Books: A Series for Every Reader

Whether your students are sports nuts, horse lovers, or beachcombers, we've found a perfect book series to help them stop the "summer slide."

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Did you know? Research says that kids need to read four or more books over the summer to stay on top of language arts skills and avoid remedial work when they return to school in the fall. There's no better way to meet that goal than to get them hooked on an addictive series.

Series books offer a scaffolded approach for emerging readers, helping them to feel confident and successful. And there are so many terrific options in bookstores, from series that tickle the funny bone to fast-paced adventure and fantasy.

Read on for some of our favorite choices. Then go to scholastic.com/summerreading for more book lists and information on stopping the summer slide.

Grades PreK–2

Best for Little Veterinarians
The Humphrey series by Betty G. Birney. Kids who can't get enough of your classroom pet can get their fix in these adventures of a adorable fictional hamster. Latest installment: Summer According to Humphrey

Best for Nature Lovers
The Cork and Fuzz series by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue.
Chaconas and McCue carry on the tradition of sweet forest-dwelling easy readers like Frog and Toad and Little Bear. Perfect for new readers. Latest installment: The Babysitters

Best for Sweet Tooths
The Candy Fairies series by Helen Perelman. Perelman has fun with every kid's ultimate fantasy-her stories take place in a magical world of jelly beans, chocolate, and other sweet treats. Latest installments: Chocolate Dreams and Rainbow Swirl

Best for Teachers' Pets
The Miss Malarkey series by Judy Finchler, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley. Miss Malarkey is the quick-witted, quick-on-her-feet teacher we wish we could be-and each book's focus on one of her students lends the series kid credibility. Latest installment: Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind

Best for Girly Girls
The Louise the Big Cheese books by Elise Primavera, illustrated by Diane Goode. Louise could be the offspring of sassy heroines like Eloise and Fancy Nancy. Latest installment: Louise the Big Cheese and the La-Di-Da Shoes

Best for Gentle Boys
The Monty series by Johanna Hurwitz, illustrated by Anik McGrory. Hurwitz nails sensitive Monty's daily adventures. Latest installment: Amazing Monty

Best for Bosom Buddies
The Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. These best friends can't seem to stay out of trouble, much like the real-life twosomes we know. Latest installment: Doomed to Dance

Best for Twins
The Ling and Ting books by Grace Lin. Lin handles the similarities and differences between identical twin sisters with grace and humor. Latest installment: Not Exactly the Same!

Best for Cowpoke Cuties
The Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Lewin's paintings lend a rustic charm to the adventures of a ranching girl and her trusty steed. Latest installment: Spring Babies

Grades 3–5

Best for Fairy-Tale Fans
The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Peter Ferguson. Buckley imagines the Grimm characters live in New England, and two sisters must keep them in line. Latest installment: The Inside Story

Best for Beachcombers
The Emily Windsnap books by Liz Kessler: The first time Emily swims, her legs turn into a fishtail. Emily's adventures as a half-mermaid remind us of a Disney movie-in a good way. Latest installment: Emily Windsnap and the Siren's Secret

Best for Worrywarts
The Justin Case series by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Every teacher knows a student like Justin-one who over-thinks everything. These relatable stories may put those readers at ease. Latest installment: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters

Best for Orphan Wannabes
The Sisters Eight series by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. So many kids go through a phase of romanticizing life on their own, and these tales about orphaned sisters hit that sweet spot. Latest installment: Marcia's Madness

Best for Silly Kids and Teachers
The My Weird School Daze series by Dan Gutman, illustrated by Jim Paillot. Gutman centers each hilarious book around one of the eccentric instructors at Ella Mentry School. To be honest, it's like a peek into a typical teacher's lounge. Latest installment: Mrs. Lizzy Is Dizzy

Best for Dragon Enthusiasts
The How to Drain Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell. In a children's section full of dragon fare, these tales stick out for their zany action and Viking humor. Latest installment: How to Ride a Dragon's Storm

Best for Old-Timey Adventurers
The Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist books by R. L. LaFevers. Nathaniel's journeys with his aunt make us wish we could be 1920s "beastologists," too. Latest installment: The Basilisk's Lair

Best for Budding Scientists
The Scientists in the Field series by various authors. Amazing photographs and insightful text illuminate what daily life is like for working scientists. Latest installment: Kakapo Rescue

Best for Gumshoe Detectives
The Sherlock Files books by Tracy Barrett. Sherlock Holmes's descendants, twins Xander and Xena, chase down their ancestor's unsolved cases. Latest installment: The Case That Time Forgot

Best for Struggling Readers
The Hank Zipzer series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. Winkler writes with humorous understanding about the misadventures of Hank, who, like Winkler, has dyslexia. Latest installment: A Brand-New Me

Best for Close Cliques
The Friends for Keeps series by Julie Bowe. Bowe just gets friendship among fourth-grade girls, from its BFF best to its Kleenex-worthy worst. Latest installment: My Best Frenemy

Best for Dreamy Artists
The Books of Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West. In this brand new series, 11-year-old Olive discovers she can travel into the paintings hanging in the mansion where she's recently moved with her mathematician parents, exploring a world spookily like her own. Latest installment: The Shadows

Best for Oddball Humorists
The Lunch Lady books by Jarrett Krosoczka. What kid hasn't imagined the secret life of the woman serving mashed potatoes and peas? Krosoczka brings the daydream to life. Latest installment: Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown

Best for Babysitters in Training
The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. After years out of print, the babysitters are back in a brand-new adventure that takes place before the beginning of the classic series. Latest installment: The Summer Before

Best for Puzzle Solvers
The 39 Clues series by various authors. Representing where books may be headed, the 39 Clues takes kids online to solve problems and chat with fellow readers. Latest installment: Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park

Best for Happy Campers
The Summer Camp Secrets series by Katy Grant. Grant has fun spinning stories from the longstanding traditions and friends that come from attending summer camp year after year. Latest installments: Fearless and Rumors

Best for Martial Artists
The Five Ancestors series by Jeff Stone. In between the exciting kung-fu action readers learn about the culture and history of ancient China. Latest installment: Dragon

Best for the Big-Hearted
The Keepers of the School series by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Adam Stower. We can't help but fall for the premise of this series: A group of kids band together to save their school. Latest installment: We the Children

Best for Closet Scribblers
The Ellie McDoodle series by Ruth McNally Barshaw. Readers get to peek into Ellie's journal, like the Amelia books by Marissa Moss and Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Latest installment: Best Friends Fur-Ever

Grades 6—8

Best for Dickensian Devotees
The Barnaby Grimes series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It's hard to resist a mystery set in 19th-century London, or a hero who calls to mind Oliver or Pip. Latest installment: The Phantom of Blood Alley

Best for Horse Lovers
The Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart. Burkhart has tween girls pinned-the friendships, drama, and secrets. Add horses? Like, O.M.G.! Latest installment: Home Sweet Drama

Best for Fantasy Buffs
The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. This epic series appeals to readers of high fantasy but may be easier for emerging readers to manage than the work of writers like J. R. R. Tolkien or Phillip Pullman. Latest installment: The Kings of Clonmel

Best for Active Athletes
The Comeback Kids series by Mike Lupica. We've witnessed even the most reluctant readers glued to the fast-paced game play and tight plotting in a Lupica sports story. Latest installment: The Soccer-Themed Shoot-Out

Best for Doomsday Theorists
The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Pfeffer imagines the end of the world in her series in which a meteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth. The characters record in diary entries how life has changed. Latest installment: This World We Live In

Best for Would-Be Heroes
The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. The ending of each book in Nix's series has us praying for Arthur Penhaligon's safety and his success in saving the Kingdom. Latest installment: Lord Sunday

Best for City Kids
The Gods of Manhattan series by Scott Mebus. Any kid who rides the subway to school will find himself believing in Mebus's urban mythology, which includes the God of Sample Sales, the God of Jaywalking, and the God of Street Construction. Latest installment: The Sorcerer's Secret

Best for Potter Groupies
The Magic Thief books by Sarah Prineas. Readers who miss Harry, Hermione, and the rest of the gang at Hogwarts can get to know a new magical world through the eyes of Conn, a street urchin who becomes a wizard. Latest installment: Found

Best for History Nuts
The Crispin series by Avi. The Medieval period comes alive in the trilogy that began with the Newbery-winning The Cross of Lead. Latest (and final) installment: The End of Time

Best for the Steampunk Set
The Kronos Chronicles books by Marie Rutkoski. Rutkoski evokes a world that owes part of its mythology to Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, and part to the history, legend, and beauty of the city of Prague. Latest installment: The Celestial Globe

What Was Your Favorite Series?
We asked Instructor readers and editors to share their favorite series growing up.

"I was a huge Nancy Drew fan-one time in fifth grade I had checked one out of our school library. I'd had it for a few days and was almost finished with it by the time the dismissal bell rang. I stood outside the library reading the last few pages so I could dash in and check out the next one, and ended up missing my bus!"  — Natalie Lorenzi

"So many come to mind, but I adored The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Sometimes I still think The Borrowers could be living in my apartment, especially when I can't find my keys!"  — Hannah Trierweiler Hudson

"I loved the Sweet Valley Twins. It was such a fun escape-the thought of having a twin sister was really cool to me, and they lived in California, which also seemed cool."  — Jessica Rosevear

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