, whether it be the novels themselves or the television series that lasted far too long. (I’m sorry but it got really weird once Nelly Olson turned nice and all.)

Boys and girls alike will enjoy these stories. At least our kids have. Farmer Boy is a particular favorite from the series since the food descriptions are so yummy-sounding.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner - As soon as my boys could read indepently, these were the books that they were drawn to. The adventures of the  Alden  children, four orphans being raised by their grandfather. They solve mysteries together.

I’ve only read a small handful of these stories; I must have had a sheltered childhood. They are old, old stories that still hold sway with kids today. My boys have read them all.

The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osbourne – This series of historical fiction/time travel is another one that my boys gravitated to as soon as they could read independently. In fact, FishBoy8 didn’t know that he could read a book on his own until we sat down with MTH#1 and went through the first page together. He was stunned. And proceeded to finish the book that day.

These books are a fantastic complement to homeschool history study.

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – This book series ranks high on my list of favorite books, for adult or child. We were fans of AP’s music, and are most definitely a fan of his novels. These are such good reads! Everyone in our family loves them, including Papa.

There are three books in the series so far: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North or Be Eaten, and The Monster in the Hollows. The fourth and final book should be released sometime this year. I can’t wait.

The Chronicles of Narnia has been a favorite of mine since I was a newlywed. That was the first I ever read the stories. Remember, I lived a sheltered life. For being a childhood bookworm, I missed out on a lot of great books. I must have been too busy reading Sweet Valley High.

CS Lewis created a magical world in Narnia, but he also crafted a beautiful allegory about our relationship with God. These are must-reads for adults and children alike. The movies do not do them justice.

The Light Keepers series by Irene Howat has been a fun one for us to explore. Each book tells the biographies of ten boys or girls who made a difference, changed the world, used their talents, didn’t give in, or who made history. It’s great fun to read about great men and women who once were children.

For instance, Ten Boys Who Changed the World features the stories of Billy Graham, Brother Andrew, John Newton, George Muller, Nicky Cruz, William Carey, David Livingstone, Adoniram Judson, Eric Liddell and Luis Palau.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein are some of our family’s favorite stories. I laugh about this fact today since I hated it that Mrs. Geary made us read The Hobbit in 8th grade. (Again, too much Sweet Valley High.)

These books have always started out as read alouds for the younger readers. They are immense and intimidating. FishBoy10 hasn’t yet made it through LOTR even though he can devour ten books in a day. It’s just a little overwhelming right now. I’m hoping we can tackle the story soon since I know that he’s missing out on a lot of the story, even though the movies did an amazing job, all things considered.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – I was slow to allow Harry Potter into our home. It was about three years ago that my oldest son expressed his desire to read them and his frustration at my banning them. I agreed that we could read the first one together and then see. I also sought the opinions of folks that I know and respect who happened to have read the books.

I fell in love with the story as did my children. We read all the books in 12 months, just in time to see the last film be released at the movie theater. We have had a wonderful family experience working through the books.

If you’re not sure about the books and how they might fit within a Christian worldview, I highly recommend this post by Andrew Peterson. The truth of Jesus is present in the book. He says it all way better than I could.

So, those are some of our favorites.

Do you have a favorite children’s book series?

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. I must must must recommend audio books! Especially for the resistant reader! My boys all love to listen listen- its like family read aloud only with a professional reader or the author himself which is also really fun. Sometimes books written in older english or brittosh english are better in audio form because the inflection of the reader helps comprehension of an otherwise less familiar language flow. Treasure island, the wind in the willows, Tom sawyer were all brought to life more vividly when heard read aloud by a professional. The good news? I get them all from the library. I’m the only person I know who does thus though I am constantly recommending it.

    • We love audiobooks, too! We are currently listening to The Chronicles of Narnia series as a family and the narrator (Chrissi Hart) has such a beautiful accent that it makes the stories even more mesmerizing. We have such peaceful car rides since discovering audiobooks. We live 30 minutes from everywhere so we can always get through a couple of chapters per trip. My oldest and I have read and loved the Inheritance Series and that will probably be our next family audiobook.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Yes, we do that a lot in the car for our commuting times. I posted some of our faves here: http://lifeasmom.com/2012/11/hit-the-road-with-great-listening.html

  2. Our household has been reading Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief and the Kane Chronicles. The kids seem to be fascinated by mythology and this has helped spur their reading.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      My boys love those books, too.

    • We’re loving these too! Actually we’re just reading the Kane Chronicles at the moment because we’re studying ancient history this year, and they (kind of!) fit the Egypt theme. My 7-year old son is obsessed! I can’t wait to finish the series and start the Percy Jackson ones when we learn about Greece.

    • My son is DEVOURING the Percy Jackson series right now. He just left for camp and he’s itching to start the third one when he returns. (I would’ve sent it, but not sure how a library book and adirondack camping will mix. Our books usually end up damp and curled when we tent camp.)
      He’s enjoyed the Hobbit, the first few Harry Potters, and lots of boy humor books (the Dr. Proctor series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Lunch Lady, and more) – but he’s never been quite as glued to a book as to the Percy Jacksons.

    • Always Percy Jackson. Great books that started my addiction to reading.

    • Just a quick warning. If you move onto the Heros of Olympus series in the House of Hades a character reveals his “crush” on another boy. While the topic doesn’t bother me, I was blindsided and was very much caught off guard by this. Especially, since Riordan is a favorite author. I was trusting enough to let me son read without me “pre-reading”.

  3. We love the Percy Jackson series, the Lost Heros Series and the Kane Chronicals series all by Rick Riordan, we love Earogon and the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini, we really LOVE LOVE LOVE the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, and we love the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      The kids love the Paolini and Riordan books. I don’t think those others have crossed our paths. Going to check the library right now.

      • Kelli Bullock says:

        Fablehaven is a great series as well as The Beyonders. Great reads my boys and daughter loved Scot Westerfelds Leviathan Trilogy.

  4. We must have the same taste in books! My kids and I have enjoyed almost every series you mentioned sometime in the last few years. In fact, my daughter and I are finishing up the Betsy-Tacy books right now. Somehow I missed those when I was growing up!

    One series I haven’t heard of is the Wingfeather Saga books. I just put the first one on hold at the library for my son. Sounds like something he would love! Thanks for sharing your list.

    P.S. Also enjoyed the linked Andrew Peterson article. Sums up my thoughts very well!

  5. We just started the Little House series as a read-aloud this weekend. (I have always loved it … and I’m hoping to create another lover of the series, who will gladly accompany me to the last of the Ingalls sites that I haven’t visited.) Another series you might enjoy with your girls is the All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor. It has that history thing going for it (one of the things I looked for in books as a child): it’s about a Jewish family in New York in the early 1900s; some of the adults are recent immigrants. They’re “all of a kind” because the children are all girls, until … a certain point in the series. The American Girl books are also quite good as history-based read-alouds.

  6. Carrie Phelps says:

    What a great list! I also highly recommend The Giver series of books by Lois Lowry. I believe there are four in the series beginning with The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger & Son. I would think the ages for these books would be fifth grade & up.

    • I had no idea this was a series! The Giver was one of my favorite books as a kid and I always wished there was more to the story. I have now put the other 3 on hold at my library. Thank you!

  7. I am so excited that you included Harry Potter! My oldest will be starting the series soon, and I can’t wait! I hate the bum rap that Potter has gotten over the years in the Christian community. Sheesh, if we needed to ban every witch, wizard and warlock, Tolkien would definitely be out, along with other noteworthy books. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks :)

  8. I love seeing books on these lists that I read as a kid. My parents read the Little House series aloud to us and I devoured the Boxcar children books. Thanks for the other recommendations!

  9. What a great list! We read the first two of the Harry Potter series this summer – started the first while on a camping trip, and took turns reading it aloud. My son is working his way through The Hobbit, I’m reading Farmer Boy aloud at bedtime (working our way through the series!), and my daughter is almost ready to read Magic Treehouse on her own.
    My son’s teacher recommended The Giver – he’s 3rd grader reading at about a 5th grade level.
    Pinning this post now – thank you!

  10. Love your list! We have read all of those except the imagination station, checking those out! My kiddos also enjoy the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and anything by Wayne Thomas Batson. Audio books are awesome, I love how quiet all of my kiddos get when we are listening.

  11. Thanks for the great list! We are avid book readers here too, so it’s wonderful to have more titles to look for!

  12. I love the Beverly Cleary books as well as Nancy Drew…I read those, and so did my step daughters. We are all reading them to my daughter!

  13. Stephanie says:

    We enjoy the Fingertip Island book series by Ned Rauch-Mannino. This is an adventure book series that really encourages and inspires the imagination. It is fun for the whole family to read.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Our library doesn’t carry those. Bummer.

      • you know, recently I read a post (unfortunately, I have forgotten where) that librarians have a budget for new books, and usually love when you put in requests for them to buy new books. might be worth a try!

        • Jessica Fisher says:

          Thanks for the reminder! I did that with my own book. (Sheepish grin)

          • and by the way, I just got your book from Amazon yesterday, and am so excited because I am having our third child in April and I am determined to have as many freezer meals as possible. I’ve always been a little afraid to try before now, what with the two small children running around. Slightly off topic, but just wanted to let you know that your book is awesome so far!

  14. My 8 year old is an avid reader and has read the majority of the books on your list. She loves Rick Rioridan’s books too. Another I would add is “Anne of Green Gables”. She also started a new series called “The Sisters Grimm”. I haven’t read them yet, but she seems to be really enjoying them. Her grandfather had given her a copy of the new released copy of Besty-Tacy, she hadn’t seemed interested, but when I saw your list I reminded her we had it and she’s giving it another try. So far she seems to like it. One more is the “39 Clues” series. It’s written by a a variety of authors.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Can’t wait to do Anne of GG with my girls. I don’t think my boys would be interested. But they loved the 39 Clues.

  15. Two series that my boys really enjoyed were the Little Britches series by Ralph Moody and the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome.

  16. Love the Magic Tree House! My oldest is 4 but she loves having these read aloud, and we can finish a whole book in less than an hour. She actually likes the Research Guides that go along with the books too. I can definitely see these as an awesome supplement to history study. We play Jack and Annie all the time too. I get to wear a blanket and be Morgan, and she slings on a backpack and glasses and pretends to be Jack, while baby sister sometimes indulges her and plays Annie.

  17. My son has been enjoying the Hardy Boys lately. And he rolled through the How to Train Your Dragon book series.

  18. Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle was a favorite in our home. My Side of the Mountain (forgot author). Little Men (of same author as Little Women). Family reading time was the best time of day for everyone!

  19. Hattie McHale says:

    My 5 year old son loved hearing “Redwall” by Brian Jaques read aloud. He’s also currently enjoying the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan–a series that my husband and I both loved, as well as the newer spin-off series, The Brotherband Chronicles. We bought the entire Ranger’s Apprentice series and are purchasing The Brotherband Chronicles as each book is released in paperback. When I was a young’un, I read all of the Mandie series and loved it–it’s a good little girl series.:) I also read all of the Nancy Drew mysteries and some of the Hardy Boys–not deep literature, but classic nonetheless.

    I’m currently reading “Tuesdays at the Castle” by Jessica Day George–I’m searching for fun chapter read-alouds that might appeal to my 2 1/2 year old daughter in a couple years. So far, I think it could be a winner.:)

    • Cynthia I says:

      I just read Tuesdays in the Castle and Wednesdays in the Tower. Both very fun. We have loved all of her books.

  20. My kids really enjoyed The Peleg Chronicles by Matthew Christian Harding.

  21. I just got a job as a school librarian in an elementary school (after teaching at a high school for awhile). I am a bit out of my element as far as the literature of the younger ones… so I am making notes off of these comments, and will see which all books are currently in the library, and which ones I need to get. Thanks for the list!

  22. Thanks for sharing. We will be finishing up “The First Four Years” this weekend and so I’m looking for a new series to start! I’ll be checking these out ASAP!

  23. I can’t believe no one mentioned Hank the Cowdog!! OK, they’re not exactly classic literature, but my kids actually laugh out loud while reading them! :-)

  24. I have a 12 year-old daughter. When she was younger, she loved the Magic Treehouse Series when I read it aloud to her, then she read them again. We just sold several Animal Ark books. It is a great little series for dog-lovers. We got into it because my daughter wanted me to read Junie B. Jones books to her. I hated these books, so I said she could read them, but I wouldn’t read them aloud, which was a good incentive for her…so we needed to find something to read aloud. Since we both love animals & especially dogs, this series worked great. We also read Puppy Patrol & Puppy Place series. Now, a little older,,she still loves being read aloud to, so we started withThe Mother Daughter Book a Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick with such titles as Much Ado About Ann, Dear Pen-pal, Pies & Prejudice, Home for the Holidays, Wish You Were Eyre. Great to read together, check them out for those of you with girls.

  25. The Melendys series. The Saturdays, Four Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two. Also by the same author Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away. The Melendys are a family of four children, eventually five, their father, housekeeper, and man of all work. They grow up in WWII era NYC before moving to the country. I loved this series when I was a kid and still do. To be able to spend a full day in NYC doing things like going to the opera or circus, or getting a full haircut, style and manicure for $1 is amazing. Comfortable, happy reading.

  26. Ayme Frykman says:

    Little Britches series by Ralph Moody. Fabulous read-alouds!

  27. I just discovered the Betsy-Tacy books with the help of our children’s librarian. I had NEVER heard of them before, and neither had my family or friends! I would have loved them growing up. I am loving them now, though, and look forward to sharing them with my daughters. I’m glad to see them on your list!

  28. Thanks for all the great book ideas!
    For lovers of the Little House on the Prairie books, I like to let everyone know there is a biographical series about Laura’s daughter Rose (starts with “Little House on Rocky Ridge”) and historical fiction books about Laura’s mother (Wisconsin), grandmother (Boston) and great-grandmother (in Scotland!). I read the Little House books many times as a child and adult, and was so thrilled to discover that there are more similar books now.
    For lovers of action adventure, like my son, we have been lucky to discover two series I never see mentioned: “The Youngest Templar” series by Michael Spradlin, starting with “Keeper of the Grail” which first got my son interested in historical fiction, and “The Five Ancestors” series by Jeff Stone starting with “Tiger” (Five Ancestors series is absolutely fantastic on audio).

  29. My girls both love our daily read aloud ritual. However, my youngest was reluctant to read on her own until I lightened up on the, “it needs to be good literature” attitude. She started sailing through the books when I let her pick a few out. She has read all the Captain Underpants and nearly every other book written by Dave Pilkey; the Dork Dairies series; the Nate the Great series; the new Raina Telegemeier series which started with Smile; the Sisters Grimm series; the Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruel; and the A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. You might guess from the story selections that my youngest has a quirky sense of humor that many of these books appeal to. We always read the first book of a new series together. That is my opportunity to discuss the book’s characters, plot, setting, and anything I think might need some clarification such as why I do not care for some of the characters in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We were at the book store today and she selected the first book in a new series called Timmy Failure, Mistakes Were Made (according to the jacket cover Timmy has a pet polar bear named total).

  30. Felicia says:

    I am reading the series Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome to my girls this year. They are very wholesome and exciting and we are just loving the time together, with so many good discussions around the dinner table about what we’ve read. I highly recommend them!

  31. The My Father’s Dragon mini-series is one of my favorites, especially for young children.

  32. i would have to add Suzanne Collins, Gregor the Overlander Series to this as ! absolutely wonderful series :)

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*